The Make-Ahead Cookbook Giveaway! – CONTEST CLOSED

Winner is #722: Manda B. who said “I feel like my biggest hang up changes throughout the year. Right now it’s mostly third trimester tiredness and add 3 boys 5 and under. I just don’t feel up to making anything but a quick dinner.”

Today, I’m giving away a copy of this fabulous new cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen (one of the most trusted sources of all things cooking and kitchen-related and the place I would love to visit most in the whole entire world besides Italy which only beats out ATK by a slim margin based on the sheer quantity of gelato in Italy):

Thai-Style Fish and Creamy Couscous Packets

I’ve made several recipes from this cookbook already (including these Thai-Style Fish and Couscous Packets) and I am completely loving it. Not only does it share tried-and-true recipes, but each chapter focuses on a different path for make-ahead cooking and the strategies and tips in this book are endless! As one who adores make-ahead meals, this book speaks to my soul.

To enter to win a copy of this soon-to-be-released book, leave a comment right here on this post (comments left elsewhere won’t be entered, sorry!) telling me your biggest hangup when it comes to getting dinner on the table (if you don’t have one, let me know your secret for success, man).

Winner will be chosen Monday, September 8th.

{Giveaway sponsored by America’s Test Kitchen, all opinions I blabbed about are my very own.}

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837 comments on “The Make-Ahead Cookbook Giveaway! – CONTEST CLOSED”

  1. Hi, Mel my biggest hang up on making meals ahead of time is that I work the opposite shift of my husband. He works 1st and I work 3rd shift. I have always meal planned and this change has just occurred. So now I’m trying to spend either Saturday or Sunday trying to make meals ahead for the week. I’m searching everywhere to find the best make ahead meals, as this will be the only way we will be able to get a good meal every night. I can’t wait to try the recipes you currently have posted. Thanks for ALL your delicious recipes!!

  2. My biggest hang up is thinking of something to make that doesn’t take too long and that I have all the ingredients on hand. Some things sound super great until you read the prep time and all the ingredients that you need….Yikes! This sounds too good!
    Thanks Mel for making the recipes and trying them out on your family and putting them out there to try!

  3. Picky eaters….ugh. To be totally honest, though, I haven’t quite gotten into the back to school groove and have fallen down on menu planning. 🙁

  4. Biggest hang up: Commute time leaves me no time to cook dinner when I get home. I cook from ATK’s other books with regularity, but they take time to prepare…. Generally my cooking is relegated to weekends, and we have leftovers during the week. I would LOVE a copy of this book!

  5. Helping kids with homework, sports games/practices, picky eaters and me forgetting to thaw meat all contribute to dinner laziness at my house

  6. planning dinner for every week. One week is ok, then the next comes and – no plan, no groceries, no dinner served

  7. I have a hard time getting dinner on the table when my almost two year old would rather be playing out front with her big brother and sister. She doesn’t want to hang with me inside while I cook! We’d both rather be playing outside!

  8. Sometimes it all depends what’s in the fridge and what needs to be used up before tossing is a factor when making dinner.

  9. I need like 5 arms to make dinner. One to hold the baby, one to keep the pantry door shut for hungry intruders, another to pick up the toys in my path that I inevitably step on no matter how hard I try to miss. Sigh. Oh and then more to actually make dinner.

  10. For some reason even though I do it EVERY NIGHT when it comes to making dinner my mind draws a blank. I think it’s because I love food and to cook so there are so many possibilities in my head and so many new recipes to try that it’s very hard to narrow down the choices to just one!

  11. Hi Mel! I LOVE America’s Test Kitchen and the science behind cooking. I generally find that I don’t have trouble getting the evening meal to the table IF I plan ahead. That said, as a homeschool mom of 4 (two are teen boys!) and a husband working 2 jobs, the evening meal can sneak up on me. Making meals ahead (especially during our very busy summer months) would be a blessing.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win this book! :-))

  12. School, work, children and life! I will have to check out this cookbook for sure.

  13. I try to always use the freshest ingredients…which means more prep time…which means dinner is always late. UGH.

  14. It depends how my day has gone, the weather and how tired I am, but I always cook something good and nice.

  15. Getting home late from work and not being excited about the meal I planned if I had a plan.

  16. Planning ahead of time and looking for recipes where I have all the ingredients on hand.

  17. This book sounds fantastic!! By the time I get to thinking about dinner, the kids are home and the race is on!! With homework and activities, the afternoons/evenings get super crazy. We all definitely benefit when I can plan ahead to prepare healthy meals.

  18. Too many after school activities! As my kids get older it seems like there is less & less time to just cook!

  19. Frequent interruptions from my kids and sometimes a lack of inspiration for what to cook.

  20. I have a four-month-old that thinks dinner time is *her* time to eat! Right this very minute, in fact, I put dinner on hold to feed her. Children. 😉

  21. My biggest problem is thinking what to make!

  22. I always have a hard time when my kitchen is messy, I end up cleaning instead of cooking and then we get pizza ☺

  23. My biggest hang up is that I do not have 8 arms like an octopus. For some reason, my Indian-name, “Mommacanihave” is in full effect while dinner preparations are under way.

  24. I can usually plan the main dish, but I have trouble getting any sides together. So we just have the main dish, which is okay unless the it’s a flop.

  25. My biggest hangup is that, like many, 3 or 4 p.m. rolls around and uh-oh…nothing’s defrosted or in the fridge so it’s yet another salad night. Gets old. Plus, who wants to be in a hot kitchen when it’s 100+F out (I live in LA with the 7 month summer…auugh)? Would love this book, fingers crossed!

  26. Having good intentions in the morning and then lack of energy at night after work to follow through with good intentions. Lack of planning to have all of the ingredients available is also a hangup.

  27. Finding meals that do not require a lot of cooking once we get home at night. A make ahead meal that requires me to bake for 30+ minutes when I get home with 2 starving kids from daycare does not work well. I need crock pot or something that can be reheated in the microwave or bake less than 20.

  28. I love to cook, but sometimes I tire of it and just want something really simple like a grilled cheese and tuna sandwich.

  29. Getting home late from work and soccer practice.

  30. Looks like a great book! My biggest hang up is just not wanting to cook :).

  31. My biggest hangup for getting dinner on the table is my lack of organizational skills!

  32. Alot of days I just can’t think of anything to make. Its 3:00 in the afternoon and I have absolutely no idea what to make. Nothing defrosted! Drives me crazy!

  33. Sometimes I’m really good about planning meals, making grocery lists, and buying the food. And then we have dinner! It’s when I fail to plan that 6 pm shows up, and everyone asks, “What’s for dinner?” Uh oh!

  34. Trying to make something yummy that will please picky eaters!

  35. Biggest hang-up is always the decision of WHAT to make for dinner…once that’s out of the way, it’s usually not that big of a deal, but I could really use some motivation for planning ahead on dinner and just a win in life right now…here’s hoping 🙂

  36. I need some new dinner rotation ideas!!

  37. Deciding what to make that won’t take an hour or more

  38. My biggest hang up getting dinner on the table is not being able to just focus on dinner. More often then not I’m helping with homework, doing a load of laundry, trying to cut raw chicken, and trying to keep my ten year old from eating everything in the house before dinner.

  39. I’m always starving when I walk in the door. I eat more calories cooking than at dinner if it’s not something in the crock pot or easy to put together.

  40. Trying to satisfy various food preferences without sacrificing variety and nutrition

  41. My biggest dinner hang-up is usually trying to come up with dinner ideas that will please everyone’while also providing variety…a very tall order!

  42. Lack of inspiration and failure to plan ahead.

  43. Coming home from work + 3 tired kids + supper not yet made = disaster

    I think that’s pretty much it.

  44. This all depends on the weather what we’ll be having for dinner. I always take some meat whether it be beef, chicken, or fish out in the early morning and then decide later in the day what to make. It seems to work for me.

  45. Prepping early enough and coming up with the meal plan in time, too.

  46. Coming up with the plan early enough. I enjoy cooking. I love having a meal on the table for my whole family to eat and spend time together, but I have the hardest time coming up with what to make early enough in the day to be ready before all our sports practices begin.

  47. Not enough time to cook dinner and spend quality time with my three kiddos.

  48. Time. Cooking a dinner fast enough to allow the required hour for eating for slower eaters before bath and betime.

  49. Thinking or planning ahead of what I want to make

  50. I’d have to say it’s time. Despite all the preparation I do before hand (night before and early morning before work), it’s still very difficult to eat by 6:00pm (leave from work at 4:30, arrive home 5:30pm, thanks to unavoidable traffic congestion) and be done eating by 6:30pm, inorder to get the two toddlers cleaned up and tucked into bed for school the next day. It’s even more difficult when the kids don’t really eat their food and I’m doing my best to get them to eat). Can’t forget, cleaning the dishes afterward, and so on. Clockwork day after day. I need all the help I can get for quick nutritious meal ideas that the kids will eat. Thanks.

  51. Making something healthy made with real food when I need to be dropping off and picking up kids from their activities at the same time!

  52. My kids come off the bus starving- with homework to do, there’s no time to make anything but a quick meal!

  53. My biggest hangup is just thinking of what to make and getting it prepared early enough.

  54. Finding something everybody will eat eat without being too repetative .

  55. Sometimes it’s the sides that seem to take a while to fix or get together!

  56. tired mom after working all day + 3 tired kids!

  57. My biggest hang up for making dinner is thinking about having to do all the dishes after! I love one pot meals for this reason!

  58. Lego. My children and including my husband, are so distracted by them, that I’ve had to make rules about coming when you’re called to dinner so that they’ll come the FIRST time.
    Otherwise I go for simple, and I’m hoping for this book so I can have ideas for when I have another baby and could use a break!

  59. Thinking of WHAT to make is my biggest challenge, quickly followed by needing to make things healthy yet edible yet not too time intensive or expensive, AND that the majority of my family will be semi happy to eat. Sounds like I have food depression- Pathetic, I know!!!

  60. The school schedule, soccer, 3 kids and a bun in the oven 🙂

  61. 4 children with homework, chores, and other things to do make me crazy. 🙂 Fun but crazy!

  62. Crazy schedules and planning (or maybe lack of).

  63. Time is my biggest challenge…never enough of it!

  64. Taking the time to thoroughly menu plan so I have all ingredients accessible and know what time I need to take during the day to prepare dinner for that night.

  65. I’m not going to lie – I’m just plain LAZY and way too tired after working all day!

  66. My wee little leeches who attach themselves to my legs while I’m trying to move around the kitchen…sure makes getting dinner a bit difficult 😉

  67. Finding the energy! After my kiddos run me around all day, I’m too tired to spend a lot of time cooking.

  68. Deciding what to make!

  69. I need meals that are premade and ready to throw in oven when I get home. With the littles wanting my attention when I come home from work, it takes twice as long to prepare anything.

  70. My biggest problem is the non stop housework & yard work that i have to do in my large 1800’s house. Especially in the summer.. Early evenings are so perfect for being outside, gardening & enjoying the short catskill summer, the last thing i want to do is spend the last 2 hours of daylight in the kitchen not to mention, deciding what to cook!

  71. when i get home from work, i just want to collapse on the couch. or pet my cute kitties. or both 🙂 but most nights i push through it and cook because ya gotta eat. 🙂

  72. Trying to decide what to make!

  73. I have two small children that are always grumpy at dinnertime, so as I’m prepping they are clinging to my legs and crying for me–it definitely makes it hard to cook dinner when that is happening!

  74. Picky eaters and food allergies! A one, two power punch when it comes to fixing dinner. Uggggh.

  75. Not getting too frustrated when the hangry toddler won’t accept the attempts of her big sisters to play/supervise/assist while I am handling something raw and/or lava hot while their dad is stuck in traffic and the schedule is starting to get pushed late…

  76. My biggest hangup? Depends on the day, but probably #1 is expecting too much. I want every meal to be healthy, affordable, satisfying, quick to put together, and enjoyed by everyone at my table. All very doable but often takes too much effort and brain power by late afternoon to pull it off. Making meals ahead of time is a brilliant idea!

  77. Keeping my daughter occupied while I finish dinner or having her help and still having time to eat and play before bath time.

  78. Between college, Scouts, and work I’m so busy. My wife is chasing the kids around and working while I do homework, dinner is never on time. That would be awesome to make tasty stuff ahead and bake it at dinner time.

  79. My 4 and 2 year old boys 🙂

  80. I usually don’t get home from work until 6 or 6:30 and am already starving! No time to cook anything too involved!

  81. Having to do all the dirty dishes from the night before before I can start cooking!

  82. Picky eaters!

  83. If it’s too hot outside and no air inside this is a big factor when cooking.

  84. The baby is always hungry whenever I try to make dinner–no matter what time!

  85. My biggest hurdle to getting dinner ready is that I am so tired by the time 4 o-clock rolls around. And my kids have just trickled in the door from school with homework, notices, permission slips, activities to get to…it is the craziest time of the day and putting a meal together on top of it all is tricky.

  86. It’s hard in this family getting everyone to eat the same meal. Even if I spend time and effort making a fresh healthy meal, it always seems that there’s one kid who won’t eat it.

  87. My current hang-up is morning (ALL DAY) sickness! The good news is that this current hangup will resolve itself eventually… and give our family a beautiful new distraction!

  88. Finding something that both my parents are willing to eat. Both have very special diets, and it’s often required for me to make separate meals for them. Having things that I can make ahead helps me beyond anything to keep up with their needs, and my own.

  89. My biggest hangup is deciding what to make and working around our busy household schedule. My 3 kids are always on the go so dinner time gets really crazy sometimes. This make ahead book would be a lifesaver!

  90. I just need to make time to plan ahead because dinner time is a crazy time of day! It’s also homework, piano practicing, and often scouts and soccer practice time too. Thanks for the recipes and tips to make our lives a little easier!

  91. Biggest hangup with dinner: two small children and the bewitching hours of 4-6pm, when my kids go crazy!!

    I love ATK and Cooks Illustrated! My husband would roll his eyes if I got another one of their cookbooks but I would be elated!!

  92. I have a large family, 7 kids, and the ages run from 17 to 15 months. Dinner is such a challenge with all the various activities and a wide range of taste buds to please. I could really use this cookbook, specially for nights like tonight where I had a plan and it just didn’t work because of running out of time. I ended up making french toast.

  93. My biggest hang up is figuring out a menu that doesn’t feel so repetitive. And changing my mind on what sounds good once I’ve already gotten all the groceries for the week 🙂

  94. Trying to make dinner and entertain a very busy one year old at the same time.

  95. Biggest hang-up while making dinner is definitely my girls. It always seem like dinner time is the time to tantrum!

  96. My biggest hang up is our busy schedule with two busy teenagers. As with everyone else homework, sports practice, family time, etc.

  97. My very busy 14-month-old daughter

  98. My biggest challenge is trying new recipes instead of always having the same things.

  99. 4 kids, homework, soccer, gymnastics, violin, church activities, I need anything I can get to help me prepare ahead of time. Plus, we love ATK at our home too.

  100. my daughter wanting me to hold her while cooking

  101. My 18 month old ravaging the cupboards and trying to motivate the first grader to do homework and keeping the 3 year old happy while cooking so we can maybe do something fun as a family before bed time

  102. My 3 year old and 4 month old both wanting attention during cooking/dinner time. Cute and fun distractions but distractions nonetheless. Oh, and missing an ingredient and NOT wanting to lug the kiddos to the store!

  103. the biggest issue I have is waiting til the last minute to figure out what we’re having and by then its too late to prep for it!

  104. Being worn out after work. Sometimes my plans for dinner get sidetracked because it’s easier to get fast food or something frozen.

  105. Time management!! If I don’t prepare dinner the night before, I find that I eat twice as much- I’ll nibble my way through the cooking process and then I’ll eat a formal dinner afterwards.

  106. My kids are young and always seem to be into everything right when I start making dinner.

  107. Getting home from school about 4 and wanting to have dinner on the table by 5:30 or so with 5 kids needing my attention. Also, trying to get the oldest two to take a turn each week with making dinner, but still making it healthy.

  108. Timing dinner with my husbands unpredictable schedule!

  109. I never know what to make and my menu is limited-picky husband and 4year old. I need new quick & easy meals to make after working all day that can cook while I continue working (hs teacher). A new baby and 2 surgeries this summer hasn’t helped my creative meal planning.

  110. Two kids under 3yrs old.

  111. When I get home from work I just want to sit down and not move! Cooking dinner isn’t usually homogenous with that desire.

