For the Love Of Food: 1 Chicken, 3 Easy Meals

#MomsSaveTimeCooking #KidAndGrownUpFriendlyFood #HealthyFamilyMeals

It took a while (ok years) to adjust from cooking, as a hobby (making battenburg cake, homemade cheese with my husband, perfecting my croissant dough) to cooking for sustenance (read speedier-to-cook-meals-the-whole-family-can-eat.)

Once I fully embraced this new normal, I started seeking opportunities to make it more enjoyable, delicious, mostly nutritious and yes, time-efficient.

Early on, I wrote a post about how I handle weekly meal planning because the ‘how do you cook everyday’ question is one I’m asked often.

I’d like to share one of my menu all-stars, the humble chicken. I know, I know…it’s not fancy Continue reading “For the Love Of Food: 1 Chicken, 3 Easy Meals”

My Family Dinners The Week of July 1st

#MomsFoodHacks #MomsSavingTime #MomsDoingDinnerFaster

For the holiday, I decided to do classic ‘Americana-4th-of-July-week’ kind of food which brought me to burgers… and also barbecued ribs.  We had an amazing string of sunny warm days and there’s now been enough ‘summer’ to practically forget about that drawn out, closed-toed-shoes+coats weather that defines much of the Northeastern year.

Ok… let’s not think about that too long.  I’m fully feeling summer. Let’s forget about the other seasons!

I’ve been shifting to stovetop and the slow cooker when possible (except for baking) in lieu of the oven and am preparing simpler, faster meals….even on the weekends. After all, when given the gift of sun shining until after dinner time, who wants to be confined by four walls?   Continue reading “My Family Dinners The Week of July 1st”

All of the MHN Recipes In One List

Hello foodies! Although the main point of sharing my weekly dinner menus is to show how you can cook one dinner that satisfies everyone in the family (yes even the picky ones), every night and save considerable time following a ‘system’ — where all of the dishes and leftovers work together for the week. I keep getting requests for an easy way to ‘browse’ all of the recipes.

Here it is! I’ll update this page as I add my family’s latest meals, typically before I post the full menus: Continue reading “All of the MHN Recipes In One List”

My Family Dinner Menus – Week beginning April 15, 2017

#MomsDinnerHacks #MomsSavingTime #LessDishesForMommy #KidFriendlyFood

You’ve come to expect relatively easy, fast, budget and kid-friendly dinner menus from me.  However, this week’s menu isn’t quite that.   It took on a life of it’s own due to the Easter holiday and Shad Roe season.

Typically, even on the weekends I cook main dishes that are pretty healthy, wallet and kid-palate friendly (i.e. Chicken and Pork versus Lamb and Shad Roe).  Still, despite the switch up from our normal routine, I managed to make one meal for the family each night!

If you haven’t read my previous posts about the whole system, here’s a quick review of where the time savings comes in:

  • Basic, flexible formula for a healthy meal each night.
  • A set of quick turnaround ‘go-to’ proteins, grains and veggies that work during the week (30 minutes or less).
  • Always have a set of plan B staples in the pantry and freezer.
  • Smart use of leftovers and weekend meals that feed my family at least twice.

Although this menu requires more effort, my family enjoyed the special holiday meals and my children especially loved the addition of cake to our weekend line up.

If you try any of these recipes or the whole menu, please leave a comment and let me know!

Normally, I start off the weekends with a 2X (feeds the family twice meal) however, my husband had a schedule change and the Shad Roe I bought to surprise him with on Friday night had to wait until Saturday.

