Friday, October 10, 2008

Convenient, Economical Solutions for Mealtime Madness

(ARA) - It’s no secret that Americans are busy, and getting together for dinner often seems like an extraordinary task. As food prices continue to increase, families are not only taking hits to their household budgets, they are experiencing long work hours, conflicting schedules and not finding enough time to cook a meal and have dinner together.

A June 2008 survey of more than 1,000 Americans conducted by eNation found that those responsible for planning meals usually spend an average of 30 minutes per day shopping for and preparing those meals, and 60 percent of the time dinner plans come together the same day a meal is served. The need for quick, economic solutions that still allow families to sit down together has never been greater.

Time management expert Molly Gold, a consultant for Pizza Hut, Inc., researched the time and cost involved in preparing a traditional pasta dinner and compared it to the cost and convenience of ordering a new alternative -- Pizza Hut Tuscani Pastas. Through her research, Gold compiled a list of tips for busy families looking for ways to eliminate the stress involved with extensive planning for a family meal. Her tips include:

Plan to Order In

Round out your meal planning every week by ordering one meal in. Choose main dish items like pasta or pizza, and serve your own side dish and drinks at home. It will keep costs down and give you a real break by offering something you might not otherwise make at home.

Include Kids in Planning

Make a list of your family’s favorite meals and let your children help you make a cooking schedule. Post this in a place where everyone can see it so you know what’s for dinner each day of the week. Your kids will love the responsibility.

Shop Smart

Cut back on repeat trips to the grocery store by making a list and referring to your weekly grocery store ads to see what’s on sale. Build your weekly menu around what main dish items are the least costly and you will easily be able to rotate your dinner recipes to keep your family happy.

Live by the Rule

If it has more than five ingredients or takes longer than 30 minutes, take it off the weeknight dinner list. When it comes to weekdays, every night is an action-packed six hours full of activities, homework, playtime, reading, bath time, preparing for tomorrow and dinner. Keep it simple and live your life -- you’ll never regret it.

Tuscani Pastas from Pizza Hut are an affordable, sensible solution to meet the needs of time-crunched individuals looking for an easy, no-hassle meal. The baked pastas dishes are available in three delicious varieties -- Premium Bacon Mac and Cheese, Meaty Marinara and Creamy Chicken Alfredo -- and arrive with five breadsticks. Tuscani Pastas will serve four for $12.99.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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