  112. Time, baby! Well, that and a severe dislike of cleaning the kitchen.

  113. Working 40 hours a week, although I am so very thankful to have my job!!

  114. Biggest hang-up – if I haven’t come up with a menu for the week and made sure I have all the ingredients, then I am stuck at 4 pm trying to figure out what to make and whether I can make it. So my best bet – make a grocery list and menu plan at the same time.

  115. My family eats at different times so it’s a challenge to know what to make that will be simple and easy to keep warm or reheat.

  116. My biggest problem is deciding what to make then the motivation to make it after I’ve decided. I love to cook but don’t always have time.

  117. Deciding what to make (and then not having all the ingredients). I believe this book would bring great peace to my soul.

  118. My biggest hang up is figuring out what to cook.

  119. Time: with work, homework, practices, scouts…When should we have dinner and what do I really have time to make?

  120. Getting homework done with my 3 sweet kiddos! 🙂 This cookbook sounds great!!

  121. Everything seems to take longer than it’s supposed to take. (Never a good thing with four little ones!).

  122. The kids seem to be craziest right when I want to get them up to the table. There is running amok and other ridiculousness.

  123. My kids are my biggest hangup!

  124. I like to call the after school/dinner prep time “the witching hour.” Children that were perfectly behaved all day become devilish. That would also be the time of day when I realize I forgot to defrost the meat for dinner. It’s like an evil spell settles over the house and anything that could go wrong does. Does the witching hour occur at any other time of day? Nope, just dinner time.

  125. Time – by the time I get home from work it is 6:15 or later and it just seems easier to eat out or get takeout than spend 40-60 minutes figuring out what to make and making it. And the demand that it be ready as soon as I walk in the kitchen. There is not a lot of love for leftovers in my house so I take them to work for lunch even though it would make dinner easier. And we try to meal plan but still there are complaints.

  126. My daughter hanging onto my coattails.

  127. usually it’s my almost 2 year old wanting to be held and not wanting to be in the back pack

  128. I make huge messes in the kitchen when I cook. Sometimes I don’t want to cook because I dread cleaning up afterwards.

  129. Coming up with something to eat!

  130. my menu is empty and I can’t think of what to fix

  131. My biggest hangup(s): my two year old and 3 month old girls! I LOVE America’s Test Kitchen!

  132. It feels like a chore now!

  133. My Husband!!!

  134. Starting too late… or realizing I forgot one ingredient for the recipe! AH!

  135. I have the hardest time wanting to cook. I love to cook and love looking at new recipes and food blogs, but taking the time to do it is hard. Usually I just want to hang out with my baby!

  136. Planning ahead. It takes energy, and I’m especially bad in the smidgen of a summer we get here because I just want to wing it with what’s at the farmers market. Course, eating in season and locally fails for nine months of the year, when that would mean snow for every meal, desserting on ice.

  137. My biggest hangups are mainly these two:
    –going through the planned food at a far faster rate than was planned (and shopped) for. Thank you teenagers (said with a loving smile).
    –Having extra curricular activities cut into food prep/cook time.

  138. Three active kiddos and indecision about what the make for dinner.

  139. Currently my biggest hang up is my newborn baby. She tends to be hungry right at the time I need to make dinner. So I have to sit down and feed her before fixing dinner for the rest of my family. And now that soccer season has started it’s getting real crazy at dinner time!

  140. Biggest hang up: Not planning a menu. (Like a lot of people, I assume!)

  141. To keep from dinner prep hang ups I try to keep myself organized in the morning with what I’m going to make for dinner that night. I run a cattle ranch so it doesn’t always work as planned but that’s part of the joy of life, right? The surprises that come our way. 🙂

  142. Probably remembering to take the meat out of the freezer to defrost.

  143. I leave figuring out dinner at the last minute. If i just meal planned i would have a lot less stress

  144. My biggest hang up is kids needing attention. That seems to be their most demanding time of day. Prepping dinner in the morning or during naptime always works out better for everyone, but a lot of times that just isn’t possible.

  145. From the time my kids get off the bus at 4 pm to the time we eat is sheer craziness at my house. I’m busy making dinner while my kids are going nuts. The nights I plan to make ahead almost always go much more smoothly.

  146. Our food restrictions… it seems like we eat the same thing all the time, and I run out of different ways to cook it.

  147. having enough time to cook once i’m home from work is tough

  148. I struggle with coming up with new ways to cook veggies. Roasting and steaming gets boring.

  149. Mine is trying to come up with enough components that most people like

  150. I love ATK! My favorite black bean soup recipe is theirs!

  151. I have several hangups: not planning ahead, time, energy, and interest. I’m also about to have shoulder surgery, so cooking will be awkward for a while. I have three hungry kids plus my husband to feed. Right now and really anytime, Make-ahead meals are just what I am looking for!

  152. My biggest hang up is making sure I’m organized (and stocked on groceries) on Sunday in order to get dinner ready after work during the week. Plus, meals have to be quick and easy since we have to squeeze in bath time and school stuff for early bed times on school nights.

  153. Oh gosh, just ONE hangup??!! Limited time and maybe a smidge of lacing motivation

  154. The biggest hangup for me right now is having a new baby. Getting dinner ready while taking care of the baby AND our other (six) kids seems pretty overwhelming most days. Make-ahead meals would pretty much save my life right now! 🙂

  155. My biggest hang up is 2 1 year old twins! If I planned ahead a little better it would be so much easier.

  156. Just one hangup? My main one(s) are my children. Dinner prep is the most stressful part of the day because invariable the below happens.
    a) Just as I am getting ready to saute veggies- “Mama-I need to go potty. Hurry I need to go NOW!” or “Mama- can you wipe my butt? I tried it myself, but it’s not working”

    b) The noodles are 30 seconds from being done, but not quite done- “Mommy my brother hit me” (loud screaming), “no I didn’t, she hit me first!” “No, I didn’t!!! He hit me!!”
    c) Need to add the sauce to almost ready veggies- “Mama – the baby is pouring water on her head in the bathroom.”

    And it’s right about this time, I turn on an episode of Kipper and make PBJ’s.

  157. I think that one of the biggest hangups for me is just the clean up. I like to cook the meal but I feel so tired when we get done eating that I don’t want to go back in the kitchen and do the cleaning.

  158. My biggest hangup is not having a plan…my brain is dead by the end of the day so thinking of something to make given the options in the fridge/pantry is almost impossible!

  159. Picking meals that everyone would like.

  160. Biggest hangup is having meals on time.

  161. My biggest hang up is time. The kids get home from school and then we have homework and lessons and maybe even a few meltdowns along the way (I wish I could say they were just from the kids!). I love the idea of make ahead dinners and if they come from Chris and his gang then I know they’ll be delicious.

  162. My biggest hang up is thinking up what to eat. Once I have what to eat figured out it is a piece of cake.

  163. My new baby! 🙂

  164. My three year old – he wants to be where the action is, aka the big kids, and therefore I have to be there too, instead of in the kitchen!

  165. My biggest hangup to getting dinner on the table is that dinner is usually the most time consuming meal and it is the one I have the least amount of time to prepare! I feel like just as my older kids are getting home from school and need my help and attention I have to start preparing dinner…this is also my 3 yr old twins grumpiest time of day. They are tired and hungry and usually wanting to be entertained. I love love love meals that can be prepared earlier in the day, when I have more time, and be popped in the oven at dinnertime! This book sounds like a match made in heaven!

  166. Just thinking of something to make! And my husband will take leftovers for lunch if it’s convenient enough…that also makes for a challenge!

  167. Mornings before school and dinner times are the hardest things ever! My dinner hang ups are helping kids with homework. I dread it. And my boys dread it too. Love your blog!

  168. My biggest hang up is that dinner prep hour is the hour I teach piano lessons every day. I always have to plan ahead!

  169. I think my biggest hangup is procrastination. It seems I look at the clock and realize I no longer have enough time to make the recipe I planned.

  170. My biggest hangup to getting dinner on the table is my kids!!! 🙂 It’s hard to get a good healthy meal made every night with 3 little ones who seem to need mom right when it’s time to cook. But we manage! And the kids are worth it, of course 🙂

  171. I cook dinner just about every night, and my biggest hang up these days is keeping meals interesting since we are mostly eating salads and other meals that don’t require hearing up the kitchen since it’s so hot.

    I love ATK! Make ahead dishes are awesome, and are a MUST for entertaining!

  172. If I don’t have a meal plan made ahead of time, I’m stuck. This cookbook looks amazing. Thanks!!

  173. My biggest hangup is that some days I just don’t want what I put on the menu two weeks ago!! 🙂

  174. My biggest hang up is trying to get dinner ready in between getting three kids to soccer, baseball and football games and practices and then not even being able to eat together as a family unless we eat dinner at 8:00 or later. Make-ahead meals would sure make getting dinner prepared a little easier.

  175. My biggest hangup is not thinking about cooking dinner until I’m hungry and wanting the dinner done five minutes ago! This cookbook would really be a help.

  176. My poor planning and time management with busy schedules. I work my kids school hours so we all get home at the same time, do homework and rush off to football practice. We then get home about 8:00ish…. I definitely need these make-ahead meals!

  177. My biggest hangup is cooking for one without lots of leftovers. Redcing a recipe isn’t always feasible. I don’t mind leftovers…just not enough for a week’s worth of meals. I’ve tried freezing them, but there is still too much of them.

  178. My almost 2 year old!

  179. I love this cookbook. It is hard sometimes to make dinner quickly and know what to make when you’re tired and hot and no ideas are suggestes.

  180. Definitely having the time and energy to make a meal after a full day of work! I always like to cook and make fun meals, but when time is crunched, and I am exhausted after work, I am left rather uninspired….

  181. The hardest part for me is planning what to make. I usually enjoy cooking if only someone would tell me what to make. Usually your blog saves the day- best recipes ever

  182. My biggest meal hang up is usually that what I had planned for dinner does not sound good anymore. I start looking for something to make that sounds good and then it’s to late to get started so we just grab some fast food!

  183. Time 🙂 I usually add way too many things to my list for the day and am frantically trying to finish them all right before dinner. Thankfully I do plan my meals in advance so I do have my meat thawed etc in advance. We’re only about an hour late for dinner most days:)

  184. My biggest hang-up is a husband that won’t eat anything but junk food. I get so tired of what he wants but what am I supposed to do? Maybe this cookbook would help. Thanks for the chance to win!

  185. Biggest hangup to getting supper on the table is getting motivation after all the errands, laundry, cleaning, work stuff, after school homework, chores, and neighborhood kid mess! By the time 5:00 rolls around I’m ready for bed! Okay I’m actually ready for bed before I even get out haha!

  186. Figuring out what to cook with what’s in the pantry. You know…not planning ahead! I need that book.

  187. My sixteen month old daughter who just wants to snack on whatever I am fixing. 🙂

  188. Planning ahead is hard, but then when I do plan ahead, I can’t work up the energy to a) find clean dishes and workspace to prep a meal and b) distractions mess with continuity.

  189. My biggest hangup would be forgetting a certain ingredient or not taking something out of the freezer in time to thaw. I really need to get better organized!

  190. My biggest hang up is when we have last minute changes in our schedule that don’t fit with my meal plan for the day. I’m not very good at regrouping and finding something else that is healthy and works with the schedule change.

  191. The witching hour…preschooler and toddler meltdowns during dinner prep time!

  192. Our biggest hang up one in HS with cross country and sometimes marching band in the afterschool/evening. One in baseball and then 2 in Religious Ed. Winning this cookbook would be a lifesaver!! With all those activities it leaves very little time to cook, so I hope you pick me to win….and I do have a Camden as well, he is 10…and makes us laugh every day!

  193. Currently, my biggest hangups are a picky toddler and husband and the exhaustion that comes with the third trimester 🙂

  194. Trying new things! I see so many recipes I love only to find out when I want to make it that I’m missing key ingredients

  195. I feel like my biggest hang up changes throughout the year. Right now it’s mostly third trimester tiredness and add 3 boys 5 and under. I just don’t feel up to making anything but a quick dinner.

  196. My biggest hangup or hangups would be lack of planning and 2 toddler children who need mom right in the middle of cooking. The book sounds great and a real life saver. Thanks for the giveaway!

  197. My biggest hangup is three picky children (ages 5, 3, and 1 1/2),not getting home from work until around 5:45 and knowing I need them in the bed at 8pm. I try to make a lot of stuff ahead, sometimes having a cooking session on Sunday afternoons, but that does not always work. Add in that now I am expecting baby #4 and nothing is appetizing to me at this point!

  198. By the end of the day I don’t feel like doing all the prep for a meal, It would be nice to have it all prepared, pop it in the oven or whatever and have it done.

  199. My biggest hangup is time. The kids get home from school and we have 1.5 hours to do homework, change clothes and eat before heading out to sports practice or games or whatever other activity is on the agenda for that evening. Seems like I never plan ahead well enough. We end up grabbing junk as we head out the door or picking up fast food. I always think that if I had make ahead recipes that were ready to be popped into the oven, I’d be much more successful.

  200. PLanning ahead so I don’t have to figure out what I have when I get home tired from work.

  201. Oh man, I want this cookbook!! My biggest hangup during dinner time is underestimating how long something will take to cook (and prep!) and I usually start (and consequentially eat) dinner way too late, haha. That’s why make-ahead meals are perfect, haha!

  202. Time……went back to work once my kids were in junior high, and have found it really hard to balance in something I used to enjoy so much!

  203. My biggest hurdle is planning ahead and taking time to prepare a list, grocery shop, and prep meals for the week…ugh.

  204. My biggest hangup:
    “What do you want for dinner?”
    “I don’t care”
    I’m pretty sure I Don’t Care is not sold in the grocery store. Neither is Whatever.

  205. My biggest hangup is being the taxi service during the time I’d be prepping dinner. Running kids around to practices/meets/etc. and still being organized enough to get dinner on the table. Second biggest hang up is just being tired and procrastinating . .

  206. My biggest hang ups are being tired and wanting to make something delicious but not wanting to take the time to actually do it. LOL

  207. My biggest hangup is being prepared. I try menu planning, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out for me. Also, I don’t have AC and am hugely pregnant. That means we PB&J it most nights since I’m always tired and hot. I’m looking forward to the day when I have energy to cook a real meal again!

  208. My biggest hangup is like most people’s. . . finding the energy when you have little ones wanting your attention during those hours, so not wanting to spend a lot of time getting dinner ready instead of being with them. Thanks Mel, you rock!

  209. My biggest hang up is knowing when hubby is going to get home for dinner. Some days he is home early but most days he is late so doing last minute prep is sometimes tricky.

  210. My biggest hangup is time in the evening to get the dinner ready. We walk in the door from an after school activity at 5pm and everyone needs dinner right away. There is only so much I can use the crockpot. I think the dogs are even rolling their eyes when they see me take it out.

  211. Mine is failing to plan ahead and then not being able to decide on a meal when it’s crunch time.

  212. Hi Mel! My biggest hang up is my lack of preparation during dinnertime. Forgetting to thaw the meat or an important ingredient adds more to my dinner preparation and takes away from the time that I could spend on my kids.

  213. It’s the kids! And not planning ahead. And getting interrupted at crucial moments in the cooking process. I swear even just reheating leftovers takes forever!

  214. I was just talking with a friend about strategies to have good, healthy meals on the table at dinner time. The main question became how to have meals prepared primarily ahead of time without using the crockpot every day or just eating leftovers. Then I saw this! I almost couldn’t believe it when I saw the title of the cookbook and the giveaway. Thank you again Mel!!!

  215. My biggest problem in getting dinner on the table are the constant needs of all my kids at the same time! They all want me to do everything urgently right between the hours of 4 and 6 pm! Thanks, Mel!

  216. My biggest hangup is planning ahead for sure! I would love to have an arsenal of make ahead meals so I don’t have to wonder what we will be having for dinner (which usually means a “Where are we going to go for dinner tonight because I have nothing to feed you” kind of dinner). Can’t wait to try the fish!

  217. My biggest hangup about making dinner is simply that I am tired after a long day of working hard. Cooking and the clean-up that inevitably follows doesn’t always sound appealing. Thanks so much for the chance to win this book!

  218. I work 12 hour days so if I don’t plan and prep dinner just won’t happen. I tend to cook two dinners on each of my days off to hold us over on my work days.

