Here are some ideas to get you started – because sometimes there just isn’t enough room in your brain to process dinner!
Special needs parenting brings with it a host of unique challenges and situations. But it also doesn’t mean that the more mundane things in life cease to exist. Case in point – everybody needs dinner!
I LOVE to cook, but I work full time as an educator, in addition to selling Color Street, and raising our two boys, one of whom is nonverbal autistic. What I needed was a jump-start, to have a direction to head when it was 5 pm and I wasn’t sure what to put on the table. In an effort to streamline things in my house, I decided that each weeknight would have an overall theme (and sure- we deviate for holidays, sporting events, and evening meetings, but, in general, a structure can help #autismmoms as well!).
So here are examples of a schedule that has started working for me, Monday through Friday, most weeks. (And yes, go ahead and get some take-out on the weekend!)
If you have eggs, you have dinner – fry them, scramble them, poach them, or boil them. Add toast, and if you’re so inclined, heat up some chicken sausage or fry some bacon. (and next week riff on this with French Toast – bread dipped in egg and milk – spiked with any/all of the following – sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, cornstarch, nutmeg.)
You know the old saying – if you can boil water, you can cook. With pasta that is so true. My go-to starts with roasting sliced Yukon gold potatoes with Omnivore Salt. Toss with cooked pasta and pesto (from a jar – or make your own and freeze). Or, on the weekends, when I have a few extra minutes, I make and freeze uncooked meatballs and then broil them straight from frozen, toss with marinara and serve with pasta.
Layer 1 jar of salsa (purchased or make your own) with a pound of boneless, chicken thighs in your Instant Pot. Pressure cook for 25 minutes and release naturally. Shred the chicken and serve with chips or tortillas of your choice (or make your own here). Customize with toppings as you like.
Enough cooking to be appealing, yet little enough to fit in a busy weeknight schedule. Beef, turkey, veggie – whatever you like. Again, flexibility in toppings helps make this a crowd-pleasing option.
Comment below if you have tried any of these dinners without thinking.
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Questions? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.