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Store This, Not That! > Blog > Cooking with Food Storage > Top Secret Tips for getting Dinner on the Table
January 13th, 2009

Top Secret Tips for getting Dinner on the Table

 

 

shhh….I have to do this post with out my husband seeing it or my cover is totally blown! I know how hard and stressful dinner time is but I want you to know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Watch the video below to see my TOP SECRET tips for easily and effortlessly getting dinner on the table. These tips will not only help you get dinner on the table but if you follow my tips using food storage at dinner time with be EASIER! And yes…by watching this video you promise to never tell my husband these tricks! 🙂

 

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50 Comments

  • Lindsay

    January 14, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Thanks, that was a really cute video! I wish I could’ve watched it 7 years ago when I was a new mom rather than learning some of these things the extra hard way (through lots of stress and failure)! 🙂

  • Lindsay

    January 13, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Thanks, that was a really cute video! I wish I could’ve watched it 7 years ago when I was a new mom rather than learning some of these things the extra hard way (through lots of stress and failure)! 🙂

  • cutiepie

    January 14, 2009 at 5:27 am

    Great tips! I already do most of them but not in the right order. I think order is important and I like that you mentioned that when you do it right you not only save time but energy. I’m going to change my ways and take your advice. 🙂

  • cutiepie

    January 13, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Great tips! I already do most of them but not in the right order. I think order is important and I like that you mentioned that when you do it right you not only save time but energy. I’m going to change my ways and take your advice. 🙂

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  • Anna

    January 14, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Great tips! I even took notes! 🙂 Don’t worry, I’ll hide the notes from my hubby and kids. 😉

  • Anna

    January 14, 2009 at 5:31 am

    Great tips! I even took notes! 🙂 Don’t worry, I’ll hide the notes from my hubby and kids. 😉

  • TracyinSC

    January 14, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    You made me laugh with your “Go ahead and get them out of the room. I’ll wait.” Great tips. I also save myself the stress by cooking double (or triple) of almost everything and sticking the rest in the freezer for another night. I LOVE having a well-stocked freezer. We’ve eaten out a LOT less since I started that.

    Can’t wait to learn about your homemade noodles. You’re the best. Thanks.

  • TracyinSC

    January 14, 2009 at 7:26 am

    You made me laugh with your “Go ahead and get them out of the room. I’ll wait.” Great tips. I also save myself the stress by cooking double (or triple) of almost everything and sticking the rest in the freezer for another night. I LOVE having a well-stocked freezer. We’ve eaten out a LOT less since I started that.

    Can’t wait to learn about your homemade noodles. You’re the best. Thanks.

  • CTDaffodil

    January 14, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I really like the every day ermergency dinners….
    rather than chicken cutlets or chef boyardee we have
    Frozen tortellini and Jarred sauce (I add zuchinni and peppers to it)
    or Cranberry Chicken. I’ll email you that and you can post it if you try it and like it.

  • CTDaffodil

    January 14, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I really like the every day ermergency dinners….
    rather than chicken cutlets or chef boyardee we have
    Frozen tortellini and Jarred sauce (I add zuchinni and peppers to it)
    or Cranberry Chicken. I’ll email you that and you can post it if you try it and like it.

  • CTDaffodil

    January 14, 2009 at 8:01 am

    I really like the every day ermergency dinners….
    rather than chicken cutlets or chef boyardee we have
    Frozen tortellini and Jarred sauce (I add zuchinni and peppers to it)
    or Cranberry Chicken. I’ll email you that and you can post it if you try it and like it.

