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In the early days of being a mom of 8 kids, things we pretty crazy.  Just caring for the basic needs of our kids was a full time job.  Cooking for a young family of 10 was a a big source of stress at first until I found some dinner time hacks that saved me time and stress.

5 Dinner Time Hacks to Save You Time

My Top 5 Dinner Time Hacks to save you time:

  1. Plan your meals!  The most important thing I did was meal planning.  There was just nothing that stressed me out a the end of a long day when I was exhausted like having to decide what to cook for dinner. Having a menu planned out ahead of time saved made my life so much easier.   Now that my kids are older, I love to try different meals so I use emeals which makes it much easier.  But when my kids were little and time was a premium, I had my own system that saved me time and made cooking dinner easy and stress free.  I had a list of 25 meals that my family loved and were fast and easy to make.  At the beginning of each week, I picked 7 meals and made sure I had all the ingredients.
  2. Cook several days of meat ahead of time.  On Saturday, I would cook a large amount of meat to use all week.  For example, I would cook up a bunch of hamburger and then put the cooked hamburger into ziplock bags to use throughout the week.  I had several meals my family loved that used hamburger that were easy to make like tacos, spaghetti, burritos, nachos, taco pie, homemade pizzas and casseroles.  Making the meat ahead of time was a big saver for me when it was time to make dinner.
  3. Pre-shred your cheese.  Shredding cheese was a time consuming part of making dinner that might make me resort to eating cereal for dinner at the end of a long day.  Having pre-shredded cheese to use with the meat made so many meals seem easy and fast to make.  I can’t tell you how comforting it was to know that I could make any one of my kids’ favorite meals in 5 minutes or less because the main ingredients were already prepared.
  4. Cut up you veggies ahead of time.  Are you seeing a theme?  My hubby was home on Saturdays so I had back up and could use that day to make the rest of my week easier.  Yay for helpful hubbies!  I cut up the veggies I needed for that week’s meals on Saturday so that it was easy to include them throughout the week. I cut up lettuce and tomatoes to make simple sandwiches more exciting.  I also cut up carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, and more veggies for my kids to snack on.  My kids quickly learned to love fresh vegetables and having them available all the time encouraged them to make healthy snack choices.
  5. Make one big salad to last a few days.  This was more for me but what a life saver!  I love salads and I really like to eat them for lunch.  Having a chicken salad, green salad, etc gave me a healthy lunch to eat whenever I had a minute.  It also made it easier for me to invite my friends for lunch!  My friends were such a life line for me and feeling like I could at least somewhat resemble a good hostess made me feel more comfortable inviting them over.  Being able to easily and quickly make good sandwiches and a nice salad was a big deal to me.

Cooking for a young family of 10 was so much easier with these 5 dinner time hacks, and I still use them whenever we are going camping, going on vacation (post on how we vacation with 8 kids coming), and if I am going to be gone or not available.  Having the ingredients prepared ahead of time was a big help when I was teaching my kids to cook and it really empowered them to be able to cook on their own.

 

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Posted by Frugal Mommy

Hi I’m Heather, a busy, happy and very frugal mom of 8 amazing kids! My journey to become a mom of 8 has been a bumpy one that has included infertility, being a foster parent, adoption, and special needs parenting. I share the things I've learned raising my big unique family.

19 Comments

  1. Awesome Tips! Though I don’t think making a big salad ahead of time works for me. I always seem to lose track of it and I end up finding soggy greens in my fridge. I’m just starting out planning meals for my family. Have you got any tips on how my greens can stay fresh in the fridge for a long period? Anyway, good read. 😉

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  2. Meal planning is everything! I love all your tips, especially since I know your a mom expert! What do you store your salads in?
    Melissa recently posted…Bold Lips | Day To Night Makeup Tutorial |My Profile

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    1. You are so sweet! I have Tupperware bowls that I store them in. I love that they seal tight. My sweet grandma gave me a Tupperware bridal shower when I got married and I love them.

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  3. We try and cook two really big meals on the weekend so we have leftovers for the week. That and a crockpot soup, and we’re usually good to go. I just need more snack foods…
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    1. That sounds like it really works for you. That’s great!

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  4. Such great tips. I live alone but these are even great for me because when you don’t have to worry about feeding anyone else it’s easy to decide to have wine for dinner or go pick up a burger and fries. Having things ready to go helps prevent that.
    I also love having veggies ready to go to throw in a salad or to have something to crunch on.

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    1. Yes! I did this when I was first married too. It really helps to make better choices if it’s easy.

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  5. Great post … and tips! I’m going to try cooking my meat up all at once like you suggested. I can’t BELIEVE I haven’t thought of that myself yet. Duh! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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    1. LOL it’s really helpful but not something that very many people do.

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  6. It’s funny how many people think my family, with four young children at home, is large. Planning ahead is vital, I agree!

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    1. Isn’t it funny how a “big family” is different to everyone?

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  7. Meal planning and prepping all the ingredients in the morning or night before makes all the difference for us! Great tips!

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    1. Thanks!

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  8. Meal planning was the game changer for our crew. I just started cooking meals ahead of time and I can already see the benefits. Thanks for more hacks; we can always use the help.

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    1. Meal planning helps so much.

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  9. Meal planning is one of my big goals for this year! I still have a long way to go with it!

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    1. It is such a long learning curve.

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  10. I’m great with shredded cheese, not so much with planning ahead; I’m working on it ;-)… How do you save salad without the greens wilting?

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    1. If you buy fresh greens and keep your salad in a tupperware type container in your crisper in the refrigerator it should stay good for up to 5 days as long as you don’t dress the salad.

      Reply

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