  219. I love my slow cooker. That solves my dinner problems… A LOT!! LOL!

  220. My biggest hangup would just be busy-ness and life with little ones…AND procrastination on m part!

  221. 1000% my biggest hang up is finding something to keep the kids entertained. Ages 4, 2, and 1 aren’t always easily pleased! I love to cook and like to cook whole foods which takes me about 45 mins-1 hour of prep each night (I have no idea if that is normal or I am abnormally slow) so it’s a challenge.

  222. The absolute biggest hangup when trying to get dinner on the table is coming up with an idea of what to make. I will make anything but PLEASE! someone give me a family-pleasing idea! Thankfully, often helps me pull through!

  223. I NEED this in my life! My biggest hang up is definitely cooking woh four kids hanging on me whining and the husband doesn’t get home until late.

  224. My biggest hang up is my ultra clingy 19 mo daughter who is literally grabbing my legs every moment, screaming at me for not holding her. Talk about a major road block!

  225. Time and energy to plan for, shop and make something other than the old standbys. Your site is a huge helo, though!

  226. Biggest hangup is time and energy. By the time I’ve run kids around, helped with homework and picked up enevitable messes, I’m tired! Some nights it takes everything in me to make dinner.

  227. Things get a little crazy when I haven’t made a plan ahead of dinner time. I’m definitely a believer in the meal plan and I try to even do a couple weeks at a time. (Doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s so nice when it does.)

  228. Biggest hang up? Not being creative enough to just “figure it out”. If I don’t plan a menu and buy the groceries for those recipes, I have a hard time just looking in my pantry and knowing what goes good together.

  229. My biggest hangup… My little 2 year old grabbing my legs, “mama hold you. Mama hold you” how can you resist that? I would much rather play with and hold her than fix dinner 🙂

  230. Having motivation to cook after 10+ hour days at work.

  231. Distractions of all sorts…but mostly not planning ahead and then grumpy children during the “witching” hour when I’m trying to figure out dinner.

  232. My biggest hangup…haha LIFE! For example had a quick not so fancy meal planned and just enough time planned in that day to fix it and then a typical day happened. Son #1 needed me to run him to the ortho to get braces fixed last minute , a lunch appointment I had went 1 hr. longer than expected, child #2 had to stay after school and then the husband calls and says the missionaries are coming over for dinner make something good…maybe Mel can help you (you are family around here)! By the time i get home baby girl has had it and just wants mom to sit and play dolls with her. And dinner….. well…..thank goodness to Mel we pulled it off somehow. (I have 3 boys and then a girl…similar to you…I swear we were meant to be friends…)

  233. My biggest hangup is the actual planning. I can’t tell you how many time I’ve sat down with your meal planning template and the somehow a squirrel runs across my screen and I am so totally distracted.

    *shakes fist at food porn*

  234. My biggest hang-up in getting dinner on the table is a two-year-old who hangs on my leg while I (try to) cook!

  235. The hardest part about getting dinner on the table at a decent hour is that I have to do all the work MYSELF! My kids aren’t old enough to help much with meal prep, and since they are so young, they generally need help with multiple other things while I’m trying to cook dinner. It’s the witching hour!!!

  236. My hangup is remembering to defrost something for dinner.

  237. For me it’s a combination of lots of afternoon activities and commitments. Those things make it complicated to find the time to cook and still have dinner on the table before bedtime. Also, they make me tired and frustrated and more likely to say, heck, let’s just eat a frozen pizza. 🙂

  238. My biggest hangup is probably defrosting chicken in time to cook with it. I always forget to put it in the fridge and I hate defrosting in the microwave. Silly me. Thanks for the giveaway. Love ATK!

  239. since the kids are gone, the hubs and i don’t seem to be on any set schedule. cooking for… whenever-o’clock is kinda a pain…

  240. My biggest hangup with not getting dinner on the table is that I’m not prepared or I get too tired to do the prep. Plus new ideas are always welcome!

  241. Working full-time, but wanting to eat almost immediately upon our arrival at home.

  242. Ideas! I don’t have any after work when I’m hungry and tired … Thank you for the giveaway!

  243. My biggest hangup is deciding what to make!

  244. My biggest hang up is finding time to make a good meal between working and getting my 5 kids to their sporting activities.

  245. I’m up so early in the morning and get home so late, if I don’t have something all ready to heat and serve I’d be heading straight from the dinner table to bed!

  246. My biggest hangup is setting the table!

  247. My biggest hang up is underestimating the amount of time it will take me to prepare a meal…and now that school and all the extracurriculars are back in session, it’s gotten even harder! Make ahead meals are going to be a staple round these parts.

  248. The days when plans change and we need to make something quickly…

  249. Public transport and a 45 min commute..ugh!
    thanks for a great giveaway…

  250. Having an active teenager and husband, a job, running a household, and trying to balance overall…happily accepting these challenges, but make ahead meals would simplify dinner demands for sure!

  251. For sure my biggest hang up is menu. If someone would just tell me what to make I can do that. Also, side dishes are annoying.
    Thanks for trying to solve my problems these last few months Mel, you’re awesome, and for a great give away!

  252. My biggest hangup would be my baby girl, who now walks. A great and lovable hangup though.

  253. Planning & everyone getting home at different times from sports practices!

  254. The after-school chaos, for sure. I could use that make-ahead cookbook.

  255. My big hang up is that I get off work at 7:30pm some nights and other night I work until 10:00 pm. I needs meals that my family can eat while I am working.

  256. Finding the motivation to cook healthy food when I am tired from the day at work!

  257. The hour or so before dinner time always ends up being the busiest time of day!

  258. Getting back into the groove after working hard on making a meal that turns out blah. I hate putting all that work into it only to let everyone down. That totally kills my motivation!

  259. Kids. They always need something at the worst time.

  260. Prepping dinner and having a 1 year old at your feet.

  261. My biggest hangup is cutting/dicing/shredding all the ingredients. I feel like it takes forever to prep!

  262. Having kids hanging all over my legs while I try to get dinner on the table. Make a head meals are a lifesaver!

  263. My biggest hang up Is feeling like I have to prepare food all day so actual dinner time goes smoothly (mom of 6, ages 6 mos to 11yrs)

  264. Being tired from work and only having like 20 minutes!

  265. I always underestimate the time it will take me to prepare dinner. My family is always starving while I’m still stirring something on the stove.

  266. My biggest hangup is figuring out a main dish that I’ll truly enjoy and that won’t last forever – or freezes well!

  267. Time! There just isn’t enough of it and when I’m ready to get my cook on, I’m exhausted and starving!

  268. Just the time involved some nights to make the things I really want to eat.

  269. My biggest hang up is my cute little baby that always wants to be held when it is time to cook.

  270. The 16 month old attached to my leg!

  271. My first little boy just started kindergarten and everyone is super-chippy after school, so between refereeing fights and homework and wanting to spend time with him, it’s tough to focus on dinner prep.

  272. My biggest hangup is just thinking of what to make every night and finding things that my kids will actually eat!

  273. Honestly? If it’s not already made by the time that I get home from a 12+ hour shift at the hospital, it’s not GONNA get made! And I love cooking so that kind of makes me sad. So on my days off I would like to prepare make ahead meals to feed me and my peeps, but I’ve not found any that have really been tasty enough to justify spending the time (on my off day!) and money to make. Usually I just cook regular meals on my days off, and it’s left-overs or “every man for him/herself” on the nights after the long work day.

  274. My biggest hangup is getting dinner started and then communicating the finishing instructions to the babysitter while I am at work in the evening. It is also hard to find recipes that meet my desire for variety while satisfying my kids who are leery of new dinner dishes.

  275. My biggest hangup is just figuring out what to make. I always ask my family and all they want is pizza.

  276. I palm too much and have too many leftovers! I need help planning the right amounts for my family.

  277. I used to spend an hour or so relaxing while cooking dinner, and now with a 3 and 1yr old underfoot it’s do rushed! I feel like I’m learning to cook all over again because the skill set is just so different. My biggest issue ATM is that hub comes home about 20 minutes before dinner needs to be on the table, and I want to spend those 20 minutes reconnecting as a family, not rushing around in the kitchen alone. To that end I’m trying to befriend my new slow cooker and to unearth more make ahead style meals. Your site has been a grest resource in this journey! Would love this cookbook for some more ideas!

  278. We just moved and so my biggest hang up is now my kids are home an hour later than they used to be and it seems so crazy after school with homework and extracurriculars and trying to make dinner.

  279. My biggest hang-up is time and procrastination in planning what to make for the week. I really need to get organized and start menu planning, but for some reason it intimidates me!

  280. My biggest hangup is being away from home, driving 4 (hungry!) kids back and forth to sports and activities, and then needing dinner on the table at a reasonable hour.

  281. Evening activities always make it hard to cook a good meal!

  282. My biggest hangup is wanting to make so many different things and try everything in the world that I give up and forget to plan, or rather fail to plan, so we scramble with what we have in the house too much lately.

  283. Usually my twin toddler girls are pulling at my legs and wanting hugs and a lot of attention. Especially at dinner time!

  284. Remembering to thaw out the meat!

  285. Tonight, it was a power outage. Planned to grill the pesto chicken you posted this past Friday, but the winds tried to blow away the grill. Normally, it’s dealing with a commute home and then helping three kids with homework while trying to cook a dinner that is more than just spaghetti or tacos.

  286. My biggest hangup is time! Between teaching, sports practices, homework, and making sure all the kids get to bed at a decent hour, cooking time is very limited!

  287. My biggest hangup is time crunches in the evening after work!

  288. Twin 10 month olds…that always need me right when it’s time to make dinner:)

  289. Currently, my biggest hangup is that my dog and 1 1/2 yr old are in a fierce competition to sit on my feet. Every. Time. I. Stand. So they are both crammed between my shins and the cabinet the entire time I cook. Totally safe, I know.

  290. Oh, man, just time and energy. I’m in my first year as a teacher right now, and all my time is taken up by planning and grading.

  291. I struggle with finding balance between time and money at dinner time as well as in many other areas. It is a mightily struggle trying to plan and then prepare a dinner that will satisfy the needs of 4 growing bodies (the ever present conflict between what they need vs what they want). My husband cooks frequently but he too struggles to think of new ideas that will meet the approval of several discriminating palates and can be prepared within the time available. We frequently try “make ahead” dishes.

  292. My biggest problem getting dinner on the table is working 10 hr days! By the time I get home from work, all I want to do is sit on the couch!

  293. My biggest hang up is not having been inspired by a meal in order to take the effort to make a home cooked meal, and then not having all the exact ingredients needed. I love to be inspired by your blog, Mel. You have great ideas and have really expanded our famly eating!! Thanks so much. I could use the book for inspiration too.

  294. My biggest hang up are the 3 adorable daughters we have! I mean, I am the awesome-est person ever so they want my attention all the time 🙂

  295. My biggest hangup with dinner is when I don’t prep before school gets out. I like to prep during my toddler’s nap time because once my four kids get home from school there is too much going on to make a yummy, healthy meal. So these make ahead meals would be wonderfully welcomed at our house.

  296. My biggest hang-up/problem with getting dinner on the table is–2 children, 1 husband, and myself with 4 different eating styles/likes/dislikes/allergies/etc. Some nights it’s just plain hard to please everyone-including myself! :-0

  297. My biggest problem is getting it all done between school and when my husband has to be at Job #2- I have about an hour total to cook and eat.

  298. I work until 6 to 6:30 so having everything on hand for fast prep is my biggest challange.

  299. My biggest hangup to dinner is being pregnant – by the time I cook a meal, I no longer have any appetite to eat it! Make-ahead meals have been a life saver the last few weeks. I can throw something in the slow cooker, and then work up an appetite later in the day!

  300. My biggest hangup is making sure I have all the ingredients I need.

  301. I put off thinking about what to make for dinner until i’m too hungry to make rational decisions. Then almost nothing can save me from myself and it’s 5:30 and everyone is hungry and we are searching your site for a quick, easy meal. That may or may not be happening as we speak. Ahem. I love America’s Test Kitchen!

  302. Dinner just sneaks up on me most days EVEN WITH meal planning!

  303. My biggest hangup is cooking meat on weeknights. It is not something I feel like doing when I get off work, already hungry, at 5pm!

  304. Time! The day just goest by so fast and all of a sudden it is time for dinner. I love the make-a-head stuff – if I just remember to make it ahead 🙂

  305. Honestly? Food blogs! Around 4:00 I start perusing for dinner ideas and get stuck looking at all my delicious options… Not that I’m complaining. Keep ’em coming! 🙂

  306. My biggest hang up is getting the kids home from school and the craziness of practices, homework, and dinner time. I’m usually good at planning, but I need things that I can put together and forget.

  307. Dinner prep is doom and gloom time with 3 young kids. Everyone is tired and hungry (including Momma). My patience is tested daily at this time of day and a great, healthy make ahead meal would help make this time of day better for all!

  308. My biggest hang up is being bored with our standard menu. We have a “no oven” rule when temps soar over 100°F, which for us down here on the border means no oven use from June through September. We are SICK of our summer meals and not using the oven limits many of the new ideas we find.

  309. My biggest issue is that our 2 year old daughter still doesn’t eat what my husband and I do. I’m always having to make her something in addition to our meal. I look forward to when she will be able to eat the same stuff! 🙂

  310. I have a hard time balancing time saving food items with nutrition.

  311. My problem is I get distracted and don’t plan ahead.

  312. (not sure if I commented in the correct place earlier) I don’t particularly have a hard time getting dinner on the table, it’s the weekly meal planning that overwhelms me:(

  313. I raised 6’d think I had meal prep all figured out. Seems I stress out now when the kids come with their families…I’ll be having fun reading books etc to the grandkids and I stress over what to feed everyone….I’d love the ideas in this book to prep AHEAD and make grandparenting a breeze!

  314. My biggest hang up is that everyone, my three young children and maybe me, get a little ornery/ hungry after 4:00 which is right when I’m starting dinner. We have lots of melt downs during the pre-dinner hours:) you’re the best Mel! Thanks for this cool opportunity to win!!

  315. My,biggest helper is my trusty freezer! We are empty nesters now, but I always cook for at least 4 and half goes in the freezer . . . It makes life so much easier and sweeter!

  316. My biggest hang up is keeping my toddler good while meal prepping.

  317. My hang-up is remembering to take meat out of the freezer.

  318. Love ATK and your blog. Thank you!

  319. My biggest problem is if my husband arrives home before me, and can’t wait. He always eats junk and then it’s too late to make a proper dinner.

  320. Now that my baby boy has discovered crawling and my husband works late I’m finding the time to cook fabulous dinners pretty sparse! It sounds like I NEED this cookbook!

  321. My biggest hangup is helping the kids with their homework. They older they get, the harder the homework gets, and sometimes it takes us 1 hour + to finish it. I look up and realize, “Holy Toledo–it’s 5:30 and I haven’t even started dinner!”

  322. Biggest hang-up is my dang old stove that takes about 20 minutes to get the burner hot! I just moved a couple weeks ago and this stove is KILLING me!

  323. My biggest hang up is getting dinner on the table with competing kids’ sports, activities, and homework!

  324. I have the most trouble when I have not planned ahead!! As long as I stay disciplined and create a meal plan for the week, dinner runs fairly smoothly – at least the time in the kitchen. 🙂

  325. The multi-tasking that accompanies corralling two kids under three and not burning or undercooking or messing up dinner

  326. Oh dear! I am literally drowning now that school has started… and I have more than two with homework… and football practices on top of that… I cannot get it together before 4:00. A book like that with a wealth of do-ahead ideas would probably make me cry tears of relief!

  327. Biggest hangup? The great THAW. Trying to get dinner on the table quickly using ingredients that need time to thaw first. Argh!

  328. Time, karate/dance/sports, cooking healthy things. Throwing together grilled cheese is easy, but not the healthiest choice. I love crock pot meals but they all have the same texture to me. Anyway, I LOVE your blog! Recipes and tips :). Thank you!

  329. My biggest hang up is a newly empty nest…how do I cook for only 2?? And, do I really want to?? 😉

  330. My biggest hang up is that I created very picky eaters…. Now trying to un-picky them. And my husband is allergic to night shades ( potatoes, tomatoes, peppers etc.)

  331. My biggest hangup is 3 boys with different soccer schedules. I’m always running somewhere! Thanks Mel 🙂

  332. My biggest hangup is working outside of the home and having to have dinner prepped in advance. I am always ready for new ideas!