  • Del Skinner

    January 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Krystal,
    I think your tips are great for new wives and mothers and I too knew about these organizational skills way back then. In our family the table was never set until dinner time for two reasons. 1) Our children would always do homework work while I was making dinner so I could be close by to help them. 2) Also from the time they could walk they have been helping me set the table as one of their cchores. What I have always tried to do to be organized for dinner is to have a weekly menu. (Which I make out on Friday but only because I use to take my Grandma shopping on that day). I do not like trying to guess what I am going to make that day and if I don’t want what I have planned for I at least have 6 other options.
    I do have a question because lately this has been driving me nuts, do you have any sugestions for a busy home? What I mean is I have people going in five different directions now and that includes me. I feel like our life is always in emergency mode. I need fast and simple dinners for four (if I am lucky) 🙂

  • Del Skinner

    January 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Krystal,
    I think your tips are great for new wives and mothers and I too knew about these organizational skills way back then. In our family the table was never set until dinner time for two reasons. 1) Our children would always do homework work while I was making dinner so I could be close by to help them. 2) Also from the time they could walk they have been helping me set the table as one of their cchores. What I have always tried to do to be organized for dinner is to have a weekly menu. (Which I make out on Friday but only because I use to take my Grandma shopping on that day). I do not like trying to guess what I am going to make that day and if I don’t want what I have planned for I at least have 6 other options.
    I do have a question because lately this has been driving me nuts, do you have any sugestions for a busy home? What I mean is I have people going in five different directions now and that includes me. I feel like our life is always in emergency mode. I need fast and simple dinners for four (if I am lucky) 🙂

  • Del Skinner

    January 14, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Krystal,
    I think your tips are great for new wives and mothers and I too knew about these organizational skills way back then. In our family the table was never set until dinner time for two reasons. 1) Our children would always do homework work while I was making dinner so I could be close by to help them. 2) Also from the time they could walk they have been helping me set the table as one of their cchores. What I have always tried to do to be organized for dinner is to have a weekly menu. (Which I make out on Friday but only because I use to take my Grandma shopping on that day). I do not like trying to guess what I am going to make that day and if I don’t want what I have planned for I at least have 6 other options.
    I do have a question because lately this has been driving me nuts, do you have any sugestions for a busy home? What I mean is I have people going in five different directions now and that includes me. I feel like our life is always in emergency mode. I need fast and simple dinners for four (if I am lucky) 🙂

  • Del Skinner

    January 14, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Sorry in that first sentance I left out the word “WISH”
    I wish I had known about these tips way back then. Life would have been a lot easier. But I am greatful that your example will help my daughter learn an esier way.

  • Del Skinner

    January 14, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Sorry in that first sentance I left out the word “WISH”
    I wish I had known about these tips way back then. Life would have been a lot easier. But I am greatful that your example will help my daughter learn an esier way.

  • Yvette

    January 14, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you for the great tips. Dinner time can be the craziest time of the day around here. 🙂

  • Yvette

    January 14, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you for the great tips. Dinner time can be the craziest time of the day around here. 🙂

  • Yvette

    January 14, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Thank you for the great tips. Dinner time can be the craziest time of the day around here. 🙂

  • gaby

    January 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    great tips crystal what I do for those emergency meals I do have my favorite freezer meals that I always have on hand for those busy days!!!! and they are delicious!!!

    thanks for the tips!!!!!!

  • gaby

    January 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    great tips crystal what I do for those emergency meals I do have my favorite freezer meals that I always have on hand for those busy days!!!! and they are delicious!!!

    thanks for the tips!!!!!!

  • gaby

    January 14, 2009 at 8:35 am

    great tips crystal what I do for those emergency meals I do have my favorite freezer meals that I always have on hand for those busy days!!!! and they are delicious!!!

    thanks for the tips!!!!!!

