Sharing Meals

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If you'd like to share your thoughts on our "Sharing Meals" newsletter, please do so here. We'd love to hear what you think!

By: Bonnie Pega | Oct 11, 2012 09:22 PM | Permalink
My two sons are grown now but when they were in high school and both heavily involved in sports (and part-time jobs), it was nearly impossible to find time to eat together. Sunday afternoons were usually the only day we weren't all running in one direction or the other--only I work retail and worked on Sundays. Most evenings it was 9 or later before everything was done. So we made it a habit to all sit down together several nights a week about 9:30 or so for "dessert". During the summer it was, as often as not, ice cream or cold watermelon. Winter, it was often hot cocoa or popcorn.

By: Arlene Wright-Correll | Oct 6, 2012 11:31 AM | Permalink
As parents of 5 children we had the same problem back in 1972 when a program called "Title IX" became enacted.

Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, Public Law No. 92 318, 86 Stat. 235 (June 23, 1972), codified at 20 U.S.C. sections 1681 through 1688, U.S. legislation also identified by the name of its principal author as the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. It states (in part) that "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance" and included sports.

Our dinner sit down went out the window with 5 kids doing 5 different sports after school and up to 9 pm at night.

So our solution was to make breakfast our time together meal and it worked out fine for us.

Arlene Wright-Correll Home Farm Herbery.

By: | Oct 5, 2012 01:55 PM | Permalink
Some solutions 1.change the time of your dinner if you can 2.prepare a few types of dishes over the weekend so you have enough meal items until, say Thursday. 3.enjoy a family meal together by dining out before/after the activities 4.have a picnic meal before or after their activity

By: Sylvia Burgos Toftness | Oct 5, 2012 04:01 AM | Permalink
Although our kids are grown and living on their own, my husband and I still have full-time off farm jobs while working to build our small herd of 100% grass-fed beef. By the time I've made the 65-mile commute back home in the evening, I'm pooped and hungry. We use just a handful of strategies to eat healthfully and locally: keep things simple, cook large quantities of favorites and freeze some for future meals, and use a programmable crockpot. Some other ideas: - I try to keep fruit and veggies within easy reach so that we can avoid snacking on junk food as we wait for dinner to warm up. - We've given ourselves permission to keep things simple. It's OK to dine on BLTs, quesadillas, or grill cheese and tomato soup every so often. This keeps the stress down and gives us more time just to be together. - I bake my hearth breads on the weekends, when I've got more free time. I use my bread machine during the week and make sure I use organic and fresh ingredients all the time.

By: | Oct 2, 2012 09:09 PM | Permalink
I was a Personal Chef for 12 years and made weekly and sometimes monthly meals for my clients. I often practice my Personal Chef skills at home for my husband and me. Recently I made 4 pounds of ground chicken into chicken patties and froze them individually. When it comes time to cook them I will just have to oil the pan and cook them off. I entertain alot and I always have something on hand that I can whip up at the last minute. You can freeze just about any dish. Fresh is great but frozen is a life saver.

By: Joe Fleshner | Oct 2, 2012 01:50 PM | Permalink
When the time for Children's extra-curricular activities became important in our home {My son started gymnastics at age nine, My daughter at age 10} We moved dinner back to 8:30 pm. I am a chef and restaurant purchased meals were a rarity. When time was available I created meals to feed 10+. On Monday's and Tuesdays the meals we ate were made after I returned home from the gym. On Wednesday-Friday I re-Worked Mon. & Tuesday meal's. EX: Monday- Chili, Tuesday-Baked Mac n Cheese. Wednesday I slipped in Mashed Potato with Chili for Chili Con Carne. Thursday I made Chili Mac from Mon. and Tuesday meals. Friday was Chili Hotdogs. The weekend the Children picked our dining fare. And that led to many adventures.1) Homemade Pizza, 2)McDonald burgers with Homemade soup, 3)Subway sandwiches when I was a general manager over seven stores.4) A repeat of the one meal from Mon- Friday that they really liked. The pay off is my daughter went to American Idol tryouts to live out her dream when gymnastics was not her thing. And my son switched to diving in high school when gymnastic scholarships were a rarity. His diving scholarship to the University of Alabama has won him numerous accolades. He is a member of the USA Diving team. Tried out for the Olympics twice. And makes more money than either his mother or I his first year out of college. Our children went to bed a little later than most. As parents we wanted our children to be more successful than we were. Later bedtimes after a shared meal was the norm in our house during our child rearing years. Chef Michael Fleshner

