Another busy Wednesday evening is ahead and it's already 5:15pm. Jack needs to leave for soccer practice by 6:30, and Missy needs dropped off at gymnastics at 7:00. You just got home, dad is on his way and everyone is STARVING! Time is short, demands are high. Pizza is an easy option, but you had that two times in the last week. Besides, you prefer to provide healthier options for your family.
Family schedules are undeniably busy these days. Major Mom has a few simple tips on how to keep your kitchen in order and plan your weekly menu so you can provide quickly-prepared, yet healthy meals for your family.
- Keep your kitchen in order! Have each family member help with kitchen tasks (set the table, gather menu ingredients, clean up the countertops) to keep the space clean and functional. When you love your kitchen, you're more likely to spend time there preparing and cooking meals.
- Create zones in your kitchen. Have all tools for food prep in one area of the kitchen. Store cooking utensils & spices near the oven in the 'cooking zone.' Keep baking items all in one spot. This eliminates the time wasted from going back and forth to gather ingredients and tools.
- Have a menu. Creating weekly and/or monthly menus will not only save you time in the kitchen, but help you avoid the impulse buying that often occurs when going to the grocery store without a plan. Don't like planning menus? Try assigning a different type of food to each night of the week (i.e. Monday= pasta, Tuesday= chicken, Wednesday= soup & salad, Thursday= ethnic foods, Friday= order in or take out, Saturday= American food, Sunday =fish)
- Make meals ahead of time. Schedule an afternoon when you gather your family or a few friends to make meals together. This makes cooking fun! Stock up on items that can be cooked in crockpot. and prepare meals that can be placed in the oven when the first person gets home. Tape cooking instructions on the dish cover.
For a quick protein packed breakfast your teens can scramble eggs in the microwave! Just crack the eggs into a small bowl, whip, add salt & pepper to taste, sprinkle with cheese and pop in microwave for one minute. Enjoy!
When organizing your pantry keep in mind the ages of everyone in the home who uses the space. Snacks and cereals can be stored on lower shelves for young children. Canned goods can be stored higher so young children do not knock them over and smash their little toes.