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Make It Simple Mommy

Tag: #meatlessmonday (page 1 of 2)

Make It Simple Mommy: 6 Tips to Revolutionize Your Family Dinner

Isn’t it funny how a perfectly delightful day can turn into sheer chaos resulting in tears and frustration between the hours of 4 – 6:30? I was well aware of “the witching hour” from our baby days, and it appears that this will continue for the foreseeable future. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have started to make dinner and instead thrown my hands up into the air and ordered takeout. This is frustrating for two reasons: first, we have unnecessarily spent on two dinners, and second, I always end up consuming many more calories with takeout food than I would have if I cooked at home. I don’t know how things work around your house, but around here all too often dinner time meltdowns turn into bedtime meltdowns resulting in an overall unhappy ending to the day.

Easy dinner! Quesadillas with lettuce, salsa, guacamole, and black olives on the side.

I have started using these 6 easy steps to simplify dinner, and (as long as I stick to them) our meal times are down right enjoyable, pleasant, and we even talk about all the stuff and ask all the questions parents are supposed to ask at the dinner table!

 

Six Ways To Simplify Your Dinners

1. Meal Plan – This can be done 1 of 2 ways: plan your meals then shop or shop and plan meals based on what you bought. 10 -15 minutes of planning can save you from hours of frustration.

2. Keep your meals simple with as few steps as possible – Try to keep your recipes to 5 ingredients or less. Use ingredients you routinely have on hand, so unplanned grocery store runs are not needed. Making intricate dishes with a multitude of steps and ingredients is both challenging and stressful (even more so when your child announces at the dinner table they are no longer eating one of the key ingredients of the dish). Save these recipes for at home date nights.

3. Plan ahead – Making a chicken dish? Remember to thaw your chicken the night before. There is little more stressful than realizing at noon, the meat you want for dinner is hanging out in the deep freeze (or worse, trying to do a “quick thaw” and creating questionable poultry). This is especially easy if you have done your meal planning, you know exactly what you need and when you will need it.

From pot to plate, with a little planning dinner can be simple AND enjoyable!

4. If at all possible put together you dinner in the morning or early afternoon – Evenings tend to be so crazy, having this step out of the way and just being able to pop dinner in the oven/instant pot, or out of the crock pot makes life so much easier.

5. Create An Easy Dinners Recipe File – Whether it is on your computer, tablet, or a good old fashioned index card, these are helpful when you are stuck in your meal planning and sick of the same old dinners.

6. If you have picky eaters, make sure your meal includes 1 thing that they are willing to eat – This may be something as simple as peas or macaroni and cheese, but it keeps the please eat SOMETHING, or just 1 bite frustration to a minimum. It may not be the most nutritious meal your child eats all day, but a full tummy at bed time counts for something right? Simple Tip: Try a Fred & Friends Dinner Winner Plate to encourage your kiddo to eat to the sweet treat at the finish line.

Picky Eater? Try this fun plate!

I’ll be sharing our meal plans along and along. With a bit of luck, it will keep me on task and hopefully help you come up with some quick, easy and simple dinner ideas. In the mean time, if you have any simple dinner ideas to share, please leave a comment below, I would love to hear your tips, simple recipes, or suggestions for picky eaters.

Thanks for reading, and make it simple!

Cathleen

Summer Comfort Food: Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly with Berry Soup

So I had one of those days. You know the one, where all you want to do is curl up in bed, and you are wondering why you got out of said bed in the first place. Yes, it was a bad day. Since going back to bed was not an option, I opted for a comfort food lunch instead. My go to comfort food is a bowl of hot soup and a crispy grilled cheese, but seeing as how it was laste spring and I was already hot, and a bowl of steamy soup (while comforting) was not so appealing. So I started to think, what is summertime comfort food? With a quick scan of the fridge, I came up with peanut butter and jelly, berries, and whipping cream. Let me take this time to introduce my new summer time comfort food: grilled peanut butter and jelly with berry soup.

As with most recipes  in my life, this is pretty easy, and while not necessarily healthy (whipped cream is involved) it is both good and comforting. There are plenty of ways to lighten it up, but I was working with what I had on hand. With that in mind,  I’ll throw in some alternative ideas below.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly with Berry Soup

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly (super simple)

1-2tbsp. Peanut Butter (or nut free butter of your choice)
1 tbsp. Jelly (any flavor will work)
2 pieces of bread
2 tsp. butter divided

  1. Spread peanut butter on both sides of the bread.
  2. Add a dollop of jelly in the center (on top of the peanut butter) of one slice of bread.

    Place a dollop of jelly in the center of the peanut butter.

  3. Place the non jelly slice of bread on top of the jelly.
    *for some reason this reads as if it is difficult – to simplify: make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but don’t spread the jelly around leave it in the middle of the bread (it will spread as it warms up)
  4. This is key: cut off the crusts, and using a fork (or sandwich crimper if you have one) crimp the edges together so it forms a pouch and the jelly is trapped inside.
  5. Butter one side of the bread.

    Crimped edges of the bread

    .

  6. Heat a skillet to med-low melt the remaining butter and place the sandwich, non buttered side down in the pan.
  7. Toast to golden brown then flip the sandwich over and toast the other side.

Berry Soup

1 cup (or a little more) frozen berries*
1 cup or a little more fresh berries*
* I used strawberries and blueberries, but you can use whatever type of berry you like.
8oz Whipping Cream- yougart will make it a bit thinner but also a bit healther. Adjust the amount of milk you use if you go this route so it doesn’t get too thin.
1 cup Milk
2 tsp. sugar*
*adjust to your taste

  1. Whip the whipping cream and sugar to soft peaks. (roughly 3-4 minutes on high)

    The key if using whipping cream is soft peaks

  2. Using a blender puree your berry mixture.
  3. Add berry mixture to whip cream and mix together.

    Add the berry puree to the whip cream and mix

  4. Slowly add in milk, checking consistency after adding half.

Garnish with mint leaves and relish in the comfort, or leave out the mint leaves and make it for the kids. Either way, this thick soup and toasty sandwich is a crowd pleaser!

Do you have a “go to” comfort food? Please comment and share your favorites!

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