When do you eat dinner? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 03-17-2010, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Both DH and I WOHM, so it's a long day away from the house, we get home typically at about 6. Lately I've been cooking nearly every night, and find once I nurse DD and then prep and then do some dishes and THEN get started it's nearly 7, and so we don't eat until 8 or later! phew! That's pretty late IMO, but what about you all... It's about that time that DD gets cranky for sleep, so I try to get dinner done at least before 8 (like 7:45). Big kids go to sleep shortly after dinner.

I was getting into this crockpotting thing, which was great time wise. But the family has started to protest on account of the meat being too tender. So now I only crockpot tough beef. heh. I loved how the crockpot affected our time. Sigh...

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#2 of 24 Old 03-17-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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I work earlier hours so I'm usually home by 4. I try to have us eating by 6 or 6:30.
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#3 of 24 Old 03-17-2010, 02:04 PM
 
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We get home at 5:30 and usually are eating by 6-6:15 but I am kind of a rabid meal planner.

I can outline how I do in general principle it but it's not for everyone.

I do one meal a week in the crockpot (usually wed or thurs), but I agree it can get tiring if you are always doing stews or pot roasts or BBQ whatever. I do something like a soup one week, a chili one week, a bean dish one week, and a stew or pot roast the next week. I've been collecting good recipes for a while. Pea soup, chickpea stew, 'baked' beans, potato-cheddar soup, white or red chili, rosemary red wine stew are pretty much my go-to list.

With the soups we have hummus and flat bread or cheese toast or savoury biscuits, and salad and raw vegetables. I prepare all those in advance. We pretty much have a platter of raw veggies at every meal, or a salad.

In fact I wash and cut up all our veggies on the weekend, more or less, so that they are easy to cook quickly. I wash the lettuce and spinach and kale too.

On the weekend I usually in the cooler seasons load up the oven with some casseroles (cassoulet, pasta al forno, quiche, tortilla casserole, etc.) and then reheat them when I get home. I plan them so that we eat them earlier in the week to prevent spoilage. Any prep I can save is a good thing. In the summer I make a big pasta, bean/grain or rice salad, and just grill meat or veggie skewers on the side.

We also have stir fries and again, I do the prep either on the weekend or the night before so all I have to do is walk in, heat up the pan, and start cooking. Marinating any meat or tofu makes it yummier anyway. If we're doing stir-fried rice I cook the rice the night before too (during dinner usually).

I use leftovers, either as a mixed leftover night (a la The Incredibles) or as components for other meals - like chili from the crockpot gets used as a baked potato topping. That kind of thing.

One night a week we usually have fish and veggies and either whole grain buns, or if I have time, a quicker-cooking side dish like orzo and peas. Fish bakes up really quickly in the toaster oven.

So a week would look pretty much like -

Saturday night - something that requires prep time right then so we're not bored ; prep all veggies
Sunday night - a roast chicken with roasted vegetables and polenta, + a bean cassoulet and a quiche cooked in the same oven.
Monday night - quiche and salad and steamed veggies
Tuesday night - cassoulet and grilled polenta (from Sun) and green beans
Wed night - leftovers + fresh breadmaker bread
Thurs night - pea soup from crockpot + veggies + hummus and pita
Fri night - fish and orzo and veggies or leftovers if there are still some and we're not bored

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#4 of 24 Old 03-17-2010, 03:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
I work earlier hours so I'm usually home by 4. I try to have us eating by 6 or 6:30.
Same-ish here. Home NLT 5...eating by 6:30 at latest.
I don't like us eating too late because we don't sleep well.

For weeks I know are going to be a bear I cook on weekends and we eat leftovers on the tough nights like soccer practice.
I love the crockpot, but only get around to setting it up on the weekends.

I WISH I could meal plan better like GuildJen, but I do poorly with making any chore routine. It get's done when it gets done.