  333. I have the hardest time making dinner when the clock says its not dinner time yet. I bet I would be more successful if I cooked dinner at 2:00 before the after school chaos starts. But I feel that we need to eat when its hot off the stove instead. It shouldn’t matter, right?

  334. My biggest hang up is having my retired husband cook the meals I have planned! When my boys were little, I could control planning and time (just didn’t think so at the time!). But now all my shopping and prep work is for naught if he doesn’t start the meal while I am still at work! Mel, your recipes and blog are inspiring! Keep ’em coming! Thank you!

  335. Little ones that need to be held and helped are the hardest part of getting dinner on the table for me!

  336. Dinner time seems to always be the most chaotic time of the day. Everyone always decides they need my full attention right when I’m trying to make dinner. This cookbook sounds awesome! Maybe it would relieve some of that stress!

  337. Volleyball practice in the middle of the day right up until dinner time makes for a “hangry” toddler and husband when dinner is FINALLY done… late.

  338. I have a fairly well-stocked freezer and pantry but it’s the actual planning process that gets in the way. I find myself scrambling at the last minute and suddenly craving the pork tenderloin that sits in solid form in my freezer.

  339. What stops me is what I like to call witching hour. Right around five my kids seem to lose it. Everything that could go wrong does and with a two year old and a six month old that is alot of stuff.

  340. Children, homework, and being so tired after a long day.

  341. My biggest problem is that I procrastinate making a decision on what to make, then realize that everything that sounds good to me either requires more time than I have, or that I’m missing some key ingredients, or most often both. And then my kids wake up from naps and it really is a lost cause. Make ahead meals could definitely revolutionize my life 🙂

  342. I really enjoy cooking and serving something better than just “ok” for dinner, but cooking that way EVERY night is exhausting! I’m already a huge ATK fan (and Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country), so getting delicious food on the table efficiently is my dream come true! Game on ATK!

  343. Kids in the afternoon needing attention makes it difficult to get dinner prepared!

  344. Not having the right ingredients or it takes too long.

  345. My biggest hang up is the menu creation each week and not overreaching our budget. As a firefighter I cook three or four nights a week and my wife the other nights. It’s hard keeping it varied and making dishes we both enjoy without making the same thing every night. We would love some tips on making fast delicious budget friendly meals.

  346. Biggest hangup? Energy. Most of the time I’m motivated to try new things and make a menu plan thanks to all of your great recipes, and other times (mainly summer here in AZ) heating up my grill, stovetop, or oven just sounds like too much work. So then panini’s on a George Foreman kitchen-counter grill are our default dinner. (Make your own.)

    I love the idea of make-ahead meals. Sounds like an awesome cookbook, and this recipe looks fab!

  347. My biggest hang up is trying to decide what to defrost. I get sick of picking what to cook sometimes.

  348. My biggest hangup is my 4 month old son! But my second biggest hangup is that I often decide what to make the day of, which is a problem when it comes to anything involving beans since I like to soak them overnight! Plus I get so distracted by cooking blogs that I don’t get started cooking . . . but my husband comes home on his work break to eat supper so I have to have it ready on the minute or he doesn’t get to eat.

  349. The side dishes. I’m great with the entrees, but wish I had more of a repertoire when it came to sides, both veggies and starches.

  350. With my sons back at college, my biggest dinner headache is learning to cook for three instead of five.

  351. My biggest hang up is the weeks that I don’t plan ahead! Life gets really hard then.

  352. Thinking enough in advance to do the grocery shopping is my biggest hangup! That and not having energy to make dinner at night after a long day at work. I am SO EXCITED about this giveaway and my fingers are crossed!

  353. Dinner taking too long to make with hungry little kids and with little helpers

  354. Getting home from cross country meets at dinner time when everyone is starving!

  355. My lack of planning… I always think dinner is magically going to appear in the fridge when I open the door at 5…

  356. Not planning ahead – if I don’t know what I’m making, it doesn’t happen.

  357. The most difficult part for me is thinking of what to make for dinner each night. I have always said if someone would just ask me to make them something, I would love to… but my kiddos still don’t do that.

  358. Kids after school activities are killing my dinner preparations. Either I start at noon, or we end up eating way too late for my little ones.

  359. Our family is no different then most. Dinner time is bananas. Grumpy toddler, tired husband walking in the door, and tired mama:) Making food ahead of time is gold.

  360. I could definitely use this. Getting dinner to the table with five young kids is tough, and I am looking for new ideas beyond pasta or a slow cooker.

  361. My biggest hangup Is that I’ m just tired. If we don’t plan ahead, we both get home and end up going to Wendy’s. UGH!!! Talk about being unhealthy.

  362. As silly as this may sound, a lot of days I just forget to prep earlier and then it’s too late to make what I was planning on and I’m left scrambling.

  363. I like the cooking part but I don’t like the meal planning and making shopping list for things that I need.

  364. This may have been mentioned already, but sometimes it’s not getting the food, but the people in my family to the dinner table. And all at the same time. I seriously need a triangle dinner bell to alert the kiddos (and sometimes my husband) to get their bondoonies to the table when the food is still nice and hot and ready.

  365. As a stay at home mom of two little boys and one on the way, dinner time goes much better with planning and prepping before the craziness of the afternoon hits. This book is just what I need.

  366. My biggest hang up is not planning ahead as well as I should combined with the chaos before dinner. My kids are not the most patient at that time. 🙂 Some make ahead meals would be fantastic!

  367. Timing! I have kids in college and kids in high school. Not to mention a husband who doesn’t have a set schedule. Throw in my job, my kids jobs and after school activities and it is just plain crazy in the afternoon/evening at my house! This book wolud be a great help! Thanks for all you do to help with yummy recipes!

  368. My biggest problem getting food prepared is a 14 month old who is currently cutting 3 teeth. Yegads.

  369. My biggest problem is planning ahead and timing, timing, timing.

  370. By the time dinner comes around most days, I’m already tired and cooking and cleaning up just seems like such a hassle. So this cookbook sounds great!

  371. Considering how much you love ATK, and how much my family loves you….it looks like this is a must have! 🙂

    Biggest hangup – probably planning, if I have a meal plan it makes it SO much easier!

  372. Lack of planning gets me the most. The week school started, I came to your site and planned 2 weeks out from your “187 favorite healthy recipes”. Those 2 weeks were great!

  373. Having a newborn! I hope I win cause I gotta go!! 🙂 xoxo

  374. My biggest hang up is trying to include my son in cooking. It’s easier & quicker without his help but he’s more willing to try new things when he helps.

  375. My. Ingest Hangul is a combination of time, energy and ideas. When I’m working, all 3 of the hang ups come charging at me full on beast mode and I will give in to something not so healthy. I love to eat, but I don’t love to prepare meals ALL the time!

  376. Lack of planning ahead gets me all the time!

  377. Between working full time, taking PhD classes full time, and raising two teenage daughters I could definitely use this book! My biggest hangup is not having planned ahead!

  378. Not enough time! After school hours are crazy busy!!

  379. oh boy, how do I choose? Guess one of the biggest is not planning in advance and ending up with not the right ingredients or enough time!

  380. My biggest challenge is the last last five minutes before dinner is on the table. Setting the table, getting everyone to stop what they’re doing and come to the table (even though I give a countdown to dinner before that), and getting the food on the table.

  381. My biggest hang up is staying creative with my menus. If I take the time to make one, we normally have a good week of meals. If I don’t then I dread making dinner. I have to think and prep all at the same time! Too hard!!!!

  382. I struggle with having dinner finished by a certain time. Life gets busy and then I get dinner started late… I will be organized one day!

  383. My biggest hang up in getting dinner on the table is that I am a procrastinator. I never quite think far enough ahead. So, a book like this would be awesome for me! I am trying to use my time wisely so dinner is not chaos!

  384. probably a less-than-adventurous husband!!

  385. My biggest hang up is coming home at 5:30 and not sure what dinner will be if I haven’t planned ahead and have something ready to go or else in the crock pot. Tired and only wanting to sit down but have people who are hungry so lots of times you reach for the high carb foods with little nutrition. I need to be more organized to plan ahead for every meal through the week. Perhaps that cookbook just might do the trick!

  386. Helping my kids do their homework!

  387. As new empty nesters I’ve become very lazy about planning meals and really regret that i haven’t done so when I come home tired from work.

  388. My biggest hangup is getting everything done at the same time! It is sometimes a challenge to time everything just right…

  389. My biggest hang up is working all day, picking up my babies, and then keeping them happy while I cook.

  390. Biggest hang up? Not enough time, we do too much running around!

  391. I am a single mom of 4, and I also babysit 1-3 kids to supplement my income. With the older 2 in middle school, and all the homework that is invloved, and another child in sports, I am often just too tired to cook a real meal. I end up rotating the same 6 or 7 meals every week.

  392. We are often exhausted by the time we get home from work and then we are trying to squeeze in time for a healthy dinner before heading out the door for evening meetings and other commitments. Fortunatly we both like leftovers so when I have time I cook extra to eat later in the week.

  393. My biggest hang up is that I just don’t plan far enough in advance. By the time I start making dinner, the kids are all crazy and need more supervision than usual and suddenly everyone is starving. I’m the only person this happens to, right?

  394. My biggest hangup is the hour right before dinner…I should really get my act together and get going on dinner before 5, right when everyone gets super grouchy and hungry!

  395. My two toughest challenges are menu planning and getting dinner to the table before everyone is ornery and too starving to be pleasant. Sometimes work keeps me a little later than I’m expecting, but there’s not a good way to speed up the cook time I’ve planned on. This book would be so helpful and I LOVE watching ATK. Thanks Mel!

  396. Five hungry little ones and the after- school chaos. Would love to have more make ahead options!

  397. The hour right before dinner is busy, so it is hard having something ready by the time my husband gets home. Thanks for this opportunity!

  398. My biggest hangup is cleaning up after cooking! I can muster the energy to get dinner on the table but somehow it’s harder to get it off the table.

  399. Having hubby home in time–that we’re not eating before he’s home and not “over-done” when he is. Loooove ATK Thank you for the opportunity!


  400. My biggest hangup is that the time when I need to be making dinner coincides perfectly with the time that my kids need the most attention. 5-6 pm is a needy, whiny time at our house, and being able to make things earlier in the day (or the night before) would be fantastic.

  401. I have several hang ups! My desire to not use processed food requires more cooking time, in addition to all the kid’s activities I am driving to/from in the evenings, and also desiring variety and kid friendly meals. I have just started looking into making batches of freezer meals. Make ahead meals are a way to make the evenings run smoothly, efficiently, and provides more quality time with my husband and kids.

  402. Since my wife cooks dinner, I would say her biggest challenge is not having me home to wrangle the girls during prep time! This would make it much easier for her!

  403. My biggest challenge to getting dinner on the table is that meal prep usually happens during what I term, the witching hour, when my kids are completely falling apart every day, making it the most stressful item of the day. I am an Americas Test Kitchen evangelist and already have several of their cookbooks and LOVE them. This one is now on my list!

  404. My challenge is the planning. I would love to get in the habit of having dinne ready in the morning, but I just don’t think that way in the morning. I also hate the make ahead meals that you have to remember to pull out of the freezer two days ahead of time. Hello! If I need a make ahead meal it’s because life is crazy now, not two days ago!

  405. My biggest problem is running out of time at the end of the day chasing around 2 kids. When it’s time to start dinner, everyone is a screaming meanie! We need some major pre-prep around here!

  406. I’ve got a newborn that always seems to want to be fed and held right when it’s time to make dinner, so I’ve decided that make ahead meals are the way to go for now!

  407. My biggest hangup is always trying to be creative and come up with something new, this is where you, Mel, come into the picture. I have to say, not one recipe I’ve tried from you has been a flop, thank you for the inspiration!!

  408. I don’t want to blame my sweet children for my incompetence during the the chaos of the pre-dinner hour, so I’ll just blame it on the splitting headaches that they sometimes give me! (=

  409. I don’t always like the taste of food that is cooked then frozen. Plus it can be hard to plan ahead to give the frozen food time to thaw or extra time to cook!

  410. Being so tired at the end of the day.

  411. My energy and motivation get pretty low towards dinner time so that and lack of planning are my hangups.

  412. My hangup is finding healthy alternatives to prepackaged and fast foods. The more I learn about what is in our food supply the more frightened I become about what I have been feeding my family. I must find a way to get good food on the table and I love America’s Test Kitchen recipes!

  413. Not planning ahead 🙂 darn procrastination!

  414. I biggest hang up is deciding what to make. Once I get the menu made it’s just finding the time between diaper changes and art projects with my kids to get it done.

  415. Hi Mel,
    My biggest hangup during meal preparation is getting all the dishes ready to eat at the same time!

  416. My biggest hang up is when I have too many things cooking at once (bread to finish, corn to go pick from the garden, salad to make) plus getting the main course done. I just need to simplify! And plan ahead (enter ATK ) 🙂

  417. I admit to wanting to have more make ahead meals. I am looking at going back to work after along time as a stay at home and the ability to make meals ahead would be great.

  418. Getting the motivation after getting home from work to actually make something and not just lay around.

  419. I hate the days I don’t plan well and underestimate how long dinner is going to take to make. Then we’re starving and eat snacks before dinner is done.

  420. Not to blame my adorable kids but they might be my biggest hang up in getting dinner on the table. That crazy, chaotic time before dinner. Thanks for your awesome website!

  421. My biggest hangup in getting dinner on the table is finding something easy and nutritious. After work it can be a chore to decide between the healthy home cooked meal which takes awhile to make or to order pizza. 🙂

  422. Planning, definitely planning.

  423. My biggest hang up is trying to cook with a hungry toddler underfoot. I love her, but that hour before dinner is tough!

  424. My biggest hangup is getting the energy together to cook dinner after a long day with the kids! Having a make-ahead meal sounds great to me after a long day.

  425. Biggest hang up is not enough time. Between working full time and going to school there is very little time for prep, cooking, and clean up. I do best with one or two big meals made on sunday that I just re-heat throughout the week. I love nights when I have time and energy to cook!

  426. Love,love,love your recipes and blogs. Got nothing but raves with your recipes. Thanks

  427. I’m always so tired by the end of the day it’s hard to get motivated to make and then clean up dinner.

  428. I haven’t found the right recipes to freeze and have taste all right when thawed. I usually make from scratch every night 🙁

  429. My biggest hangup, when school is back in full swing, is everyone eating at different times. We all try to eat together every night. But, someone seems to always have something.
    So, I try to make meals that hold well for a while (soups) or reheat well.

  430. My biggest hang up is planning what to cook all week. You have definitely helped me in that arena and I love, love make ahead meals! And Americas Test Kitchen!

  431. My biggest hang up is definitely the chaos that comes with that stressful hour before we eat. We’re either at soccer, piano, or dance when I should be making dinner, so when I can make it ahead it takes that stressful edge off in the midst of the chaos. I would love this book!

  432. Even though I work from home with my littles I still have a hard time getting dinner on the table AND having it be something that they will eat. Some new options will be fantastic.

  433. My biggest hangup is having everyone at the table at the same time — son with marching band and karate lessons (sometimes on the same night) and husband working odd shifts. Oftentimes we eat pretty late and some days it’s catch as catch can. Your menus have been a godsend — at least I know I have a plan and the food will taste great regardless of what time we get to eat it. 🙂

  434. My biggest challenge is planning ahead! I have 6 kids and when nap time is over and school is over we get going on homework and all of the sudden it is 5 and everyone is hungry and I didn’t have a plan.

  435. My son who seems to always want undivided attention the hour before my husband gets home aka “the witching hour.”

  436. Can’t wait to try the fish and couscous and I want the cookbook!

  437. My biggest hangup is that I get home from work late and I’m starving!!! So I end up snacking while I’m making dinner and then I’m not hungry when dinner is done 🙁 this book sounds awesome!

  438. Making a meal plan, one that everyone likes and that someday’s can be eaten at different times!

  439. My biggest challenge is meal planning. I am new to meal planning and websites like yours are helping tremendously. Thank you.

  440. Biggest hang-up: Coming up with dinners that I can prep in the afternoon and let sit until it is time to eat. I can’t cook it all after kids get home. Way too busy!

  441. If I wait until the older kids are home from school, dinner just doesn’t happen, even if I meal planned something really simple. If I don’t do just a tiny bit of prep early on, then we end up with cereal. 🙂

  442. My biggest hangup is lack of energy combined with lack of a plan. I’ll start out excited about dinner early in the day, but by the time dinner rolls around I’m too exhausted to even think about what to start cooking. I’m sure if I could do a better job planning my meals in advance that would help.

