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3 Tips to Keep the Dinner Monster Away

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

A Bird & Bear Collective guest post from the kitchen of Medway Mom, Melanie Coakley. Melanie is a mom of four, ranging in age from 10-17. She and her family spend many a night under the lights of a gym, football or baseball field, but cherish any opportunity to gather around the dinner table. At the beginning of this Halloween week, let's read how she keeps the Dinner Monster away!

I’m always trying to find something, anything that is healthy, easy to make and most importantly, that everyone will eat.  I find this to be a daunting task. 

So, when I do find a great recipe, a cooking technique, or a yummy food product, I want to share it with those who have met the dinner monster just like me.  So here it goes...

TIP 1: Become a Dove-Tailing Expert...

Dove-tailing has become a huge trend in kitchens.  Dove-tailing is a technique that allows you to focus on planning your weekly menu versus focusing on a single meal in isolation.  This technique keeps that ‘dinner monster’ at bay. 

For example, on a Sunday, plan to make a huge batch of grilled chicken or baked chicken for the fridge.  Use that chicken to make a couple meals for your week.  Great ideas are quesadillas, BBQ pizza, a pasta bake...seriously, a cook can do anything with a little chicken!  Dove-tailing enables you to save time and money and it ensures that your ingredients never go to waste. 

TIP 2:  Get the kids involved...

I’m a total control freak in my kitchen but I’ve learned when I let my kids help, dinner just goes better.  Cooking is a life skill and teaching your kids the basics (in my opinion) is important.  I have also noticed that including them in the kitchen seems to make them a little braver at trying new foods.  That alone is a win!

TIP 3: Plan for the week...

I find that when I take 20 min and get my kids input on what they would want for dinners for the week, I can plan and execute pretty smoothly.  I pick what nights need to be quick picks and what nights I have time to cook something a smidge more elaborate.   And, if I follow TIP 1, then I can get two meals out of a staple that I cooked. 


So that's how I try to keep the dinner monster away, while embracing any moment to channel my kitchen hero, Julia Child, who once said... “We should enjoy food and have fun.  It’s one of life’s simplest and nicest pleasures”.  That said, go tackle the dinner monster one TIP at a time.

Thank you Melanie for the tips and the inspiration to embrace and conquer the dinner monster -- or perhaps the dinnertime birds & bears! We look forward to reading your next post, as we hear you have a few other kitchen bits you'd like to share!

If any of you would like to write a guest blog post for The Bird & Bear Collective (food or any topic you wish) just reach out! Your words matter and this is a space for us to gather and share.

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