Today’s Memo:  Let’s Cook!

I love to cook, but sometimes the convenience of eating out is all too tempting.  My husband and I both work full time and often by the time we pick up the kids from daycare, the thought of cooking is less than appealing.  Most days of the week, though, we do cook and eat at home – about 5-6 nights a week.  I know that sounds unheard of to many of you, but yes, we typically only eat out once or twice a week.  As a family of 4, eating out typically costs anywhere from $30-$50 per outing.  So, by eating in just one more night a week, it’s about of savings of over $1500 and beyond per year!  

 Here are some of my tips for getting dinner on the table most nights of the week:

  •  Prep

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a huge fan of meal prep, in the sense of making everything on Sunday and eating leftovers throughout the week.  1)  I’m not a huge fan of leftovers, and 2) spending an entire Saturday or Sunday cooking just isn’t realistic for my family.  I know I personally laughed a little too hard, when this was floating around:  

meal prep

If prepping meals on weekend is more realistic for your family though, by all means set aside Sunday and cook away!  Personally, except for an occasional sauce, I like to only prep ingredients.  For example, I tend to freeze all my meats, so on Sunday, I’ll start to defrost enough to get me through the week.  Or I’ll cut up some vegetables so that they are ready for grilling or roasting.  I like to have a generic meal plan in mind for the week so I know what to pull out.  If you are a diligent planner, you may want to check this out.

 

  • Shop

Not to be Captain Obvious, but if you don’t have it, you aren’t going to eat it.  Try to get to the grocery store at least weekly.  It ensures that your fridge is stocked up with fresh fruits and veggies, etc. to get you through the week ahead.  This makes it less tempting to just call and order a pizza when you have nothing else to eat.  And remember, still have a general meal plan in mind when you shop, so you can buy what you need for the dinners ahead. 

 

  • Take Baby Steps

I always say that eating out can be addictive.  If I eat out once, it’s easy for me to fall into a pattern of wanting to continue.  If you eat out the majority of the time, it’s likely a habit that you won’t stop immediately…after all Rome wasn’t built in a day!  To try to eat in more often, I suggest gradually scaling back by attempting to eat in just 1 more meal per week.  After a few weeks, reevaluate and you may find that you can easily add a second meal in. 

 

  • Be Realistic.

Thanks to the magic of social media, we’ve all seen those plated dinners that some people manage to put on the table, but let’s face it, no one is eating a plated gourmet meal every night.  Keep in mind that it’s ok to take some shortcuts (think rotisserie chicken, precut and washed fresh vegetables, simmering sauces, etc).  I usually have a plan to make about 3 “from scratch” meals per week, but then also have a few semi-homemade nights where I can throw some rotisserie chicken, cheese, and nuts over a bed of bagged lettuce to have a nice salad on the dinner table in about 5 minutes.

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