Meal Planning

By Contributor Brittany Hamilton 

After being back to work for over six months now, the biggest part of my day that I find is left struggling, is meal time. You know, that dreaded moment when you walk in the door and everyone is starving and nothing is ready to eat. I’ll admit, even what I was at home during the day, there was times I wasn’t organized until ten minutes prior to the kids bouncing through the door. But being at home gave me the chance to pull something out of the freezer part way through the day, or at least get a thought of supper started prior to everyone stating their starving. Now that I’m at work timing is a bit different. My husband is getting through the door only a few minutes before I am and he is coming in with hands full with children. He is more than willing to help out but it needs to be planned out. By the time he gets everyone in the house (and lets the dog out) he’s only got a few minutes before I’m home.

This has made me come to the realization, we need a plan. I don’t mind putting in some extra time on the weekend if it means less stress throughout the week. This would not only help my sanity but also my bank account. Way too often does take-out become the nightly menu when evenings are busy and meals aren’t ready. With this I have decided to start batch cooking, or as some may call it, freezer cooking! In some situations I’ll be able to make extras of one meal. Instead of only making one casserole I will make 2 or 3 of the same one so that I can freeze the extras. For a lot of our recipes, the preparation time it takes to make one does not increase a lot to make a couple extra. Other times I will watch for what is on sale and use sale items to make freezer packs. For example, think of how many things you use hamburger in. So when hamburger is on sale, why not pick up a few family packs and prepare it so that it’s ready when you need it?

Currently I’m in the beginning stages. I’ve grabbed my favourite recipe books. I’m going to look at what our family favourites are and see what else is that that interests us.  I normally check flyers before shopping so that will continue but I’m now prepared to do more all at once. Ideally I’d love to do one big day a month of meal preparing. At that point my freezer would be full and meals would only require being put into the slow cooker in the morning or having my husband pop them into the oven when he gets home! I have made it a goal to get 40 different meal ideas that I can rotate through. I have about 5 sitting in my mind but I’m sure it won’t take long to get some family favourites out of the books. I’ll also check in with the kids to see what they think would be good as they always seem to remember something I forget!

In the months to come I intend to share with you my journey of saving mealtime as well as sharing the recipes that work for us!

Brittany is a working mom with five children in the home.  Her family is her passion and writing is her chance to unwind. You can check out her own blog where she writes about the ins and outs of a large blended family!