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Did you ever notice that it used to only take 15 minutes to prepare a meal, but now takes more like an hour?

If I make it while the kids are not busy, here is a run down of how it looks:
-I get out the ingredients and three kitchen chairs magically appear at the kitchen island beside me.  This is when I…
– STOP, wash their hands
– Get started again
– STOP get them kid-knives to help me chop things
-Start cutting everything
– STOP to wash their hands again because now their hands “smell like onions”
— STOP to find the kids something to do.
– start up again.  Get out the chicken or raw meat
– STOP to wash my hands because someone needs something and I don’t want to contaminate their things with my raw-meat-germs
– Try to finish making dinner
– STOP & repeat the hand washing scenario.  You can just repeat this step about six more times before I am done preparing my meal.  haha!

That about covers it.  You get the picture.  I even try to make easy recipes, but sometimes I need to just stick to the steps below to get my meal cooked quickly!  (See recipes from my Board on Pinterest: Easy Dinner Recipes with Limited Prep-Time)

Here are a few time-savers to prepare dinner faster with kids in the room :


1- Prepare dinner early in the day when the kids are not hungry and tired.  The worst time of day for me to prepare dinner is close to dinner time.  The kids are tired, cranky and hungry.  If I can plan ahead (crock-pot meals or just cooking earlier) I will cook when they are playing in the morning or having rest time.  Rest time is really the best time of day for me to cook- limited distractions.  I like to have everything ready to go and when my husband calls to tell us that he is on his way home, I can just put our dinner into the oven and cook it.  It is usually ready by the time that gets home.

2- If you are having chicken, thaw & cut enough for two nights.  This takes away all of the “dirty work” (time consuming) for tomorrow night.  Cut it up and put enough for tomorrow night into an air-tight container (and keep out of the reach of little hands!)

3- Prepare & freeze meals.  Double up your recipes and freeze one of them for next week.

4-Prep all of your vegetables at once (and fruit).   When I get home from the store, I take all of our fruit and prepare it (washing, cutting, slicing).  I put it into air-tight, sealed containers and have it ready to go for the kids, my husband and myself to snack on or use for cooking anytime.
When I am preparing a meal, I do not like to have to take the time to cut up each item, so if I have my carrots already cut up or my onions already diced, I can just get what I need and use it.  The prep-time is practically eliminated.
ps- check out this post on saving money at the grocery store!

5- If you have waited until it is almost time for dinner and your kids are in the kitchen, give them a plate of veggies at the table (see more on this tip here- Getting your kids to eat more vegetables) and let them snack while you cook.   It is a little appetizer, it keeps them busy and it is so healthy!  Of course, letting them help you cook is a great option, too, if you are up for it!   Or try this super-fast, easy activity that will keep them busy for at least ten minutes… (click picture below)
Or you can see my Board on Pinterest: Easy Dinner Recipes with Limited Prep-Time

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Here is another post that you might like:

Healthy and cheap meals

Thanks for stopping by!  Share your tips below- I’d love to hear them!
~ Becky

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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