• Dominate Dinner

    More Than Just a Meal Plan

    It’s been almost a year since the seed of an idea was planted, when I began exploring the notion that perhaps my success in the kitchen wasn’t about my recipes, but about my process. I started to ask some questions… Was there a process to unpack beneath my dinnertime routine? Could my method work for other people? The answers, to my great delight, are yes and yes. And thus, Dominate Dinner was born. So what is Dominate Dinner? The words began as part of the subtitle to my (work in progress) book… Biscuits ‘n Crazy: The Busy Mom’s Guide to Dominate Dinner. And then they were the name of my…

  • Dominate Dinner,  Holidays

    Meal Planning through Thanksgiving

    It’s Thanksgiving week!! For those of us who love to cook and entertain, it’s like our Super Bowl! And at the same time – for those of us who like to operate with a meal plan, it can feel like we’re drowning without our structure and routine! Meal planning through the Thanksgiving holiday can certainly feel like the wheels have fallen off! Between travel, all that cooking for the big day, and then the mountains of leftovers, it’s easy to feel like you’re out of control of your dinnertime – but fear not! Here are a few tips to help get you (and me!) through this week! Plan to not…

  • Dominate Dinner

    Tip #10 – Get Your Recipes Printed

    Recipes that are printed out are so much easier to follow! The internet is a great place for recipes, but once you find a good one – print it! Cooking with a printed recipe means no more phone or iPad going to sleep in the middle of the food prep! No more scrolling through a ridiculously long blog post and dealing with pop-up ads trying to get to your recipe! No more touching your device with messy hands! And recipes are easier to read since the font is typically bigger on the printed version. Keep all your print outs alphabetized in a 3 ring binder. You’ll thank yourself, promise.

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    Tip #9 – Get a Backup Plan

    Having a backup meal available when your original plan falls through is super helpful. I try to pick something that can be made in 15-20 minutes, and uses ingredients that can hold for at least a few weeks. Some of my favorites are flat bread pizzas (naan bread, marinara, mozzarella cheese and whatever meats or veggies I have handy), breakfast for dinner (eggs, grits, oatmeal, bacon, pancakes, omelets or breakfast sandwiches), or soup and grilled cheese (I keep boxes of organic tomato soup, and always have bread and cheese around). This way, if I either run out of time to make my original meal, or forgot to defrost my meat,…

  • Dominate Dinner

    Tip #8 – Get Your Groceries Once a Week

    Perhaps one of my biggest time savers is this tip. If you have a meal plan, you can make the switch to grocery shop once a week. Having groceries on hand has been the single most improvement noted by the folks who have been using my process. Knowing what you’re going to cook and having everything you need already in your kitchen removes so many of the hurdles to cooking. It means when it’s time to cook dinner, you can literally just cook dinner. Not try to think about what to cook… not have to run to the store real quick… just cook. Pick a day that works best with…

  • Dominate Dinner

    Tip #7 – Get Your Meal Plan Published

    I’ve found that simply writing my meal plan in a notebook or on my planning template isn’t always enough to ensure it actually gets executed! But what does work is publishing it in a prominent place where both me and my family can easily see the plan. There are a couple of reasons I think this makes a difference: it creates accountability to actually stick to the plan, it serves as a visual reminder of the plan, it keeps the family all on the same page, and it reinforces the importance of family dinners. Have your weekly calendar start with the first day of your meal plan. I add my…

  • Dominate Dinner

    Tip #6 – Get a Meal Plan

    I know what some of you may be thinking – “meal planning isn’t for me”, or “I’m not a planner”. Hear me out. Unless you have limitless free time, can go to the store whenever you’d like, and don’t have activities impeding on your dinnertime, then you need to give your meals some forethought. It’s just the reality of this stage of life. One time a week, set aside 30 minutes (may be a little more at first, but it will get easier once you get in the groove) to take a look at your week ahead, consider what you have going on during dinnertime hours, decide what your dinner…

  • Dominate Dinner

    Tip #5 – Get Your Kitchen Stocked

    You ever get in the mood to just throw some dinner together? Then you head to the fridge and realize [shocker], you’re missing an ingredient (or four)! Not having staple ingredients on hand is so frustrating! And while I’m a big fan of already knowing what you’re going to make for dinner (and making sure you’ve got those ingredients), life happens, and it is so much less stressful when you’re prepared to be flexible! I’ve found coming up with a list of kitchen staples, and then making sure you never run out, is so helpful! Some of my essentials include: lemons, eggs, chicken stock, beef stock, garlic, onions, carrots, celery,…

  • Dominate Dinner

    Tip #4 – Get the Right Tools

    Having the right kitchen tools (and enough of them) can make all difference in your cooking experience! Sometimes it’s an appliance that can completely change the way you cook (like my Instant Pot!!).  Sometimes it’s as simple as having enough measuring spoons, measuring cups, cutting boards and chef knives. Having multiples of these items can end the frustration of having to stop in the middle of cooking so you can hand wash something you need. Think about the items that you may be lacking – or times you sigh from frustration because you don’t have enough. Make a plan to purchase those things! Keep in mind that if you’re switching…

  • Dominate Dinner

    Tip #3 – Get Organized

    Often the reason we feel overwhelmed in the kitchen is because we’re trying to operate in what I’ll affectionately call a hot mess. Clutter is oppressive, y’all! I recommend going extreme here if you really want to make a big change… this involves cleaning out your entire kitchen: the pantry, the refrigerator, your cabinets and drawers. Take each area and remove everything. Wipe it all down and then purposefully place your stuff back (like-items together!). Put the small stuff in baskets and remember labels are your friends! If you start from scratch on your cabinets and drawers (meaning you don’t already have designated spaces for like-things), use sticky notes of…