  443. My biggest hang-up to getting dinner on the table is procrastination. I really should prep dinner while my youngest naps, but sometimes I just use it for “me” time instead.

  444. Biggest hangup is having an idea that sounds good, and this would help with that, A LOT!

  445. Pressed for time & lack of planning!
    4-6pm is crazy at my house. Make ahead meals sounds right up my alley 🙂

  446. I have a hard time coming up with creative side dishes, sometimes I feel like we eat the same thing over and over again.

  447. Three very cute, but crazy girls!

  448. When I’m pressed for time, I don’t like too many cooks in the kitchen, but it sure would be nice if the family would help set the table, feed the dog, or any of the other tasks that need to be done, too. Sometimes I’m really organized and like the feeling of having everything ready for them. Other times, I could use a little help. 🙂

  449. My kids’ busy after school schedules make it hard for me to get dinner ready. If I don’t have something prepared and waiting in the fridge to cook before they get home from school, it is hard to get a decent meal made.

  450. My biggest hang up is trying to put dinner together when everyone (including me ) is exhausted after a long day. Crock pot recipes that work are heaven sent!

  451. Time! If I’m able to plan a week in advance that works better, but it’s the last minute games that really throw a wrench in the dinner plans.

  452. I don’t know how you do it with you beautiful large family…my two lovely super energetic boys run all over. A 30 minute meal can take 3 hours easily. Trying to keep them entertained while cooking? Well, they know I am cooking, so they run crazy! Even when I planned activities! “Mom is cooking, let’s be tornados and drive her nuts, ha ha!” I am sure their young minds think that 😉

  453. I’m in med school, and long days make it so hard to motivate myself to cook when I get home! Food prep makes all the difference!

  454. My biggest problem is when I get home from work, (I’m a nurse- so lots of overtime) I am so tired that I just don’t feel like doing anything except maybe digging into a bag of pretzels or chocolate chips. Help me!!

  455. Trying to muster up enough energy with 5 kiddos

  456. When I have a plan, dinner goes smoothly. No plan? No bueno.

  457. My biggest hang-up is that I usually have no idea what I am going to make, so going in blind sometimes takes a while to figure everything out!!!

  458. My biggest hangup is when i have a recipe planned, and then I realize I don’t have a vital ingredient! I guess that means I don’t plan very well.

  459. Biggest hurdle: not enough of me! Too much going on. Little ones under foot, big kids needing homework help or just attention after a long day at school, sports practices to get to… The list goes on. Love the idea of a whole cookbook devoted to make ahead!

  460. it takes me forever to get all the veggies prepped. Luckily, i’m getting better at preparing in advance over the weekend.

  461. My biggest hang-up is that I almost always seem to be short one ingredient–in spite of a carefully prepared shopping list and a supposedly well-stocked pantry. Thank goodness for kind neighbors who seem to always have what I am missing! (Green onions, an egg, powdered sugar…it’s always something.)

  462. My biggest hang up for getting dinner on the table is generally time. I need to just organize myself a little bit better and plan ahead before things get completely crazy when everyone gets home from school. Thanks for the giveaway. I love your blog!

  463. Not wanting another slow cooker meal but only having the energy to make dinner in the morning…

  464. My biggest hang-up is actually finding the time to do it! I am a mother of a 2 1/2 year old and a 5 month old as well as working full time. My commute to work is over an hour so by the time I get home, I’m ready to crash and spend time with my kids. The little one is breast-fed and usually needs/wants that time to eat and snuggle. My 2 1/2 year old is ready to tell me all about his adventures of the day. I enjoy spending those precious moments right after work but that means dinner gets even later and later. It’s a daunting task to figure out what to cook, prep it, and get it on the table in a timely fashion!

  465. My biggest hang up is being tired when I get home, I just don’t want to do anything.

  466. Biggest hang up…I work evenings a lot so I have to set up things to make my husband’s life easier feeding our children and my grandparents. Make ahead meals is genius. How did I not think of this on my own

  467. My biggest Hang-up is getting a healthy meal on the table with two small “helpers” underfoot the whole time. Prepping during nap time would make life much easier!

  468. Lately my hangup with possible food allergies with one of my kiddos, trying to figure out what it is and still making food everyone can/wants to eat with food we already have. We’ll figure it out soonl

  469. My biggest hang up is having enough things preped ahead of time so when we have to dash home between soccer practice, homework, church responsibilities, etc that dinner can come together quickly. This cookbook sounds like it was written for me!

  470. My major hangup is having to cook for just me. Hard to make myself plan ahead or do much work.

  471. Does LIFE count as a hang up? Really just picking one wouldn’t be fair. I have lots of thing that keep dinner from getting on the table. I guess maybe it comes down to organization.

  472. My biggest hangup with getting the meal on the table is planning ahead enough to get the meat out of the freezer! Also, the fact that I now have two teenage boys and a husband to feed every night plus three of the four of us needing leftovers for lunches, so I feel like I am cooking ridiculous quantities of food every single night. But loving every minute of it!

  473. It’s hard to say what my biggest hangup is. It seems to vary from day to day. Most often it’s just that I’m tired and don’t want to face the effort it takes to put something on the table that the kids most likely won’t eat anyway.

  474. Being creative! I sometimes bore myself with my own food!

  475. For me it is time and lack of planning. I need more make ahead ideas. This cookbook would be great for that.

  476. I’m terrible at planning and often come home from the grocery store with random ingredients that don’t make an actual meal.

  477. I would enjoy having this awesome cookbook as a meal planning resource in my home.

  478. 12 hour nursing shifts and then a commute! Still haven’t figured out how to make dinner happen!

  479. My 22 month old! It doesn’t matter if we’ve had a huge snack at 3pm, 3-5, right when I need to make dinner, is her hardest time of day. And now I have a 1month old added to the mix. 🙂

  480. I have an ATK cookbook and absolutely enjoy it. This would be a very welcome addition.

    My biggest hang-up is the interruptions that occur just prior to dinner time (kids, pets, spouse coming home, neighbor kids wanting to play). In a perfect world, I could prepare all my dinners during school hours and nap times but it’s not always possible.

  481. My biggest hangup is actually having a meal planned. It seems I am always missing something. Also, having that meal include something that everyone eats since everyone is a picky eater!

  482. Finding the energy after a long day only to hear a chorus of “I don’t like that!” I can’t seem to find many dinner meals that all three of my kids absolutely love.

  483. My biggest hang up is not planning well enough. I think I can wing it and then I end up running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get dinner on the table.

  484. My biggest hang-up would be quite literally my 2yo and 6mo old hanging off me around 4-5pm! That, and when nap times are cut short and I couldn’t use that time to prep dinner.

  485. Two kids under three and a husband who is doing classes full time in the evening for his Master’s degree. I really NEED to get better at make-ahead meals.

  486. Of course when I am trying to get dinner cooking is when my daughter wants the most attention and always wants to be held when I need both hands to cook!

  487. I am a working mom. When I get home from work, I need something quick to make for dinner because oftentimes, the kids have to be out the door for various activities. My biggest hangup is when the recipe doesn’t go quite the way it should and takes twice the amount of time to make than what is stated.

  488. My biggest hang up for dinner is no longer wanting what I planned 🙂 actually, It’s often just life. By the time dinner needs to be made I’m pooped, kids are cranky, things are super loud, and sometimes dinner just seems more than I can do!

  489. My biggest hangup is time! It’s hard working full time and coming home to make a meal.

  490. My biggest dinner hangup is my lack of meal planning and prep. I’m just trying to keep my head above water after having a baby and before I know it we are all hungry and nothing has been made.

  491. Dinner time seems to be stressful because my kids seem to be ravenous and quite loud at that time of day. What do your kids do between the hours of 4-5:30pm?

  492. Definitely a time crunch getting home later after work – another hang up is that we love to bring leftovers to work for lunches, so I always try to make something that will give us leftovers. Quick meals that give good leftovers aren’t that easy to find!

  493. The hardest thing for me is that 4-5:00 is the hardest time to prep and cook dinner because that’s when my kids are the most needy and irritable.

  494. I’d say my biggest hang up is knowing that cooking dinner = dirty dishes!

  495. Two kids! They want attention right when I need to be cooking.

  496. Time and meal planning! The combo of the two is killer!

  497. My biggest hangup is getting my 1- and 3-year-old boys occupied. 4-6pm is the crankiest time at our house!

  498. Work…I always have great intentions, but then I get home late, I feel tired and by the time I’m done with dinner prep it’s nearly 7:30 p.m. I hate eating that late. Make-ahead meals are what I need. Thanks for the give-away and all the tasty recipes you share. I made your cilantro grilled chicken over the weekend. It was a hit!! Yummy, tasty and easy…I like to think fairly healthy too :).

  499. My biggest hang up is energy to cook a good meal!

  500. Hi Mel..I found your blog from a Pinterest link and have enjoyed making several of your recipes! My biggest hang -up is time and being able to prepare enough food for our large family, especially after homeschooling for the bulk of the day. We have nine children, ages 8-16, all adopted from different parts of the world and they came home with various food issues and fussy palates so just trying to throw together a meal together at the end of the day after homeschooling is done is not an option for this slightly overwhelmed cook. I really need some great, make ahead meal ideas!!

  501. My biggest hang up is running out of time. I plan, but I get off track pretty easily.

  502. My nursing daughter! I would love this book!

  503. Hi, Mel! I am so grateful to have recently discovered your site. You have literally been a lifesaver! I am in my third year of medical school studying to be an OB-Gyn and my husband is in the middle of nursing school. We have 3 boys… ages 9, 2, and 6 weeks. Our 9 year old is a type 1 diabetic, and our biggest hangup with dinner is definitely figuring out how to modify our meals to meet his dietary needs but keep the meals delicious, balanced, and reasonably priced. I would love to win this book because it would be an awesome resource for meals that meet the big priorities with meal-planning in our house: diabetic adaptable, make-ahead or make quickly, and homemade/unprocessed! Thanks again!

  504. My biggest hang up is my addiction to food blogs! I print out every recipe that appeals to me, make sure I have the ingredients for it, and then, look at some more blogs and decide I want to cook all of those things before the other things I wanted to cook before It gets a little crazy. I’ve got to be better organized.

  505. I’m famished by the time I get home and need a meal ASAP.

  506. My hangup is what to make! Somebody just give me an idea and I will do it. I LOVE america’s test kitchen and so am so excited about this giveaway.

  507. Mine is being overly ambitious with my meal ideas, especially with side dishes. I meal plan, but the most delicious-sounding and complicated meal always lands on the day I’m not feeling like getting off the couch.

  508. Hangup is not wanting to cook at night. I much prefer doing all prep in the morning so this book is just perfect for me. Love America’s Test Kitchens. I watch all episodes.

  509. My biggest hangup is when I come home and am laaaaaazy. 😀

  510. Love your website! And if you love this cookbook, I have to have it!

  511. With schedules that crisscross, my family also includes members needing special diet considerations. Preparing ahead is essential! As we join together to cook, we have to remember “diabetes friendly,” “tasty but not flaming spicy,” and limited addition of foods that thicken blood (super high vitamin K). Fresh, healthy, and made-ahead? Heaven!

  512. Trying to make the toddlers feel useful in the kitchen, but not interfere with dinner-making.

  513. I always grocery shop for a few meals and then I feel like I am back at the store in three days! I feel like we never have enough food in the house!

  514. My biggest hangup is guys who raid the fridge and eat the ingredients I was planning to use for dinner, leading to weird substitutions and/or total menu changes and lots of improvisation!

  515. I’m with Emily above who has the ideas, the menu plan and the groceries stocked. But then afternoons get crazy. Dinner prepped by noon is the best, otherwise, it becomes a battle. I love ATK and I love the sound of this new cookbook!

  516. Oh man! It seems when I start to prepare dinner, that is when everyone needs me. The kids need help with homework, I need to referee a fight, the baby wants to be held and is getting fussy. If I can do some prep work before the dinner time hour, everything seems to go a lot better. Thanks Mel!

  517. Love your blog! My biggest hangup is my lack of a PLAN. We have after-school activities every single day, so if I could just master a plan, I would be in business!

  518. I have ideas and a menu plan and even groceries stocked and ready. I enjoy cooking and so dinner sounds easy, right? Wrong! I have children… and they have homework and music lessons and scouts… and I have a toddler… and a newborn… and at 5 pm they ALL need me… And suddenly preparing dinner becomes an uphill battle. Life is happier at my house when dinner is prepped by noon. This cookbook sounds great!

  519. My biggest hang up is my three kids want to play right around the time i need to start dinner.

  520. My biggest problem is juggling the kids while preparing dinner. I try to let them help, but that usually makes it take longer.

  521. Timing, I’m awful at figuring out when to eat so all four kids can be where they need to be but not miss a full family sit down. Even if its a bowl of cereal after the activity.

  522. Time/planning is always the biggest hang-up. The kids get home from school at 3 or 4 p.m. Then the running around begins – piano, sports, appointments, etc. All of a sudden it’s time for bed and we haven’t had dinner! Then we end up with Little Caesars, instant Mac ‘n Cheese, grilled cheese, or pancakes.

  523. My hang up is activities that cut into the time when I would normally be making dinner. This year it is only really one night so I am feeling the slow cooker will be used then!

  524. My biggest hangup is picking what I want to make, because there are so many recipes I want to try.

  525. The mad rush to start dinner immediately once I walk in the door is my biggest hurdle. If I have had a busy or hard day it is so much easier to steer the car to a restaurant than my own kitchen. But we eat healthier at home, so that needs to be the priority.

  526. I just gave birth to my 4th child 2 months ago and as much as we love her, her constand need to be held limits me in the kitchen now. I need more make ahead meal ideas for sure!

  527. My biggest hang-up with getting dinner on the table is TIME. I feel like I just don’t have the time… and I don’t really enjoy cooking, nor am I that great at it so that makes it even more frustrating. My goal next year (will graduate from schoool in December) is to cook more home-made meals. My mom home-made 99% of our meals growing up and i want more of that for my son.

  528. My biggest hangup at the end of the day is energy. I usually have a plan, but I’m just exhausted at that point in the day. That’s why I’d love this book, meals I can make ahead when I have more energy would be great!

  529. Forgetting to make sure I have all the ingredients and discovering I am out of something in the middle of the prep.

  530. My biggest hickup is insisting the table gets cleared of homework, art projects and the like. Because usually we’re having a lot of fun 🙂

  531. my biggest hang up is the meal planning more than actually getting dinner on the table. I love to cook (see my email address:), but I DEFINITELY

  532. My biggest hang-up used to be dinner ideas, but you’ve solved that one for me and my family thanks you! Now if I can just get the kids settled so it doesn’t take me quite so long with the food prep. BTW, I am right there with you on your opinion of ATK!

  533. I love ATK AS well. My biggest dinner hang up is the same as many…keeping my three year old, and especially my 18 month old busy while I cook. I love to cook but often times dinner prep is stressful instead of relaxing!

  534. Right now two of my boys are in cross-country and have practice after school. I have to take the younger one to the junior high in town. We live several miles outside of town so I stay in town until practice is done at 5:00. Make-ahead meals would really save my life! And if they taste good, even better!

  535. My biggest hangup is getting meals together that we will all enjoy. Im a vegetarian, my husband wont consider eating a meal without meat, and my girls pretty much stare at their plates like aliens are crawling around if any food other than their pre-approved favorites are on them. So….dinner is FUN!

  536. I find it so hard to help the kids with their homework and prep dinner at the same time. Planning ahead always makes the transition back home from school so much smoother!

  537. My biggest dinner hang-up is hungry kids crying at my feet. Makes getting dinner in the table so hard, everyone is always needy just before dinner 🙂 love your site Mel, it makes menu planning a joy!!

  538. Dinner…hahahahaha. With 5 kids going 5 directions all the time dinner is a zoo. This book would SAVE MY SANITY!!

  539. I struggle with getting dinner started on time. My kids (2 1/2 and 10 months) both get really needy around 4:30 and it’s hard to get anything started before my hubby gets home. By the time I get something made, it’s late and the kids are really hungry. It’s tough!