  • Heather

    January 14, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Cute blog & great tips!! 🙂

  • Heather

    January 14, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Cute blog & great tips!! 🙂

  • Heather

    January 14, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Cute blog & great tips!! 🙂

  • Jannalee

    January 14, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Those are great tips we also try to utilize in our home. Another thing we like to do is plan out an entire month of dinner menues. Teenagers are good to help with this. Then you can look at the week and see exactly what you are having for dinner and plan accordingly. After all, we know that thinking of what to have for dinner is half the battle! 🙂

  • Jannalee

    January 14, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Those are great tips we also try to utilize in our home. Another thing we like to do is plan out an entire month of dinner menues. Teenagers are good to help with this. Then you can look at the week and see exactly what you are having for dinner and plan accordingly. After all, we know that thinking of what to have for dinner is half the battle! 🙂

  • pam

    January 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    I agree! I made up your bean brownie, well I made my brownie recipe only used beans, mine turn out dry, but tasted good, does this work better with the brownie box mix then your own recipe? sence I had left over beans I made up a batch of my cookies and I had one child said they like it and I have two still trying to figure out why they taste a little different, shh I didn’t tell them and I made them when they were gone, I just smile big when I see them eat the cookie, I have a son who will not go near a bean so I smile really big, when the cookies are gone I just might tell him and maybe I won’t. -smiles-

  • pam

    January 14, 2009 at 9:18 am

    I agree! I made up your bean brownie, well I made my brownie recipe only used beans, mine turn out dry, but tasted good, does this work better with the brownie box mix then your own recipe? sence I had left over beans I made up a batch of my cookies and I had one child said they like it and I have two still trying to figure out why they taste a little different, shh I didn’t tell them and I made them when they were gone, I just smile big when I see them eat the cookie, I have a son who will not go near a bean so I smile really big, when the cookies are gone I just might tell him and maybe I won’t. -smiles-

  • Hilary

    January 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Thanks for the tips. It’s always good to put a little more focus on dinner.
    LOVE the crock pot — mostly because it forces you to do your tips since you need to get the stuff in so early.

  • Hilary

    January 14, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for the tips. It’s always good to put a little more focus on dinner.
    LOVE the crock pot — mostly because it forces you to do your tips since you need to get the stuff in so early.

  • Kylene

    January 14, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Those tips are great. Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely have to try some of those out.

    I think one tip that has really helped me out is one I coped from my sister-in-law. I bought a calendar that is hanging in my kitchen. Once a week, I plan an entire week’s worth of meals and write them down for each day on the calendar. I also try to write down whatever veggies, sides (and even desserts on occassion) along with the main dish. I usually plan for 1 leftovers night, 1 easy night (i.e. hot dogs or quesadillas or mac ‘n cheese, etc.), 1 “good sport” night (where I get to try a new recipe and my husband can’t complain about it if he doesn’t like it). The rest I usually do our favorite recipes.

    I then look up all the recipes and their ingredients, make sure we have everything, and go to the store and buy everything else we need (also keeping in mind what we’ll need for breakfast and lunches).

    This saves me so much time. I can usually do this in about an hour or so (minus the grocery shopping), and then every day I know for sure what I’m going to make. Sometimes I switch Monday for Thursday (for example) due to conveinance or because it just sounds better that day.

    I also try to keep somewhat of a mental inventory of what I have in the fridge that needs to be used and try to make dishes that will use those ingredients. So less waste of money for us!

  • Kylene

    January 14, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Those tips are great. Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely have to try some of those out.

    I think one tip that has really helped me out is one I coped from my sister-in-law. I bought a calendar that is hanging in my kitchen. Once a week, I plan an entire week’s worth of meals and write them down for each day on the calendar. I also try to write down whatever veggies, sides (and even desserts on occassion) along with the main dish. I usually plan for 1 leftovers night, 1 easy night (i.e. hot dogs or quesadillas or mac ‘n cheese, etc.), 1 “good sport” night (where I get to try a new recipe and my husband can’t complain about it if he doesn’t like it). The rest I usually do our favorite recipes.

    I then look up all the recipes and their ingredients, make sure we have everything, and go to the store and buy everything else we need (also keeping in mind what we’ll need for breakfast and lunches).

