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”

Dinner Blueprint: My Family’s Menus Week of September 16th

#MomsDinnerHacks #MomsSavingTime #LessDishesForMommy #KidFriendlyFood #OneMealForTheWholeFamily

Every year it’s a big emotional shift to move into fall…. this is not because I don’t like fall, I do…I just don’t like what comes after fall.  I’m that person who is always cold, shivering all year round, hovering under heavy sweaters at the office and still wearing my down coat well into May.  After a long impatient wait, when the average temperature is somewhere north of 80 degrees Fareneheit I’m completely in my element.

There are, however, two things about fall I really look forward to 1. fall cooking and 2. fall baking.

I’m just getting geared up for it all now.   Continue reading “Dinner Blueprint: My Family’s Menus Week of September 16th”

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’s Menus The Week Starting April 22nd

#MomsDinnerHacks #MomsSavingTime #LessDishesForMommy #KidFriendlyFood

I’ve asked friends, Mom’s at work and even moms at the playground…right now it’s an even split between ‘loved it’ and ‘so happy it’s over’.

How about you?  Did you enjoy the recent holiday? I’m so curious about this… my newest survey is all about holidays and stress… please take it if you’re inclined to weigh in.  Stay tuned for the results…in about 2 weeks.

I was (still) recovering from all of the extra baking and holiday activity last week and craved quick, simple everything.  A little bit of spring is making it’s way into the mix…a sugar snap pea here, a roasted beet there… more spring food soon as the weather improves!

A quick reminder about the rules of saving time with the dinner blueprint system:

  • Make bigger meals (that serve your family at least 2 times on the weekends)
  • Creatively ‘dress up’ leftovers so they don’t feel like leftovers
  • Weeknights, make quick dishes that cook in 30 minutes or less
  • Use as few dishes as possible (always)
  • One cutting board, one knife — limit heavy duty chopping projects during the week
  • Weeknights, use ideally one, at the very most two, pots or pans

Continue reading “My family’s Menus The Week Starting April 22nd”

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”

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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