home, HOMEPAGE, recipes

Make Ahead Dinners for Busy Weeknight

The holiday season is officially upon us and I am so excited! As you probably know by now, I love this time of year. There is just something about the music, lights, and celebrations that always makes December feel so magical (I think I have already been watching too much Hallmark). This weekend, we picked out and decorated our tree so it felt extra “Christmas-y” (Luckily M likes Christmas just as much as me).  And since I have been a little MIA from the blog for a few weeks so I wanted to fill you in on my Holiday “breaks in routine”.

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I will start out by admitting that I have been in a bit of a rut lately. Ever since Thanksgiving, I haven’t been on top of my A-game. Meals have consisted of leftovers, takeout or using whatever we had in the freezer/fridge. And being the type of person that I am, the lack of creative & balanced meals 24/7 coming out of my kitchen has definitely got the best of me. I started this blog as a place to share useful and easy kitchen tips and techniques when it comes to getting into the kitchen and what kind of example am I if I do not practice what I preach?

With all the hustle and bustle around the holidays, it is SO easy to get stressed and overwhelmed and I know I am not alone in this which is why I wanted to share. After a little self-pity, I have decided to go easy on myself for the next few weeks and not stress out about having every single meal of the week planned out or about bring in takeout after a busy day (and neither should you!). After all, I️ am working on building a dream into a reality so any extra time I can get will be put into sharing more content for you.

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So if you too are feeling run down or that the holidays are stressing you out, take a step back and slow it down. I have come to realize that everything always finds a way to get done and we often stress for no reason. There is only so much one person can do in 24 hours and that doesn’t have to include everything on your to-do list.

Okay, you get the point, I’ll stop with the sob story! So, what does one do when they feel burnt out? Go back to basics and start out slow. Here are four of the area’s that I like reassess when I get stressed out to the max.

Planning
Use whatever system works for you, but stick to it. I love google calendar, I can access it from anywhere and all of my devices are synced up to it. I will use it as an outline of what needs to be done and how I can manage to fit everything in. Start by the month. Are there any big events, projects or meetings coming up that might take up more time (or stress) than normally? Once you have jotted down the big ticket items break it down by week, what can you to accomplish this week that will ultimately help your end goal? From there you can create a To-Do list for each day that ties the week together. My rule of thumb is NEVER to have your To-Do list exceed 8-10 tasks. Otherwise, you may look at it and feel overwhelmed – which basically defeats the purpose of planning.

Preparation
Preparation can be your best friend. When you know you have a super busy week coming up, it pays to be prepared. If your weeknights are filled, plan to have that week’s worth of dinners premade.  Use the weekend to get your food shopping done. Plan out one or two meals that will allow you to have leftovers (ie crockpot or casserole). Lately,  I️ have found myself meal prepping batches of chili (recipe & video coming soon) for quick filling meals during the week. Coming home after a long day knowing there is one less thing to worry about is a huge relief!

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Flexibility
This is always a tough one for me. It’s inevitable that things are not going to go the way we wanted them to 24/7. I am such an organized person that when things aren’t heading in the direction that I planned for I automatically begin to stress. I am lucky to have found someone who is the opposite of me and will always bring me back to reality and the reality is, we need to be flexible with our expectation of what is supposed to be. Things don’t always work out the way we hoped or wanted them to be and that’s OK too because good things happen when we least expect them.

Time for yourself
Last, but not least, it is non-negotiable that you must make time for yourself. Whether it is enjoying a meal out, spending time with friends and family, pampering yourself or even if it is 20 minutes in the morning while you drink your coffee. It is so important to relax and try to have fun, even if you need to plan it into the schedule. Life is too short and the last thing any of us want is to feel burnt out and miserable in a season that should be filled with joy (nobody likes a Grinch).

Plus
*I’ve got you covered for those last minute gifts – Don’t forget use HOLIDAY17 at checkout for 20% off your first month of a Quoco Now monthly subscription. Guaranteed delivery before the big day!

So in order to keep this a food-related blog post, here are some good go-to make-ahead meals for those busy weeknights. (FYI – all can be made ahead of time).

delish
Creamy Cheddar Quinoa with Chicken & Spinach
One-Pot-Gluten-Free-Lasagna-Soup4
One Pot Lasagna Soup
Ultimate-Slow-Cooker-Pot-Roast-4
Ultimate Slow Cooker Pot Roast
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Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

 

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