When I am at my most organized, we live on a 7 day dinner schedule. When I am at my least organized, we usually enjoy whatever BK has magically pulled from thin air. Most of the time we are somewhere in between, and during those times I have a 10 am dinner rule – the decision must be made by 10 am.
This gives me time to thaw whatever is needed, make any sauces that should sit for a few hours, and hit the grocery store for any missing ingredients. It does not help me if I want something for dinner that is both frozen and in need of marinading (we do not have a microwave). In those cases, I simply find a dish for tonight and pull out the meat to thaw and marinade for tomorrow.
I read this idea years ago and cannot remember the book, to which I would like to give credit. The author of the book said that using this idea stopped her from dining out as often and also reduced stress – deciding on dinner before you and your family are hungry and grumpy is lot easier.