Monday, January 10, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Before I was married, my idea of dinner was Lean Cuisine and a beer. Out of self-preservation, my then-new husband took over in the kitchen. He enjoyed cooking but wasn't passionate about it. He was darn good at combining cream and sherry, pouring it over what was in our fridge and calling it dinner. But, what the hey! I didn't complain. I didn't have to cook and a cream sauce over just about anything makes for good eating. But it also made for a broader backside. You get the picture.   

I wish I could tell you that before spending a fortune on a new wardrobe, I started banging those pots and pans. It took the birth of our daughter for me to get my act together in the kitchen.

Something had to give though and it wasn't going to be the baby or the job! Dinner-making and grocery shopping weren't at the top of my list. My fear was they would become yet another chore to add to my already jam-packed day.

In an 'Ah-ha!' moment, it was at this point that I discovered that being organized is the key to doing what you want (and need) to do, and to doing it well.

Here are a few tips that I hope will help you to get a handle on the grocery shopping and dinner-making for your family.

• Keep a notepad in a convenient spot in your kitchen and add to it as soon as you run out of things. This will become your weekly shopping list.

• Next, look at your calendar. If your week is full of activities there probably is little time to prepare time-consuming meals, so plan accordingly. (A quiet weekend morning works well for this). 

• Take a look in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry to see what you have on hand and begin to build a menu and shopping list based on what you already have.

• Pull out your cookbooks and your tried-and-true favorite recipes. Select 4 or 5 recipes and add the needed ingredients to your weekly shopping list. (I leave open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. These days are always more flexible for me).

• Place your cookbooks and recipes in a convenient spot in your kitchen. Use sticky notes to mark the pages with your chosen recipes. (I reuse the sticky notes week after week).

• Go shopping and buy everything you need for the week. 

There are big pay-offs to organizing your weekly groceries and shopping -  not the least of which are that you save valuable time and money. However, the way I see it - a home-cooked, well-balanced, made-with-love, sit-down-and-share with your family meal, trumps a rip-it-open, preservative-laden, frozen lump any day.

Plus, you just might learn to enjoy your time in the kitchen. I sure did!

Later this week I'll share more organizing tips in the kitchen. Be sure to check in.

For more tips, ideas and information, contact me at
or by phone: 425 765-2490.

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