By Raizel Liberow, Beis Moshiach
Living many hours away from my parent’s home, I called my mother before Yom Tov to get her recipe for her roast. As it was cooking, the smells of the rich red wine combining with the tender meat, I felt for a moment like I was back in Australia. Something about smells can do that to you. And there’s nothing quite like the smell of Mommy’s cooking.
Looking to recreate those memories for my own children, it can sometimes be a challenge to have home-cooked meals ready before the scrambled eggs save the day. Over time, I’ve discovered that planning in advance is the secret. Here are some tips that work well in our home on a good week. Otherwise, 3 cheers for grilled cheese 🙂
1) Growing up, Sunday supper was always leftovers-from-Shabbos with the addition of some hot dogs if we were lucky. I’ve proudly continued that tradition and try to take a few moments that would’ve been used for cooking to jot down the supper menu for the coming week. Planning for the week ahead helps you grocery shop just once (hopefully), saving time and money. Being okay with eating leftovers can also plant the seeds of Iskafia in the children’s minds — we don’t have to make a new supper just because. It’s fine to eat what we have available, giving us koach to serve Hashem.
2) Instead of perusing cookbooks and building your menu from there, try perusing your fridge and pantry instead. Some leftover pasta? I’ll make another half a bag, and Monday will be baked ziti. Some coleslaw from Shabbos? Let’s do shawarma and pita with coleslaw and Israeli salad. Some zucchinis needing love? How about meatballs and zoodles on Wednesday night. This way, we end up saving money (fewer ingredients to buy) and wasting less. A win-win.
3) Cook once, eat all week. Sometimes it works well to spend the extra few minutes at the beginning of the week to prepare something more time consuming and then incorporate it into your meals throughout the week. Let’s say you choose grilled vegetables. It can work well on top of lettuce with a scoop of tuna for lunch. It can go into a baguette with pesto and goat cheese on day two. It can be served alongside rice and grilled chicken. And can be blended up with some chicken stock for a hearty soup!
4) What to do with one leftover schnitzel? Or a portion of rice? To help prevent wastage, we try to reserve one meal in the week that’ll be leftovers. For us, Friday lunch works well. Everyone comes home from school ravenous and choosing something from the fridge to warm up, frees up space for all the fresh Shabbos food.
5) For fussy eaters, mealtime can be stressful. An article by Aliza Neveloff (What is a Parent’s Role In Feeding, Chabad.org) describing the division of roles in feeding children has really helped to lower the pressure in our home during mealtime. In short, the parents decide what, where, and when the children eat. The child decides whether he wants to eat and how much. This helps to encourage our children to eat L’shem Shamayim and trusting them when they say they’re full or even to tell us that they’re not hungry at all!
May we merit to once again sit at the table of our Father with the revelation of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach now!
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