Over the years, I’ve received a lot of emails from various people in all walks of life who plain and simple just do not like cooking.

Cooking for them is on the same par as toilet cleaning–they’ve said as much.

So they opt to go out to dinner or do take out–healthy and otherwise.

So why write me to tell me this if what they are doing is working for them?

The deal isn’t that it isn’t working for them; it’s just not working WELL for them. They are concerned about the cost and the nutrition aspects of doing this on a regular basis.

The cost is astronomical, both financially and health wise. Most families do not have the financial means to eat out every night, period—whether it is healthy or not.

A recent study revealed that for every dollar spent on food eaten out, only 27 cents worth of food was actually served.

What does that tell you about the economics of eating out? Is going out to dinner every night a worthy investment of your family’s dollars?

Lest you think I’m dumping on restaurants, let me assure you I am not. I love going out to dinner! I’m always on the prowl for a new restaurant and new dining experience.

But the day to day of feeding a family is expensive. Very few can afford to feed everyone well (as in healthy, fresh food) if they go out all the time.

And while I do love to cook for the most part, there are days when it frankly is a chore–I’m only human. I have other things I’d rather be doing and a bunch of people (my family, friends, employees, etc.) who want or need my attention.

But I have great news for those who panic at the idea of cooking a big family meal. Most of it can be done on the grill (and these days, outdoor grills with their propane tanks make it seasonless!) then all you really have to add is a big salad and presto, you’ve got dinner! Here is a recent grilled meal I recently made and it took me all of fifteen minutes to prepare. 🙂

Marinated Grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Brown Rice (if you’re paleo or low carb, make cauli-rice)

Grilled Zucchini and Yellow Squash

Big Green Salad

Take a big gallon-sized zipper topped plastic bag and fill it with raw chicken (I like to add extra so I can get some leftovers for lunch the next day). Next, add half a bottle of coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and about 1/2 a cup olive oil or avocado oil. Squeeze a whole lemon in there, add 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, thyme and oregano. Now add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Mush the bag around so chicken is coated. You’ll want that to marinate for a few hours or overnight even. Cook your brown rice now—it will take the longest to cook or make some cauli-rice (or both if you’ve got different eating styles at your house).

Prepare your zucchini by slicing into rounds; same with the yellow squash. Throw these cut squashes into a big bowl and toss with a little olive oil (you don’t want it dripping in oil), salt and pepper and some fresh garlic pressed right into the squash (I use 2 cloves, but I love garlic and it keeps the vampires away). You can either sauté this in a pan on the stovetop or sauté it on the grill if you have a pan with holes in it. It’s awesome cooked this way and grilling  pans with holes in them can be found anywhere—even the drugstore.

Fire up the barbecue and after it is preheated (make sure it’s clean, too!), add the chicken and watch it as you cook it, adjusting the heat as need be. If you’re cooking your veggies on the grill too, you will want to start them at the same time. Otherwise, cook them on the stovetop after your chicken is cooked (keep the chicken warm by wrapping the platter in foil and keeping it in a cold oven just long enough till the squash is cooked).

Set your table, get your salad together (I use already prepared salad bags from the grocery store, add some pine nuts, chopped whatever veggies I have on hand and my own vinaigrette, tossed altogether, yum!).

That’s it! You can serve your chicken on individual plates or serve everything family style—big platters in the middle of the table.

Then pass the food around, join hands and say a prayer of thanksgiving for all this wonderful food (and your family sitting ‘round the table) and above all else, relish this time.

One day they will be grown and gone and you’ll remember these days with fondness.

Getting dinner on the table doesn’t have to be stressful, and Dinner Answers can be the key to your success. Learn more here.