I prefer to serve home-cooked meals to my family, as opposed to take-out. It’s generally healthier and it tastes better. It’s also a huge money-saver. Buying prepared foods on a regular basis will eat into your budget (no pun intended).
But—come on—no working parent has time to cook a balanced meal every night! This is especially true when you know that you will walk in the door to the sights and sounds of hangry children. That always turns cooking dinner into an episode of Chopped: “5 minutes remaining on the clock” . . . until the toddler melts down, which is much worse than taking a drubbing from top-rated chefs.
So, some evenings, I compromise and get semi-takeout. You can cook the protein at home and get take-out for the veggies and carbs. This works especially well with Chinese food. I’ll stop by my local Chinese take-out restaurant and order a large rice for $2.00 and a veggie side-dish. Then all I need to do at home is make the main dish, and I don’t have to clean the rice cooker—another huge time-saver.