Back to School calls for organization and structure for the kids and especially, the parents. The freedom which accompanies the warm summer months are now behind us. It's back to PTA meetings, homework check, lunch box packing, after school sports, breakfast in the car, piano lessons, school dances, field trips.... and so much more. In the midst of all of these, I choose to focus on dinner. The meal that I have control over...where we connect and share our day's experiences.
Dinner can be challenging, and even though there will be days when dinner will take place in the car or at the pool (the kid is a year round swimmer); the days when we dine together at home, I make sure to prepare healthy, delicious meals that don't require hours in the kitchen. We sometimes make it fun by creating themes. For example, Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wildcard Wednesday, Trinidad Thursday, Fast Food Friday.
The best way to ensure stress free dinner prep, is to plan your meals for the week.
I plan my weekly menu with everyone's input. That way it's a collaborative family effort. They are simple meals but my son thinks my dinners are gourmet. Lol.
Following these steps can also help you save money by sticking to the list and not buying items you don't need.
Meal planning steps
- Create menu
- Type menu and place on refrigerator
- Create shopping list
- Go shopping
- Prep meal the night before
- Prepare dinner with ease
Below is a meal I prepared under 30 minutes for Meatless Monday! Vegetable penne with asparagus, mushrooms and tomatoes in a roasted garlic cream sauce.
1 head roasted garlic
6 Tbsp butter
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp Montreal chicken seasoning
1 tsp cornstarch + 2Tbsp water
1 box vegetable penne pasta
Asparagus (cut to your preferred size)
Cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
Cook pasta according to instructions on box. Put aside
Sautee mushrooms and asparagus in olive oil. Put aside
Cream Sauce recipe:
- Remove cloves of roasted garlic and mash with a fork.
- In a medium saucepan over MED-LOW heat, add butter and melt.
- Pour in cream and garlic and heat to a simmer.
- Whisk in the seasoning and cheese.
- Add cornstarch and water mixture, (it will be a thick paste), and whisk to remove any lumps.
- Continue to whisk until sauce has thickened, a few minutes.
Add sauteed veges and tomatoes to cream sauce stir.
Remove from heat.
Place pasta in serving dish
Pour veges and cream sauce onto pasta.
Get organized, be stress free, plan meals and embrace your journey!