Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm Hungry.... What's for dinner?

One of the Mommy Tsunamis that I find hitting me over and over is dinner time. The crisis hour of the day approaches. You know, the one where the kids turn into constant whining machines, regardless of the amount of discipline or sleep in the last 24 hours. And for some reason, I find myself completely befuddled by their behavior, and say to myself "what is the problem here?" And just as I ask myself this, the kids start whining in unison, "I'm hungry....What's for dinner? Are we eating soon?" Oh yeah. Dinner.

How this happens to me most days is a mystery to me too. It's no surprise that we eat this time everyday, and that I am going to have to prepare something in order for us to eat. Some days I have things together and have a meal well planned out and ready to go. But lets be honest, this is not most days for me. Between kid activities, appointments, and errands my day "at home" is not at home. So I have come up with a survival solution. Easy, go to meals.

Easy go to meals for me are the ones where I try to have the ingredients on hand most of the time, so I don't have to run any last errands to pick up missing items. They also involve few dishes or time in preparation. I would like to share our family favorite with you. Cranberry Chicken.

Cranberry Chicken:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place 3 or 4 chicken breasts in a covered baking dish.
1 can of whole cranberries sauce
1/3 c western dressing
1 packet of dry onion soup mix
Cover the chicken with the sauce mixture
Bake for 1 hour

I usually serve it with brown rice and a salad.

This recipe is a constant request from my family, and has also become my go to meal to bring to new moms just home from the hospital.

What are your meal time survival strategies? Any great go to recipes to share?

Happy cooking!


Bryssy said...

That looks great, Sherrie! Dinner time can be so stressful! My New Year's Resolution was to meal plan consistently. So far so good - I am planned and shopped until Feb 20. It started because one of Contessa's homeschool project is to plan, shop, cook and serve 1 meal a week. I made a really simple chart (hand drawn) of the 4 food groups with drawings of the things we all like from each food group.

I ended up making a spreadsheet (I am real crazy like that) with meals that we all like by main dish, and sides. Now I go through and insert into our calendar from our spreadsheet and make my grocery list beside that. The end of our days is so much better now. I check the list that morning and pull out items I need from the freezer. No more wondering what I am going to whip up!

I put your recipe on our list of dishes to try! Thanks!

Katie@a mom, a wife, and a me said...

I plan and shop for two weeks at a time. I have a menu for two weeks on the fridge and stick to it (going off course tails spends me and we waste tons of money picking things up) Since I have 4 kids and do day care on top of that most things i make a super douper fast (and picky eater approved) Our newsest favorite dish is chicken and dumplings

I slow cook 2 chicken breats (makes 3 of my weekly meals if im not cooking a whole chicken) shread it up
make 1 giant family can of condensed cream of chicken soup, add my chicken and mix up some bisquick and milk till its globby (my term i dont measure anything) toss it in the boiling soup and bam 6 minutes later chicken and dumpling (If your lucky and your kids like veggies chop up some carrots and celery and toss it in as you bring the soup to a boil.. or pull out your muffin pan and pillsberry rolls and make pot pies the same way(except dont add water to your soup!)

jeannine said...

I also started meal planning a year or so ago, and it has made a HUGE difference in the 4:00 stress level for me. I plan and shop for 2 weeks. Some days I switch with another day's meal, but I rarely make something that's not on the plan for those 2 weeks. I try to do 1-2 crock pot meals a week too, and that also helps - I plan those for busier days when I know it will be hard to get dinner made in the afternoon. Also, I take Sunday's off (it's fend for yourself), and if the fridge gets too full of leftovers I have a "clean out the fridge" night.

Melia said...

I guess I need to try harder, because this tsunami gets me all the time! I also need to have more of a backbone because when I tell my crew what we are having, I give in if they all whine and say that they don't want that. Would any of you mind sharing your menus? I need some inspiration for my picky eaters so that we don't have to eat the same thing every week!

Karly said...

I can totally relate to the chaos at dinner time! Ahhhh!

I try to meal plan for the week. I try to do two or three crock pot meals. I love the crock pot! Just when everyone starts getting cranky and I am tired myself...viola, dinner is ready! Love it. Plus, it is really hard to mess up a crock pot recipe. Most of my recipes I have gotten from

I also do one night a week that is a kid meal and my hubby and I will eat after they go to bed. So I do something super easy for the kiddies (mac and cheese, nuggets, etc.) and try something fancy for us that I know would be wasted on my children. It is usually very yummy and nice to eat it in peace!

By the way, I love the cranberry chicken recipe. And it can totally be made in the crock pot! :)