Episode 145 How to Find Time to Fix Dinner
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One of the biggest challenges most families face with getting dinner on the table is time. In my years of working with families I have found that dinner success has so much to do with time management.
In this episode I take a deep dive into time. To get dinner on the table you have to plan, prep, physically cook, and then clean up. We are going to break down some of these steps to help you find the time to get dinner on the table.
Step 1 is to look at the the actual “cooking” time a meal takes.
This is the time you are adding heat. It could be on the stove, in the oven, on the grill, in the slow cooker, or in the Instant Pot. The different methods of cooking take different amounts of your attention. A 4 hour slow cooker meal does not need as much attention as a 15 minute stir fry, but it does take more time.
Step 2 How much prep time does a meal take?
Some dinners take next to no prep (think opening a bag of chicken nuggets and putting a bag of veggies in microwave.) Other meals take days of prep. My roast chicken needs to sit in the refrigerator with salt at least overnight, but only takes a moment to put in the oven the next day.
Cooking on TV has taught me to break down every tiny step of prep. I don’t use 5 clear bowls on a Tuesday night like I do on TV.
Step 3 Identify where you can break down steps in a recipe.
When I talked with Emily in Episode 141 she asked about blanching veggies early in the day to roast them at dinner time. She separated the steps of blanching and roasting. Where can you separate out steps to work ahead?
You can even outsource some of the prep to the grocery store by buying pre-chopped veggies or getting the butcher to cut your meat into 1 inch pieces. Buy chicken tenders instead of breasts for grilling.
Step 4 Find pockets of time to prep.
A few times to consider:
- When you are cleaning up dinner. This is when I like to prep.
- In the morning before or after breakfast
- If you are home during the day do tiny bits of prep like Kendra Adachi recommends.
You could even make your own meal kits by putting all the ingredients for a specific meal in a bin in your refrigerator when you unload your groceries.
Links from this episode:
Episode 12 with the blue bin for lunches
Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.