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Working at home has its positive and negative attributes. You have had a busy day between getting everyone out the door on time after breakfast plus ensuring everyone has their lunches with appropriate papers and books. You head to your office where you make lots of decisions about various topics. You might get a lunch break for 30 minutes, if you are lucky or if you remember to eat, and then back to making all those decisions that impact the lives of others.
Finally, it is time to regroup and gather everyone back home. But wait, what’s for dinner? Hadn’t even thought about it and here it is after 5 pm. You could run through the drive thru, grab some pizza, go to a sit down restaurant, or you could come home to dinner in your slow cooker.
Have a plan
First and foremost, having a plan in place is key. I choose a day that I can actually sit down to pick out a few meals for the week. Write them on your calendar after checking to see if you have any outside commitments to consider. You know the adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
I don’t cook as often as I used to since my family dynamics have changed over the years. Find what works best for your family. If you can double the recipe to use leftovers for lunches or another dinner, do it. My kids still prefer to eat home cooked meals, although an occasional time out is enjoyed as well.
The slow cooker has been a lifesaver for me so many times. You do have to plan ahead for it to work for you. An Instant Pot is another great alternative, but I will save that for another post. Having a plan in place that allows you to turn that slow cooker on in the morning and having a home cooked meal can just bring in that accomplished feeling we all need at the end of the day.
Buy Your Ingredients
After you have chosen your meals for the week, decide when you will get your ingredients if you do not have them on hand. Don’t be afraid to use some of the new services that many of the grocery stores are now offering with shopping for your groceries online and heading to the store to pick them up later. You may have to try several different stores before you find one that works best for you. It also takes a little extra planning on your part as you usually have to wait until later that day or the next to get the food.
A little prep goes a long way
Plan some time for prep as well. If you can block out an hour or two one day a week, you can chop up veggies and prep any other items for the week for meals. I like to put items in a slow cooker liner and then put it in a gallon bag to then place in the freezer. I can then pull it out first thing in the morning to start the slow cooker for the day. The liner helps me to have less clean up after dinner.
There are lots of resources for slow cooker meals, but you need to have some sort of plan to make it happen. I tend to use my slow cooker a couple of times a week to save me time. There are several go to’s for me when I am choosing my slow cooker meals. Pinterest has a bazillion to choose from. These are ones I have used and still use from time to time. Some of these have printable recipes, but also shopping lists. They tell you how to get started.
See if any of these might work to make dinnertime easier for you. Here is a planner to get you started so you can plan your meals for the week.
Let me know what you choose to have for dinner. I would love to know how you made dinner go easier.