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Old 08-31-2006, 11:38 AM   #1
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Mid week meal timings advice!

I hope I have put this in the right section.

What I was really wondering was how wives (not meaning to be sexist, just presuming it is normally wives, ) or partners deal with the unpredictable supper time imposed by their partners work.

Mainly I try and cook stuff mid week that either needs all day, or can be whizzed up in not much over half an hour...but even so it can cause problems. Do most people ask the working partner to call when leaving the place of work or just wait till he/she gets home and deal with serving/cooking then?

I guess I am aware that this can be an uncomfortable ripple in my evening as I try and decide what to do and was wondering if wiser women than me have come up with practical soultions.

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Old 08-31-2006, 11:42 AM   #2
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My husband usually calls when he's 30 minutes away (takes him 90 to get home), so that I'm ready to plate the meal as he's walking in the door.

Another option is to decide on a time. Perhaps the spouse/partner arrives 20 minutes beforehand, in which they can enjoy a quick appetizer or drink.
If that happens here, I generally have fresh pico de gallo, guacamole and tortilla chips on hand.

Hope that helps
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:46 AM   #3
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Always time for a drink when SO gets home. Plenty if time for dinner later. Of course, she gets home fairly early right now. Next week she starts a new job with later hours. She'll be hungry when when she hits the front door.
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Old 08-31-2006, 12:19 PM   #4
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Yeah, I have that problem regularly, Lulu. I usually prepare all that is possible beforehand, for example make the pasta sauce, have all the veggies chopped up to be sautèed, defrost the mince and form the meatballs or chicken to marinate etc. etc., then when he gets back, I will just cook pasta, rice etc. and in the meantime either reheat the premade sauce or give final touch to other things, all of which will be done within 30minutes, more or less.

Another thing I do is to watch my messenger, if he is at his office or using his notebook wherever he is working at, his messenger is always on. When his name goes off line, I can assume he will be getting home within an hour and I start my dinner action accordingly.

Luckily, he is (well, to be fair, we are) decidedly nocturnal, we stay up way into some ungodly hours most of the time, so if the dinner is served a bit late, he doesn't mind so much and we always have something to munch on around the kitchen if he needs some reinforcement to his belly while he is waiting... We also come back from the gym at about 22 (10pm) very often (for this I usually use the afore mentioned method, too), so our average dinner time is somewhere around 23 (11pm).
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Old 08-31-2006, 12:32 PM   #5
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I ALWAYS have that problem!!! My husband used to call when he was leaving or partway home, but since he has a 1-1/2 to 2 hour commute (or longer, depending on traffic), that really wasn't too reliable.

These days I pretty much do what you do during the week Lulu. I either make something that can sit &/or simmer for a long time - like chili, stew, or most soups - or something quick where the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time - like pasta, stirfries, or a quick chicken/turkey cutlet saute, etc. Also, we eat a lot of seafood, which is always a quick cook.

I try to save things like roast chicken or duck, & new & perhaps more complicated dishes for weekends & other days off he takes.
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Old 08-31-2006, 12:33 PM   #6
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I cook dinner around 7:00 - 8:00 most nights. My husband works later hours. I cook everything, including his steak if that's what we are having, and everything is ready when he comes home. I am extremely fortunate in that he LOVES cold food Makes my life easier!!!!

If, by chance, it truly is something he needs to be there for because of the timing I will call and and tell him a time to be home. If he's not home, oh well, I get more of the wine since he's not there and he gets a crappy meal and less wine - his choice!

