things i love thursday: 5 dinners 1 hour

I used to have anxiety about dinner.  Every single night.  I have this strange, unexplainable feeling that if I don’t provide a home cooked meal for dinner, I’m failing as a wife. [I know it’s completely irrational.]  I blame this on my mother.  Who provided delicious meals every evening when my Dad came home from work.  She’s amazing.  I have no idea how she did it.

Every day I’d come home from work exhausted & hungry.  I wouldn’t have the patience, much less half of the ingredients, to make a delicious meal.  Enter Kraft macaroni & cheese.  Or Chipotle.  And the feelings of failure.

Then I discovered 5 dinners 1 hour last fall.  The concept is exactly as it sounds- you spend ONE HOUR on Sundays preparing FIVE DINNERS for the week.  You’re provided with a grocery list & instructions and it truly does take ONE HOUR. These are tasty meals with a lot of variety.  It’s not night after night of make-ahead casseroles.  Tonight John & I had BBQ chicken quesadillas.  Tomorrow we’re having bean & sweet potato chili.  [I should mention that we only make three of the five meals each week… since it’s just the two of us and these are designed for a family, we simply had too much food when we made all five!]

My favorite benefits:  the $$ savings on my monthly grocery bill & the fact that I’m using ALL the groceries I buy (no waste!), the time I save weekly in meal preparation, the improved quality of our meals (much healthier than Kraft mac & cheese or fast food) & the peace of mind now that I can quiet those irrational feelings of failure!

After following these menus for the last 6 months, I wanted to find out more about Michelle, the incredible lady behind 5 meals.  Here’s what she had to say when I interviewed her earlier this week:

Tell me a little bit about yourself…. I have been married for 18 years and have 3 teenagers that keep me busy.  I love watching my kids in their activities, decorating and projects around the house.  I am addicted to home decorating blogs and Pinterest.

Where is home?  Wylie, Texas.  Just outside of Dallas. 

How long have you been in business?  I opened up my blog store in September 2010.

How did you come up with this clever idea?!  I was never really a good cook.  I could follow a recipe (most of the time) but just never enjoyed getting out pots, pans, utensils and messing up my kitchen every single night.  I did freezer meals for years.  You know, the kind where you spend 3 days planning, shopping and cooking.  It was fine for a while but we got tired of rotating the same 8-10 meals.  One day I just decided to assemble all my meals for the week at once.  This was out of pure laziness because I did not want to clean up the kitchen every night after cooking for 30+ minutes.  I am a very messy cook!  After the first week, I knew I was on to something.  5:00 was not stressful anymore.  It was almost fun to “shop” for dinner in the fridge.  And the biggest bonus of all…..I was not throwing out unused food.    

How has 5 meals changed your life? It has allowed me to work from home so I am still here for the kids.  Plus I get to think about food all the time!! 

Absolute favorite recipe from 5 meals?  There are so many.  I love to eat! My favorites are the coconut chicken tenders, slow cooked creamy chicken chili and crispy pork chops.

Where do you go for recipe inspiration?  Cookbooks, cooking shows, blogs, recipe sites.  I get the ideas there then I create recipes that will work for my plan.  Sometimes I even get ideas while eating out.  

And since I’m a photographer, I’d love to know…. what’s your favorite photo in your home (of yourself, your family, a landscape)?  Why is this photo so special to you?  This picture of my kids when they were younger.  They were hard to get to sit still so I had them lay on the floor and I stood on a chair to get the picture.  They thought it was so funny.  I wish I would have taken one every year like this.

 Interested in more information?  Visit Michelle’s site: and download a FREE SAMPLE MENU!!

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