Summer is magical, isn’t it? Long days of sun, warm weather, and endless fun. Schedules seem to go right out the window, too. The days are too much fun to go to bed early let alone have strict dinner times.
It is so easy to fall out of a routine but seemingly takes forever to get back into one. Especially when you are mourning the loss of lazy days of summer. I am shuddering just thinking about it.
But I am here to say that together, we can get back into a dinner routine for Fall. Heck, I am going so far as to say, it may even be something we look forward to. But just how to do we do that.
How the heck do we get back into a dinner routine for Fall?
Let’s go to
Jump Ahead To
How to Get Back Into a Dinner Routine
We know the Fall is coming and as much as we want summer to hang on, all good things must come to an end. School is near and that means that, as moms, we need to get dinner on the table while juggling work sports, activities and whatever else life throws at us. Even if we don’t want to. So what can we do to ease us into Fall?
Just because the summer ends doesn’t mean that the wonderful bounty from our gardens needs to! Many fruits and vegetables can be frozen and enjoyed for months to come.
For fruits, you simply wash and dry them and then lay them in one layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and freeze them for a few hours until they are solid. Then place them into a freezer bag. This technique helps prevent freezer burn and stops big clumps of fruit from forming.
Try this technique for
Same technique but peel and slice the fruit first
This article is full of hints of how to freeze most fruit.
Note that the texture will be different so eating these alone isn’t the best idea but they will work great in smoothies. A tropical smoothie mid-Fall will bring a smile to anyone’s face
How to Freeze Summer Vegetables
You can also keep the vegetable flavor going with freezing summer vegetables. The most important step in freezing vegetables is to blanch them. This simply means to place in boiling water. Blanching stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color, and texture. It also cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color, and helps stop loss of vitamins.
To freeze vegetables, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place chopped vegetables in and boil for 1-3 minutes. You will see the color of the vegetable start to brighten. Remove from the heat and place in a large bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking further. Pat dry and lay them out in one layer on a large sheet pan. Freeze for a few hours to overnight and then place in a large freezer bag for storage.
This technique works for:
- Bell peppers
- Brussel Sprouts
- Green beans (trim ends first)
- Summer Squash
These frozen vegetables can then be steamed or cooked in the microwave when ready to eat.
It’s not just produce that can be preserved to keep the summer going, you can also freeze your favorite summer meals to enjoy all year long.
Summer Recipes that Freeze Well
- Gazpacho – https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017577-best-gazpacho?register=google&auth=register-google
- Pesto – https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/basil-parsley-pesto-29521
- Fresh Tomato Sauce – Five minutes to make and freezes well. A true taste of summer! https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/august-2007-penne-with-triple-tomato-sauce
- Summer Minestrone – https://damndelicious.net/2018/06/18/summer-minestrone-with-turkey-meatballs/
Five Steps to Get into a Dinner Routine
- Acknowledge that Fall is Coming. I know, I know! Some of us want to run and hide! But it’s coming! And it will be ok. It will be great in fact! Once we know it’s time to get into a routine we can make a plan to make it happen.
- Meal Plan! We are big proponents of meal planning. And getting a plan together for weekly meals is one of the easiest ways to get back on track for back to school. No clue where to start? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning for everything you need to get going.
- Plan for Activities. Look at your calendar. Are there nights that you don’t have time to cook at all? Add a freezer meal or check out some pins on our Twenty Minute Meals Pinterest Board. Knowing your time (or lack thereof) is the key to being prepared.
- Create a Routine. Consistency is key. I know what you are thinking. No day is the same, how can I create a routine! I get it! There are still things you can do to set yourself up for success. Every morning look at your list and see what you are making for dinner that night. Then take the necessary steps to get that going. Is the meat frozen? Put it in the refrigerator to thaw. Are you using lots of pantry items? Put out the pantry items where you are going to cook. Not sure if you have all the ingredients? Quickly review the recipe one more time. Just having one step done will save you time later on.
- Set Realistic Expectations. Dinner on the table is a success even if it’s sandwiches one night or pasta with jarred tomato sauce, it’s fine! I promise I won’t tell!
What do you think? Have you gotten out of your routine? Let me know in the comments below how you get back into a routine. Together we can do it!