Family time is important but between busy work schedules, extracurricular activities and entertainment distractions, it’s tough to get the entire crew to the dinner table. If you plan ahead, there’s no reason everyone can’t come together for mealtime.
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Make friends with your slow cooker
Once shunned as an old-fashioned cooking tool, the slow cooker has made a serious comeback. And it’s no surprise. Slow cooking, despite its name, is almost too easy (but we’re not complaining). There are thousands of recipes online, and many of them require fewer than 10 ingredients. Plan ahead by prepping the night before, and refrigerate the pot until morning. As you make your morning cup of joe, pop the pot back in, set the temperature to high and let your recipe simmer while you’re at work, and you’ll come home to a delicious meal. Still not sure what to make? Peruse our slow cooker recipes for a little inspiration.
Freeze your meals
Spend a free day (when you can find one) prepping dinners in advance, to make mealtime easier through the week. Prep pasta sauce with meatballs, roast-ready potatoes, simple pastas and more by making them as normal and storing them in freezer-safe bags. On those days when everyone has someplace to be, all you’ll have to do is heat up the meal. Future-you will be thankful. Get started with some of our favorite freezer meals.
Keep it simple
Your family doesn’t expect a fancy four-course meal at every meal. On those nights when you just don’t have time to make a big fancy meal, go low-key instead of scrapping the family dinner altogether. There’s nothing wrong with serving hot sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas or something else you can throw together in a pinch. We’ve got a huge collection of quick and easy meals to help you out.
Two sets of hands are better than one, and four sets are even better. Have your honey at your side chopping while you do the cooking, and let the kiddos set the table and wash the dishes. Prep time will be cut in half and you can all be proud of a dinner made together. Plus it’s extra bonding time free from distractions.
Make a date
You can encourage your kids to join you for dinner until you’re blue in the face, but that won’t always be enough to fill the chairs at your dinner table. Sometimes, a mama just has to put her foot down. Pick a night of the week, and make that family meal night, no matter what. Make it a rule that any plans must be made around that set-in-stone gathering — no exceptions.