Sunday dinner and this week’s cook ahead dinner

We know eating well is important to our individual health and we also know that family dinners around the table are an important connection for our kids and for all of us.  Sharing our successes, plans and worries always seem easier when it’s over a meal.  In our busy lives, it can be challenging to find that time to sit and connect over food.  Part of the challenge is about finding the time to plan these meals.  If you read my “about” page, you will see that one of the goals of this blog is to demystify delivering great food to your family.  You don’t have to be an expert – you only have to find simple ways to prepare good food, to plan ahead, and to cook with love!  Even if you can only do this once a week, you and your family will benefit, and it will get easier as you get into the routine.
My husband and I have worked for many years in very busy careers that often involved night time commitments as well as a full work day.  Getting together to connect over a meal, even for an hour, was always really important for us and we felt it was important for the health of our personal connection with each other.  We both came from families that also shared these values and we wanted to hold onto that connection time in this busy, modern world.  We have both since retired from our work, which is why I now have the time to blog about all of the cooking and food prep we have done over these many years and continue to do today!
The secret for us to have a week of enjoyable and healthy eating is to cook a sort of traditional Sunday dinner that involves simple preparation and could cook in the oven without much attention.  That allows us time to do other things while the dinner cooks.  We always make a big enough portion to generate another meal in the week, and on the same day, we prepare a one-pot dinner that is enough for two meals.  Sometimes that’s a crockpot meal and sometimes it’s a one-pot dinner that cooks on the stove at the same time as the dinner in the oven.  That’s four nights of dinner with only a few hours of prep on the weekend (or whenever is convenient for you!).  When we were working, our fifth night was ordering pizza!  Since we’ve both been retired, the fifth night is usually a fish dinner.  (Yes, we still have pizza from time to time!).
This week’s Sunday dinner was oven roasted pork, roast potatoes (which is a staple for us, and a historical family favourite of mine!), steamed green beans and a side salad.  When we cook like this, my hubby usually prepares the potatoes and the salad.  Typically, I prepare the roast and the vegetable side dish.
roast pork potatoes green beans
Oven Roasted Pork with Roast Potatoes and Green Beans

The make-ahead meal for the week gets done at the same time and usually, we share the chopping duties for that dish.  Since it’s a one-pot dinner, we want to get as much goodness in the meal by having a variety of vegetables in there.  That way, we only have to use one smaller pot to heat up our portions for the next meal.  This makes weeknight prep and clean up a breeze.  This week’s make-ahead is Black Bean Chicken Chili that was assembled for the Crockpot and then cooked the next day while we were busy with our weekday activities.  We’ll add a salad and maybe some garlic bread too!  But if you don’t have time for the salad and garlic bread, don’t worry the Black Bean Chicken Chili has all the food groups you need and warms the tummy on these colder days.

Black Bean Chicken Chili
Black Bean Chicken Chili
Once you get into a rhythm of thinking about two dinners you could make that would each generate leftovers, you’ll have the week beat and you’ll have healthy, delicious food that is easily prepared, leaving you time to be in the moment and connect with those you love!
Be well and enjoy…
Colleen
the Every Day Home Gourmet