Hello friends –
A couple days ago, I posted one of my biggest posts yet: Back-to-School Edition! It’s full of great recipes, tips and ideas that I’ve personally used and developed myself for our busy family! Check it out to see if it will work for you!
Those quick breakfasts, lunches and snack options or great but what about dinner time? Even though I’m now a stay-at-home-mom, I still meal plan and pre-prep foods to make theme easier so I can adequately divide up my time during the day (blogging, recipe develop/testing, medical appts, laundry, home pre-school, gardening, etc.) Believe it or not, we are just as busy (if not more) than when we were both working. However, it wasn’t long ago that I was a working mom with a busy toddler and a Kindergartener; so I do know what it’s like to have all that to juggle. One of the things I’ve learned over the last few years is that having ready to eat, quick fix, HEALTHY favorites is crucial to staying on track with a healthier lifestyle. I know that the end of the day can be rough and it is so easy to opt for a quick, drive-thru meal or convenience junk food. Resist that temptation and make these quick meals below. I’ve also included a few tips for getting the most out of dinner time.
I don’t want you to be surprised but having healthier options may require a bit of prep work. I suggest doing a meal plan, grocery shopping, meal prep on a slow weeknight or on the weekend. Sunday mornings are the best time for me to prepare for the week ahead. Pick what works for you!
Appliances: are very handy to have – especially a slow-cooker or pressure cooker. You can get either one relatively cheap (watch for sales!). I love being able to just throw my ingredients in the slow cooker and let it go all day. If you don’t want to spend the money, you can also just use your oven.
Soups, Stews, Chilis & Chowders:
Slow Cooker/Pressure Cooker Meals:
Quick Fix Dinner Options:
Tips: My favorite tip (besides meal planning) is to make use of the slow cooker for “do-over” meals. What I mean is using the crock-pot to cook something, like Roasted Chicken, and then using the leftovers for something else. For example: we love roasting chicken on the weekends and then making enchiladas, soups, tacos, quick skillet dishes, etc. You can also pressure cooker a few chicken breasts or thighs with a simple salt and pepper seasoning. Then, simply shred the cooked chicken and use in whatever dish you’d like. Alternatively, you can buy roasted chicken at the store and do the same thing. Don’t limit it to just chicken – use beef, pork, etc.
Freezer Tips: I’m working on a post strictly for freezer meals. Since we are dealing with a lot of health issues on my end, having ready to go freezer packs are coming in handy. It has also allowed us to make use of all our garden produce. Here’s few quick options:
- Fajita/Salsa packs: cut up 1 onion, 2 bell peppers, 2 large tomatoes and place in a freezer bag or container. Simply remove the frozen vegetables and throw in a slow-cooker with desired meat and seasonings. You can also bake or even thaw the vegetables and saute. You can put cubed meat in with the vegetables to freeze also.
- Stew/Casserole packs: cut up 1 onion, 1 zucchini, 1 squash, 1 cup okra, 1 tomato + whatever else you like. Simply remove the frozen vegetables and throw in a cooker with desired meat and seasonings. I like to use these for vegetable or beef stews but they make great casserole dishes also.
- Breakfast packs: instead of tossing out dried bread (or a test of a new bread recipe gone wrong :)), cut or tear into chunks. Add in some raisins or other dried fruits, nuts, oats, etc. and freeze. When you are ready, remove the bread and let thaw. Use this to make a delicious bread pudding or French Toast Casserole.
- Smoothies: While not dinner related, you can easily make freezer smoothie packs with your favorite fruits, vegetables, yogurt, etc. Then simply toss into a blender and enjoy!
Be on the watch for even more great make ahead or slow-cooker recipes! I’ve got several in the works! What’s your favorite go-to quick dinner fix??