Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Over the years I've come to dread the 5:00 p.m. phone call from my family that inevitably includes the statement, "What's for dinner?"  For the past 18 years now I have been cooking meals at least five nights a week.  Since I am in charge of the task, I want to make sure my family gets a well-made and balanced meal.  This includes charting out a meal plan:  varying beef, chicken, pasta, pork and fish.  Each week I make a grocery list and menu plan which I use to ensure that I don't fall into the bad habit of making the same meals over and over.  I've become the master of the crock pot and surfer of cookbooks, even going as far as cataloging all my 'thumbs up' recipes in a computerized database for efficient meal planning.  Then, as the kids grew and their social demands had me running in a billion different directions, I began preparing all my meals on Sundays, bagging and freezing them.  All this has brought me to where I am today, marking the days until I don't have to cook another meal!

After learning of my prep work, planning and organization, many of my friends assumed that I must love cooking.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Honestly, the reason I manage the task like I do is because I HATE cooking.  However, I want to make certain my kids get a well-balanced and homemade meal each night.  It is also great to sit down to a descent dinner and have conversations.  Providing the meal is just another way to accomplish the most important thing, spending time with my family.

Although it may seem like a lot of work, actually organizing my meal plan, creating a database of family approved recipes, preparing multiple meals and freezing lessens my stress and saves money.  For me, cooking is no different than a heap of dirty laundry.  No one likes doing it (okay, someone might) but it needs to get done, right?

I readily admit that I HATE cooking even though I'm really good at it (or so I've been told), but if I have to do it, I'm going to do it in the most efficient, painless and healthy way possible.

In the coming weeks I am sending my oldest off to college.  I've managed to nourish a little boy into a ripped Division-1 football player for the University of Nevada.  I will tearfully turn over my son and grocery bill to the coaches of the wolfpack!

Good luck!  P.S.  He needs to eat every 2 hours.

In honor of my family, I recommend this awesome book!

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