We have "meat of the week" meals. I buy meat in bulk and since it's just the two of us that means I tend to cook one type of meat and just vary the meal around it all week. For example, hamburger gets cooked and then all week we'll eat taco salad, homemade spaghetti sauce, a meat and potatoe mixture, etc...then the next week it'll be pork chops....and on and on.

But neither of us get bored very easily with eating the same thing over and over for dinner. We're pretty much "eat for hunger" people rather than "eat for flavor" people.

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#5 of 24 Old 03-17-2010, 04:13 PM
 
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but I am kind of a rabid meal planner.
Me too. I have a very hard time with dinner if I don't meal plan. We also do a ton of prep on the weekends. I love using my crockpot but there are only a few meals we like (and all of us can eat) in the crockpot.
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#6 of 24 Old 03-17-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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I am in the exact same boat as the OP. I get home from work around 6, 6:15 after picking DS up from daycare. We play for a little bit, sit at the table and he eats, bath, nurse, and he's in bed by 7:30 or so, so we usually don't eat until 8 or 8:30! I would love to do more meal planning, but my nights consist of so much bottle cleaning/preparing/labeling for daycare, plus I have to scald all my pumped milk or DS won't drink it, plus cooking/cleaning from dinner that night, that on the weekends I don't want to spend hours preparing food and cooking! Although I really need to try it. It sucks eating so late.

Mom of 2 feisty boys and 1 busy business --Tmuffin--where we help moms connect through birth, babywearing, play, and parenthood.

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#7 of 24 Old 03-17-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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I'm home by 5:30pm, DH by 6pm, and we usually eat between 7:30 to 8:30, depending on the night. DD is in bed by 7:30, so unless I have dinner made on the weekend, we don't eat until she is in bed since we want to spend time with her, feed her food, and put her to bed. We also have all the pump and bottle cleaning/prepping at night, plus dishes, etc. so that takes a lot of time too.

I love the weeks when I can prep dinner on the weekend, it leaves so much more time to relax in the evenings during the week! When I do that, I'll make 2-3 things that last us for the week. I'd rather eat the same thing 2-3 times in a week than have to prep dinner in the middle of the week!
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#8 of 24 Old 03-17-2010, 06:49 PM
 
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We handle it slightly different than most people I know: we all eat our main meal at noon and then we eat lightly in the evening. It worked for DH and I for years and then when DD came along, we continued the practice. I usually pack DD a non-traditional lunch which consists of dinner-like items. On Sundays we usually cook a pot of soup, beans or curried veggies and heat that up during the week for a very light dinner. I found that by doing this, we have eliminated a lot of tasks in the evening.

"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
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#9 of 24 Old 03-17-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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When I was nursing right after getting home, DH always cooked. That way once DD was finished with her nurse/cuddle session, we could sit down to dinner. Now that the kids are older, DH and I alternate who cooks and who does the final push to get homework done.

I can usually get dinner on the table within about 30 minutes of coming in the door, assuming that the kids don't need me for anything first. So usually we eat by 6:30. This does take some meal planning/advanced preparation and a collection of good easy recipes. We do crock pot about once a week, stir fry at least once (pre-prep veggies & meat), pasta and make-ahead-and-freeze-sauce one night and grilled something easy one night. On Fridays we either order pizza or go out. I enjoy cooking more elaborate things but I save it for weekend nights when preparing a big feast is often a family thing.
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#10 of 24 Old 03-18-2010, 01:13 AM
 
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I WISH I could meal plan better like GuildJen, but I do poorly with making any chore routine. It get's done when it gets done.
I am terrible at many chores, but I do like to cook.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#11 of 24 Old 03-18-2010, 01:14 AM
 
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I work part-time but on the days I work, I usually don't get home until 5:30/6:00. On those days we have simple meals. I can get dinner on the table (with DH's help) within 30 minutes. (I have a nursing babe, too.)
I freeze soups and chilis that I can thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove in 15 minutes. We have salads most nights as a side. Crockpot one night with leftovers the second night (not the next night, too redundant). We usually have pasta at least once a week -- spaghetti with meatballs and sauce (frozen and reheated quickly), linguini with shrimp (from frozen -- toss in a pan with olive oil, garlic, parsley), lasagna or baked ziti (previously frozen).

