Thanksgiving Day-New Years day is perhaps my FAVORITE time of the year.
I love the season of twinkling lights, hustle and bustle at the stores, time spent with extended family, treats to bake, parties to attend and eagerness I see on my daughters’ faces.
It is the Best time of the Year!
At the same time, the go-go-go of the Holiday season can leave me feeling frazzled and drained. Some days the last thing I want to do is to make dinner. I am exhausted and the last thing I want to do is make whatever meal I had on my meal plan for that night. I rack my brain trying to remember if I have a meal ready to go in the freezer, what easy “throw together” meal I have in the pantry or if we have it in our budget to get a pizza.
The parties that we attend during the week can give us those much needed night’s off from cooking, but they can also leave us even more confused about meal planning. Maybe only one parent is attending a party? Or the kid will be gone? Or the kids are at home with a sitter while mom and dad are celebrating with their friends or co-workers. Do we just throw our hands up and declare “Eat whatever you can find?!”
Some nights… yes, but I would also like to give you some encouragement and tips to make sure that dinner time is still happening during this busy holiday season at your house!
Tips for Meal Planning During Busy Times:
Make one big pot of soup
This is great for those nights when you don’t have time to cook or if only one parent/kids are home for dinner. Make a pot of soup at the beginning of the week, stick it in the fridge and reheat later as needed. The soup can be eaten a bowl full for lunch and for dinner a couple nights later. Make two soups and you’ve got a soup buffet! Add a salad and a crusty loaf of bread you picked up from the store. Make a double batch of Creamy Cauliflower Chowder or Crock Pot Potato Soup!
Make a batch of Crockpot BBQ chicken
Is your family not a soup family? No worries! We have other great recipes that will keep your family full and satisfied this week. Make a batch of Crockpot BBQ Chicken and stick it in your fridge. It reheats great! Put some green beans on the side and you’ve got a full meal for one or for many!
If you know that one night this week the kids will be left home with a babysitter for dinner, think ahead. Maybe you need to buy a frozen pizza, chicken nuggets or hot dogs with mac and cheese to make it easy on your sitter. Go ahead! Otherwise, mix up a yummy casserole like bubble pizza beforehand that is sitting in the fridge ready to go when your sitter arrives. (If you are gluten free, substitute homemade Gluten Free biscuits for the bubble pizza using Gluten Free Bisquick or your own biscuit recipe!)
Remember, it’s not about how fancy your food is, how much time you took to prepare it or whether it is from scratch or a box. It’s all about sitting down together as a family at the table (minus the t.v., smart phones, computers and toys)! I am here to encourage you that even during the busy times family dinner time can still happen.
Do you have any tips for us on Meal Planning during the Holidays? Comment and Share!