Our 31 day challenge is a little hard for me with my schedule. I am sure you never have this same problem.
Because I teach piano lessons from home, my weekday schedule isn't very conducive to making dinner on a regular basis. I'm usually teaching lessons between 3 and 6 p.m., which makes it very difficult to prepare dinner for my family. This is one of the reasons why I don't bake dinner very often and my family simply Yo-Yos for dinner (Yo-Yo just means "You're On Your Own"). When we Yo-Yo, the kids usually make sandwiches, canned soup, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese or something similar. I often have a bowl of oatmeal. If you didn't notice, there weren't a lot of fruits or vegetables mentioned. That's one area of our eating habits that is sorely lacking and which I hope menu planning will help to improve.
When I do prepare an evening meal, I often use our slow cooker. But today I thought I'd try to make it conventionally by preparing portions of the meal ahead so that I'd just have to slip it in the oven or on the stove in time for it to be ready to eat when my lessons were over. I'm happy to say that it worked out fairly well.
I had originally planned to make oven baked chicken and potato wedges today, but I soon realized that there really wouldn't be enough room in the oven for both dishes; so I switched the potato wedges for mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at mashed potatoes yet, so they turned out rather bland, even though I added garlic, butter, and cheddar cheese. If you have any tips for good mashed potatoes, I'm all ears!
To prepare the meal ahead of time I defrosted the chicken by filling my sink with cool water and floating the bag of chicken in it until it was defrosted.
Then I dried the boneless skinless chicken breasts with paper towels and cut them into strips. To make clean-up easier, I laid out wax paper across my counter, and I used two glass pie plates for the butter and the coating mixture and found that they were the perfect size for the job.
Joely, my 5 year old, helped me make up the coating, for which I just followed Toni's "Yummy Chicken Legs" recipe.
Then Joely dipped the strips in the butter, coated them with the mixture, and laid them out in 13 by 9 and 8 by 8 baking dishes.
Then I slipped the lids on the dishes and put them in the refrigerator so I could just grab them and stick them in the oven in between my lessons. I also peeled and cut up four potatoes for the mashed potatoes, placed them in a pot filled with water, and put it in the fridge.
That little bit of preparation made it so easy to start dinner before my last lesson which began a little after 5 o' clock. And by 5:45, we were sitting at the table eating the chicken, (bland) mashed potatoes, leftover baked beans from Jaden's lunch today, and creamed corn (which I admit only Jaden ate).
My dinner plan for tomorrow is not yet set in stone since I will be going grocery shopping sometime during the day. Whether we Yo-Yo or I make a meal will depend on exactly when I do the shopping since I have lessons from 4 to 6 tomorrow afternoon.
I'm a little loopy right now, as it's 1:30 a.m., so I apologize if this post is a little incoherent. I hope I'll be lucid in the morning after a few hours' sleep.
End of day 1 or beginning of day 2 of our 31 day challenge.