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#12 of 24 Old 03-18-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
We get home at 5:30 and usually are eating by 6-6:15 but I am kind of a rabid meal planner.

I can outline how I do in general principle it but it's not for everyone.

I do one meal a week in the crockpot (usually wed or thurs), but I agree it can get tiring if you are always doing stews or pot roasts or BBQ whatever. I do something like a soup one week, a chili one week, a bean dish one week, and a stew or pot roast the next week. I've been collecting good recipes for a while. Pea soup, chickpea stew, 'baked' beans, potato-cheddar soup, white or red chili, rosemary red wine stew are pretty much my go-to list.

With the soups we have hummus and flat bread or cheese toast or savoury biscuits, and salad and raw vegetables. I prepare all those in advance. We pretty much have a platter of raw veggies at every meal, or a salad.

In fact I wash and cut up all our veggies on the weekend, more or less, so that they are easy to cook quickly. I wash the lettuce and spinach and kale too.

On the weekend I usually in the cooler seasons load up the oven with some casseroles (cassoulet, pasta al forno, quiche, tortilla casserole, etc.) and then reheat them when I get home. I plan them so that we eat them earlier in the week to prevent spoilage. Any prep I can save is a good thing. In the summer I make a big pasta, bean/grain or rice salad, and just grill meat or veggie skewers on the side.

We also have stir fries and again, I do the prep either on the weekend or the night before so all I have to do is walk in, heat up the pan, and start cooking. Marinating any meat or tofu makes it yummier anyway. If we're doing stir-fried rice I cook the rice the night before too (during dinner usually).

I use leftovers, either as a mixed leftover night (a la The Incredibles) or as components for other meals - like chili from the crockpot gets used as a baked potato topping. That kind of thing.

One night a week we usually have fish and veggies and either whole grain buns, or if I have time, a quicker-cooking side dish like orzo and peas. Fish bakes up really quickly in the toaster oven.

So a week would look pretty much like -

Saturday night - something that requires prep time right then so we're not bored ; prep all veggies
Sunday night - a roast chicken with roasted vegetables and polenta, + a bean cassoulet and a quiche cooked in the same oven.
Monday night - quiche and salad and steamed veggies
Tuesday night - cassoulet and grilled polenta (from Sun) and green beans
Wed night - leftovers + fresh breadmaker bread
Thurs night - pea soup from crockpot + veggies + hummus and pita
Fri night - fish and orzo and veggies or leftovers if there are still some and we're not bored
On behalf of busy working mothers across the nation, I think we all need immediate access to your recipes, especially those crock pot ones.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#13 of 24 Old 03-18-2010, 12:55 PM
 
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Ahhhh, cooking. I F*ING HATE COOKING WITH A PASSION! Seriously. and I used to want to put my head in the oven when I was home alone with both kids, trying to cook while HOLDING DS2 (because hes that kind of kid, still is) and keep up with the laundry.

Ever since my husbands hours have changed dramatically, he has started dinner before I get home in the evenings. Its been HEAVEN. I cooked alone for the first time last night, because he was fixing my car at his fathers house. . I am not going to post what I made, because i will more then likely get flamed, but the kids loved it and we were eating by 530. I usually get home around 445-5, and if my husbands starts dinner, we are eating by 530. If I have to do it all myself due to his hours changing, we are not eatng til 6 or 630.
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#14 of 24 Old 03-18-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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We eat about 8 also. We used to eat even later--maybe around 9:30 before we had children (that was a million years ago, though)
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#15 of 24 Old 03-18-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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If you loved the crockpot, this is a GREAT blog by a woman who cooked something in the slow cooker every day for a year: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/