  540. My biggest hang-up to getting dinner on the table is I work more than 1 job plus have 4 kids with busy schedules all over the place, which puts me all over the place, so we often eat really late!! When the Create channel was still on my TV for free, I LOVED to watch ATK. They’re my favorite!! And I totally would want to go there with you, after we went to Italy for gelato, of course

  541. My biggest hang up is not grocery shopping well and not having an ingredient I need. Kills me every time, because I usually just default to frozen pizza when that happens.

  542. My hang up…timing. There are days I get it spot on. And then there are other days when I struggle to have all the meal components (sides, main, sauces, etc.) ready at the same time, hot and on the table when it is time to eat. This hang up mat have to do with the already mentioned mom with baby that wants to be held or played with during the cooking process.

  543. Like many others mentioned, my two young kids!! I am finding strategies that work, but usually they need me most when something is burning 🙂

  544. My biggest hang-up is that I don’t have much energy left at the end of the day. I love to put things together ahead of time to save me the end of day chaos.

  545. I don’t really have a problem getting dinner on the table. I only have one child left at home and he’s not involved in out of school activities right now. So my meal schedule usually goes according to plan. And I love ATK they do all the hard work so their recipes are always wonderful.

  546. My biggest hang-up is time. I seem to never have enough of it and tend to rush making dinners just to get something out on the table.

  547. Not knowing what time to have everything on the table.

  548. My hang up has suddenly become desperate. We moved to a 14 acre farm three months ago. Between feeding the animals in the morning, homeschooling my boys , more chores throughout the day dinner has been on the table around 7:30 pm. My guys are used to 6:00 pm at the latest. My days are swamped and anything I could do ahead of time would be a life saver.

  549. My biggest hangup is my dairy-free sweetie. My oldest can’t have milk products and it’s a struggle to find healthy, kid-friendly options ( kids love their pizza and pasta)!

  550. My biggest hangup is getting home at 4:00, trying to cook and get homework done to be on the baseball field by 5:30.

  551. Biggest hangup is dealing with 5 screaming/fighting/crying kids right when I need to get dinner on the table. Good times. I prep as much as possible earlier in the day during nap times!

  552. Never know what I feel like eating that day- so end up not thawing anything and then panic starts at 4:00pm !!!

  553. My issue is that I am the slowest cook! when the prep-time says 30 mins, it will take me 2 hours!

  554. Holding my 1 yr old and trying to cook is my big hang up these days. 5 o’clock is an emotional time for the people in my house for some reason…

  555. Trying to get dinner ready between practices and two kids who generally don’t like the same things. And, despite lists and going to the store multiple times over the weekend, finding out I don’t have an ingredient I was sure I had. I’m getting frustrated just typing this. 🙂

  556. My biggest problem with dinner is never knowing exactly when my husband is going to be home, some nights it is at 5:00, then in his busy season, he will come home at 10:00 and I will still need to have something filling for him when me and the kids had grilled cheese 🙂

  557. My biggest hangup is getting the motivation to make something more than the bare minimum when I get home. Both my husband and I are in grad school, and we’re pretty exhausted by the end of the day. It’s also hard to get more than just a main dish on the table! Too much work to make a side dish or salad!

  558. I am addicted to cookbooks and would love to add this one to my collection! I enjoy trying new recipes. I have a 4 year old daughter with autism. So trying to get dinner ready and on the table isn’t always the easiest task.

  559. My biggest hang up is procrastinating with the prep work. I tend to put it off, and we end up having dinner later than we would like. I really want to try making more “make-ahead” meals to help eliminate this problem of mine! 🙂

  560. Remembering to take the meat out o the freezer

  561. I know, I know I am not alone. The hangup, and heaven help me I love them, but KIDS!!!

  562. My biggest hang up is that I have a hungry kiddo to entertain while I cook him something yummy!

  563. Dinner prep time is also baby’s can’t leave my mom’s side time.

  564. My biggest hold up happens on days when I don’t do prep work during nap (or quiet) time. When I am on top of things dinner seems to come together, when I use nap time for my own nap…the lead up to dinner tends to be chaotic and tear-filled.

    Love the idea of freezer meals. Thanks for the contest!

  565. The time when I need to make dinner is the time my kids need me the most. I would love to have something already done and ready to go to enjoy that time more.

  566. The hardest thing is that when I get home with the kids, they are starving. For the food I want to eat, it takes more than 15 minutes to put it together, so I end up giving them something quick and easy, and my husband and I eat later, when we have time to cook more elaborate food.

  567. My biggest hang up is boredom. I swear I make at least 10 variations of chicken and rice.

  568. Time, time time!! I feel like we have to have dinner on the table by 5:30 if the kids want any time to relax or do homework before bed at 7:30.

  569. My husband is forever telling me I make the same 10 meals. I am always looking for inspiration!

  570. Coming up with ideas for dinner…. That’s why I check out your blog so often! I like something different but my husband likes the same ‘ol comfort food. 😉
    I love make-ahead meals! That books sounds great!

  571. The biggest challenge I face when it comes to getting dinner on the table is my lack of motivation to cook by the end of the week. I will plan our meals and buy the food for the week, but by the time Thursday comes around, I don’t want to cook anymore, so we opt for pizza or Chinese food. The meats I bought will usually stay in the freezer week after week, and the produce goes to waste. Thank God my boyfriend and I don’t have kids yet! Lol

  572. Planning ahead. I’m good sometimes, not so good other times…

  573. Finding the time to throw together a balanced, healthy meal with an infant and toddler to take care of!

  574. My biggest hang up is that the ideal window of time to prepare the meal is also at the time when all the kids are home wanting my attention and I have to pick up or drop off somebody, somewhere. Making meals ahead is the only way I get through some days!

  575. My 15 month old always gets extremely whiney and needy right before dinner and it’s so hard to make dinner and keep him happy at the same time!

  576. My biggest hangup would be my 5 and 3 year old! They love to help me cook in the kitchen but some meal preparations are not meant to be done with little ones (like when raw meat involved). My favorite meals are the ones that I can make ahead of time when my 3 year old is taking her afternoon nap and my 5 year old is in kindergarten

  577. My biggest issues are toddler tantrums and just being way too tired some days!

  578. My biggest hang up right now is a breastfeeding baby. I never know when I’ll have a free moment–and it’s rarely right before dinner. So make ahead meal ideas would be great so I can prep most of dinner during his naps.

  579. My biggest hang up for getting dinner on the table is 4 girls under the age of 7. No matter when I try to make dinner they just know mom is trying to get something done!

  580. I truly enjoy cooking, but sometimes I run out of ideas to make something different (that my family would actually eat), you know? The ATK Make Ahead Cookbook sounds like just the ticket! Winning one would be great! I do have to thank you for YOUR input too! Everything I’ve tried from your site has been a hit! 🙂

  581. The biggest issue in our house is that we eat at different times at least 4 times a week. Making ahead would be a great solution to this issue; I love America’s Test Kitchen and this sounds like the perfect cookbook for me!

  582. My biggest hangup is trying to arrange a dinnertime for all 6 of my kids (15, 13, 11, 8, 7, 4) and my husband and I to sit down together. We keep hearing how important a family mealtime is, but we have to eat in shifts (two separate mealtimes…..early and late) so that our super active boys (the five oldest) can be off to practices, etc. I love to cook a healthy meal but need something that can be prepared ahead of time and then cooked in two separate batches when I get home from work! Thank you, Mel! Love, love, love your website!

  583. My biggest hangup is cooking while juggling my two little ones until Daddy gets home and trying to get a meal on the table before one of us has to be somewhere!

  584. My kids get cranky right at dinner, so it’s hard to spend a lot of time in the kitchen making dinners! This book would be a great help!

  585. I have not figured out how to be better at preparing ahead of time. I intend to start dinner early enough to have it on the table at 6:00 but children need to go to piano lessons, after school activities, . . . . . Then I am too late to put together a quality dinner! Hello grilled cheese sandwiches!

  586. Being a stay-at-home mom you’d think I’d have all the time in the world to make awesome, healthy meals. But by the time I feed everyone breakfast, lunch, and snacks in between (I swear my kids want to eat ALL DAY) I don’t want to be in the kitchen anymore and at 4:00 everything seems to fall apart. I mean serious meltdowns happen. By the time dinner is made I’m stressed and angry. I would love a way to plan ahead and be prepared!

  587. I always seem to have trouble with timing. Just as everything will be done and served fresh, someone is on the way out the door.

  588. I read somewhere about the 10:00 o’clock rule. If you work outside the home, you should know by 10:00 pm the night before what you will be cooking for dinner the next night. If you are home with kids, you need to know by 10:00 am what you are cooking for dinner that night. Makes sense to me – it’s a shame I don’t always follow that rule!!! I love ATK recipes, and their new cookbook would make that rule easier to follow!

  589. My biggest hangup is getting dinner ready quick. I typically don’t get home until 7:30pm, so having something prep and ready to go is a must!

  590. I would love my wife to have this cookbook. She does all the cooking so I guess my job is cleaning up!

  591. As soon as my school age kiddos step into the door from school it seems like time just flies. I am rushing to get dinner on the table, helping with homework, getting kiddos dressed for practice, or rushing out for Cub Scouts etc. The evenings go better when dinner is prepped and cooking in the oven and I am free to help the kiddos with their evening responsibilities.

  592. Forgetting to thaw something and then I panic what am I going to put together for a meal

  593. My biggest hangup is the fact that I never seem to plan far enough ahead, so I’m always making multiple trips to the grocery store every week. I know that I just need to be more organized and sit down and plan meals foreach week, but it’s so overwhelming!

  594. My biggest is having the ingredients I need and not waiting til time to cook to find out. The cookbook looks really good.

  595. The hardest thing is that dinner prep time is at the hardest time of day! Kids are getting home from school, needing to do homework and reading, and get to their various activities. Everyone is either tired, hungry, obnoxious, or ornery (or all 4)! If I have things prepped in advance it saves my sanity big time!

  596. Toddler clinging to my leg, brother beating up on sister, sister pestering brother, hungry-pre-dinner crankiness for all. This cookbook sounds awesome!

  597. My biggest hangup is getting home late and not having time to put a decent meal together. I end up eating Triscuits and cheese for far too many dinners!

  598. My biggest hangup is trying to figure out something new and quick to make! I generally stick with my 2 or 3 favorite go-to meals.

  599. My biggest hangup???? Where do I start????? First that I have 4 crazy energetic boys (which I love like crazy)! Second my husband works nights and leaves our house at 5pm and since we feel like having dinner together is very important we eat at 4:45pm (right in the middle of trying to get homework and after school chores done, and having a million neighborhood kids knocking on the door to see if kids can play, in which all 4 of my boys think its a race to get to the door!!!. Third football season for our 2 older boys starts TODAY!!! We have practice 3 times a week 🙁 We leave at 5:30 and don’t get home until 8:30pm then I get to do our bedtime routine with 4 crazy boys. Then I am left with a disaster of a kitchen because I was in a race to get dinner on the table in the first place so everything is left out !!!!!!! I NEED this book!!!

  600. I have been coveting this cookbook every time my Cook’s Country arrives in the mail. My biggest hang up for getting dinner on the table is a funk! I just don’t have my usual want to cook! Maybe a new cookbook will help me get out of that funk! 😉

  601. My biggest hangup usually happens on the days that I don’t get home from work and picking up my little ones until 7:00 p.m. Even when I plan ahead for a simple meal, I really don’t feel like cooking that late at night. (I’m not a night person.) Also, I only want to make (and eat :)) things that taste really good, and for whatever reason I have very few simple and quick recipes that have made it for keeps to my recipe box. And there is always the hangup of balancing budget and time as well.


  602. I am always challenged to have a good meal especially on the days I work late. This looks like a greatol to help with that.

  603. My biggest hang up is my 3-week-old always wanting to be held. And i always cave because she is so darn cute

  604. For me its having little kids around me, making as many messes as they can while I can trying to cook. Its so much easier when I can spread the preparations throughout the day, or at nap time. 🙂

  605. Hangup? for myself, its time. I close my small business at 6PM, and rush home to put supper out for my family. Make ahead is a way of life for me and I can use any help/tips I can get my hands on–BTW, love your column, Mel, and your common sense approach. Thanks for all the help you have already given to me. If you ever decide to sell t-shirts with your website on it, I want one.

  606. I work all day and don’t want to cook a meal that takes a long time to cook or a lot of prep work or we don’t end up eating till after 8.

  607. Biggest hang up with getting dinner on is the 4:00 meltdown. Why is it that the under-5 set seem to lose all their sanity between 4 and 6 pm? Make-ahead meals are my friend. I love being able to prep in the day before the crazies hit. 🙂

  608. My biggest hang up always seems to be that with two little ones ( 2 year and 10 month year old) I am always running behind and everything takes longer which means dinner is usually later than expected! The one thing that has helped me is doing all the prep during their naptime:)

  609. Finding time with my busy schedule to cook…make ahead meals would be perfect!

  610. I always have good intentions to plan meals ahead, but I often forget, which leaves me scrambling at the end of the day.

  611. My biggest problem is getting motivated to cook. I have good intentions, but then my sweet husband suggests making it easy on me by going out. Not good.

  612. My house is not quite clean, I only have two kids, and most of the time I feel like I’m just barely holding on to all my commitments. However, my one strength is getting dinner on the table. I do a lot of cooking ahead and a LOT of planning ahead. I get upset if I don’t have a plan for the next 7 days – 6 weeks ahead of time. So this cookbook sounds like it will fit perfectly into my schemes.

  613. Making a menu for the week is what gets me through…..if I don’t do that dinner is much harder than it has to be.

  614. My biggest hang-up is prep time. I get home from work late and have a tendency to plan meals that may not take that long to cook but have more prep time than I realize… and then dinner isn’t done until 9:15!

  615. No problems here – I cook for myself these days!

  616. Having 3 kids under age 3 usually means dinner time = chaos central! Doing as much meal prep as possible during their nap time helps things to go much more smoothly. I’m all about make-ahead meals!

  617. EVERYBODY (and I mean everybody) needs me at 4:00…homework, sports, piano and the daily debriefing, it’s hard to have a lovely meal on the table. But family dinners are one of my top priorities – so I just keep doing my best 🙂

  618. My biggest hang-up is three kids, two with homework, and a toddler running around demanding to eat RIGHT NOW while I’m trying to cook a healthy meal and make a salad. Not to mention everyone needs baths and the kids have to follow through with their chores (which I end up needing to supervise in the middle of cooking).

  619. Cooking one-handed! My little two-year-old guy always wakes up from a nap while I’m cooking, and there is no way I will turn down his request tone held…so I make dinner with a spoon in one hand and a lovable little boy on my hip. Really, I’m not complaining because I’ll be sad when he grows out of this!

  620. My problem? Frozen raw chicken… I didn’t pull it out ahead of time. I wish I were better at pulling it out of the freezer each morning THEN deciding what to eat for dinner. I’m thinking this book would get some serious usage in my home!

  621. My biggest hangup for getting dinner on the table is time. I have a couple ideas in my head and then something comes up and ….thank goodness I have the ideas already because to actually get them to the table by our appointed dinner time – well I often fall short.

  622. My biggest hang up is getting home at a decent time and having the ENERGY to immediately get started on dinner. I am WORTHLESS after work.

  623. Trying to juggle being a mom and a cook when everyone and everything gets crazy in the late afternoons.

  624. Love America’s Test Kitchen books!

  625. Trying to survive my kids during their 4:00 meltdown! That and having meat thawed for supper. I would love this book! It looks great!

  626. A 2 year old and a 3 year old! Seems like things always go crazy right at dinner prep time.

  627. A baby that needs attention right when I’m starting to make dinner or football or baseball right after school (which impedes dinner prep).

  628. I always seem to forget to thaw meat from the freezer!

  629. My biggest hangup is being organized enough to have the ingredients on hand, thawed, and ready to go in the evenings.

  630. I love ATK, and this new cookbook looks/sounds great!
    – My biggest hang up is keeping my kids (especially my 3 and 5 yr olds) entertained and happy (and from screaming/crying) as I’m trying to make supper. My husband doesn’t get home from work until ~6pm, by then my kids are starving and cranky. I’ve tried giving them snacks, but then they don’t want to eat with the family because they filled up on snack. Ugh. …Sorry for the “unload”!

  631. My biggest hangup is only cooking for two now, instead of a family. I either make too much and we are eating the same thing for a month, or we are eating chicken strips with mac n cheese or “egg ramen” (delicious btw…don’t knock it!). Not exactly healthy.

