5 Dinner Time Savers

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One of the ways that I’m trying to become a Mom You Can Count On is to manage my time a little better. If I don’t make a list each morning of what I need to do, I am like a sailor out at sea without a compass. And if I don’t stay on my toes throughout the day, I find myself floundering. And then I find that it’s dinnertime and though I had a plan, the minutes got away from me.

One of the things that helps me immensely is to make dinner in the morning. It may not take less time to make it in the morning, but pre-planning and preparation can really help relieve stress that arises later in the day. Especially when the kids are barking at your heals for supper to be done.

And speaking of kids, if you do some dinner work in the morning when things are calm, it will be all that much easier to include them in the activity.

Here are some quick ways to make dinnertime prep smoother sailing:

** Brown taco meat ahead of time and reheat at dinnertime OR pop it into the crockpot to cook all day.

** Mix and shape meatloaf or shape hamburgers to be cooked later.

** Assemble lasagnas and casseroles in the morning. This will actually make the taste better as the flavors will have time to blend.

** Season roasts or chickens ahead of time and get them ready to pop into the oven later.

** Chop all your ingredients to be assembled into dinner later in the day. Mise en place is a cooking term to describe “proper planning of equipment and ingredients for a food preparation and assembly station.” Having everything ready greatly speeds up your cooktime.

What pre-planning / pre-cooking do you do to lighten your load at dinnertime?

Related: Visit Tammy’s Recipes for all sorts of Kitchen Tips each Tuesday.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. I try and do things while my daughter is napping in the afternoon. It is some alone time with my son and we work on assembling the dinner together. I tuck everything in the fridge and when my husband walks in from work, I put in the oven for our dinner. Much easier than trying to cook right before he gets home. We also rely on the slow cooker & the bread machine a lot in our house 🙂

  2. FishMama says

    Amy, isn’t that such a peaceful moment, pulling something from the frig? I can’t always pull it off, but when I do, I feel so great!

  3. What's Cooking says

    I like to make my salad in the morning because by dinner time I usually decide to forgo the salad because of the time it takes to get it made.

    I too do many of the other things you listed, sometimes even starting a few days ahead with things that I can freeze.

  4. JessieLeigh says

    I love to do prep in the morning… I’m very much a morning person, so it works for me to mix up doughs, chop meats and veggies, and whip up sauces or marinades while my the little ones eat their breakfast.

    Since I’m not nearly as ambitious or energetic by late afternoon or evening, it’s a blessing to have those things done and waiting for me!

  5. browning several lbs of ground beef goes quicker b/c the pan is already hot.

    then just pop the extra in the fridge or freezer for later use 🙂

  6. CountryMama@The Cozy Country Home says

    I brown my ground beef earlier in the day, too, as well as poach/boil my chicken if I’m needing cooked chicken that night. One thing I’ll say that I’m NOT good at is always remembering to take out something to defrost…I am devoid of that a lot!! That’s when “plan B” comes in handy…(didn’t we just have a post about that plan B??!!)

  7. I used to do all the prep in the a.m. I have gotten out of the habit, but just yesterday I revamped our schedules and routines, hoping to do this again! It really does make the “fussy” hour before dinner so much smoother!

  8. FishMama says

    What’s Cooking, excellent idea with the salad prep. I LOVE salads, but get so lazy to make them.

    JL, I’m a morning person as well. It seems as soon as the sun begins to set, so does my energy.

    Brooke, pre-cooked meats are such a good idea!

    CM, I’m with you on the defrosting. Sometimes I get to Plan F!

    Mrs S, hope your routines get back in line as you hope!

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