November 22, 2017

What Stands in Your Way of Getting Dinner on the Table?


I’ve been brainstorming a lot about meal time at our home.Β  Too often lately, I’ve been stuck on the edge of Balancing Meal Time Mountain asking myself, “What Can I Make for Dinner Tonight?” and it’s a long drop down when the answer whispers, “I have no idea.”

I promised my guys yesterday that I was fighting for our meal time again. No more excuses. Our family time around the table is too important to rush. Basketball season ended this past Saturday (with our two oldest sons’ team winning the NC State Homeschool Championship), and golf tournaments can only be played till the sun goes down, so we are re-prioritizing it.

That also means I need to get my meal planning game face on.Β  (I’ll be printing my Free monthly and weekly printable meal planner.) No more procrastinating about why I can’t squeeze in my Power Cooking Sessions. I mean if I share with others how to make 4 meals in 4 minutes, surely I can implement it myself. It means I need to spend this Saturday wisely by doing some freezer cooking, and then it means I need to remember to take those meals out of the freezer in the morning (or the night before.) If all else fails, at least I can enforce my One Hour Power Cooking sessions.

I’ll never forget when my family chuckled, “You just spent tonight teaching women how to cook “4 meals in 4 minutes”, but we’d be just happy with one meal in an hour.” πŸ™‚ It was said in fun jest, and we all chuckled. My family makes lots of meals with out me, but it reminded me of my desire to have quick, homemade meals on the table, so that we can spend that quality time together, and my only excuse was I didn’t plan ahead.

(Mexican Freezer Meal Ideas)

My stockpiled pantry is bursting (Stockpiling 101), but there are only so many Mexican homemade burritos one can eat in a week.

So I am excited to get my Family Manager Meal Planner back into gear.Β  Three of my friends are going to hold each other accountable over the next week with our meal planning. I suggested we text each other throughout our freezer cooking day on Saturday and get each other excited about all that we are going to prepare for our families. I need that. Yes, I am geeky like that, but I do better with that challenge. Some of my most fun meal planning days occurred when I did my “Kitchen Sister’s Club.”Β  A group of us would get together like the old fashion quilting bee and we’d leave with eight, different freezer meals.Β  (Read about my Creative Group Meal Planning here and here. Don’t miss out on the comments. Everyone shared their experiences.) I am not up for organizing that this month, but I plan to do that again in the spring. It’s a lot of fun.

Since we all care about family meal time here, let’s try and solve this meal time dilemma.

If you are in a rut like I am, have you taken the time to try and narrow down what’s going on? Sometimes that’s all it takes. (Along with a little encouragement that you can get back on track and yes, you can. If I can, you can. πŸ™‚

What are some of the things that stand in your way of getting dinner on the table?

Simple Rules for Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods – As always, please link directly to your recipe post and not your blog URL, so that everyone can find the recipe months from now.

Also, link back here in your post so that everyone can join in the fun, it’s just common courtesy of blog carnivals. Please do not link up a recipe meme that you have started. Thanks for your understanding.


  1. Thanks for hosting, Jen!! πŸ™‚


  2. Jen…your honesty is refreshing for so many. I gave up on myself in the fall. I created a master menu plan. One 5 week plan. never changes. hallelujah angels sing:) My grocery budget is still under control and my mind is free. πŸ™‚


  3. I have shared a post about how to do a healthy pantry and kitchen makeover. I’ve created an eBook that will guide you through a complete kitchen and
    pantry makeover, which can be downloaded for FREE on my website. It’s kinda like
    taking a personal tour of my kitchen and pantry! It is really good for newbies,
    but you may find tips there as well.



  4. Every time my children’s schedules change, I have to change my housekeeping schedule and menu planning style to accomodate it. I can’t make last year’s menu/cleaning plan work with this year’s activities. When we are not all sitting around the table together I have to examine our schedules to see what I’m not taking into account.