  632. My biggest hangup about making dinner is that I have to make it each night! I know that is silly, but it just is so exhausted sometimes. Of course, I still do it, But I wish they didn’t need to eat so often ha ha!

  633. I have to say I usually don’t have a problem. I enjoy looking through recipes and I make a list of what I would like to cook in the coming days/weeks. I keep this list in my recipe box and refer to it when I do a grocery list. I really love to plan the meals ahead so I try to keep up with doing this.

  634. My biggest hangup is my own laziness! Some days after work, I just can’t make myself chop and wash and prepare a true meal, and telling myself that I deserve the break does not get dinner on the table. I’m my own laziness enabler! I love make ahead recipes, especially things that can easily be taken for lunches or pulled from the freezer.

  635. Timing is my biggest hangup. Whether it’s getting every part of the meal ready at the same time or just getting everyone around the table!

  636. different schedules and food preferences.

  637. My biggest hang up is when the fridge has run out of food and I don’t have time to go to the store.

  638. My biggest challenge is making food that all of my five children enjoy. Then, if I manage to do that, having dinner ready so that everyone can make it to their after school activities is another challenge. Easy make ahead meals would certainly alleviate a lot of stress!

  639. I hate thinking of something to make for dinner. If I don’t plan ahead and make a menu, life is terrible.

  640. I work 3 nights a week so I’m usually sleeping until almost done time. Unless in way on top of everything that cam mean cereal for dinner. I would loved to have two or the days of make ahead meals ready for my husband to heat up while I’m at work!

  641. My hang up is after school activities with kids needing a driver:) Me

  642. What my kids are willing to eat and what I want them to eat and love..such a struggle to find a balance. And getting dinner on the table on time??.. I have given that up a long time ago…it’s ready when it’s ready is my motto! Hyo

  643. We all get home about the same time from work/school/sports practice…everybody is hungry and ready to eat NOW! Having something ready to pop in the oven would be a huge help. The decision about what to eat would already be made and the food prepped. Thank you!

  644. I like everything to be ready at the same time. I hate it when my timing is off.

  645. i think my biggest hangup is writing up a weekly menu plan and sticking with it! In addition, my time is often broken up into tiny chunks as I’m running back and forth in the afternoons/evenings, dropping off kids at different activities. I could certainly use some help with make-ahead ideas!

  646. Being consistent with planning ahead — some weeks I’m good at it and others, not so much. It does make a huge difference!

  647. My biggest hang up is that my three small children, 4 and under, get crazy wound up in excitement that Daddy is coming home, which is also the time I need to make dinner for my family, so I like to start dinner during quiet/nap time, so make ahead meals are awesome!

  648. I always have the best intentions to get a healthy meal on our table, I have 16 month old and its hit or miss as to whether or not she will be happy & content playing or really fussy come dinner time, so to make meals ahead of time sounds like an ideal fit for us

  649. i love atk!

  650. My problem is procrastination. I get started cooking too late, and then our whole evening routine gets later and later. This book sounds fabulous as I try to keep things together at our house this school year!

  651. I currently have difficulty doing more than a few minutes of kitchen work before my four-month-old cries to be picked up. It takes a long time even to get our simpler meals on the table.

  652. No matter how much I plan, my biggest hangup is I always seem to be missing an item on the ingredient list. I prefer to make things from scratch also, instead of from a box, so it takes much longer and dinner seems to be always late.

  653. my biggest hangup is feeding 3 generations food everyone will like, my 97 year old father in law, my husband and i, and our daughter, i have battle fatigue by the end of the day, food that can be prepared ahead of time will ensure that dinner will be delicious, ready, and everyone will enjoy it.

  654. My biggest hang-up is finding something inspiring that I can get on the table quickly. I’d love some new ideas and tips!

  655. Planning ahead !
    I always need more time to prepare the meal than I give myself.
    I’m hoping some crock pot meals this year will help on crazy nights

  656. Creating meals that appeal to all members of the family (two picky children, one meat-loving dad, and a semi-vegetarian mom) and are gluten-free (for one daughter with celiac). It’s a tall order!

  657. My problem is when I don’t want to eat what I have planned. Or I start making dinner at 5, and realize something was supposed to marinate for 8 hours or something like that.

  658. Having 4 kids with all kinds of activities means craziness. Add on the difference in ages, the oldest is a senior and the youngest just started kindergarten, and we get to almost impossible. My biggest challenge is that the little ones are home and hungry before the big ones so I am always trying to find meals that can be made early and still be yummy an hour or two later if we can’t all eat together!!

  659. My biggest hangup is getting everything to coordinate timewise so all the food is hot and not overdone.
    Love your blog and love ATK.

  660. Planning ahead is always my biggest problem. I’m always trying to come up with dinner ideas at 5 o’clock!

  661. My biggest hang up is getting a healthy side dish or vegetable.

  662. My biggest hangup is figuring out how to feed my family, all on different shedules, without grabbing something unhealthy on the way from one place to the other. I want to teach them to cook and get into healthy eating habits.

  663. Trying to find meals that can be made while my baby is napping and then heated up later with minimal dishes in the evening.

  664. America’s Test Kitchen and MelsKitchenCafe, my two best sources for tried and true. I listened to one of their podcasts on our way home from a little road trip over the weekend, and there is such a lot to learn!! I love it.

  665. I have a few hangups. Many times I fail to plan ahead and then all of a sudden it is dinner time and I’m winging it. Another one is that the little kids love to bug each other during the time that I am trying to get dinner ready. I love ATK!

  666. My biggest hangup is me! I have to like what I am cooking, and I can’t always figure out what I feel like ahead of time to do do-ahead cooking!

  667. My biggest hangup is just being devoid of at the end of the day!

  668. Biggest hangup is probably prep time – gathering ingredients, cutting board, dicing the onions, mincing garlic, etc., all while trying to clean up as I go to reduce clean-up after dinner. I feel like it takes me at least 45 minutes to make a healthy meal just for my boyfriend and me (not including clean up!!!)

  669. My biggest hangup is the side dishes. By the time I am done with the main course, my energy is spent!

  670. I think make a head meals would be nice… especially for those nights when cooking is the last thing I want to do. I think my biggest hang-up would have to be the lack of desire when it comes to the kitchen… mainly the clean-up after is where the lack comes from.

  671. Mine is that i am always missing one major ingredient.

  672. Two working parents, an 18 month-old and another on the way 🙂

  673. It’s just time. If there’s enough time to cook, there isn’t enough time to fully clean. Then, the next day you have to clean up first, and there’s not enough time to cook. Repeat ad nauseum.

  674. My biggest hangup is dishes. I love to cook in the kitchen when it is clean but if I have to clean first. Forget it!

  675. I do great when I plan my menu ahead of time and have the meals actually scheduled for specific days (AND I actually check the menu in advance to see what I will be making so that I can thaw the meat, etc.). If I don’t do that, then it’s just not happening!!

  676. Having a 14 month old who wants to be involved in everything I do makes cooking dinner a challenge. This cookbook sounds perfect!!

  677. My biggest hang up is time…surprise, surprise, right?!?! My boys are STARVING and want food NOW the instant we walk in the door after work/school. Thanks Mel for sharing & this opportunity!

  678. I have six kids in five different schools this year, so I really need to get most of the dinner prep out of the way before the coming home from school, helping with homework, piano, driving to activities craziness begins (or I go crazy:))!

  679. I fly by the seat of my pants most days, so somehow I expect dinner to magically come together when I start preparing at 5:00. If I can have dinner planned and prepared before my kids get out of school my life is so much happier.

  680. My biggest hangup is not getting home from work until 6:30 p.m. By then I’m too tired to fix a nice meal. Make ahead meals would sure help out at our house. 🙂

  681. My biggest hang-up at dinner time is waiting until dinner time to decide what to cook. If I plan menus ahead, then I can have all the ingredients available, meat thawed, etc. I love make ahead meals and crockpot meals that take all the stress out of dinner prep.

  682. Biggest challenge is that there are only 2 of us and sometimes it seems not worth the effort:)

  683. I have some hangups every once in awhile, but my best tip is when you make a meal make one to freeze for a quick night. Ie lasagna, enchiladas, chx pot pie, or crock pot meals that can be made in the morning and are ready that night: chx cacciatore, mediterranean chx, pot roast, etc. This cook book looks right up my alley!!!! I would love to win~

  684. My biggest hang up to getting dinner on the table is TIME! My husband and I are very active, work full time, and we are both taking full time college classes. When I get home from work in the evening, I usually head out for a run or to an exercise class. By the time I get home, it’s already late in the evening and I don’t have the time or energy to cook a ful meal! It’d be great to have a cook book like this so I could prep dinner before I head out for my evening activities!

  685. My biggest hang-up….time! Between work, picking up my kids, homework, etc, I always seem to be short on time.

  686. I find it really difficult to get dinner on the table with all the after school car pools and activities…. make ahead meals would be a great help!!

  687. We have jobs with irregular hours and don’t eat at a specific time. When I get home at 8pm and try to make dinner sometimes we don’t get to eat until late.

  688. Mine is when life gets busy and dinnertime rolls around before I know it! I love to plan so I usually have everything somewhat organized. But it’s not pretty when I am hungry and stressed and dinner is not ready, and there are hungry mouths to feed….Hello Cereal/leftovers!

  689. What to cook every night..:(

  690. My husband and I both work 48 hours per week, have a 7 year old and 4 year old, take care of my disabled mother, my father, and my grandma who lives 2 doors down. When you throw in homework, soccer, dance class….time is not on my side!!! Also, trying to please the tastebuds of 7 people is no easy feat. I get sick of the same old meals week after week!

  691. My biggest hang-up is deciding what to cook. There are just four of us in this household, but we have such different tastes that there are few dishes in this world that all four of us love. I know – crazy, right? Perhaps it’s my own fault – I’ve been a SAHM for a few years now and since I love being in the kitchen, I’ve not minded making more than one set of meals. But now that I’m about to go back to work, I think this book will come in very handy. Plus, I LOVE ATK! And, like you, visits to Italy & the ATK kitchen are at the very top of my bucket list.

  692. Well, my hangup is the crazy after school sports schedule & the fact that I am perpetually winging it. There’s also some sort of time warp around my front door that throws me into “I just want to sit down” mode as soon as I walk through it. I can have wonderful & ambitious plans on the drive home but as soon as I walk through that door, dinner prep seems as daunting as climbing Mt. Everest.

  693. The biggest hangup for me is that I don’t have the meat defrosted when I get home from work. Often it’s 30-45 minutes before I can even start cooking. Haven’t quite figured the best solution to that yet.

  694. My biggest hang-up is juggling four small children while preparing dinner. It’s not uncommon for me to wait until hubby gets home to start cooking so he can help with the little ones which means we don’t eat at 6:30 or 7:00.

  695. Sometimes I get stuck in a rut where we have the same thing for supper all the time.

  696. My biggest problem is I’m doggone TIRED by the time everyone is together for dinner.
    I’m a caterer who makes school lunches. But by the time dinner rolls around you’d think I never even learned to boil an egg. Make-ahead would rock my world, Mel!

  697. HOMEWORK and after school activities for sure!

  698. My biggest hang-up is TIME! I almost never have enough of it!


  699. I get bored with the same old things, and the males in my household don’t appreciate my “something new” efforts….sigh

  700. Usually I don’t have a problem getting a decent meal on the table, but I do struggle a bit on those days when it seems we don’t have any of the right ingredients! If I’m missing a crucial staple like butter or pasta, I get a little discouraged.

  701. My biggest hangup is in not planning. Once I have a plan, it’s a cinch for me to implement it. Oh, and I get so sidetracked on this endlessly fascinating food blog I came across about a month ago…the fabulous Mel’s Kitchen Cafe! Dang, girl, you’re my hero! You make me wanna be a better homemaker….

  702. End of the day tiredness, cranky toddler and crazy extracurriculars for the older kid. Make ahead would be fabulous.

  703. The most difficult part of getting dinner ready is the timing. When I need to be working on dinner prep is the same time my kids have all come home from school and need my attention.

  704. Not planning ahead. I sometimes am missing one ingredient or I didn’t read the recipe thoroughly and missed the part about marinating for four hours.

  705. I love dishes like this that i can make ahead and then take to my adult children’s home for a quick meal with them.

  706. My biggest hang up…getting the main dish and side dishes to finish at the same time. Often, my main dish will be ready and we still have to wait a few minutes for the side dish or vice versa. This cookbook would be awesome!

  707. My biggest hang-up is not planning ahead and when dinnertime rolls around, I sometimes feel like, “Ugh, do I have to cook today?” Then we may end up with PB&J or cereal!

  708. I’ll share my fave tip which helps me get dinner on the table. If I’m at home at all during the day or even before I leave for work I’ll do as much prep work for dinner as possible. Get meat marinated or prepped. Chop veggies.make sauce/dressing. etc. Like today I am making Mel’s Stuffed Zuccs & I’ll cook the meat stuffing & refrigerate & wash the zuccs all this am before I go to work so I have less work to do tonight.

  709. As with most readers, my hang-up is the crazy evening schedule. If meals are done ahead of time, everyone is happier!

  710. My biggest hangup at times is to make something entirely different and sometimes I don’t have all the ingredients so I have to keep thinking of a new dish. It can be frustrating.

  711. Coming up with new meal ideas ahead of time would definitely be a help.

  712. My biggest hang up? Well, it’s a toss up between not having anything planned and putting off dinner prep so that it ends up a mad rush with my littles screaming at me while they’re pulling at me legs.

  713. My biggest hangup is when I don’t plan well and wait till the last minute and have dinner brain freeze, which makes me unable to think of anything to make. I need to be better at thinking ahead and not waiting till the last minute!

  714. Seven kids, 13 and under, make dinnertime wild around here! Add in soccer practice, piano lessons, and homework, and I pretty much just want to sit in a corner and sob. This cookbook could do so much for my sanity!

  715. Biggest hangup: Remembering to get meat out the day before to thaw. Sounds easy enough but for some reason it is (one of – folding and putting away laundry is also on this list) of the hardest things for me.

  716. My biggest hang-up for dinnertime is that my oldest just started kindergarten, and we’re all still getting used to our new schedule! I’m struggling to come up with fast meals that will be healthy and yummy.

  717. Planning ahead is my challenge. That is why I love my crockpot. Really love the idea of premade freezer meals!!!

  718. My biggest hangup is serving dinner when my family of 11 visits for a week long visit. The family wants me to be on the go with them all day, but I must be prepared with dinner when we return. Speedy meals is difficult when needing 11 generous servings, and I want those meals to be different from the usual casseroles.

  719. My biggest hang-up is not being organized, which sometimes leads to not having everything I need.

  720. Going back to work full time and teenagers with after school activities are biggest stumbling blocks. I know, lots of other families make it work, just still looking for my rhythm! I have found that planning ahead it the most important thing!!! We also make a huge effort to take 15 minutes the night before and prep whatever we can. Also, forgive myself if once a week dinner is cold cereal!

  721. Being tired and nothing sounds good enough to eat, to make it worth fixing.

  722. Finding things my one year old will eat and not making the same meals I’ve been making for the last three years.

  723. I don’t really feel I have an excuse—I guess just still getting used to being a mom. To avoid eating unhealthily, I avoid buying packaged items and pre-made things, and some days when it comes to dinner prep, the time and prep involved seems daunting (even if it’s really only about ten minutes) with a toddler on my leg.

  724. My biggest hang up is having the desire to cook something when I get home from work when eating PB and J is so much easier

  725. As a senior citizen with a husband with disabilities, planning dinner is the last thing I think about – until it’s dinner time. I’m working on preparing meals ahead of time when I have an opportunity to do so. This cookbook would really come in handy for making dinners that were actually planned and not thrown together at the last minute.

  726. My biggest hangup is not be organized. It can take me 10 minutes just to find all the ingredients I need

  727. Making that menu plan on Sundays definitely helps. But I need ideas to make stuff ahead of that 5pm hour madness when we’re trying to prevent snacking, wanting to play outside, needing to do homework, piano practice…you get the idea. Constant state of multi-tasking without losing my mind.

  728. My biggest challenge is my “winter slump”. i run out of ideas, side dishes are boring because the gardening is over, and although i do love my frozen veggies i put up, its just getting blah by then. And i live in the middle of nowhere and fresh produce prices can be prohibitive, hence the garden. So a cookbook with new ideas would be so sweet!

  729. It’s so diff to get everyone to the table at the same time during the school year, it feels like we are always winging it.

