February 16, 2021

You know the drill.  You’re tired, you look up at the clock, it’s almost 4:00!  You’ve inching closer to bed time, but that pesky old question arises: what’s for dinner?!?  After nearly a year of pandemic living, on top of already cooking for a Toddler, we’re  out of clever meal ideas.  We wish we were one of those people that meal prepped and planned every Sunday night, but alas, we’re not.  Dinner time can still be a pretty big struggle for us, but here’s a few things that make it a little bit easier.  We first need to put out a major disclaimer: we are not nutritionists.  If you knew us in person, that would almost be laughable.  Taco Bell was a major food staple for a good portion of our lives.  We’re simply moms, trying to feed our babies, during a very unpredictable time.

Close your eyes.  Imagine you’re back at your childhood home.  It’s 6:15, your mom has dinner on the table and it’s not just dinner, it’s a full blown meal.  Heck, she even has dessert!  Did you envision yourself having family dinners like this with your family now?  We certainly did, but unfortunately for all parties involved, that hasn’t  been the case.  Maybe that’s a skill you build up over time, but for now, we can’t wrap our heads around how our mom did that 7 nights a week.  Not to mention, how did she always have the ingredients on hand?!  Even to this day, our parent’s pantry is significantly stocked better than ours.

At this point in time, we’ve accepted we’re not going to be the 6:15-Dinner-Mom.  However, we did pick up a few tips and tricks that can even apply to the OMG-WTF-Are-We-Having-For-Dinner-Mom.  First, our mom always kept a sheet of paper taped to the inside of the cabinet with dinner ideas.  We could probably be a little more tech savvy and keep it on our phones now, but there’s something about it being right in the kitchen that helps.  Next, we follow her basic rule of always serving a protein, a carb and a vegetable.  Is our vegetable going to be fresh or is it going to come from a microwavable bag?  It all depends on our level of tiredness that day, but hey, it’s a vegetable.  Lastly, our mom made it very clear she was not a short order cook.  While there might have been a few substitutions allowed, we all ate the same meal.  We follow this direction with our Toddler now, and even loosely followed it when he was just discovering food outside of milk.  It doesn’t work all the time, but it generally makes our life easier.

Family meals are supposed to be enjoyable, so try not to stress, and instead, enjoy them.  Here are a few of our favorite, pathetically easy, dinners:

  • Trader Joe's Vegetable and Soba Noodle Stir Fry Kit with added ground turkey or beef for protein.
  • Spaghetti!  We use ground beef or turkey and canned pasta sauce.  We like to add peas for our veggie, and use a wider noodle (like rigatoni) for easy grabbing.
  • Burgers with sweet potato fries.  One could argue fries aren’t a vegetable, but we’ll let you be the judge.

Happy Cooking!

Anne A
Anne A