via Martha Stewart (Spinach & Gruyere quiche was one of my meals this week).
My stomach voices it's empty displeasure, and I look at the clock. 6:30 PM. David walks into the room and says, "What's for dinner?" I look at him and respond, "I don't know, what do you want?" Much like the scene from the Jungle Book, he responds, "I don't know, what do you want?" We might open the fridge and stare at the empty abyss for a moment, take a glance in the pantry, and then I say, "Well, I'm too hungry to make anything. Let's just go out."
This is our frequent routine. Between school, work, homework, Dmitri, keeping the house up, and maybe doing a load of laundry occasionally, we are exhausted by dinner time. However, being in school and working non-living wage jobs, doesn't leave us with a lot of extra spending money. Going out to eat left us feeling heavy with guilt, and our pockets lighter.
This has been going on for months, primarily since Dmitri was born. I absolutely love to cook and bake, but I don't have the time and energy with so much going on. Plus, what I really hate is cleaning up! If I did have the energy to prepare a nutritious meal, I definitely don't feel like washing all of the dishes afterward!
So we had a dilemma. After months of knowing something has to change, but not really figuring out what, we have worked out a system that seems to be working quite well. It has taken so much stress off of us, and we can finally answer the question, "What's for dinner"!
Here is how we do it.
Sundays are our "meal-planning days." We go out to eat, plan out the week's meals, make a grocery list, and go grocery shopping. This is the one day that we get to eat out!
We have the week divided up equally:
I cook dinner on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
David cooks dinner on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
Whoever doesn't cook, does the clean up!
We plan meals according to how much prep time we have. On Saturdays, I can cook a big gourmet meal, because we have the afternoons free. On Tuesdays, however, we have back-to-back classes from 9:30 AM - 6:15 PM, so that night, David will cook something easy, like a pasta dish.
It takes a little dedication. But here is what I've found:
-Knowing that I only have to cook 3 nights a week means that I feel excited about cooking those meals. I put more time and effort into them, and enjoy cooking more!
-We are saving a lot of money!
-We are cutting down on a lot of stress!
-David is getting more involved in the meals.
All in all. It's been a positive experience! If you have the "what's for dinner" problem, perhaps give meal-planning a try!