  730. If all my lucky stars are in alignment, and I start cooking at 3, everyone is happy. My kids play sports so after a game I have to have dinner ready in advance or cook a 15 minute meal, like boiled macaroni with cheese and frozen broccoli. Often we have leftovers from fridge or freezer or take out if i don’t have leftovers! I LOVE COOKS

    • I cant imagine this book can possibly outdo your recipes, Mel. My husband asks me “are we doing Mel’s tonight?” Your a winner in our household,without doubt!!!

  731. My biggest hang-up at supper time? Definitely having everyone on a different schedules- after school activities and sports are going to make this school year much harder! A book like this would be wonderful!!!

  732. I have more time, energy, and peace and quiet in the mornings (when the kiddos are at school). By the time the kids come barreling through the door after school, I’ve somehow lost all of those things! This cookbook would most likely offer me meal ideas that I could create during that golden time in the A.M.

  733. Four letter word…..WORK gets in the way!!!

  734. I’m terrible at being organized and planning meals ahead of time!

  735. Biggest challenge for me is my toddler (just over a year) who isn’t a big napper during the day and wants to play/be under foot of Mama in the kitchen. So, when a cat nap takes place, I need to hustle into the kitchen in order to prep for dinner. Would LOVE to win this cookbook!

  736. We are empty nesters, but seem to be busier than ever (but with lots less energy!) After a long day, sometimes into early evening, I really don’t have the zip I need to put together a healthy, tasty meal. Some make-ahead meals would be a relief – and might help our waistlines . . .

  737. Trying to figure out something different to cook and that won’t take a million ingredients and hours!

  738. I cannot decide what to make!!! I feel like I pace back and forth trying to decide what to cook, and then realize it’s dinner time and I have nothing. UGH!

    My life in a nut shell.

  739. My biggest hang up is I struggle to come up with different ideas for dinner everynight! Plus I have 2 picky kids and a even pickier husband!

  740. I teach piano so afternoons are busy. I’d love to have some new ideas of make a head meals.

  741. My Kindergartener wanting a 2nd snack while dinner is simmering on the stove (mommy trying to make a healthy home cooked meal, totally unappreciated, of course!), while Infant is military crawling all over the floor, crying, and wanting to be held by me – all after a full day of work! Yay!

  742. My biggest hang up is indecision…and as the day goes on, the window of time for the easy options (like the slow cooker) disappears and we have quesadillas for dinner…again. 🙂

  743. My struggle is finding the time to get a meal prepared with a 6 month old and a 3 year old. I try to prep during nap time, but that doesn’t always happen.

  744. I have trouble deciding what to make. I usually look for new recipes, don’t have all the ingredients, and end up making the same old stuff.

  745. My two, four and six year old, not to mention my 38 year (often the worst) who has to show me something immediately no matter that I’m in the middle of preparing supper. Love them to bits, but planning ahead would be a big help, especially the slow cooker favorites.

  746. Planning, planning, time, time! I know that if I can put a menu together things go much more smoothly during the week! I love to cook, but making the time to plan a menu, is the hardest thing for me!

  747. Remembering to take out the meat to thaw.

  748. My biggest struggle is planning and time! If I planned ahead and had everything ready before the chaos of kids returning from school and helping with school assignments it would be a lot easier and I could focus on my family.

  749. Four small children (newborn, 1, 2, 3). Enough said!

    I would love this book! Would be especially helpful too when making meals to take to others in need.

  750. Finding something quick to make that is not breakfast – although I love a good breakfast for dinner too. Just not everyday.

  751. Sometimes I just do NOT have the energy toward the end of the day — even if I have it all planned out. It’s nice to do the cooking when I DO have the energy and freeze it. Then all I have to do is pull something out of the freezer the day before –voila!

  752. I work outside of the home, so I forget to thaw meat before I leave. Or, the few times I do remember, I never want what I got out by the time I’m home :/

  753. i have a family of picky eaters, kids 6,5,and 3, and my hubby is crazy picky (picky like, he wont let me make a dish that combines meat with any vegetables….goodbye fajitas, stir-fries, and basically everything.) seriously, its painful trying to meal-plan for them. and then painful trying to get them to eat what i make. ugg. but i love Cook’s Illustrated and would love that book!

  754. Please! Our family is growing and I need aaaaallllll the help I can get in the menu department!

  755. My biggest obstacle is having the groceries I need to execute a decent meal. Planning ahead would be helpful!

  756. Tired at the end of the day from being 8 months pregnant and trying to keep up with a non-stop 4-year-old!

  757. Is it bad if I say I love hearing about everyone’s crazy lives? 🙂 My problem(s): we just moved: our schedules have changed, our time zone has changed, and my two little babies are still adjusting and wondering what on earth is going on. Yay for changes! 🙂

  758. Figuring out what to make with what I have on hand. And then making something that we didn’t eat last week. I just need to sit down and make a menu plan.

  759. I hate deciding what to make!

  760. With 6 kids & 3 callings I love ALL of your recipes, ideas & recommendations!! Thank you!

  761. My baby wanting to be held — and/or grocery shopping!

  762. With 6 kids and 3 callin

  763. Eating at different times. But luckily my family are not picky eaters so I am able to be creative and try new things and they always get eaten!

  764. Its sad to say, but television shows I want to watch (and I don’t watch much) are on at the same time I “should” be preparing dinner.

  765. My biggest hang-up really is a three part problem… A four year old, a three year old and a one year old! 🙂 While I’m attempting to cook dinner each night their hunger becomes insurmountable regardless of the snack they ate an hour ago, fights begin, toilets over flow, crayon attacks the living room sofa, parts break off their most treasured toy, melt downs ensue … you get the picture.

  766. My husband I work opposite shifts, so that can be frustrating to only make things that re-heat well. Also, I love to try new recipes, but some of them take a lot of prep time and can’t be done ahead of time – which means they can only be done on a Saturday (if nothing else is going on).

  767. if i don’t have a plan, then its either pb&j or pizza. always need a plan or else i don’t get anywhere.

  768. My biggest hangup in getting dinner on the table is having four boys with four different after school schedules.

  769. I’m not really good at planning ahead. If I do, I usually stray from the plan because I feel like something different or I have a better idea. So I cook day to day, and shop that way a lot too! If I don’t feel inspired that day to cook, I like to havea freezer meal to go to that’s still home-made! Other times, when you know you’re going to have a busy day and you just have a few minutes in the morning, it’s nice to have a great slow cooker recipe to fall back on.

  770. This would be perfect for me because I love cooking but because I work late, we often don’t end up eating until 8:30 or 9!

  771. Our biggest struggle is timing. My husband works later than I do, our daughter goes to bed super early and we just don’t usually have time to get dinner prepped, cooked, and on the table in time for all of us to eat together!

  772. First off, I love your site! So many great recipes that I have been making this summer and figuring out how I can fit them into the busy school year when 3 out of five weeknights, we are driving over an hour away to hockey practice. Being able to make meals ahead that those at home can reheat and those in the car can take with them to eat on the way, is critical. Thanks for the help!!

  773. I have too really “helpful” kiddos. And by that time of day, they are always getting to their grumpiest.

  774. Make ahead meals are the only way we survive. Some are hit or miss though! I know ATK always does a great job and I could trust every recipe!! Thanks for letting us know about this one.

  775. Getting off work, picking up the kids and getting dinner on the table by 6:30 feels exhausting.

  776. My biggest issue is 2 little kids who desire my undivided attention. My goal is to have dinner with everyone at the same table eating at the same time — sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s easier to feed my little ones at their little table in our kitchen so I can finish fixing dinner for the “grown-ups”. I love your website and make at least one recipe from it every week! Thanks so much!

  777. My biggest issue is getting to 5:00 and having no menu in mind for dinner. Lack of planning always leads to problems at the last minute.

  778. Having to decide what to have for dinner. Would love more meal ideas and make ahead meals even better!

  779. The usual…lack of inspiration, tight on time, missing some ingredient, unorganized recipes -you name it!! I love recipes I can prep ahead…

  780. Gone all day, when I get home I have to catch up on all the house work first…then dinner.

  781. I have trouble with timing it, my dinner must fit a specific schedule for my family to eat together and if I didn’t calculate correctly we all have to eat separately.

  782. 3 kids and a full-time job leaves little time and energy for planning ahead. I would love to have some new strategies!

  783. I have to get as much prep done during nap time as I can, or else it’s a nightmare!

  784. I am a horrible planner when it comes to dinner. I tell myself every weekend that I need to write out a meal plan for the week, but something else always comes up and it never gets done! Then I’m always scrambling to figure out what we’re having for dinner the night of. I think this cookbook could help me tremendously!

  785. Making things ahead, and good planning on the front end leave more time for us to sit together around the dinner table to talk, catch up, and have family worship. Those times are the most important to us as a family, and anything that can help me be more organized it is greatly appreciated! I started using Mel’s Kitchen Cafe a few months ago, and am just now getting settled into our new home and thankfully have her site bookmarked!

  786. I have young kids.

  787. Planning ahead! If I don’t do it, we are much more likely to eat more unhealthy meals or eat out. I love planning ahead, but sometimes meal planning seems like such a chore!

  788. Through the summer it’s the heat that kills my desire to cook much of anything. I’m glad it’s finally starting to cool off!

  789. My biggest hangup is always frozen meat. I don’t like to defrost in the microwave because it seems some areas get cooked while other areas are still frozen. If I don’t think about dinner far enough in advance it’s head to the panty for a can.

  790. My biggest hang up other than my fussy toddler is often a complete lack of inspiration and time!

  791. I have six kiddos that are 8 and under …I love it and it is so much fun! Come dinner time though, things can get a little hectic. Make ahead meals are a life saver around here, and that’s no exaggeration! 😉

  792. Juggling end-of-day madness with meal prep can be challenging. I try to get as much done during quiet time as possible, but it doesn’t always happen. Prep-ahead meals are very intriguing. Thanks for the giveaway chance!

  793. My biggest problem is not having a regular schedule. I’m a medical student, so each day brings a different number of lectures, resulting in getting back to the apartment at a different time each day and with varying amounts of work to do and in various stages of hungry!

  794. I really need this book! I’ve been disappointed by other make-ahead books–I feel like they sacrifice quality for convenience. But, I trust ATK completely-so I think this book would be top quality.

  795. I have a young toddler, and an infant, which often means eating a) toddler friendly food b) 3 variations of the same meal (since the infant can’t eat table food yet and the toddler still has some limits) or c) 3 different meals. If I can have something done in advance then I’m not making 3 meals at dinner time!

  796. With a 1 year old crying 24/7 it seems dinner is the last thing on my mind at times. He tends to eat about 4:30 which makes it hard to get dinner on the table so then I just eat cereal or a sandwich.

  797. It just takes me so long to prepare and plan with 2 children at home that I homeschool it seems like we don’t stop until I look at the clock and think I need to start dinner. Where does the day go is what I wonder at dinner time:)
    Thanks for all you do! I love your site.

  798. I work from home half the year and work full time outside the home the other half. When I’m working outside the home, it can be hard to find the energy when I get home to orchestrate an entire, well balanced meals (and face the pile of dishes I’ve created in the process) so I would love some ideas for making dinner faster and less laborious!

  799. I have trouble timing side dishes and main dish to finish at the same time!

  800. I procrastinate and put off menu planning. By the time I feel like thinking about making dinner, it’s too late for a well balanced, healthy meal. If I don’t plan, I have this niggling in the back of my mind all day long that I don’t like so I don’t know why I don’t just plan and get the menu making over with.

  801. Right now the toughest part about getting dinner on the table is being 36 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and having a 2 year old toddler keeping me busy. I love it though!!!

  802. It seems that the baby always needs to nurse right before dinner.

  803. Advance preparation is key! Which is why I’m not always successful…

  804. I definitely need to plan, or at least have an idea of what I want to cook. If I don’t, I may attempt to figure something out at the last minute, but half the time, we’ll just go out! For this reason, I love having meals ready to go in the freezer!

  805. Struggle: having a starving toddler whining at my feet while I’m trying to cook. 🙁

    Secret to success: let the toddler eat graham crackers for dinner while I’m cooking. 🙂

  806. I can’t use the kids anymore as an excuse, because they’re all grown and moved out. Yeah! Sometimes though, I just run out of steam by 5 o’clock and it’s hard to start dinner from scratch then. If I’ve even done some of the prep earlier in the day, like chopping the vegies and measuring out some of the ingredients, it’s like a boost for me. I get to cook like in the test kitchen–but without quite so many little glass bowls to wash afterwards, ha, ha.

  807. My biggest hangup is that dinner time is the witching hour at our house. All 3 of my kids seem to get grumpy and need a lot of attention at that time. Throw in after-school activities and homework for my oldest and sometimes it feels like the whole world is falling apart!

  808. Thank you for posting another make ahead meal! I’m having a baby next month, and I have been doing as much make ahead and freeze meals as possible! I would LOVE this cook book!!

  809. I have to work around my older daughter coming home from school at 4pm and getting her from the bus, the baby’s afternoon nap and feeding, and the middle child always under my feet… When possible, I prep everything I can during afternoon naptime when the little ones are down and the oldest is at school so there isn’t as much to do closer to dinner, but the best days are when I can make the whole meal and just pop it in the oven or heat it on the stove and spend time with the kids instead 🙂

  810. I have learned, from you of course, that meal planning is a must. And I have learned how to grocery shop only every two weeks. These things have been incredibly helpful, but my hangup is simply having the energy to make the dinner once the evening comes! Having things prepared earlier in the day would be awesome!

  811. If I don’t do some prep work ahead of time (during the day) it’s difficult to get dinner done because by evening I am completely exhausted, with 2 little ones!

  812. My struggle is that I have a vegan, a vegetarian and 3 meat eaters in my family. Trying to put a nutritious meal on the table that everyone will eat, especially on week nights, is quite the challenge. Thankfully I’ve been able to come up with some very tasty vegan dishes that my meat eaters actually like. Planning ahead is the only way I can keep my sanity when trying to get dinner on the table.

  813. It always comes down to time and energy…..

  814. My three kids. 🙂

  815. I usually prepare what I can earlier that day ,otherwise 5 o’clock is a crazy hour

  816. Everything falls apart at 5 o’clock. Not sure how that switch flips, but my four are just done with the day at that point. They want to eat and now and while they wait for me they are usually either tearing the living room apart or sitting, one on each foot (twin toddlers), and crying. It’s crazy hour!

  817. There is never enough time especially right now during soccer season. I go straight from work to the soccer field and we don’t end up home until after 7.

  818. I want to make everything but have a hard time with my helpful kids:)

  819. Teaching a couple of night classes and kids’ practices make dinner very tricky! I need to get better about planning ahead.

  820. The thing that helps put dinner on the table at our home is meal planning. It is something I dread every week and yet I know when I do it, we eat better and my stress level is decreased substantially.

  821. Work… some days, the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is make a meal..

  822. Well, I’ve finally FINALLY learned that I can much more easily make dinner if I’ve planned what I’m making ahead of time, whether that was the beginning of the week or earlier in the day, so my biggest hangup is when I haven’t done that. Then my mind goes blank and I use much more energy fretting and worrying than I would have used just cooking a meal. 🙂

  823. I have a changing work schedule. It depends on the day and if my research experiments take longer than expected so getting dinner on the table is sometimes rushed. If I started to make things in advance my husband could finish them and have them waiting for me when I got home. That would be amazing.

  824. The fact that a toddler is asking me to play with him the whole time I make dinner… That, and time 🙂

  825. Several nights a week my husband is stuck at work until late. I either have to hold dinner or wait and cook in the 30 minute window when he is driving home. Seems like make ahead meals would come in handy those nights!

  826. I’m a teacher and tutor after school. By the time I get home if I don’t have something planned that is quick and easy, we just snack, and not on healthy stuff!

  827. For me, it’s nice weather! In the afternoon (especially in spring and fall), all I want to do is be outside, not inside preparing dinner.

  828. If I don’t plan ahead by the end of the day I am tired and whatever I had planned to do usually goes out the window–everyone seems to be cranky when it’s that time of day.

  829. Some nights I work at home right up to dinner time. And so on those nights, it’s harder to get dinner on the table. I have to plan well on those nights :).

  830. I work a different schedule than my husband, so my biggest issue when it comes to dinner is that we’re normally eating at different times based on our schedules, so I have to have something I’ve prepared beforehand or that he can just pop into the oven or on the grill to eat before I’m home!

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