Dinner · dinner in 30 minutes · Make-Ahead · Sunday Dinner

(L)Oven Monday – Three Steps to a Successful Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner table 1.jpg

Happy Monday, friends, and welcome to the beginning of the posts to help get you ready to prepare a  Sunday dinner that provides for the needs of your guests, is delicious, and ready in a hurry! Thank you to so many of you who shared your Sunday dinner struggles with me!  I’m going to try to help you solve those difficulties as we touch on this subject for the next several Monday’s.

Today I want to lay out the three steps that are crucial for your Sunday meal to be a success.  What constitutes success? I believe it’s the three things listed in the previous paragraph – a meal that

meets needs,

is delicious,

and on the table quickly.

But that doesn’t happen all by itself, of course! I need to start by saying, anything that is worth doing, is going to take effort and it’s going to take being intentional.  There is work involved, but it’s so worth the efforts!  Here are the three crucial things you need to consider so that your Sunday dinner will be a success:

  1. Ponder the needs – That simply means that you must consider what the needs of the day are, your budget and what your guests will need.
    1. Is there a time constraint?
    2. Do you only have xxx amount of dollars to feed a crowd?
    3. Is there a dietary need – ie. Gluten-free?

      Consider whatever needs are necessary – A baby that will need to be fed, a child will need a nap very soon, someone with low-blood sugar will be shaky at this point, etc.  Then, considering those needs, you move to #2.

  2. Plan the menu – Considering your needs, you can now pull out this blog’s Recipe page, your Pinterest boards, your cookbooks – whatever will help you find a menu to meet those needs.
    Determine how extensive you want the menu for Sunday to be.  If you’re not into the routine of fixing a fresh meal for Sunday, I’d encourage you to start with a simple menu – a Taco Soup in the crock pot, some tortilla chips, and a dessert like the pie linked here, or go with something super easy like a purchased Angel food cake and fresh strawberries.  Don’t overwhelm yourself.  Take baby steps. 
    My recipe page has a list of 30-Minute meals, but if you wait until you get home from church to even prep those things, you are going to be frustrated, so stay tuned for #3.

3. Prepare ahead – I can’t tell you how important this step is!  As early in the week as possible, start preparing.  The earlier you start, the less stressful it will be!  Consider doing these things ahead of time:

  1. Prepare the table.  Set the table – The family will know that something good is on the way!  Even if you can only do it after breakfast on Sunday, do it before you leave for church.  If everyone can eat breakfast at the kitchen island, set the table on Saturday night.
  2. Prepare Foods.  Make ahead anything that can be made ahead of time!
    1. Salad – I love frozen salads for this purpose, also green salads without the dressing can be made the day before.
    2. Dessert – If you were serving Angel Food cake and berries, make the sure the berries are washed, sliced and ready ( or thawed from their frozen state) on Saturday night.
    3.  Vegetables – Peeling potatoes and putting them in water overnight will make them ready for the crock pot.  If you’ll need onions, get them sliced and put into a ziplock bag.
    4. Dishes and pans – On Saturday night, set out the crock pot you’ll need, or the pan for the roast chicken.  Have them out on the counter and ready.
  3. Prepare an hors d’oevre – Make something ahead of time that everyone can snack (lightly) on as soon as you get home.  This is especially wise if you have little children that are fussy and need something to eat right away!  Make life easier for you and them and make something they can munch on while you get dinner on the table.  It could be something as simple as crackers and peanut butter, celery and peanut butter, apple slices, tortilla chips and salsa.  Set out little plates and limit the little ones, so they’ll be ready to eat dinner, of course, but this will make them much happier while they wait.

So, there you have it – Ponder the needs, Plan the menu and Prepare ahead.  These three steps will get you on your way to Sunday dinner success!

Can I give you a challenge for next Sunday?  Do one thing ahead of time – perhaps set the table, or prepare an hors d’oevre, or get the vegetables prepped on Saturday, and see how much smoother Sunday dinner is next week!

Next Monday we’ll talk about some specific meals that are doable for prepping ahead and eating very soon after getting home!  This will include Crock Pot entree’s and sides!  Be sure to come back so you don’t miss any tips!

Which of these three steps of success is the most difficult for you?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

5 thoughts on “(L)Oven Monday – Three Steps to a Successful Sunday Dinner

  1. Hi! I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for the time you put into making it profitable for us!

    I love making Sunday dinners another way to make the Lord’s day special and set apart. We do not have dessert other nights, so the children look forward to something special on Sunday.

    Planning and prepping ahead is key for me. The nature of a ministry home means that we need food that can go a little long if we don’t get right home after church. We have never tried leaving the oven on when we aren’t home (too many electricity variables in Africa!), so my crock pot is my life-saver.

    In our last ministry, we did not have very long at home Sunday afternoon before we headed out to our evening services. Especially with little children, we had to sit to eat quickly. I found that waiting for rice to cook was not practical, yet rice went with several of my crock pot meals. Our brown rice is not parboiled, so it takes 45 minutes to cook. My solution was to bring the rice and water to a boil for a few minutes, turn off the stove, but leave the pot on the burner. This may not work with gas stoves, but my electric burners held the heat for long enough and the rice was still warm (so I wasn’t concerned about spoiling) and perfectly cooked when we got home many hours later. I reheated the rice to make it piping hot in the microwave and we could sit to eat very quickly. Our current ministry starts and finishes earlier, but I sometimes still use this method.

    I appreciated your counsel to consider all the needs when planning a meal. It has helped with Sunday dinners to not put myself under pressure to make a big, fabulous meal while I was in certain stages of life. For example, when I was nursing a baby and had other little ones, I had to adjust my expectations to be more realistic. It is better for us to have a simpler meal and me not be frantic about preparations than to have a complicated meal and be less-than-gracious with my family! (Reminds me of Prov 15:17)

    Thank you for all if your tips and Bible study encouragement!

    Susan Knipe


  2. I like the crockpot idea, especially since I’m not confident in preparing many different dishes and having them all ready at the same time.


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