I agree that having hubby feed the kids earlier might be really helpful. The kids will be less irritable and your evening routine might be less hectic if they have been fed and/or bathed before you get home, then you and hubby could eat together or he could eat with the kids and have a glass of wine with you while you eat. (LOL - that might be a challenge with two little ones)
With a new job it might be helpful to reassess/reassign the home work load. For example hubby feeds and bathes the kids every night and you do the dishes and toss in a load of laundry. You could do the food shopping and prep the crock pot meals/casseroles for the week on your days off.
It might help to have meals prepped in a large zip lock bag that you empty into the crock pot in the morning. If you make extra you could have left overs for you and hubby to take for lunch.
If your food budget allows consider ready to go salads, pre cleaned and chopped veggies. I also like the mixed frozen veggies to pop in the microwave.
My hubby traveled a lot when the kids were little and I worked. If you are interested here are a few tips that helped me:
I put clothes pins on hangers. When putting laundry away I put complete outfits on hangers. This included socks, under wear, hair band, whatever went together. Then before bed the kids picked from the 2 choices I gave them and that was what they wore the next day. I did this with my stuff too! Made it easier to get dressed without needing to actively think. You could also do this with a small net bag looped around the hanger.
Back packs, diaper bags, my work bag with keys etc were packed and placed by the door before bed time. Lunches were made and in the fridge. I even pre-poured cereal and milk. The cereal was covered and on the table and the milk in a glass in the fridge.
Can you tell that I don't function well in the am?
The thing I realized is that my family is happy eating a limited menu. They do not really care if they eat the same thing repeatedly. I do like trying new recipes but do that every couple of weeks or just once a month.
I make a list of 28 different dinners. I divide that list into groups of 7, post the list on the refrigerator and check off things as we have them. I re-use this list for a couple of months before making a new one. (rotating menu plan) I save the old meal lists and have several I could just pull out and go with. We shop for food once per week. Since I know a meal is coming again it is not a big deal to cook more than we need sometimes or buy a larger container of something and keep the extra for the next time. I have soup once a week. Soup is easy to reheat or freeze for future meals. My dd loves minestrone. We have 3-4 meatless meals per week. I use a slow cooker sometimes. We use our grill year round. We have breakfast for dinner at least once a month. (things like eggs, oatmeal, or pancakes are fairly quick to cook)
If I were you I'd look at using leftovers, no cook meals, preparing part or all of meals the night before so they can just be heated up by you or your dh, slow cooker recipes, and once a month/ freezer cooking ideas to prepare several meals in advance. Pre- cut or cook some ingredients. Label and date things that you freeze.
Depending on what you cook in the crock pot, you don't really have to make "sides". The crock pot meals I make all have plenty of veggies in them, and so I don't usually worry about sides. But frozen veggies are quick to cook in the microwave, in any case!
Although it's important to have family meals, your husband might find it easier to wrangle the kids if he feeds them a kid-sized meal before you get home. 7 pm is a long time to wait for dinner for little ones. Best of luck adjusting to your new schedule!
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I start by accessing the weekly ad for the 2 grocery stores I pass just about every day. I make my list by what's on special at the stores. I also check the prices on those lists against the prices at the wholesale club - sometimes bulk prices aren't really a bargain
I do love my crock pot. Nothing better than spending about 5 or 10 minutes in the morning so I can walk in after my evening workout and dinner is ready.
Why not still bulk-cook meals - the meats, anyway, and have them in the freezer in single-serve containers. I do this with casseroles and soups, which are both loaded with veges and lentils. Then it wouldn't take much to zap that in the microwave while the veges are cooking. I very seldom peel veges - I eat the skins as well, so it saves time AND money :-) I have a good variety on hand nearly all the time - Apricot Chicken, Lamb Casserole, Beef Casserole, Pork Casserole - and then there are different takes on them, from sweet/sour, curry, chilli etc. etc.
Another plus is that even if you can't be bothered cooking veges on occasion, there is no reason why you can't use whole-grain couscous or do toast to go with it. You will have a load of veges in the casseroles already anyway.
my crock pot is my best friend when it comes to eating right. I put food in it in the morning and let it do it's thing. It makes great soups stews and chilli's. You can check online for good recipes to use in it.
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We all know it's important but what has worked for you all? I recently changed jobs and now have an out of the house schedule of 6:45 am to 6:30/7 pm. I also have two small children (4.5 & 2). I used to pre-cook for several days or keep meals to 30 minutes prep or less. Neither of those systems are working any longer. I pretty much have to have food ready to go when we get home bc I only have 30-45 minutes between arrival home and bath time for kiddos each night. My hubby says he can cook the meats (not sure if he will be able to handle this and kids till I get home but sweet to volunteer) if I take care of sides.
Why are you guys doing? What meals are you cooking/consuming? Ideas, recipes, etc. welcome
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