Life moves fast for all of us. Hours turn into days, days into weeks, weeks into months. Before we know it, we’re welcoming a new season. Right now we are on the cusp of Spring -yay!- but that doesn’t mean we’ll be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, schedules may actually be busier as we enjoy more hours of daylight. 

No matter what season, I find that I still have to deal with that tough question: “what’s for dinner?” Sometimes I feel stuck in a rut, eating the same things again and again. Other times, I feel inspired to cook. 

One thing I’ve found that is a recipe for success is meal planning and prepping. It may seem like a lot of extra work, but it actually doesn’t take as much time as you might think and it sets you up for success all week long. 

Here are a few ways to help with the process:

  • Meal plan for the week. Sit down and map out what you’ll have for dinner each night (I like to do this on a Sunday). Keep in mind if there’s a night where you have meetings, school functions or sporting events, as this all plays a factor in what you might choose for dinner. Remember it doesn’t always have to be an elaborate meal – soup and sandwiches or pancakes and sausage are all yummy options.
  • Make a shopping list. Take stock of what items you have in your fridge and freezer, on hand in the pantry and what you’d like to make for the week. This allows you to know what you’ve got and what you need and you can plan your shopping list accordingly. 
  • Stick to theme nights. This makes it convenient for you and your family, if you’re cooking for a crew. You can try Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays and Pizza Fridays. Or perhaps there’s a night you have a lot of commitments and you know you usually do carry-out from somewhere. Write it all down and you’ll be organized for the week!
  • Plan for the season. When it’s colder out, soups, stews and savory dishes in the crockpot are great dinner options. As the weather warms up, you may not want to spend time cooking as much indoors. This is a great time to dust off the grill and put it to use. Chicken, fish, shrimp – even hamburgers and hotdogs – are all great ideas for dinner and taste even better on the grill. 
  • Prepare what you can. The more you can get ready ahead of time, the easier it’ll be to get a healthy, wholesome dinner on the table. Chop veggies on the weekend. That way you can easily toss them into salads, roast them in the oven or grab when you want a quick snack. You can also prepare certain spice rubs, marinades or salad dressings a few days in advance. 
  • Top it off with something from Ashley’s Pastries. We can help with the final ingredient for your meal plan – fresh baked bread, rolls or rye salt sticks. These are the perfect complements to any meal and we make them fresh daily. Simply swing by during your lunch break or on your way home from work to pick up your favorite. Even better – give us a call and we can have everything prepped, packaged and waiting for you when you stop by. You can make dinner on a Wednesday feel a little more special when you serve something from Ashley’s. After all, we love having a place at your table and believe everyday should be celebrated deliciously!
  • Stick with it. As with most things in life, you’ve got to stick with meal planning and prepping for a bit before it becomes an easy part of your routine. We promise it’ll be worth it!

Got any tips or tricks to make dinner time easier in your house? Share your ideas with us – we’d love to hear from you.