It has a lot of recipies that you wouldn't think you can do in a crock, and she posts all of the times and reviews by her family. Maybe that could help not cook the meat too much and give you some fresh ideas?
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#16 of 24 Old 03-20-2010, 02:04 PM
 
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While you deal with the baby, have dh start dinner. Older kids can help with dinner, finish up homework, or take baths before dinner. That way, you can eat earlier (at least on some nights) and half the bedtime routine is done before dinner. And do 30-minute meals on week nights. Longer prep/cook time meals on the weekends. Do prep work before you leave for work. Or cook on the weekends and reheat during the week.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#17 of 24 Old 03-21-2010, 03:10 AM
 
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My previous schedule was work until 6:30, home at 7. The second I walk in the door I start dinner, it's on the table at 7:30. Bath/bed at 8 pm. Recently I have been able to push this all back 30 minutes, having dinner at 7 is a revolutionary luxury that makes the rest of the evening go smoother.

Just as the others say, meal planning is a must. I know what I am going to make for the whole week before I go grocery shopping. Everything is purchased in one fell swoop on Sundays.
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#18 of 24 Old 03-21-2010, 04:58 AM
 
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We get home a little before 6:00 and my goal is to have dinner on the table by 6:15--and that includes putting the dog out, feeding her, and collecting eggs from the chickens and giving them their treat.

I meal plan for the week on Saturday and shop for the week on Sunday. On Sunday, I prepare the week's entrees and pop them in the fridge. While an entree is re-heating on a weeknight, I fix the veggies, fruit salad, or whatever else we're having as a side.

Our meals are simple. Basically, a main dish and a side dish. DD enjoys dessert (a piece of fruit, a cup of cocoa, etc.) while she's in the tub so that's a little bit of time-saving multitasking.

Our weekday rotation includes:
--beef, lamb, or pork
--chicken
--vegetarian
--soup/sandwich
--fish or shellfish

Between 6:00 and 8:30, we have to have dinner, tend the pets, practice DD's spelling words, do DD's reading, DD's bath, say prayers, and chat a little as she dozes off. I just don't have the option to spend much time on dinner, plus I really don't want to at the end of a long day.

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#19 of 24 Old 03-22-2010, 11:15 PM
 
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Well I think every family is different, but here are the ones I mentioned, more or less:

Stew
- small amount of olive oil or (shhh) bacon grease
- 1-2 lbs stew beef, trimmed and cubed in larger chunks (do not use a better cut)
- flour, salt and pepper

- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1-2 baking potatoes, scrubbed and diced
- 2 ribs celery, sliced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
- 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons dried rosemary or 2-3 sprigs fresh
- a few shakes soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste

For best results dredge stew beef in flour, salt, and pepper and brown in olive oil/fat. However you don't have to.

Layer onions and potatoes on bottom, then meat, then everything else and pour liquid over. Sometimes I add water to bring the level up a bit higher. Cook 8-10 hrs on low.

The potato soup recipe is here, but I use either no milk or evaporated skim milk:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/fo...ve-Soup-237290

Chili is verrrry personal. Our white chili is based on this recipe: http://southernfood.about.com/od/cro...r/bl118c19.htm and our red chili never really comes out the same twice.

The baked beans are pretty much the Moosewood ones. Basically, two cans of navy beans (or equivalent), one chopped onion, a whack of chopped garlic , a cup of barbeque sauce, a tablespoon or a bit more of dijon mustard, two tablespoons of maple syrup, one tablespoon molasses. Ideally you saute the onions and garlic and then mix everything and put in the crockpot for 8-10 hrs on low, but sometimes I just toss everything in.

Also from Moosewood, the cassoulet: http://www.jewishfood-list.com/recip...uletveg01.html

Chickpea stew: Ummmm a big can chickpeas, a can of diced tomatoes, a bunch of washed spinach, 1 onion, a whack of chopped garlic, two tablespoons tomato paste, copious amounts of oregano, salt and pepper, and either water + soy sauce or 2 cups of vegetable stock. I throw in potatoes or carrots sometimes too. Top with feta cheese after serving.

