I crave routine. I thrive when my life is in order and I can see and plan what my immediate future will most likely look like. Substitutes don’t get routine — especially if you’re willing to take any job that is offered. Needless to say, the lack of routine really bothered me last year. I would go through periods where I wasn’t subbing at all and got into routines around the house, then I’d get a call to sub and almost felt like I shouldn’t take it because I didn’t want whatever semblance of ‘normal’ I had to become lost. So when I got my long-term subbing opportunity at the end of last year, I was in heaven! Routine, a schedule, plans… a PURPOSE!

When I decided to sub again this year, I knew something had to change. I couldn’t just let myself get caught in this rut of not having any sort of day-to-day schedule. So I was more than willing to help when the principal approached me about helping with the after school program.

I was excited when Brian and I realized that we could car pool in the mornings — that way I could help with speech class, then come home, then go back to after school program, and finally take Brian home.

Now, no matter whether or not I sub, I have a purpose every single day.

But this means that on days I do sub, we’re gone from 7:30-5:30. And then we come home and don’t feel like doing anything, including making supper.

During the transitional part of our summer, we were in an eating rut. We went through too much mac n cheese and pizza rolls. I don’t want our fall to consist of even more mac n cheese and pizza rolls! So we’ve needed to come up with some quick “go-to” decently-healthy meals.

I think some of our readers can relate to this same frustration. How do we have delicious, fast, healthy meals without having to spend lots of time in the kitchen when we get home from work? Yeah, I know. Rachel Ray can teach us tons of 30-minute meals — but sometimes they don’t look all that appetizing and I’m not as fast in the kitchen as she is! Add in the fact that we make one big shopping trip and try to plan for 14+ dinners and never know exactly what will sound good makes it hard to shop and cook.

We’ve started to pre-make a lot of dishes on Sunday so our week goes more smoothly. And when I don’t sub, I try to get dinner pretty much ready before I go to After School Program. That way, when we get home, we can warm it up and go!

So, I want to know: What are your “go-to” meals? What tips do you have for making cooking during the week seem like less of a chore?

If you, my dear readers, will answer these questions, I will start a series to share what we learn… including pictures and recipes and tips. Please comment! I think this is something that could help a lot of us… so let’s work together! 🙂