  5. What stands in the way of me putting dinner on the table? Baseball practice. I can usually plan something – even if it’s sandwiches at practice – but my oldest son’s coach tells us when practice either one day before or the afternoon of. When I have three kids to shuttle to practices, it’s not easy to find time to get where we need to be, much less eat!

    I can cook ahead if I know we’ll have time to eat at home. It’s those days (like tomorrow) when we’re away from home between 4:00 and 9:00 (or later) that I end up clueless about what to eat, and when, and where.


  6. Simply, not plannings is usually what stands in my way. I have a freezer & pantry full of food and most of the time can pull from it & make something, but some days, its just too much.
    This year I’ve been much better about having a weekly menu.. having said that.. I have nothing planned for tonight. I had better think about it quick since Im off to work in an hour or so. πŸ˜‰


  7. Yep. When I realize that we’ve had spaghetti three nights of the week I know it’s time to get serious about planning! One thing I’ve done is to put the kids in charge of a meal a week. They help plan and execute – and they have ideas! Plus it gives them practical experience. A win – win!


  8. I always manage to get dinner on the table, or leave something for my family when I work, but I’ve been having a harder time lately. For me it’s a combination of poor organization and the time of year. I haven’t been keeping our pantry as well stocked as I should – we have plenty of food but I keep running out of things – so I’m stopping by the grocery store several times a week. It’s getting a bit old. We’ve also run out of a lot of the stuff I stockpiled or preserved in the fall which is a bummer too. Not to mention I try to buy as much local produce as possible and the pickings are getting slimmer every week.

    Right now I’m stick to death of my fall and winter Go To Recipes. In general I’m sick of winter and have shifted into Spring mode. The problem is I live in Wisconsin. Yeah. It’s still winter and will be cold for at least another six weeks.

    Clearly I need to look into some new recipes and revamp my system a bit. Thankfully it’s payday so this week I”m making a HUGE stock up shopping trip. That way I can spend the rest of the month just popping over to the local co-op two blocks from my house for produce and milk.


  9. Thanks for being our hostess.

    I shared a delicious and hearty vegetable minestrone and quick and healthy kale chips.

    Have a blessed day!



  10. Hi,Jen! I know ya’ll had a great time at Blissdom, sorry I missed it. Too many other things to do. Joining up today with a tasty beef soup with root veggies. It’s delicious! Hope you are doing well, my friend! xoxo


  11. Either not feeling well since I have chronic diseases, or either not having a menu plan in order.


  12. I should of added to my more thing would be knowing what to cook? ex. I have run out of ideas, so this will be good if we start giving recipe ideas out that would be so helpful.

    Thank you Jen for this!


  13. We have been having car troubles lately, so I haven’t been able to do big stock up shopping. Having to walk to get groceries multiple times per week has really been cramping my style.


  14. Well, this past two weeks it’s trying to come up with meal ideas (and school lunch ideas) that a picky almost 13 y.o. boy will eat who now has braces! Ugh! All his favs which involved hard, crunchy things are no longer an option. This is a kid who won’t eat cooked veggies or sauce of any kind. He’s been living on plain buttered pasta and mac-n-cheese from a box for a week because he’s too afraid to eat anything. We did have a tender pork roast Sunday night and he did okay with that …

    I peeled and sliced an apple for him for snack at home, but I can’t keep them from browning for school lunch because he doesn’t like lemon juice on his apples.


    Joy Reply:

    Did I mention he’s not a soup or pudding person either? LOL


  15. I make a weekly/two week menu which helps a ton. Even if I don’t feel like making what I originally planned for dinner, I can switch with another night and know that I have all the ingredients on hand. My down fall is not starting soon enough in the day (usually defrosting), plus I am 7 months pregnant with two little girls (3 and 2 years) and am usually tired and have no motivation to fix a meal.


  16. *sigh* Diet. Since having to go gluten-free, almost anything I can still eat is so crazy-EXPENSIVE. And typically not quick to prepare unless I thought to thaw something a day or two in advance.



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