    This saves me so much time. I can usually do this in about an hour or so (minus the grocery shopping), and then every day I know for sure what I’m going to make. Sometimes I switch Monday for Thursday (for example) due to conveinance or because it just sounds better that day.

    I also try to keep somewhat of a mental inventory of what I have in the fridge that needs to be used and try to make dishes that will use those ingredients. So less waste of money for us!

  • Kylene

    January 14, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Those tips are great. Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely have to try some of those out.

    I think one tip that has really helped me out is one I coped from my sister-in-law. I bought a calendar that is hanging in my kitchen. Once a week, I plan an entire week’s worth of meals and write them down for each day on the calendar. I also try to write down whatever veggies, sides (and even desserts on occassion) along with the main dish. I usually plan for 1 leftovers night, 1 easy night (i.e. hot dogs or quesadillas or mac ‘n cheese, etc.), 1 “good sport” night (where I get to try a new recipe and my husband can’t complain about it if he doesn’t like it). The rest I usually do our favorite recipes.

    I then look up all the recipes and their ingredients, make sure we have everything, and go to the store and buy everything else we need (also keeping in mind what we’ll need for breakfast and lunches).

    This saves me so much time. I can usually do this in about an hour or so (minus the grocery shopping), and then every day I know for sure what I’m going to make. Sometimes I switch Monday for Thursday (for example) due to conveinance or because it just sounds better that day.

    I also try to keep somewhat of a mental inventory of what I have in the fridge that needs to be used and try to make dishes that will use those ingredients. So less waste of money for us!

  • Laura Fisher

    January 14, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    SO TRUE!!!! I started doing these things when I got addicted to Freezer meals (OAMC). It has taken the stress out of dinner completely! It also helps the cleanup go much faster after dinner because it’s only plates and cups and silverware and maybe one pan. I take out my freezer meal the night before, and then after lunch I start a side dish (or get out the canned fruit or frozen rolls or whatever will be served with it. Thanks for the tips!

  • Laura Fisher

    January 14, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    SO TRUE!!!! I started doing these things when I got addicted to Freezer meals (OAMC). It has taken the stress out of dinner completely! It also helps the cleanup go much faster after dinner because it’s only plates and cups and silverware and maybe one pan. I take out my freezer meal the night before, and then after lunch I start a side dish (or get out the canned fruit or frozen rolls or whatever will be served with it. Thanks for the tips!

  • Laura Fisher

    January 14, 2009 at 11:59 am

    SO TRUE!!!! I started doing these things when I got addicted to Freezer meals (OAMC). It has taken the stress out of dinner completely! It also helps the cleanup go much faster after dinner because it’s only plates and cups and silverware and maybe one pan. I take out my freezer meal the night before, and then after lunch I start a side dish (or get out the canned fruit or frozen rolls or whatever will be served with it. Thanks for the tips!

  • Jen

    January 14, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    WOW, that’s the only word I have! You are also so inspiring. My husband is definitely the kind who would love to have dinner on the table and the dishes done when he comes home from work, but I work at home and sometimes that takes up so much of my time. I am going to take as much advise as I can from this website and renew my energies towards being the perfect homemaker!

  • Jen

    January 14, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    WOW, that’s the only word I have! You are also so inspiring. My husband is definitely the kind who would love to have dinner on the table and the dishes done when he comes home from work, but I work at home and sometimes that takes up so much of my time. I am going to take as much advise as I can from this website and renew my energies towards being the perfect homemaker!

  • Heather G.

    January 14, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Oh how I just love your website. I’m going to be getting married in three months and I’m trying to absorb as much as I can!!! You have so many great tips and recipes. Thanks for all the energy and time you put into making other women’s lives easier. You are MUCH appreciated! Blessings to you and your family 🙂

  • Heather G.

