Devising a Dinner Plan for Busy Weeknights—Share Your Tips!

Working parents, I need your advice.

After five years of looking after little kids and writing from home, I’m back in an office with a daily commute. I love my new spot here at CF.ca, but I’m a little wobbly with our new routine.

During the first week back, there were slow cooker and freezer meals ready to go. Things went so smoothly, I even had the table set for dinner before we headed out in the morning.

Week two brought a dose of reality—there were forgotten wallets, misplaced knapsacks, and two minimalist school snacks because groceries were getting low.

My husband has a few signature dishes, but I’ve always been the main cook. Until now, I’ve had the luxury of last-minute shopping, so meal planning was never an issue. But now, I’m getting home as dinner hits the table. Yesterday, I prepped Skillet Chicken Pot Pie Crisp, but unless I want meatloaf every other night, we need a long-range plan.

So I’m asking: what are your tips and tricks for feeding your family on weeknights?

Help a working mum out? I’ll share your advice in an upcoming post!

2 responses to “Devising a Dinner Plan for Busy Weeknights—Share Your Tips!”

  1. My husband is an absolute master at making sure that each and every evening we are well fed. He does all the cooking in our house. The trick is not so much in what you will do on any one night, the real art is in planning for the whole week. Friday evening he asks each of us what we would like for meals in the coming week and makes out a master list. He makes his grocery list from that. And he shops on the weekend for the entire week. If he can’t accommodate someone’s request one week, he will hold it over for the next. And he mixes up the meals. Some take more work and some are quick. If something unexpected comes up one evening, he will use the quick meal on that evening and save the ones that are a little more work for another night. When he is buying groceries on the weekend, he will also do some prep work such as buying a large quantity of say, hamburger, then breaking it into meal-sized portions and freezing them. Or he’ll cook a turkey and make soup stock to freeze and use later. Or make a tonne of wontons which we will have in soup on the weekend and he will freeze the rest for another cold day.

  2. Christine says:

    Because of our work schedules, I do the cooking Monday to Friday, and my husband cooks on the weekends. Because I want the family eating healthy, I also make a meal list for the week. It’s initially time consuming, but the grocery list is based on that so the ingredients are there, and thawed, instead of trying to figure things out at the last minute. For those really hectic days, this allows me to plan for leftover nights as well by doubling one or more of the recipes. I, too, have a regular shopping day to help me stay organized. Lastly, I find the slow cooker, make-ahead, and 30-minute meal cookbooks help to have a variety of foods that are ready to go when I am.

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