What’s for Dinner?


Is it just me or does every mom dread a certain little question from their husband after a long day at work? Every day as I leave work and call my husband to ask about his day, I hear it: “What’s for dinner?” Now don’t get me wrong – my husband is great and helps cook meals too, but no matter who is cooking, he always has to ask the question, and it drives me crazy. 

The Big Picture

For me, when thinking about making dinner for the night, it is the big picture that overwhelms me. Coming up with an idea, making it, wondering if my toddler will actually eat it, finding time myself to eat it with a toddler and infant keeping us busy, and then the major problem: all the dishes. We normally eat dinner at 6:30, and then it’s time to put my infant to bed. Right after that, it is my toddler’s bed time. And by that point, my husband and I are wore out and just want to veg out and have some time to talk about our days. But it is hard to fully relax because the dishes are hanging over our heads. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I found a great option: the one-pot meal! 

One-Pot Meals

There are a lot of awesome parts to a one-pot meal. First of all, there are tons of options out there. We primarily eat pork, venison, and chicken, and I found a great deal of options to enjoy. Second, most of the meals are the kind that you throw everything in and can walk a way a for a little bit, which is great when your kids want to play. Third, and my personal favorite – its a meal that makes one dish! The clean-up is so quick, which takes a great weight off my shoulders and allows me to unwind a little bit.

Mostly Hits, and One Miss

So far, I have found at least 10 one-pot meals that I know I will return to in a few weeks. My personal favorites are the black beans and sausage recipe (I add in one cup of quinoa to include a grain), and also this Mexican chicken and rice dish.  Both were huge hits with my husband and toddler as well! If you Google or Pinterest one-pot meals, you will get a plethora of options. In fact, so far, we have only experienced one great big miss. It was a venison and rice dish with cream of mushroom soup. It wasn’t awful, just very bland. As my family was eating, I looked at my husband and said “I feel as though this is a meal straight from the Great Depression.” My toddler laughed hysterically even though I am certain he had no idea why my comment was funny.

Overall, one-pot meals are quick, somewhat hands-free, and easy clean up. I highly recommend them if you are feeling frustrated with your nighttime dinner routine. And if you have some great one-pot meal options, please comment with the recipe below. 

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Melissa is a mom of two little boys, ages 3 and 6 months. She is a science teacher at Bay View Middle School, and has been a teacher for 7 years. Melissa and her husband also own an organic produce farm, Twin Elm Gardens, so you will often find her at local farmer's markets. Their food is used in many local restaurants. In the winter Melissa and her husband stay very busy as they are also part owners of the Wojcik Christmas Tree Farm. She loves encouraging people to support local, healthy, and sustainable.