    January 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Oh how I just love your website. I’m going to be getting married in three months and I’m trying to absorb as much as I can!!! You have so many great tips and recipes. Thanks for all the energy and time you put into making other women’s lives easier. You are MUCH appreciated! Blessings to you and your family 🙂

  • Mikol

    January 14, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve never really thought about getting the table set so early, but it makes sense. Come dinner time on those crazy days I think “I haven’t done anything yet, lets go out or get a pizza.” Thanks so much and I promise, I won’t tell. :c)

  • Mikol

    January 14, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve never really thought about getting the table set so early, but it makes sense. Come dinner time on those crazy days I think “I haven’t done anything yet, lets go out or get a pizza.” Thanks so much and I promise, I won’t tell. :c)

  • Mikol

    January 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve never really thought about getting the table set so early, but it makes sense. Come dinner time on those crazy days I think “I haven’t done anything yet, lets go out or get a pizza.” Thanks so much and I promise, I won’t tell. :c)

  • heatheranne

    January 15, 2009 at 3:25 am

    include DiGiorno on the everday emergency meal plan. My kids LOVE frozen pizza! I also plan meals in advance. We plan 2 weeks and usually include it in a FHE activity. We go around the family with everyone offering a suggestion. The kids also help plan the side dishes so we can talk about nutrition. Everyone has their personal favorites that will make the list, and (almost) everyone tries to find a new dish- either from a friends house, in a cookbook or magazine or from Food Network. Love this discussion ladies!

  • heatheranne

    January 14, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    include DiGiorno on the everday emergency meal plan. My kids LOVE frozen pizza! I also plan meals in advance. We plan 2 weeks and usually include it in a FHE activity. We go around the family with everyone offering a suggestion. The kids also help plan the side dishes so we can talk about nutrition. Everyone has their personal favorites that will make the list, and (almost) everyone tries to find a new dish- either from a friends house, in a cookbook or magazine or from Food Network. Love this discussion ladies!

  • Laura

    January 16, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Hi Crystal,
    Thanks for the ideas, but I have to disagree with one. I don’t keep things a secret about dinner, esp. from my hubby. It’s kind of a joke that Mom is experimenting again, but the rule is you have to try it, give your opinion (from all 10 in our family) and then I will “spill the beans” and tell them what’s in it. 🙂 I have a few picky kids and a few not, so I definitely can see being a little sneaky about things, but I feel strongly that kids (and sometimes hubbies) should learn to eat a variety of things and learn to eat healthy things and know what they are eating. So, if there are beans in the cake, we will try it, pass out opinions and then I will tell them what they ate. 🙂 And as lovely as it sounds to set the table ahead of time, that definitely does NOT work in a large family. There are too many table-un-setters and, like another person mentioned, the table gets used for too many other things before dinner. Preparing as much ahead of time as possible is definitely something I DO do and I totally agree with trying to keep your kitchen clean during the day and during dinner prep. Those are both great suggestions! Keep up the great work and know we are all behind you in using food storage in as many ways as possible. Yeah for you!!!!!

  • Laura

    January 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Crystal,
    Thanks for the ideas, but I have to disagree with one. I don’t keep things a secret about dinner, esp. from my hubby. It’s kind of a joke that Mom is experimenting again, but the rule is you have to try it, give your opinion (from all 10 in our family) and then I will “spill the beans” and tell them what’s in it. 🙂 I have a few picky kids and a few not, so I definitely can see being a little sneaky about things, but I feel strongly that kids (and sometimes hubbies) should learn to eat a variety of things and learn to eat healthy things and know what they are eating. So, if there are beans in the cake, we will try it, pass out opinions and then I will tell them what they ate. 🙂 And as lovely as it sounds to set the table ahead of time, that definitely does NOT work in a large family. There are too many table-un-setters and, like another person mentioned, the table gets used for too many other things before dinner. Preparing as much ahead of time as possible is definitely something I DO do and I totally agree with trying to keep your kitchen clean during the day and during dinner prep. Those are both great suggestions! Keep up the great work and know we are all behind you in using food storage in as many ways as possible. Yeah for you!!!!!

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