Trying to balance our new normal right now can be exhausting. Being an employee, a parent and a teacher all at the same time can really take its toll on you and your family. One thing that has been helpful in our home has been giving everyone the opportunity of planning, cooking and cleaning up after dinner one night a week during the work/school week. This has really helped take the stress off of me as a mom; trying to prep, execute and clean up after dinner all while working a full time job. In my family there are four people: My husband and I as well as our 13 and 11 year old children. In our household, everyone is old enough to plan and execute a meal with minimal assistance. If your children are not, try to include them in the meal planning and preparation by washing produce, stirring ingredients and assembling the cooked meal. They can also help with setting and clearing the table as well. By doing this, you are paving the way for healthy eating and helping habits in the future.
I have requested that my family have their menu ideas presented to me by Sunday morning. This allows me time to survey what we currently have, what I need to buy and talk them through the safe and proper execution of their plan. I usually take a trip to the grocery store Sunday afternoon to get whatever is needed. Everyone chooses which night that week they will be cooking. We started week 1 with a favorite meal ideas and this week it was their favorite restaurant copycat recipe.
Some examples of meals we have had have been:
• Pizza Stuffed Pasta Shells
• Steak and Chicken Fajitas with Spanish Rice
• Chicago-Style Hot Dogs with Homemade Mac and Cheese
Our favorite meal hands down was created by my 11 year old daughter. She prepared “made to order” loaded chicken breast sandwiches with waffle fries, homemade dipping sauce and a vanilla shake for dessert.
Empowering others in my home to do this has created such a sense of independence as well as teaching life lessons on cooking and cleaning up. Not only does this help Mom and Dad out tremendously, it also gives the kids something to look forward to during the week. Take this time to educate your children on where their meals come from and how the meal is created. So many memories can made in the kitchen so enjoy this precious time. Don’t let it go to waste! Happy cooking!