It's Saturday night and you're tired. You don't want to think about having to go back to work, prepare for another school week, get kids dressed and hair done for church, and cook a fabulous, huge, family style Sunday dinner--again. Whoever thinks Sunday is a day of rest must not have kids, doesn't cook, isn't exhausted from the previous week and probably slept through the night. It's probably some guy. I know it SHOULD be, but in my experience it rarely is restful.
When I was a kid I remember roasts, lamb, steak or bbq for many of our Sunday dinners. My grandparents lived with us and my grandpa was a butcher, so we usually had really good meat and big, yummy dinners nearly every week. I remember a story about a girl learning how to make roast. She cut off the ends of the roast and put it in her pan. When asked why she cut off the ends she said that's the way she was taught. When she asked her mom, her mom said that's the way her mom had done it. When the granddaughter asked her grandma, she said because she had to make the meat fit in the pan she had.
I don't cook the way my mom and grandma did. I was not so domesticated when I got married. But like my dad always says, "there's more than one way to skin a cat." Maybe not the best analogy, but you get the point. So I am here, once again, to bring back Sunday to the peaceful, resting place it should be--at least in the kitchen.
Use your make ahead meals. Some are listed on this blog and there are more to come. You marinade your meat in a plastic bag--which can be done up to 24 hours ahead and then throw it in an aluminum roasting pan to cook. No clean up. Dinner is served. You can also freeze many meals--like make one, freeze one recipes--and all you have to do is thaw them on Saturday, throw them in a disposable lined crockpot or aluminum pan and again--done!
Family time is most important so if you forget to thaw, try simple meals like canned chili or soups and sandwiches. I have a friend who serves her family their favorite appetizers for one Sunday dinner. Frozen pizza, although not always the most exciting, is cheap and easy.
It is my opinion that there are better ways to spend time with friends and family than me standing at the sink or stove stirring, peeling, washing, etc. while everyone else has fun. Motherhood is not a punishment. It is an adventure and should be fun, at least sometimes.
Find what works for you: make-aheads, crockpot, easy & simple or left overs. Don't feel guilty you don't serve roast and lamb every Sunday. It's ok to make a Big Deal Sunday Dinner, using some shortcuts. Make a big deal about the fact you can have a great dinner, without a lot of work, stress and clean up, and get to what is really a big deal--making memories!