By Blake Eligh
Last week, I put out the call for weeknight meal help, and received loads of responses here on the blog, via email, and on Canadian Family’s Facebook page (go on, “like” us! We’re fun!). There were oodles of great suggestions that I’ll be putting to the test this week.
Here’s what you had to say:
Have a plan. With a running weekly or monthly list, I’m told that all my dinner dilemmas will disappear, and help cut down on wasted food to boot. This DIY plan from Happy Canadian Home suits me at all levels—it requires both recipes and office supplies, and clearly explains how to plan and organize a month’s worth of meals. The system makes it simple to create a weekly grocery list, and keeps all recipes in one binder so co-cooks can follow along.
Go big (batch). I listened to the many voices of reason and tackled some big-batch cooking over the weekend. I made Ina Garten’s White Tuscan Beans, and French Lentils from her most recent cookbook, How Easy Is That? (Turns out, pretty easy.) We also had mac ‘n’ cheese (similar to this one) with chunks of carrot and leftover ham—I made one for the freezer and one for this week’s dinner. Next week, I plan to try a couple of recipes from Canadian Family’s own Best Big Batch Meals collection and this 20-minute meatless Skillet Shepherd’s Pie with a hash brown crust.
Go slow. Wow, do you guys love your slow cookers! I’m coming home to this slow-cooked Turkey and Cranberry Pot Pie tonight. With a little prep, I think I can work a slow-cooked meal into our plan at least once a week, with a portion to go straight to the freezer. (Big batch—see? I’m learning already.)
Take it easy. Many readers advised take-out and store-bought freezer meals to take the pressure off, especially on hectic nights. I’m looking forward to testing out this list from our craft columnist Andrea Tomkins (@missfish), who has a million and 10 Things To Do with a Roast Chicken from the grocery store.
Get some help. Apparently, it’s not so hard to find good help these days. Many of you split dinner duties with your partners and kids, who are dab hands at kitchen prep, cooking and clean-up. And while I loved reader Natasha’s advice to tackle dinner when kids are napping, it would be even better if someone else tackled dinner while I nap, no?
Thanks bunches for your advice. Keep it coming, and I’ll let you know how we’re doing.