Pea soup: 1 smaller package green or yellow split peas, 1 tablespoon thyme or a bit less, 1 chopped onion, one finely diced carrot, 1 diced potato, two bay leaves, about a half teaspoon of hungarian paprika, salt and pepper, and 6 cups of water or stock. If feeling indulgent, either two rashers of bacon, a ham bone, or a handful of diced ham. But you really don't need that (although then it does help to have proper stock).

My hummus is a can of chick peas, squirt of lemon juice, two cloves of garlic, and a tablespoon of tahini if I have it, 1 tablepoon or a bit more of olive oil and then water until it's the right consistency with some sea salt and pepper. I whirl it all in the food processor.

Polenta: 1 cup cornmeal to 4 cups of water - boil water, whisk in cornmeal, simmer for a while stirring now and then. Add salt to taste. You can add cheese and stuff but I don't usually.

Orzo and peas - cook orzo pasta; throw in frozen peas for last couple of minutes. Toss with a couple tablespoons of butter and salt and pepper to taste.

Quiche is variable but I usually use refrigerator pie crust (I know, but seriously), layer vegetables on it, pour 8 eggs mixed with a bit of milk over it, top with grated cheese. Vegetables are usually leftover.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#20 of 24 Old 03-23-2010, 09:20 AM
 
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I hate cooking too! We eat around 5, but sometimes it's really nice when DS starts cooking and it's nearly ready when DS and I walk in the door. DH works at home, so if he's not too busy he's able to start dinner. And believe me, DS (19 months) is the one who's starving when he comes home, so dinner needs to be ready fast. He gets very cranky and clingy if you don't feed him fast enough. It's so hard to cook one handed.

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#21 of 24 Old 03-23-2010, 11:23 AM
 
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I get home around 5 and if I beat DH home, I will start working on dinner, but it is primarily DH's "job" as I need to BF and whatnot. We usually eat around 6 or so.

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#22 of 24 Old 03-23-2010, 04:27 PM
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I bow down to all of you meal planners. I am seriously inspired. I know it is something we should do but weekends get filled with, you know, FUN things. There's always a brunch, or school event, or birthday party to attend, a long walk somewhere, a play date to host. The weekend just seems to evaporate. The crazy thing is, my husband has become an ace grocery shopper over the last few years. Sadly he doesn't cook or meal plan, but he has transformed himself from the guy who didn't even know there were different kinds onions to the guy who brings home the right olive oil, the fancy arborio rice, and the shallots I asked for without missing a beat (well maybe a beat here or there). I should really capitalize on his skill and start making killer Sunday shopping lists.
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#23 of 24 Old 03-24-2010, 12:01 PM
 
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I hate cooking too! We eat around 5, but sometimes it's really nice when DS starts cooking and it's nearly ready when DS and I walk in the door. DH works at home, so if he's not too busy he's able to start dinner. And believe me, DS (19 months) is the one who's starving when he comes home, so dinner needs to be ready fast. He gets very cranky and clingy if you don't feed him fast enough. It's so hard to cook one handed.
Dylan ate half his dinner on the way home from dc when he was that age. That way, he wasn't starving and left me alone so I could get dinner ready.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#24 of 24 Old 03-24-2010, 12:06 PM
 
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I meal plan just before I go grocery shopping as part of writing the grocery list. I keep in mind how much time I have to cook each night but I don't assign a specfic meal to each night. I just plan 5-6 meals for the week and decide what to have that night sometime during the day if the meat is in the fridge or think about several days at a time and get the meat for those meals out of the freezer. Whatever is defrosted first is what we have first. It was only when dh's mom started to go grocery shopping with me that I started doing the shopping on Saturday.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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