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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Dining in shifts


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Ok, the smoke alarm has been turned off and the house is airing out.... :)

(A french fry from baseball kids dinner fell in the oven and wasn't discovered until I was baking Dad's chicken strips....eeek)

I fixed three different items for three family members. I'm getting desperate! At least two nights a week I need to feed baseball son and dad around 6, and DD won't want to eat until after classes, around 8 or so! I've done crockpot stew and a few other things, but the family is starting to think Burger King and Pizza Hut are our pantry and frig!


Any help appreciated.


Gee, and I have a day job too....


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I don't have any help, just experience. I didn't get home until 8 most evenings through all of high school and all I can say is, I am SOOOO glad that somewhere in there we got a microwave. My line (not my husbands) is you eat what is cooked or go hungry, because that is what I was raised on.

Sorry this isn't more helpful but as a working mother, similar to my own, you eat what I cook or you don't eat anything.


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You can eat what is fixed or fix somthing yourself. Being the parent of a dd I have enough on my plate-no pun inteded :D I don't have time to play chef too. Simple things are best to make such as soup, grilled cheese and potpies. Husband and sister fend for themselves while dd and I are gone. Actually, most of the time Dad has everyone fed before my tires screech in the driveway after I get off of work with just enough time to get dd to class. I ate at work.

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Guest balletmom1

I am NOT a cook and want everything I make to take under 30 min. Tonight for DD and I (the menfolk don't much take to it) I broiled fish (tilipia for me, salmon for her), steamed broccoli, and nuked sweet potatoes - rinse them off, poke some holes in them, plop them on a paper towel and turn them a couple of times. They are done when they are soft. They are soooo yummy that way (I usually add a bit of butter and maple syrup, but these were great plain) - light years better than the yucky canned ones.

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Absolutely, no short-order cook routines! IF something gets fixed, it's either eat that or fix your own (although I have been known to agree to scramble a couple of eggs on request). Many days, it's "everyone forages for him/herself".


I'm not sure we'll be able to share specific recipes, but stews or chilis or things like that can be made in bulk and then reheated as need be. Mini-carrots are our standard vegetable -- uncooked, of course. A roast chicken can be sliced or dismembered at the first sitting and reheated (or not) later. (Roast chickens are one of my favorite meals; they go on sale for about 59¢/lb. which means you can feed the whole family dinner and at least a lunch or two AND make some broth for about $3.00. And preparation and cooking couldn't be simpler!)


We always keep some standbys in the pantry: canned beans (just heat and serve with rice), tortillas and cheese (for quesadillas), Boca burgers (chik'n patties, etc), eggs, tuna, peanut butter, and last but not least .... cereal!!! We're also fond of some chicken simmer sauces that cook up really quickly and easily (we like a spinach one from Trader Joes, and Patak's Tikka Masala). I also make pizzas, which can be reheated by the late shift. Sometimes I make regular ones, and sometimes I make black bean pizzas with Trader Joe's Black Bean Dip and Cheddar cheese.


If you have a Trader Joe's near you, this is a terrific source of esoteric convenience foods. Really cool salsas and sauces and soups, not to mention frozen dinners and all kinds of stuff. It is a great place to browse and wait for ideas to hit. We almost always find something new to try.

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Because I work full time and drive the kids around, I cook in a crock pot a lot. Most things can be put together in the morning, with only a little tending late afternoon. To me winter is the easiest time for eating in shifts.


We currently have in our refridgerator:


Left over chili with beans, left over homemade chicken soup, and left over beef stew. All these things were served with salad and bread. Tonight we will be eating the left over of your choice with grilled cheese sandwiches.


I try to save more complicated cooking for non driving nights when most, if not all, the family will be home.

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The crock pot is the best invention for working families! Tonight, dd has rehearsal until 6:30 -- there's lasagne in there. I also cook ahead on weekends, and often cook in fairly large batches, freezing half in those GladWare pans. Thaw overnight in fridge, then whoever gets home first (not me, usually) can throw them in the oven for a while.


Other stuff that's tolerant of late and/or multiple serving: pasta salad, chicken salad, chef salad...those pre-washed and cut up salad kit are wonderful!!


But the biggest survival tip I have is to plan ahead!! Although I don't necessarily know what nights my dear husband will have to work late, I DO know the nights of class and rehearsal. I plan out a menu a week in advance, noting the time considerations, and shop for the week. I do early a.m. and night-before cooking a lot, since for the next 3 nights, I'll be leaving work early, picking dd up at school in her last class to run her to rehearsals. We'll get home around 7...and be starving.


Last night I made breadsticks and put the lasagne together. (Most crock pot stuff can tolerate overnight in the fridge!). Today I'll set the table and premake our salad...and we can eat as soon as we get out coats off.


Now, keep in mind that one of my very favorite activities is cooking and baking. Since I love to do it, I'm going to find a way to fit in my "culinary therapy" for me. Really good dance day cookbooks to explore are "Fix it and Forget It", "Fix it and Forget it Lightly" and "Fix it and Forget It Recipes for Entertaining" all by Ranck and Good.


