Dinner is one meal of the day where most families come and spend quality time together. For most of us, this is the largest meal of our day. Since dinner is a larger meal, it requires more planning to prepare and serve. You will need to be better organized and commit more time to prepare the many different foods and have them all ready at the same time.
A complete dinner menu typically includes:
- an appetizer or soup
- entree or main dish
- starchy vegetable
- green or yellow vegetable
- bread and butter
Not all families serve a meal this way all of the time, but if you want to serve a nice meal try and include all of the above items.
Some tips to help you plan your meal:
- Plan for variety. It shouldn’t be the same routine every evening. A good cook will try and spruce things up and serve things differently each time. If you have carrots with pot roast, next time serve it with peas.
- Include foods from all 5 food groups.
- Dinner should include a variety of tastes, colors, textures, and shapes.
- Plan to prepare some in the oven or crock pot. These can be prepared ahead of time and cooked without your full attention. While they cook, you can prepare other things.
- Make casseroles. These include items from many of the food groups. While it is cooking you can easily make a salad and dessert.
- Make fruit special. Include it in a pie or bars. You can even use it as a topping on simple cakes.
- Try not to get in a rut. Constantly look up new recipe ideas to bring variety to your family meals.
Your goal is going to prepare a complete meal for your family. Maybe you can invite a neighbor or some friends over to enjoy the “fruits of your labor.”
You are going to need to do the following to prepare:
- The menu–you must consider cost and availability of foods as you compose your menu.
- Get the food–you will have to carefully study your recipes and decide what you have in your pantry, and what you need to purchase at the store. Plan carefully so that you are not frustrated when you start preparing and realize that you are out of ingredients.
- Organize the preparation--You need to read through the recipes again. Which takes the longest to bake or cook? Which needs to be refrigerated or frozen and for how long? Which can be made ahead of time and refrigerated? Allow for adequate time for preparation for each recipe.
- Planning the table. Remember from unit 9