Friday, January 24, 2014

Mommy's Little Helpers

I'd been going through a dinner-cooking slump the past few months.

Partly due to everyone's schedules pulling us a million directions.
Partly due to the fact that I. Hate. Cooking.

Actually, mostly due to that.

So new year, new optimism, new resolutions and all that, I decided I was going to do something about it.

Did you decide to cook more, you ask....?




Sigh (wipes tear from cheek).

Yeah.... NO.

I decided I would have my KIDS cook more.

Yes. I am a genius. You can say it. Gen.Ius.

There now.

Anyway, here's what I did. I wrote a list of all the meals we typically eat, then passed it around a table of very morose looking teenagers. They were each to pick four meals: one that was "challenging", one no-brainer, and two middle of the road meals. They were not allowed to pick the same dishes. That gave us 24 meals with no repeats. Plus room in the month for Friday night pizza as well as a few leftover/scrounge nights. Shoot, maybe I would even cook a meal now and again.

So then I wrote it all out on chalkboard paint next to my fridge.

On Sunday I look at the calendar and see who will be out on which nights, and then I plan who will be cooking what on which nights. For those "challenging" meals that were selected, I make sure I will be home so that I can walk the child through it, though I keep hands off. That way when they try it again a month later, they should know how to make it all by themselves.  "Should" being the operative word.

Once they've made a meal, I place a little checkmark next to it so I can keep track of which meals we've had. Otherwise they might try to convince me that we haven't already eaten macaroni and cheese 17 times in one month and I might just believe them.

So far, so good. We've been doing this for a couple weeks now. We have had no repeat dinners. I have still been in the kitchen a good bit helping kids learn how to make quesadillas and chili dip and baked ham, but there have also been several nights that I could either be out and about playing chauffeur or home sitting on my haunches and eating the proverbial bon-bons. Plus, they will each know how to prepare four things well. Just think of the life skills lessons here! I am doing these children of mine a service, I tell you, a service. They will thank me.

And for those of you sane people out there with only two or three kids, this could work just as well for you. Two kids could still cook two dinners a week for you, which is two fewer than YOU have to cook. That is a good thing. A very good thing. Or if you're not afraid of being reported to the authorities for child abuse, you could even have them each cook TWO meals a week. GASP!

Anyway, hope this helps those of you that are wondering how you can be at home getting a hot meal on the table while you are across town sitting in an overheated gymnastics studio waiting area enduring the smell of sweaty feet and the sound of overbearing helicopter parents bragging on their daughter's perfect back handspring.

Now fist bump with me and say "Parent Powers ACTIVATE!"


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  1. this is a great idea. I always wish I could do a list of meals for my family :)

  2. And now you can! Hope it works for you. Thanks for dropping by!



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