Crock Pots don't always mean lots of chopping and prep -- they are good warmer-uppers-- sometimes I buy frozen soups and heat those in there.


Good luck!

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I also like to cook a batch of something that will last for several days.


My daughter likes to eat as soon as she gets home from school (around 3pm).


Typical meals for her are: hot dog (Hebrew National low fat) and roll, chicken cutlets (Perdue has ready-to-heat, prepackaged, or I make them), cheese tortellinis.


Then, I pack a snack for her to eat in the car (crackers, raisins, granola bar, fruit, juice box).


I take her to ballet, then come back and eat with my husband and daughter (then return to pick her up, if there is no carpool).

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I cook dinner in the morning. Dd eats a light dinner before we leave for the commute around 3. Smoothies, fruit, salads and pasta are also quick meals that can be eaten in the car. I pack the cooler with drinks and our dinners for the way home. Ds studio has a microwave so I reheat dinner for her on the drive home. We have an hour commute so waiting until we get home is just to late for her to eat. She is normally starving when she gets out of class!

DH and Ds will eat dinner at different times depending on Ds sports schedule.

I leave a heating/cooking instruction sheet and menu out so Dh will know what is for dinner.

I use the crockpot a lot in the winter. My current favorite cooking appliance is a food steamer for veggies . Dh just turns it on when they get ready to eat.


There are many great cooking and menu planning sites on line. I also make out a weekly menu plan and try to stick to it.

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One dinner meal cooked a day. There is always cereal, PBJ or ramen noodles around if you don't like what I fix, and you fix those yourself. If you can't eat when the majority eats then it is reheated in the microwave for you. No such thing as fixing two meals for different parts of the family. What are you? Superwoman? :D


I use the crockpot alot. And on the weekends make some sort of salad, pasta or otherwise that can stay in the refrigerator for several days. I just have to tell hubby that it is not his snack but dinner!


Recently, we've done lots of soups with vegie quesadillas. And I never just cook enough for only one meal, I'm always planning for what the leftovers can become for the next day. And when all else fails, there is always ingredients for Black beans and rice or Hawaiian Stacking Chicken in the pantry ready to be thrown together in 30 or less.



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God bless Costco and my crock pot! :D There are quite a few good cook-books out there for the crock pot that will take you beyond stew; the "Fix It and Forget It" series comes to mind. I also invested in a rice-cooker that will cook and keep the rice warm for up to 4-5 hours. That way I can start it before car-pool, come home and put something quick on grill, and even if we eat without DD, it's still edible when she gets home. Good luck...I know it's a challenge!

Edited by supportivemom
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No superwoman (Although I have a HUGE WonderWoman collection!) :bash:


I was just feeling "mother guilt" about the millionth night of "find something" and DS eating a Chef Boyardee bowl, DH getting chicken strips from the Schwanz box and DD eating an Uncle Ben's rice bowl. Cereal is also big here.


We only seem to all eat together at a resteraunt these days. I'll quit watching June Cleaver reruns and go back to checking the store ads for frozen dinner sales! :helpsmilie:


I DO love the crockpot and other ideas given. I DON'T cook multiple meals (unless you count each person picking their own Lean Cuisine) but was trying to figure out if there was something that could be fixed once and eaten easily at 6 and again at 8. I LOVE the pasta salad ideas. Funny how you can forget some of the really easy things that everyone likes.


At least tonight is covered....we always eat at Fazoli's between dance/cub scouts and church. These kids are trained to get it in in 30 minutes or less :blush: And I can call in the order while driving across town.

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Not that I'm any good at it :blush: but I do find that planning ahead helps. I'm not at all able to sit down and plan out a week's menus, but on the days that I come home knowing roughly what I'm going to cook things go much better. The hardest days are when I open the fridge door at 5:30 and say, "Now, what can I make???"


In our house, my husband does most of the shopping and I do most of the cooking, so the planning-ahead-and-buying-what-you-need thing is pretty much out the door. I cook what he brings home. Kind of like in early hunter-gatherer days, I guess. :bash:

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I just bought one of the new George Foreman grills with a removable cooking surface. This thing is wonderful! Food cooks so much faster on it, so you can have a meal ready in less than 30 minutes. Then all you have to do is remove the cooking plates and put them in the dishwasher to use the next night. We found ours for $80 on Amazon.com. Well worth the cost to have a home-cooked meal that is quick and easy.

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Well, now that my kids are grown and out of the house, I have just begun to do something that sure would've been the obvious solution :bash: when they were living here and our schedule was a nightmare.


Aside from certain meals like fish, whenever I cook, I make enough not just for leftovers but also to freeze. I use the little individual containers - those cheap ones from the supermarket - that are a perfect one-meal size. We call them TV dinners around here.


In my freezer right now are containers of chicken cacciatore, beef stew, turkey casserole (from Thanksgiving turkey), carrot soup, chicken soup, pasta sauce, spinach casserole, chili. If someone's hungry, they can choose their dinner, pop it into the micro for a couple minutes and voila! they have a tasty home-cooked meal.


However, I think the most important advice :blush: you got in this thread was

I just have to tell hubby that it is not his snack but dinner!
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