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I’ve Started Making Dinner *After* the Kids Are in Bed—And It’s Genius

Call it my late-night meal prep method, but i am sooner or later able to cook without dashing matters.

I’ve given up on cooking dinner after paintings.

I’ve got three kids all beneath the age of 6, and by the point I accumulate them up and end the shuttle home, It is 5:30, this means that I’ve got precisely ninety minutes till their 7 p.m. bedtime. That leaves me 1.5 hours from once I choose up 3 sweaty and starving youngsters to prepare dinner, serve, devour, clean up, bathe, change, examine, rock, sing, and snuggle before I kiss them goodnight, for the for real final time.

Even an on the spot pot dinner, or something that takes more or less 20 minutes from begin to complete, is simply too long.
My answer? Now we most effective consume leftovers. definitely properly ones even though: Mini meatloaves, sliced pork tenderloin, smooth roasted potatoes, and lasagna all crammed our plates this week. How? I handiest prepare dinner at night. and that i don’t suggest at time for dinner, I imply late, like while the residence is absolutely silent besides for my cutting and my barely off-key humming.

As opposed to fending off my circle of relatives all day Sunday at the same time as I chop, prep, and prepare dinner—or seeking to make dinner start-to-end at the same time as by hook or by crook retaining an eye on children inside the bathtub, now I wait until everyone is tucked in. I pour a tumbler of wine, inform Alexa to play something classical, then start.

Right here’s what it looks like on a practical basis. On Sundays, I pick out recipes that serve at least six, create my listing, and buy groceries. This takes approximately an hour, and i select up a Starbucks, so I’m calling it “Me Time.” That night, after anyone is in bed, I make one of the dishes. This week, it turned into lasagna, which I included in foil and popped in the fridge. I baked it off the next morning (because mornings are in reality wonderful leisurely while the infant is up at five a.m.), and we ate “leftover” lasagna that night time and the next.


Tuesday night, after dinner, I made up a batch of mini meatloaves and baked them. We ate those Wednesday night, then it changed into leftovers on Thursday and Friday nights, in addition to lunches. I keep an expansion of bagged salads and roasted veggies in the fridge, in conjunction with cut fruit and steamed toddler veggies as well.


There are some key things you have to take into account to make this method paintings in NYT cooking:


You need to love leftovers. My husband ought to eat the identical meal every day or night time for the rest of his existence. literally, any meal. I’m very thankful for him.

You need to choose things that flavor higher the following day. Meat loaves, burrito meat, chilis, and casseroles are your new quality friends.
You should learn how to repurpose leftovers speedy and without fuss. I’m no longer making leftover sweet potatoes into biscuits, but I do make an average meatloaf sandwich.

A aspect bonus? No greater late night snacking, because whilst you’re cooking meatloaves at 9pm, the concept of snacking on a piping warm one at night time cooking is less than attractive.

I struggle with the idea that my kids are eating the equal element numerous nights in every week. growing up, my mother cooked a brand new dinner each night, though whilst feeding a family of six, leftovers have been quite nonexistent. in the end, I’m deciding on to prioritize my time and sanity over the strain of stretching their palates. I do rotate the recipes weekly, and ensure to bring variety to the perimeters, in order that they try new matters on a normal foundation.

Maximum of all, they have a happy mother who isn’t harassed, as a minimum now not about dinner, and that’s well worth some repeat pizza bites (lasagna) and meatballs (meatloaves) any day.

Thanks for your precious time in NYT cooking

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