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Old 08-31-2006, 12:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kitchenelf
... If he's not home, oh well, I get more of the wine
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Old 08-31-2006, 12:42 PM   #8
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Ken's schedule is fairly predictable thank goodness. Our priority is getting the kids fed before they melt down though. So, I prep to have dinner ready between 5:30 and 6:00 most nights. It gets a bit weird when the kids have dance or ball in the evenings though. What I do then is prep as much as possible and then do the stuff that would suffer when everyone is home. I don't like to have overdone food.
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Old 08-31-2006, 12:56 PM   #9
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Yup, timing dinner is hard. Both my husband and I work - I usually only get in at around 6pm. I do have a few meals in my "everyday food" repertoire that I've learned I can prepare from scratch in exactly one hour flat (e.g. meatballs (from scratch), mashed potatoes and peas is my youngest's favourite and I like making a bolognaise sauce to serve over spaghetti along with a salad and garlic bread). A couple of months ago I tried out a recipe for raosting a whole leg of lamb on really high heat for an hour - did roast pototoes with the meat, too), and it really worked, and was delicious...but it's a lot of clean up for a week-night. Most nights though, I only manage to get things on the table just before 8pm. It's not so bad, though, while I'm cooking, my husband will hang out with me sometimes and we'll pour a glass of wine and chat and unwind - I usually have him peeling veggies. Occasionally my husband will cook, extreeeemely plain food from his childhood, but I appreciate it. When my daugthers were small, I had to work then, too, but I did still cook all their baby food - so I'd come in, drop my bags, wash my hands and usually prepared simple things for them in my AMC waterless pots - got the veggies quickly going in one pot (potato, carrot, beans or peas, gem squash (always fresh) and the meat in another. At that time where we lived in South Africa, fresh vegetables were always much cheaper and plentiful, also, (imo) jarred baby food was prohibitively expensive and tasted awful). I'd just mince everything together for my smallest, and my older girls would eat the same food, but not minced. My husband and I would eat our own meals a little later, but he'd always come and sit with me and the girls and we'd feed them together and chat and all that stuff, then off to bathing them. They ate no later than 6:30....but these days, they're okay with a later dinner. We all usually have a snack in the afternoon....an apple or something like that, just to keep us going.
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Old 08-31-2006, 01:03 PM   #10
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I`m with the majority here also, prep ALL you can well ahead of time, assemble as the time gets close, offer a drink (or get one yourself as it`s normaly ME that comes in at odd times AND Cooks!) and put it on to cook while you kick back and chill out :)

there`s actualy Very little that`s so time sensitive or can`t be completed in half an hour when all the prep is done.

and yes, there ARE exceptions, but you save those for when things are a Certainty :)
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Old 08-31-2006, 02:31 PM   #11
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My husbands schedule is predictable, he rarely works late, but when he does work late he calls ahead to let me know. If not then I eat and he just reheats whatever I made.
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Old 08-31-2006, 02:43 PM   #12
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Hmm. No magic stepford wives style tricks then. OK.

My husbands times are becoming increasingly variable. Officially the day ends at 6pm, but last night we had an appointment outside the city, and on the way back, at 11 pm I found myself sitting in a bar near his office while he raced in to check messages etc. Now, I can't prepare for that, so we ate out. lol.

Normally I guess that I don't know, but the window is between 7pm and 10pm. It just as as yet, no children..yet, so I guess I become the organised woman who preps then baths and dresses for supper....when ever that is!

Thanks for sharing prep tips everybody
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Old 08-31-2006, 03:07 PM   #13
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As far as prepping - I just do whatever I can do that won't jeopardize the quality of the meal.

For stirfries, I have all meat & veggies cut up & sauces made, & everything in the fridge. Then all I have to do when he gets home is throw on the rice & stirfry.

For cutlet sautes, I have the cutlets already pounded thin, my seasoned flour in a ziplock bag, & any accompanying veggies ready to go.

For pasta, I have as much of my sauce finished as I can do ahead of time, & have the big pasta pot full of water on low, so it takes far less time to come to a boil when I need it to. Salad is made - minus dressing - & in the fridge.

Any little bit I can get done during the day, or at least ahead of husband's arrival time, helps in a big way in the long run.
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Old 08-31-2006, 03:51 PM   #14
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Currently, it's just my 20 year old son and I....daughter is away at college. Between his own college schedule and his work schedule...and my own work schedule I came up with a very easy system.

I have ceased to cook anything during the work week. Never a conflict this way, and it keeps the expectations level.
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Old 08-31-2006, 03:59 PM   #15
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Yep...prep as much as I can before hand and then have him call when he's about 30 minutes away from home. If dinner takes longer than 30 minutes to cook...well, he just has to wait.
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Old 08-31-2006, 04:03 PM   #16
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I get really aggervated with DH does not arrive when he says he will. When not travelling, dinner is usually around 6pm - if he gets off late without calling me in an acceptable time frame then he eats by himself. He is getting much better though, so I can't complain too much anymore. I am with the others, though, I usually get all the prep done when I put my son down for his nap so all I have to do is cook.
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