For the past 5+ years, my Mama and I have alternated cooking Sunday Lunch for our family. She cooks one Sunday, and I take the next. We are so blessed to live close enough to enjoy Sunday lunch together each week. I don’t dare take that for granted!
However, it is a feat to get Sunday Lunch made and still get to church on time. I’ll be honest that I usually get to Sunday School, sit down with the cup of coffee I brought, and rest.
While my methods are still not perfect, they are much more honed that when I first started cooking every other Sunday. I’d love to share with you my tips for getting Sunday Lunch cooked and getting out the door to church!
Please, please leave your tips and ideas for how you do Sunday Lunch in the comments below. I am always looking for ways to improve. Plus, you never know if your idea or way of doing things is just the perfect fit for someone else’s situation.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you: Start planning Sunday Lunch on Monday.
At the very least, start thinking through what you might serve. If you are like me and live very full days, it takes a bit to get from the menu-making stage of this process all the way to the cooking-the-meal stage.
So give yourself plenty of time!
Here are my exact steps in planning and cooking Sunday Lunch.
1. Make a menu and a list of what needs to be done.
I keep a spiral notebook on my counter that is the hub of my thoughts and my to-do list. I have a running list of meals and Sunday Lunch.
I determine the Sunday Lunch menu well in advance of the weekend so I can plan my weekend. On one side of the paper, I usually have a “Sunday Prep” section so I know what needs to get completed before Sunday morning.
I keep a list of everything for the meal, which includes what we will eat for the main dish, any sides, bread/biscuits, dessert, and any special drinks if we have them. I don’t leave anything out, because I use this as a to-do list on Sunday morning.
2.) Find the grocery items in your pantry.
If there are non-perishable items that can be grouped together in the days leading to Sunday, I pull all of those and put them in one spot in my pantry.
For example, if I know I need barbecue sauce, cans of green beans, and cake mix, I pull all of those things together into one spot so I don’t have to think about it again.
So many of my processes were created in an attempt to only think about a certain task as few times as possible!
3.) Make a Grocery List if needed.
If there are perishable items you need, make sure you get those on a list many days before Sunday and then make a plan to get to the store.
My husband, bless his heart, does most of our grocery shopping. I make all the lists, and he and my oldest girl are so diligent to go to the store each Monday evening, and then again as needed.
If I have groceries that need to be super fresh for Sunday Lunch – like strawberries or cantaloupe or beef – my husband will pick those up for me on Friday evening or Saturday morning. Yes, I am very blessed indeed!
You want all of the groceries you need in place before Sunday morning. Time flies too fast on Sunday morning to try and regroup on the fly with a brand new menu because you’re missing an ingredient.
Ask me how I know!
4.) Cook ahead all that you can.
Examine the menu you created and determine what can be prepared ahead of time. Many cakes and pies are best when they are cooked a day in advance and stored in the fridge. Any cold pie or cake such as Hawaiian Fruit Pie or a Hummingbird Cake are perfect made a day ahead.
Lasagna and spaghetti are easy dishes to put together on Saturday and then cook or place in the crock pot on Sunday to warm.
Even though I cook my biscuits fresh right after church, I often sift the flour and grease my cast iron the day before so I can just walk right in, quickly make the biscuits, and get them in the oven to cook.
5.) Prepare your table early.
If at all possible, prepare your table with your table linens and place settings on Saturday. If my whole family is going to be home for Sunday breakfast (they often go extra early to church due to where they serve on Sundays), I can’t prepare my table on Saturday.
I clean up quickly after Sunday breakfast, throw the tablecloth on, set it quickly, and out the door we go to church! If I am in a big hurry, if I just get the tablecloth on, I am happy. One of the kids can set the table while I’m making last minute preparations after church should we need to do so. No big deal.
At the very least, make sure your tablecloth and napkins are ready to be pulled from the cabinet at the last minute when you walk in the door after church.
6.) Get up early on Sunday.
Yes, I know. This one hurts. I usually work all day on Saturday, so the last thing I want to do is get up earlier than my normal time on Sunday.
Oh, it is so painful will readily admit.
However, it is well worth it to me to to get up early so I can have everything ready by the time I have to walk out the door to church.
On Sundays where I have done absolutely zero prep work on Saturday, I usually get up around 5:3:-6:00 on Sunday morning. If I have done most of the work on Saturday evening and I just have to get the lasagna in the oven to cook, I can sleep until 6:45-7:00.
But keep in mind that I really like my kitchen to be straight and clean when we walk in the door after church, so that gives me time to cook the meal and get everything washed and put away before leaving for church at 9:15.
I do surely have to hustle to get it all done, and this is certainly not a morning for sitting around and sipping coffee. But it does get done!
What tips do you have for cooking Sunday Lunch and still making it out the door to church on time?
Please share them below. You might have just the tip that is perfect for someone else!