My Romance Writers Weekly Crew is shifting up their blog approach this week and talking about something pretty much everyone can relate to:
When life gets nutty (or should I say nuttier than usual), how do you get dinner on the table in fifteen minutes or less?
Before I dive in, I have to wave at the folks visiting from Susan Scott Shelley’s site. I’ll try to be on my best behavior and not rattle you with my wild ideas and orneriness too much.
Now for the question–which, sadly for me, is going to turn into one of my embarrassing Mommy Confessions. (You can search for more of those by clicking the mommy confessions link at the top of this post if you want more of my public disgrace. 🙂 )
I was raised in a family where dinner was served promptly at 5:30 and hit all the necessary food groups. We’re talking salad, protein, bread, vegetable, and sweet tea every single day. Anyone else remember Green Goddess salad dressing?
So, when I popped out my first kiddo, I decided it was time to take a run at the domesticated thing like dear old mom. I quit my job, donned my apron, and started putting dinner on the table at 5:30pm when hubster got home.
Apparently, I’m not a bad cook, because hubster and I both started putting on weight. (Okay, so maybe I should clarify and say I’m good at comfort food. Who the hell wants to spend time cooking for steamed cauliflower?)
Then I started working from home and the time available to cook shrank rather drastically. I started asking myself if it was even healthy to put so much emphasis on eating.
So I mad a decision to a) quit cooking up the yummy stuff, at least for day-to-day consumption, and b) make dinner a little less formal.
The result: A combination of free-for-all nights, ready made dinners, and baked potatoes.
Yes, those are my fifteen minute meals and they happen almost every Monday through Friday.
Free for all night is when I have zero time to plan and I rush in from work and shout, “What does everyone want for dinner?” The crew calls back their favorite Lean Cuisine/Healthy Choice/Smart Ones/Campbell’s Soup Order and I knock it out before I jump on the elliptical. Shit you not, I can work a microwave like no one’s business.
Ready Made Meals require I actually think about dinner sometime before 4pm. Sometimes it happens, sometimes is doesn’t.
Seriously, I should buy stock in Stouffer’s and Hormel.
Baked Potatoes are another family staple. Again, this somewhat healthy though terribly imbalanced meal requires I think about food prior to 4pm so they have time to cook. (Yes, I know I can cook ’em in the microwave, but they just don’t taste the same. A girl’s gotta honor her old-school background somewhere, right?) Still, the girls love ’em, the calories are reasonable, and the amount of time involved is limited to pre-heating the oven, cleaning the spuds, and dropping them in to bake. Easy, peasy.
So, there. Those are my daily fifteen minute go-tos–embarrassing though they might be.
I’m sure my fellow Romance Writers Weekly comrades will offer more nutritious and crafty options for you, but if you’ve ever succumbed to the slacker dinner routine I’ve outlined, I wouldn’t mind a little moral support in the comments section. 😛
Check out Fiona Riplee and see what she has to offer next.