By: real food mom | Oct 2, 2012 10:36 AM | Permalink
While I agree a family meal is important -and I love that time together. Instead of trying to have a hurried family meal every night. I plan for nights we can sit and enjoy one another. On hectic nights, we eat sandwiches, raw foods, and prepared-ahead pastas and soups.

By: real food mom | Oct 2, 2012 10:35 AM | Permalink
While I agree a family meal is important -and I love that time together. Instead of trying to have a hurried family meal every night. I plan for nights we can sit and enjoy one another. On hectic nights, we eat sandwiches, raw foods, and prepared-ahead pastas and soups.

By: | Oct 2, 2012 05:20 AM | Permalink
To save time in preparing family meals during our busy week, we cook on Sundays as a family (family time). We are a family of four with 2 young adult teenagers who prepare a large simple salad that can be eaten from Monday thru Wednesday. We also prepare 2-4 other vegetables for the week to place in the frig. We cook our Sunday meat (times three) and place the extra in the freezer for lunches (to be sliced at thawing) or for a quick dinner when time is short for cooking but counts for time spent together at the table. Saves money on lunch meat also. In-season-fruits or organic applesauce, nuts, and yogurts are good to-go options. Having freshly prepared veggies, fruits, and meats in the frig and freezer (without it seeming like leftovers) makes grabbing food on the go more appetizing and healthy. Does this sound too time consuming? We spend approximately 2-3 hours from start to clean-up since it's a group effort. We began doing this (with much patience) when our children were very young.

By: Diana Wheatley Hagemann | Oct 2, 2012 01:05 AM | Permalink
My son is in football this year. My solution to dinner is to pack a snack of fresh fruit slices and breadsticks. For dinner it's bacon and eggs or some other quick breakfast meal with more fresh fruit and some veggies. I too am passionate about the importance of family meals.

By: | Oct 2, 2012 12:46 AM | Permalink
My husband & I both worked while raising our 3 children. As for meal planning I had a weekly family meeting. Everyone schedule went on the calendar. If it looked like a few of the nights each week were going to be crazy those days we scheduled family breakfast. 3-4 big meals were planned, knowing that leftovers would be made into quick meals through out the rest of the week. Dishing out chores also helped, my kids often made the salad, choped vegies,& pre-cooked pasta. As my kids got older each one had a day they would cook. It turned into a afterschool activity with friends. It was all about being together & sharing our day. Not what time we ate or what was on the plate.

By: | Oct 1, 2012 10:55 PM | Permalink
With 3 teenagers and a husband that works shift work dinner isn't at 6p. We are flexible, sometimes I make a full dinner ready to eat at 4p, so when the last kid comes in, we eat before everyone goes their separate ways for evening activities. I have to be realistic, eating together 3-4 times a week is an accomplishment, the other nights are simple fare. Last, meal planning is key to success. I don't like to make an entire casserole or soup to freeze,I don't want to be tied down to that dinner. However, I will make rice, pasta & refridgerate separately. I will brown & season 5 lbs of ground beef and separate into portion bags & freeze, handy for tacos, spaghetti, or soup. The same can apply to whole chickens, clean, bake, debone, freeze with stock for quick soup, chicken & dumplings, or casserole. Wash & cut all produce to store in fridge for quick use. Teach your kids to cook, its the handiest tool of all! :)

By: Paula Dace | Oct 1, 2012 10:28 PM | Permalink
I am the Grandma that fixes a complete meal for my daughter & her family & my son & his family every now & then. I call them & have everything ready to walk out the door with when they get here. Sometimes I deliver it. Today it was roasted chicken, dressing, copper pennies, squash & salad!

