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Before I had children, I used to love
to cook. I spent hours in the kitchen preparing meals from scratch,
making sauces and roasting meats. After my son was born, I realized
that I could no longer spend hours chopping veggies in the kitchen
with a newborn. Suddenly, I no longer knew what to cook -- all of my
recipes took too much time. I had to completely reinvent the way I
cooked dinner (think quick and easy!!!) What time saving tips do you
have for cooking dinner with children? Are there any great recipes
that you make regularly?
I found myself in the same place with my new son...let's say I've now learned to cook with one hand b/c I'm holding him most of the time. My son is 3 months and I'm breastfeeding which makes what I prepare difficult too.
What I'm doing is sticking with things I can prepare pretty easily and I'm making more of it when I do so I have leftovers. this way, my husband and I can have leftovers thoughout the week. I make meatloaf, chicken w/stuffing, taco fixings, baked chicken, porkchops with veggies, and speggitti w/ meatsauce. Sounds kind of plain...well, it is but, it's better than having nothing to eat when the baby is fussy! When the baby is sleeping I try to make something I really enjoy that takes longer (from scratch) like coffeecake. Good luck to you...! I think the best policy is to keep it simple. Once the baby is older you can spice your cooking life up a bit...
we eat a lot of "plain" things too. i have found a few frozen things that are actually really good and dad helps a lot too by keeping my now 7 month old busy so I can cook. look online for quick and easy things to make
i try and plan out a meal i still cook from scratch...one thing that make it easier is we went out and got a chopper so i dont have to cut the veggies by hand you can slice them into smallish peices and just use the chopper to make them the size you need. i also try to find receipts for things that take a little longer to cook but not everything needs done at once like meatloaf and mashed paotatoes the meatloaf take about an hour to cook where as the potatoes only take about 30 minutes. So i'm not just standing there chopping and cutting and mixing for half an hour it kind of spreads it's self out over...yeah i have to start cooking dinner earlier but it makes it easier. But Planning is a big key in it so i know what i need and when i need to start or add it.
The slow cooker is your freind when you have kids, you can still make a delicious meal that you don't have to watch or stir. You can chop everything when the baby sleeps even the night before and then just put it in the slow cooker in the morning. there are a lot of slow cooker cook books out there with new ideas.
Slower cooker is my best friend. I am also a fan of freezing meals. Pasta is quick and easy to freeze. Baked Ziti is my fav!
Another suggestion is when you have the time to cook make double and freeze the 2nd portion for use later. Soups and stews freeze nice and you can just use freezer bags to store them in to help keep costs down. Take it from the freeezer in the AM and put in in the crock pot to thaw and warm during the day.
Here is one idea that my cousin gave me. Lets say you are making chicken breasts and you know you are not going to use the whole package. Cook the extras up anyway and freeze them. It is one less step you will have to do when want to use them. You could thaw the chicken, cook up some pasta and red sauce, dice up the thawed cooked chicken and.. Tada! You have a great meal in under 30 mins. Or better yet make chicken wraps. Slice it up and serve with lettuce tomatoes or bacon, wrap it in a tortilla and you got yourself a nice lunch or quick dinner.
I am sure there are several meats you could do it with.
crock pot recipies are a great time saver. I also use the website allrecipes.com They have great recipes and they are from everyday people. You can adjust the servings and they give time it takes to perpare.
What I have learned to do since I three kids at home is I get my oldest to help me and we plan a week dinner. For example, I will buy ground chuck and have homemade hamburgers on Monday, which is not to hard to do and I will split it in half to make either tacos or hamburger helper which my younger kids are 6 and 4 can help assemble and they think that they are really helping mom cook!. but if that does not work, use a crock pot and assemble all your veggies and meat while the baby is asleep and put it on early in the morning if you can so then by dinner time, you ahve a good hot meal.
My wife joined a local Mom's club. In addition to having activities to keep your toddler busy, they also have a program where whenever one of the Mom's in the club has a baby, a calendar is setup where all the other mom's pick a day to bring dinner to the new (busy!) family. My wife and I have made several meals over the past year as babies were born, and very much look forward to receiving the meals next month when our second child is born!