A Week in Dinners: Musical Week Mish-Mash and Getting our Priorities Straight

It’s the most hectic time of the year! The weeks are flying past and we’re eagerly counting the sleeps. Our house has been very busy these past few weeks with the school musical, ballet recital and the usual activities thrown into the mix. Add two parents’ longer commutes due to winter traffic and the mental load of all the Christmas planning and something just has to give. In our case I relaxed my standards towards dinners. The result: We all ate, nobody starved, and unusually nobody complained. Here’s what we ate.

Sunday – Roast Chicken

I knew the week would be hectic so I decided to set us up with one “good dinner”. We had roast chicken (with herbs on top and “a lemon up its bum”), homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots (I bought the prepared ones), broccoli and cauliflower gratin (from the chiller in Aldi), and croquettes (also chiller in Aldi).

Monday – Chicken Fried Rice

I was on a half day and after ballet, music and rehearsal there were 4 very hungry people at home. I made chicken fried rice with the leftover chicken from the previous day, I discovered this recipe from An Bord Bia a couple of months ago and the kids all love it. I don’t add in the peppers because not everyone in my house likes them but I cook some peas and a pack of stir fry vegetables on the side and chop red peppers and leave in a dish on the table). This is tasty and quick. I’ve made it with pre-cooked rice pouches for even speedier results. Terrible photo but you get the idea.

Tuesday – Spaghetti Bolognese

I was working from home and my husband dropped the kids so I took the time I saved on the school run to have my bolognese made before I started work. I don’t usually have this luxury as I’m doing the school drop offs and telling children to put their lunches in their bags for hours on end.

We had rehearsal and swimming after school so it was lovely to come home to a tasty meal. I cooked the spaghetti while the kids were doing their homework. Bolognese is a favourite in our house, and Laoise carefully grated cheddar onto mine and asked me to photograph it.

Wednesday – Pie and Mash

We’ve had three “good dinners” in a row so now we’ve licence to relax the standards, right? On Wednesday we had stuff that was in the fridge. That meat a chicken and ham pastry pie, and “steak” pastry slices, served with leftover mash and veg from Sunday and beans for the non-vegetable lovers. The kids liked the pastry slices.

Thursday – Tortellini

Opening night of the musical! I worked in Dublin and had to have the kids fed and in the theatre by 6. Tortellini (from Aldi) and red pesto was tonight’s carb filled evening meal for the kids. I had my new favourite thing- this pot from Aldi, it’s soo tasty and healthy too. We also bought bags of chips on the way home from the theatre to celebrate the success of opening night!

Friday – Beige and Beans

All bets are off by Friday.

Despite working from home all day today I didn’t get a chance to make dinner (I often make it on my lunch Break) so it was a beige evening, broken only by the beans. Chicken nuggets, Aldi finest wedges (these are really, really good) and baked beans. No complaints.

L-R Supportive Sister, Rooster Hannigan, Orphan

So it was a mish-mash of dinners, some dreamt up on the fly, not all instagrammable but we all ate, some people ate vegetables, and the important things this week got done. It’s all about balance and keeping things ticking over in our house this week was the priority, and it happened without hours over the cooker. Sure, I could have made fast healthy alternatives to beige night but I simply didn’t have the headspace.

The boys were in the school production of “Annie Junior” and the memories that we made this week will last a lifetime. They’ll have no idea by now what we ate for dinner this week. That’s some perspective for you there.

Sincere thanks to their teachers in Bunscoil Loreto and the incredibly generous sponsor of the show The Gaslamp Gallery, my Instagram followers will know how much I love this little shop. The show was just incredible, to think that kids primary school age managed to pull off such a big show in a few short weeks goes to show what you can achieve if you put your heart and soul into it. The talent was amazing, and every parent and grandparent in the room was bursting with pride.

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