poetgal: first of all, try not to compare yourself to someone else’s “perfect”. None of us are perfect (though a few bees here sound like they are trying to be) 😛 My mom was a Stay-At-Home Mom the whole time I was growing up and I still don’t know how she kept an imaculate house, dinner on the table every night at 6pm, packed lunches every day, and all the laundry/cleaning/etc… Especially when we were little kiddos! Superwoman I tell you.
Both Fiance and I work full time (sometimes more than full time hours wise) so we cook on average 4-5 nights a week and while my house is usually picked up, it’s not usually spotless. Also, by cook, I usually mean Fiance helps prep and I do more of the actual cooking. He’s still learning 🙂 It’s kind of a wildcard dinner on the nights when Fiance is off work (Mondays) and plans/cooks himself, it’s always interesting.
Here are a few tips that have helped us a lot!
1) Make in BULK certain things and utilize leftovers heavily!
-Make a meat and lots of roasted veggies dinner one night, then turn the leftover veggies into a dinner frittata the next night.
-Make a HUGE pot of soup and eat it for a few nights in a row! I’ve been on a soup kick, we made a big pot of it, ate it with salad one night and grilled cheeses the next (and Fiance ate more leftover soup for lunch.
2) Make and Freeze extra “meals” worth of whatever you are cooking and you can eat it a few weeks or months down the line so it doesn’t feel like leftovers. When I make Italian stuffed shells, it’s a lot of work, but we make not just one pan but freeze at least 2 more uncooked batches worth at once. It’s SO NICE to take those delicious shells out of the freezer, unthaw, add sauce and cheese and bake. We do the same thing w/ italian meatballs. Buy in bulk (when meat is on sale) and meatballs freeze beautifully once you’ve browned them (not cooked all the way through). Those can cook all day on low in your crockpot too w/ sauce, throw together some pasta and a quick salad and you have a great dinner with very little actual cooking.
3) Salad nights are great and it’s cheap and nutritious to eat in bulk, especially if you pre-cut and clean all your veggies days in advance.
Even if we don’t make enough for two dinners, there is usually 1 more portion leftover for Fiance to eat for lunch.
Also, I pack my lunch for two days at a time and put it in the fridge at work. You do less “packing” since you prep two days at once so it’s less tedious of a task and have cheap/nutritious lunches!
Hope this helps 🙂