Hit the Reset Button for Family Meals: Dinner Solutions for Families
A friend called me last week, and as we discussed our day, we inevitably came to the question that plagues us every day at 3pm.
“What are you making for dinner tonight?
I have to be honest: On the days I feel ill prepared, this question makes me sweat with panic.
I could hear my friend suffering through that familiar place. The one that dreads family mealtime and the begging and pleading and uneaten food. The rut of dinner.
I have three dinner solutions in my pocket that I call on when I need to shake things up. So far, they haven’t failed me yet. I don’t do them often. Just on the days when I feel I just can’t bear to make it through another dinner. So I started sharing some ideas with my friend.
She tried a couple of them, and reported back that her kids LOVED it. I’m talking peaceful meal, everyone ate, mom and dad were happy kind of dinners.
So, I thought, why not share them with you?
Here are three dinner solutions that work for me when I’m in a rut.
One night, while the kids begged to snack on tortilla chips as I scrambled to make tacos, I remembered this post and saw the light.
“Welcome to Thomasita’s!” I yelled to the kids in my best hostess voice.
Then I poured the bag of tortilla chips in to a bowl, brought paper and crayons for them to color, and took their order.
Since then, what was once a plain taco dinner has turned in to a Mexican fiesta. Pandora has a great Mariachi station and I fire that up before the kids begin to loiter around the kitchen. I set up their placemats, serve chips and salsa, and await their seating. It’s all Chi-Chi’s and Don Pablo’s up in here.
Jon and I sip margaritas (a.k.a. “adult lemonade”) while the kids get to drink lemonade instead of milk, and they happily sit at the counter munching chips while we make dinner.
Everyone makes his or her own tacos, buffet style, and dinner suddenly feels like a treat rather than a chore. It’s like going to a restaurant without having to fork over your credit card at the end. Or apologize to patrons behind you that have been accidentally showered with shredded Monterrey Jack.