Mother in Israel posted about Shabbos preparations and wanted to know how others manage to pull it all together on these early shabbosim. Although MiI likes to prepare everything on Friday so that it'll be fresh as possible, I don't. I need to plan in advance and I often start cooking early. When I'm disorganized we have a really quick and easy Shabbos consisting of one or two dishes. I only have three kids one of which only nurses. So when I don't plan we end up eating a rice and chicken type dish. I have two recipes. The one we like more is to put rice in an aluminum pan. Then you put the chicken on top. You sprinkle on paprika, pepper, garlic powder. Mix less than one Tbsp. of ketchup per piece of chicken, 1 Tbsp. of brown sugar per piece of chicken, and soy sauce. Pour over chicken. Add water (2 cups water per 1 cup rice). Cover and bake until water is absorbed and rice looks ready. You can always add soy sauce and more brown sugar along with water to cook it longer if it isn't ready. The other variation is to place the sauce in the aluminum pan. Place the chicken on top. Sprinkle with spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika). Add a small can of mushrooms and some onion soup mix. Add water. Bake covered. Both of these are easy and quick ways to make a meal. We also buy jarred gefilte fish and make a veggie salad. We try to skip dessert in order to cut back on calories. This is all when it's just us.
When I'm in the mood for something fancier and more thought out I make any of the following side dishes: carrot kugel, potato kugel, cranberry crisp, sweet potato pie. The main dish is usually some form of chicken-breaded baked chicken (1/2 cup mayo, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper. mix and dip in bread crumbs), chicken with bar-b-que sauce, chicken with honey mustard sauce, chicken with apricot sauce-hubby doesn't like this so much so we haven't had it in a while, chicken with potatoes, fried shnitzel. Then occassionally I make deli roll-take filo dough, roll it out and cut in half so you have two rectangular pieces, smear with ketchup and mustard, place two types of deli on top, roll it, bake. And of course, what Shabbos meal would be incomplete without chullent. So basically when we feel like putting more time and effort into shabbos, we make two of the above side dishes, one form of chicken and if we're having guests we make deli roll and/or chullent. If we have guests I usually make a chocolate cake from a mix to save time and because it comes out so good. To enhance the taste I add chocolate chips to the chocolate cake mix. It comes out really yummy. Oh and I forgot so say that when we have guests I make gefilte fish from a loaf and maybe also soup.
So I start off making my list of what we will want to eat for Shabbos. Then I make a shopping list. I make sure that I have everything on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. I start with the kugels on Wed. If I'm really good I get two done and maybe also the cake. On Thursday I coook the fish and soup. If I'm really good I also get the chicken dish done. On Friday hopefully all I have left is the chullent. That leaves me with the cleaning to do and at that point my hubby is home to help so we get it done on time.
Also, I've devised a rotation of what cleaning will be done on what day to make my life easier. I don't always stick to it and don't always get it done but here goes. On Sunday I clean the master bedroom and bathroom. On Monday, I should clean the kids room. Tuesday I clean the kids bathroom and storage room. Wednesday I clean the toy room -I've been avoiding that one for a while (yup, it looks like a tornado hit it). On Thursday I clean the office and study which are downstairs. On Friday I clean the kitchen and living room and the bathroom downstairs. Sounds great doesn't it. Now if only I'd stick to it maybe my house would look more decent. If I don't do all that, we at least try to clean the kitchen and living room for Shabbos. This allows us to feel ready to greet the Shabbos queen.