By: Kamal Hammouda | Oct 1, 2012 08:01 PM | Permalink
in a way i am fortunate; i am a chef and 5 nights a week, after we close, the staff, my wife, our boys if they are in town and i sit down together and have dinner. i might have screamed at one or more of them during service but once the shift is over we sit down for the family meal and yak away. the other 2 nights my wife and i sit down and eat together or go out. even if any of us is mad at the other, the tension is gone by the end of the meal.

By: Nancy Dale | Oct 1, 2012 07:21 PM | Permalink
I am a nutritionist and chef specializing in weight-loss and have three offices so my time to create meals is limited. I always plan what I am going to eat for the following week and purchase my vegetables and fruits at the farmer's market and buy all of my other ingredients at my local health food store so that when I have two to three hours I can make all the dishes for three to five days and have them ready to warm and serve in my refrigerator. I make slow cooked chicken so that I can use them for salads the next day. I make a pot of soup to take for lunch and freeze the rest for another time. I always have fresh fruit for my protein smoothies in the morning as well as I bake an egg frittata that can be eaten multiple days. It is so wonderful to be able to come home and within minutes be sitting down to a beautiful meal. I also have created six cookbooks to help with the planning. You can see these on my website: www.nancydalecn.com

By: karen stark | Oct 1, 2012 07:05 PM | Permalink
In prep time, I still engage my teenagers. Teaching them to cook is so important. Eating dinner may have to happen at 7:30 p.m. with prep time can be at 3:30 p.m. with going to the activities in-between. Of course homework can always happen on the table will you chop on the counter. The partner is so important too, even if it's helping with clean-up. Age of the kids, events change and so does dinner time. Know your Food, know your health. Happy cooking.

By: | Oct 1, 2012 07:04 PM | Permalink
I sit down every Sunday afternoon and plan out my main dishes for the week for a family of 5. I do this with my calendar in hand, so that I can see how much time I have to dedicate to meal prep. on any given night according to our busy schedule. Good planning really takes the stress off during the week. Also, we love to grill, but rarely have the time. When we do have time, I plan ahead and we cook up lots of extra meats that we can then put back in the freezer and pull out later for a quick, but fresh-grilled taste. We love to cut up grilled pork chop or steak for stir-frys. Hamburgers are easily re-heated and taste fresh too.

By: Gretchen Jay | Oct 1, 2012 06:40 PM | Permalink
Im a mom of a 25 and 27 year old, but when they were younger snd the dinner hour was threatened we had a different plsn. while we still always tried to have dinner, we began hsving a warm breakfast together every morning. It worked well.

By: | Oct 1, 2012 05:34 PM | Permalink
I used to cook on Sunday and freeze meals for the week. I used to make breakfast sandwitches with buscuits, egg and sausage and freeze in individual freezer packages. They always made a quick dinner stand in. The crack Pot is always great also. You can add the ingredients the night before and just hook it up in the am on low and your good to go.

By: | Oct 1, 2012 05:25 PM | Permalink
I live alone and work a very demanding job and my weekends fill up fast with chores but Monday nights are kept open for family night dinner. I cook on Sunday for Monday night and make enough that there are lots of leftovers. When I get home on Monday the meal is already prepacked and ready to go to my daughter's home. She also works and loves the fact that she doesn't need to prepare a meal, it makes for a very enjoyable evening for all of us. After dinner I help with homework and get to spend some time with my grandchildren. Great way to start the work week. AJM

By: | Oct 1, 2012 04:16 PM | Permalink
I cook like a lunatic on Sundays to have enough meals to get me thru wednesday, and really its only 3 nights... Then we plan to go out or takeout for Thursday. Usually, I still have enough food leftover to make thursday a pot luck, but giving myself the break of only having to plan for three meals makes it a surmountable feat.

It also helps I get my CSA box on wednesday, so who couldn't/doesn't want to use that?

make it easy, take the pressure off. you get points for trying!

says:    (Oct 1, 2012 12:00 AM)

How do you store those meals you cook ahead?


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