On the days I work, it can be difficult to get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour, especially when I often get home after 4:30. We eat dinner pretty early in our house. By 5pm Elora is making dinner requests, so we really need to be preparing dinner before then, feeding her little snacks of nuts and carrots and crackers whilst we cook.

Often, if I have a meeting and am expecting to be home late, Monte is good at getting dinner ready. With his workload, however, it’s not always possible. For couples who label themselves DIWKs (double-income-with-kids … the ‘w’ is silent) it’s so important to have easy meals up your sleeve for those busy days (actually I think this works for anybody).

There are ways we manage with our busy lifestyle. We find that menu planning is really valuable in our hectic household, even if it is just for three or four days in advance, and certainly for the days when I am working. We also often prepare double quantities of food, whether it is pasta, rice, sauces, vegetables etc, so we can reheat them on another night. We have a bank of simple recipes that we often turn to on the busy days when I work. A few of those recipes are listed on this page . And we also have some strict routines in place in our house so that the children are occupied instead of whinging for their dinner.

Tonight I was able to prepare dinner quickly and easily and have it served at the table within a good time, despite coming home around 4:30. I made chicken tacos. The children adore taco shells and chicken, and these tacos were fresh and colourful and very tasty.

Chicken Tacos
– chicken thigh or breast fillets (one per person)
– coleslaw salad (we used a pre mixed salad but you can easily make your own)
– mayonnaise
– shredded cheese
– diced cucumber (we picked some delicious, big, juicy cucumbers from our garden this afternoon and we munched away on them for dinner)
– taco sauce
– taco shells (we used hard ones)

After making up the coleslaw, dicing the cucumber and grating the cheese, I cut up the chicken into strips and cooked it in the electric grill. When that was happening I heated up the taco shells. It all came together so quickly. The most time consuming part was cutting the chicken up. Imagine if you used chicken that was already diced up!

We put everything on the table and made up the tacos. These serve-yourself meals are great because somehow they encourage the conversation to flow and the atmosphere is light and fun. Everybody enjoyed the meal and I was relieved that dinner was on the table with enough time to spare for baths and stories and bedtime – and that it had been so effortless.

To make everything even better, Monte and the children cleaned up everything for me, meaning that I finally got a sit down and a drink!

Happy times.