Hosting a frugal family cooking night is a lot of fun. For us, it is aa spin off of our holiday baking night that we hold before Christmas. Everyone enjoys this night so much that we decided to host one more often. One of the best ways to find out ways to connect with your family is to ask them Each month, sit down with pen and paper and let them fire off what they want to do.
Then, pick the top five or six and be intentional. This year we are being more protective and intentional with our time, money and family activities. If it doesn’t bring us happiness or value then we are going to wait on it. Cooking nights are a big hit with our family, and we find value in cooking together. Also, it teaches the kids’ great teamwork skills.
Choose a Frugal Family Cooking Theme
First, start off with a theme. The choices are endless. Dessert only, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Southern dishes, or casseroles. Picking a theme is the start of the planning. After a theme has been chosen, then everything else falls into place.
Since we have three kids all who love to cook, but only one that is independent enough to cook alone we made easy dishes. I printed off a list and let them choose what they wanted to cook. For this night we teamed up in groups of two.
Separate Dishes by Age Group
After you have separated everyone let them choose between two dishes what they will make. Part of the fun is the independence. For example, I let my kids decide who would make the spaghetti, meatballs, sauce and garlic bread. We went with an Italian theme. After breaking down each part of the meal it is important to break down a time. To serve a hot meal everything has to be completed in a timely manner.
The person who had the least experience cooked the spaghetti with my help. Spaghetti doesn’t take long so it was the last on the list to cook. Meatballs and sauce took longer to prep and cook so they were the first part of the meal to be cooked. After that the bread team put together their ingredients and then we started the spaghetti. It only took 8 minutes and that was my youngest son’s job.
No Electronic Devices
One of the more important aspects of the frugal family cooking night is time together. With this being said make sure to set a good example of no devices at the dinner table. The entire evening of fun, food and conversation will be memorable. In this day and age it is too easy to get caught up with social media. Be up front and have a sign with a designated spot to lay all cell phones and other devices.
Bring back the good old days with hours of conversation at the table. Sometimes we need to revisit what the generation before us did and re-create those moments. I grew up in a family where we all ate together for dinner, and I have to say that was the time we all connect. Take a few hours with this frugal family cooking night and connect.
Meal Prep Before the Event
To save time buy the ingredients before the frugal family cooking night begins. Making sure that everything is well prepped and ready to go. The kids’ are going to be excited and you want this to be a fun experience. Running around grocery shopping on the day of makes for a rushed day. Create a flexible timeline of preparation and give at least two hours of time prior to the event for setting the table. Cross all of the T’s and dot the I’d. Use candles to set the mood to calm and find some instrumental jazz music on the radio. Create an ambiance that focuses on how you want the event to be portrayed.
The table setting can be as grand or simple as you want. Go all out if your heart desires, or just set some simple place settings to keep it simple. Italian spaghetti dinners are one of our favorite frugal family dinners. Does your family have any convenient, simple and affordable meals you go to ?
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