It’s five o’clock and you’ve had a crazy day. There’s a neat stack of freshly laundered towels in the closet, all the phone calls you needed to make have been made and you’ve managed to get your house back in order after every toy in the place has been scattered at least twice. All the sudden it hits…that thing which stops work at home moms dead in their tracks day after day: Pantry Panic! What’s for dinner? Ack!!
When you are juggling all the responsibilities of working from home, meal times can become tedious. At the end of a busy work day wouldn’t it be nice if the dinner fairy would just appear with a hot steaming plate for each hungry mouth and do the dishes after you’re done? Unfortunately dinner won’t cook itself. But there are a few tricks to make food fast without hopping in the car and yelling into a giant speaker!
First things first, you need a crockpot. This handy little helper is almost as magical as a dinner wielding fairy. Often thought of as a tool for tenderizing tough meat, a crockpot can turn the dinnertime doldrums into an enjoyable feast for your senses. Throw a chicken in the crockpot while you’re drinking your morning coffee, then toss in some vegetables at lunch time and you have a gourmet meal waiting at the end of a long day. Casseroles, pasta sauce and even lasagna can cook all day while you are working. The “Fix-It-And-Forget It Cookbook” is a fabulous book chock full of recipes to keep that crockpot steaming with delightful goodness!
The second fast food trick that work at home moms swear by is freezer cooking. This is not for the faint of heart, but it’s a fabulous way to stockpile nutritious food you can cook at a moment’s notice. The “Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month” book is more than just recipes. It explains step by step all the different ways to employ this method of cooking and provides detailed meal plans to make the most of your cooking time. Yes, you’ll spend one Saturday (or whatever day works best for you) destroying your kitchen and swearing you’ll never cook again, but that’s the beauty of it: you won’t have to! Preparing quick meals ahead of time takes a huge burden off your daily to-do list. Some moms go all out and prepare full meals to freeze, but others simply use this method to cook meat ahead to add to meals at dinner time; for example, cooking a huge 5 pound pack of hamburger to have on hand for tacos, chili and spaghetti at one time, then freezing for future meals.
Then there’s the “partial cheat” method of fast food. Grabbing a rotisserie chicken and using some of it on a hearty bagged salad is a super quick meal that won’t raise your cholesterol or have you cursing little plastic Happy Meal toys. Frozen meatballs, party trays with fresh fruits and cold cuts, and even a quick pizza every now and then won’t break the budget or your healthy eating habits.
If you think back to when you first had your baby, you had to let good enough be good enough when it came to your house, your meals and your appearance. Everything took a backseat to that sweet new bundle that required so much of your attention. Remember, your work at home business is just like a new baby. It needs your focused attention until it’s grown enough to be somewhat independent. Using a few quick and easy meal ideas is one thing you can do to relieve some of your ordinary responsibilities while you learn the ropes of being a work at home mom. Sooner or later, you’ll be back in the kitchen showing Emeril a thing or two, but for now be gentle on yourself and take the quick and easy (as well as nutritious)way out!
Do you have any favorite recipes or tricks to make meal time less stressful? Share in the comments below!