In our family, one of the first things I hear out of my children's mouths when I pick them up from school is, "What's for dinner?" Sometimes I know what we're having at 3:00 in the afternoon, and sometimes I don't have a clue, I'm sorry to say. If I know, I answer that child. But because no one else is really paying attention to what I've just said since they didn't ask the question themselves, I will be asked "What's for dinner, Mom?" as many as six times a day. Actually, my husband has learned not to ask me that question most of the time, so I really only hear that five different times in a day. It's taken me sixteen years, but I finally got so tired of repeating myself over and over each day, that I went out to Michael's and bought the chalkboard above, and I hung it nice and high in our kitchen so everyone can see for themselves what is for dinner that evening. Unless I don't know until the last minute. In that case, the blackboard remains blank all day long, and everyone eventually surmises that Mom is either going to run out to pick up some takeout food, or it's fend-for-yourself-night because Mom is on strike. Just kidding. I've never actually done that as tempted as I've been.
I'm including below 3 of our favorite quick dinner meals that everyone in the family likes, and that is a major accomplishment because do you know how challenging it is to make something that seven people are all looking forward to eating?
Slow Cooker Pork Roast
Place a 4 pound pork roast in crockpot or slow cooker. Combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup wine or water, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1 clove of minced garlic. Pour over the roast and cook on low for 10 hours. This is so easy to put together in the morning before going out for the day. When you come home, it smells fantastic. I like it with the wine, but my kiddos prefer water. I usually just cook some rice and make a salad or a steamed vegetable to go along with it.
Baked Chicken Breasts
Put about 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs on a big plate and add 1 Tablespoon dried basil and 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Stir together. Then coat skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the breadcrumb mixture and place in an oiled baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. I serve with a steamed vegetable and either rice or noodles. Most of my boys proceed to smother it in barbecue sauce, but I think it's flavorful and juicy without any sauce.
Chicken in a Pot
Put baby carrots, 2 sliced onions, and 2 sliced celery stalks with the leaves in bottom of crockpot. Add a 3 pound whole chicken. Top with 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 cup water or chicken broth or white wine (my kids like the chicken broth best.) Sprinkle 1 teaspoon dried basil on top. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5 hours. *If you cook on high, use 1 cup of liquid instead of 1/2. All that's left to make at the end of the day is something from the bread group or some baked potatoes.
Now it's time for me to quickly figure out what everyone in my house is eating tonight. I've been gone all day and only came home long enough to hang some laundry and talk to all of you. I have to run back out to pick up a daughter from her second track meet of the season. I'm hoping there are enough leftovers in the refrigerator to feed everyone because at this point, my chalkboard is bare and so is my mind of any impromptu dishes I can throw together in about 10 minutes. Wish me luck!