Shad Roe has a very short season (a few weeks each year) and is a very strange looking yet delicious delicacy. So, I kicked off the weekend with Shad Roe grain bowls for the grown ups and a ‘deconstructed’ vegetarian grain bowl for the kids. Continue reading “My Family Dinner Menus – Week beginning April 15, 2017”

Dinner Blueprint – My Family’s Dinners The Week Starting April 8th

#MomsDinnerHacks #MomsSavingTime #LessDishesForMommy #KidFriendlyFood

Let’s save time making dinner for the family! Let’s reduce the number of dishes, avoid the ‘short-order-cookism’ of serving each person their own special meal that meets their every whim and desire… basically let’s make this communal, perhaps fun (okay depending on the age of your kids), nourishing family time without all of the complexity of making dish-intensive, complicated menus or worse, planning ‘dinner’ on the fly each night.

To quickly recap — I save considerable time, at least 1 to 2 hours (of prep, clean up, shopping and mental energy) each week by:

  • Repeating a basic ‘formula’ of how dinner works (protein + grain + 2 or 3 vegetables)
  • Choosing meals that are very quick to prepare (i.e. less than 30 minutes) during the working week (see previous post with my go-to list of weeknight vs. weekend grains, vegetables and protein choices).
  • Cooking at least 2 meals a week that feed my family two times (2X meals)
  • Making one dinner that works for everybody, with some minor variations to make the ‘grown up’ servings more interesting and the kids’ versions more ‘kid-friendly’ (i.e. nothing touches each other, no spicy sauces, de-saucing items cooked in sauce altogether, etc.)

I’m also a dish minimalist. I go to extraordinary lengths to reduce the amount of pots, pans, cutting boards, etc. required for each meal. I enjoy the cooking part and want to reduce the dish washing and clean up (the joyless) part. Most of my meals and menus are designed with this in mind.

Here’s what we had for dinner, starting April 9th. Continue reading “Dinner Blueprint – My Family’s Dinners The Week Starting April 8th”

Dinner Blueprint – My Family Dinner Menus The Week of April 1st

#MomsDinnerHacks #MomsSavingTime #KidFriendlyFood

I shared my ‘weekly dinner blueprint’, explaining the ‘daily dinner hack’ I’ve used for over a year to save at least one or two hours of time each week cooking family dinners and I’ve received several requests for more sample menus and recipes.

I’m delighted to share more, because after all, food is my favorite hobby!

The menu below is what I’ve been cooking this week. Once you learn the basics of the plan—what to keep in your pantry and freezer, what sized meals to make on the weekend vs. weeknights, you’ll find it surprisingly easy to ‘cook this way’ instinctively. I’ve documented my steps, but now I rarely cook with recipes, unless I’m experimenting with something new.

Most of the recipes are my personal recipes, however, there are a couple of dishes where I’ve linked to excellent recipes online from sources I trust that mirror the cooking processes I follow.

I like to ‘start’ the week of meals on a Saturday when I have more time to cook a ‘2X – feed my family twice’ meal and also grocery shop if I haven’t had time during the week (which happens often).

What we’re eating for dinner this week: Continue reading “Dinner Blueprint – My Family Dinner Menus The Week of April 1st”

My Daily Family Dinner Hack – How Moving to ‘A Dinner Blueprint’ To Satisfy My Children (and Schedule) Has Saved Me Time & Sanity

#MomsFoodHacks #MomsDinnerHacks #MomsSavingTime

How much time does it take you each week to put dinner on the table for your family? I mean the whole process — from thinking about what to cook, to choosing recipes, to visiting the virtual or real grocery store, making kid-friendly adjustments to said recipes, actually cooking and then the (never-ending) dishes that result. What about dealing with toddler and young child preferences?

Yes…family meals are kind of a part-time job. However, there are some workarounds.

There are not many subjects I give unsolicited advice in, but food – including hacks to make cooking homemade meals daily for a family work – for this, I’m you’re girl! I’ve been the unofficial menu, cooking and all-things-food advisor to family and friends for decades now.  My system saves me at least 1 to 2 hours per week.

So, before I explain my system for dinners I want to caveat a few things. Continue reading “My Daily Family Dinner Hack – How Moving to ‘A Dinner Blueprint’ To Satisfy My Children (and Schedule) Has Saved Me Time & Sanity”

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