Thursday, January 10, 2008

5 Keys to Successful Dinners

1. Plan Ahead

Every time you go shopping have a menu and a list for the amount of dinners until next shopping trip. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate just a few things jotted down for each night (like: Mon.~ chili, corn muffins, toppings). Then, each night after dinner, choose which meal you are having tomorrow night and do any necessary preparations ( i.e. soak beans, put frozen meat in fridge, etc.). It is also nice to write yourself a note of what needs done in morning or just make a mental note.

2. Prepare Early

Do as much preparation as possible early in the day when you are bright and fresh. This will go a long way to having a peaceful afternoon. Employ your slow cooker when practical, this is especially nice in the summer when you don’t want to heat the kitchen up and slave over a stove top. ( At the end of this I will share one of my favorite slow cooker meals.)

3. Allow Plenty of Time

Dinner preparation always take longer than I think. Even if most of it is done before noon, I still need to set the table, make the beverage (that is tea around here), prepare the vegetables and do any last minute sides. If you have little helpers-in-training (younger siblings or children) be sure to plan time so they can be a part of the preparations, this will save you time in the future as my mom daily attest.☺

4. Clean as You Go

When you finish with a dish rinse it and put in the dishwasher or sink, wipe counters when you are finished with them, throw away trash as you make it, and clean up spills immediately. It may take a while to develop this good habit, but if you have allowed enough time it will be much easier.

5. Leave the Kitchen Spotless

If possible, as soon as dinner is done clear and wipe counters and table, wash all dishes, and sweep the floor. By leaving your kitchen thus you will wake up to a clean and orderly start in the morning.

My Favorite Crock-Pot Meal:

Sour Cream and Dill Chicken


8-10 pieces chicken (thawed the night before)
pepper to taste
2c. sour cream
2 (10.5 oz) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 onion soup mix packet
2 T. lemon juice
2 t. dill

Place chicken in bottom of large slow cooker and sprinkle with black pepper. In large mixing bowl combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4.
Serve over rice (recipe following) with a side of mixed vegetables.

Soaked Rice
(Nourishing Traditions Recipe)

2 c. brown rice
4 c. warm water
4 T. whey, yogurt, buttermilk or keifer
1t. sea salt
2-4 T. butter

In saucepan combine rice, water, and whey (you can also substitute lemon juice or vinegar). Leave in warm place for at least seven hours (I usually do this right after breakfast). Bring to boil and skim foam, reduce to low and stir in salt and butter; cover tightly. Without removing lid, cook over lowest heat possible for about 45 minutes. Yummy!

These are not original ideas, I have gleaned them over the past couple of years from all the wonderful older women in my life.


Under Southern Skies said...

This is sort of what we do too. I enjoyed reading these. Lydia, you most be a great help to your mom. :)

Lydia said...

I hope, she is such a blessing to me!