Family dinners are super important. Whether you are a family of 10 or a couple with no kids like my husband and I, you can still benefit from a “family” dinner. For my husband and me, dinner time is the one time each day we know we can sit together and actually talk. Is it always easy to have a healthy, home-cooked meal? Not really, but here are a few “rules” that we follow in our house to make it easier so we can enjoy dinner more frequently:
1. Plan all the meals for the week on Sunday. Every Sunday afternoon, I sit down and create a list of 6 dinners we want to make this week (we plan for one night out each week. If you are just starting to cook dinners, try starting with 2 a week and increase from there). From that menu, I can create my grocery list for the entire week and make ONE trip to the grocery store.
2. Decide who is cooking each meal. My husband also enjoys cooking, so each week I have him pick out a recipe or two that he can commit to making on the nights I work late. If he picks the meal, he is usually more excited about cooking. If you have teenagers, allow them to cook every now and then for the family. You will be giving them skills for the future and you may be surprised by their talent.
3. Whoever doesn’t cook does the majority of the clean up. It’s only fair.
4. Have fun!!! Cooking is all about making mistakes and learning new techniques. If your family is new to cooking, let everyone know this is an adventure. There are some great cookbooks that offer quick, healthy recipes for families. Once you gain a little experience, there are some great websites with recipes for ANYTHING you can imagine.
5. Stick to the plan. If you don’t, you will end up with a fridge full of rotten produce and brown meat. It’s not pretty.
Beyond these 5 rules, anything goes in our kitchen. From Vietnamese to German, sushi to beans and rice, what we cook isn’t nearly as important as the time we spend together trying new things. I wish you luck in your own kitchen adventures!!