If your family is anything like mine, the after-school hours from 4 to 7 are definitely chaotic. If I'm not chauffeuring my four children to sports practices or some other type of activity, I'm trying to oversee homework and reading bags and marking off folders and signing initials on permission slips, all while somehow getting dinner on the table. Sound familiar?
This is why I thought I'd share some of my tips and tricks on how I make time in my day for embracing the little moments and savoring my family. When I am home with my children, I don't want to be stressed out making dinner while balancing the homework situation (and with three of my little ones in elementary school, the parental assistance is very much needed!). What I need in my life right now are easy meals that save me time in the kitchen and allow me more time with my kids.
The number one way I stress less is by planning ahead and making many, many, many dinners in a slow cooker. Seriously, it's what I believe to be one of the best inventions of my lifetime. I usually drop everything in before I leave the house in the morning, turn it on, and by the time the kids are home, dinner is ready! A huge plus is the minute they walk in the door, they can smell a yummy dinner. Here's a list of my favorite easy-to-make slow cooker meals.
But that's just the start of the timesavers...
Another idea for those days where you never quite got the slow cooker cleaned the night before is the one-pot meal. Yep, yep, you heard it right. All you need to make dinner is… ONE pot!!! Typically, like slow-cooker recipes, all ingredients go into the pot, then you place the lid on and cook on your stovetop!
Check out some delicious one-pot meal ideas.
One novel timesaving tip for dinners some nights are to make little appetizer bites like the Bento lunches I do for my kids for school. Every once in a while, a light and simple dinner works so well for us. These don't take much time, as each person gets just a small serving of many different foods, and usually no cooking is involved at all!
Check out some of my favorites bento ideas.
And the final tip that always affords me more time to savor my family is choosing frozen meals, like Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pies. Every now and then, I like to buy these delicious, quick and easy meals. Dinner is done in a flash — and there are no dishes to clean up afterward. Chock-full of veggies and protein, they're like a home-cooked meal without all the work.
I hope you find these mealtime tips and tricks valuable. I love that they allow me to spend more hours with my children instead of cooking and cleaning loads of dishes!
This post is part of a sponsored collaboration between Marie Callender's and SheKnows.
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