If you’re ever too tired to make dinner by the end of the day, this tip might be for you! While making dinner in the morning isn’t my preferred method of meal prep, it’s really come in handy through certain phases of the early childhood years.
I found it especially helpful to make dinner in the morning when I was physically exhausted by 3 pm during my 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. If I made dinner after breakfast, when I still had energy for the day, I could spend the pre-dinner witching hours reading to the toddler(s) on the couch, or taking a quick nap while they watched a movie.
Here are some tips to make cooking dinner in the morning work for you.
WARM IT UP
A lot of things can be made entirely ahead of time and just warmed up, or made in avdance but baked right before it’s time to eat. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Spinach Stuffed Shells with Marinara
- Pork Lettuce Wraps
- Fake-out Lasagna
- Best Chicken Enchiladas with White Sauce.
MAKE A SAUCE OR MARINADE
I wanted to try this portabello pesto panini, so I did the pesto ahead of time and laid out all ingredients that could be out. Then when it came time to eat, pulling it all together took less than 10 minutes. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as my first graders used to cheer.
You could make a marinade in the morning, and marinade your meat all day. Then throw it on the grill or in the oven 30 minutes before dinner time. Here are 5 of our favorite marinades. You could even quadruple a marinade recipe and refrigerate it in a mason jar. Then you’d have it for future use.
DO THE PREP WORK AHEAD OF TIME
Sometimes I just do the prep work for dinner in the morning. Fruit or veggie chopping, gathering ingredients, make the stir fry sauce, cook the chicken for a salad, etc.. Then I throw it all together right before dinner.
You could also do your prep work for the whole week on one day. I recently tried Hello Fresh, which gave me the idea to spend Sunday afternoons meal prepping. You could aim to mimic those meal-delivery services for a fraction of the price.
- Pick a few recipes from Hello Fresh. (Click ‘recipes’ on the top left of their website.) They’re simple, but unique. Every meal we tried from them was AMAZING. (If you want to try Hello Fresh, here’s an affiliate link to give you a $40 off… might as well try it for one week because that’s a heck of a cheap week of dinners!)
- Print recipes for the week and magnet them to your fridge.
- Order the ingredients from your favorite local grocery store that does online pickup or delivery.
- Chop veggies and divide all ingredients into small tupperwares and/or zip locks and gather them together in some clear acrylic bins in your fridge. Use a dry erase marker to write which recipe goes with the bin on the side of it.
MAKE THINGS THAT YIELD LEFTOVERS
I often make a giant salad that we eat as a side dish for a couple days. Sometimes, I’ll add grilled chicken to it for lunch too. Clear glass food storage is ideal, so you can see it and don’t forget it’s there!
Even if no one dish yields enough leftovers for everyone to have it again, you can have a leftover night at the end of the week. Everyone can pick their favorites from the week or have a little bit of everything.
USE YOUR CROCKPOT
This tip is obvious right? A couple of my go-to crockpot recipes are:
- 3 Ingredient Crockpot Chicken Tacos
- Honey Garlic Chicken
- 8 Slow-Cooker Chicken Recipes from Damn Delicious. I like everything I’ve ever tried on her site.
- 39 Easy & Appetizing Crockpot Soup Recipes. (These look so yummy!)
WHAT TIPS OR TRICKS DO YOU HAVE FOR MAKING DINNER IN THE MORNING?
Leave your ideas or favorite recipes in the comment section below.
P.S. If you ever feel overwhelmed in your everyday mom life, try my new free email challenge. I can’t promise to eliminate all overwhelm, because, well, kids will be kids. BUT, the principles and tips I share in this course have transformed me from a crabby & stressed mom to one who enjoys my kids… most of the time!