Best Dinner Meals
Easy Weeknight Dinners
Weeknights for most families are busy! Working a full-time job and having a husband who works night shifts makes planning the meals we have together important. Anything that will make my life a little easier is definitely worth sharing, so I thought I would share this with you.
Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas
These ideas are great for the family-on-the-go or the mom that is worn out and doesn’t want to play short order cook. We’ve all done it. We’ve pulled into that drive-thru lane because we were too tired to cook. Though we know fast food isn’t healthy, the ease of not having to plan (and cook) dinner is tempting. We frown as our kids insist on French fries instead of grilled veggies or whatever we could have whipped at home. Sometimes it is just easier to grit our teeth and hand over the debit card.
But weeknight dinners do not have to be such a nutritional wasteland. With a little planning, restraint, and determination, you can cruise through weeknight dinners easily. Your wallet will thank you!
Check out these Best Dinner Meals for the family
Freezer cooking (or once a month cooking)
This is a popular way to take advantage of down times to prepare for the busy weeknights. It takes some planning and stamina but it is worth it in the long run. This method is simple enough to understand, set a day of the week (usually a Saturday or Sunday) and plan 30 days worth of meals, and then cook and freeze them. Casserole dishes are the most popular dish to cook using this method, but really, anything is fair game. You will be thankful for the work you put in for that one day during your busy work and school week. Ultimately, the extent of your prep work will be to decide which bag or container to get out of the freezer for the next day.
Session cooking is similar to freezer cooking, just not all at once. It will definitely help you save some money! If you see ground beef on sale (or any other meat), you can buy 10 pounds of it and prep it all in an evening. Try putting together some patties for burgers, preparing some meatballs, and making a few meatloaves! You can also cook several pounds of ground beef and store it in freezer bags for quick meals like tacos, nachos, or Sloppy Joes.
Scheduled Meals are a slightly different approach. You will still cook every night using this method but you will cook the same meal every weeknight. Think about planning Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, etc. so you can move through the week on autopilot. If you have picky eaters in the family, sit down as a family and decide what everyone will agree to eat. This will take the guesswork out out of what to eat during the week.
Tag Team Cooking
Tag Team Cooking involves your spouse (or an older child) cooking on designated nights. For example, if you know you are going to be swamped on Wednesdays with late work meetings or sports practice, let your partner cook that night. Knowing that you have a night or two off is enough to get you through the week without running to the drive-thru.
Planned Pizza (or in our house Planned Pasta) is a way of saying that you plan nights out each month. Eating out sometimes isn’t always a bad idea. It gives you, your stove, and your dishwasher the night off. Another benefit of planning a specific night to each out is being able to pick a night when kids eat free or pizza (or pasta) is half off. Eating out gives everyone in the family something to look forward to! Check out ways to save money eating out.
Planning Easy Weeknight Dinner recipes not only saves you some stress, it can also save you some money!
An added benefit to the ideas above is that they all can help save you some money! Buying in bulk and planning your menu will help you save money and time at the grocery store. Avoiding weekly fast food runs can trim some of the fat from your food budget (and your waistline!).
Looking for some great Best Dinner Meals to plan? Check out these ideas: