Need to feed the family in a hurry?
Don’t have the energy to stand in the kitchen?
Don’t go through the drive-thru!! You can make quick and easy meals any and every time with just a few guidelines. These guidelines can help you not only in the spur of the moment but even when you’re planning for the week ahead.
It starts with that moment when you stop to think, “Ok… what am I feeding my family?” Decide how much time you have to get something on the table and how much energy you have to pull it all together. Then, simply follow these guidelines for getting good food on the table.
1. Keep it simple
This feels like a tough one. We’re moms, and we expect a lot from ourselves. However, simple does not mean we are feeding our families bad food! Again, simple does not mean bad. It just means doing it in an easy way. I give you permission to let the burden of being a personal chef for every meal go! Bye-bye!
Now, keeping it simple means no complicated dishes. No chicken parmesan. No twice baked potatoes. No chicken casserole. Just make sure that lunch has a protein, vegetable and fruit. That dinner includes a protein with 2 vegetables. Then, you can choose simple to mean grill, roast or cook your chicken in the skillet, and you can choose to grill, roast or even microwave your vegetables.
Dust some chicken with seasoning, cut some raw broccoli… you just served your family roasted Italian chicken breast with roasted broccoli and baby carrots! Simple and delicious!!
2. Don’t make casseroles… make casseroles
Remember, keeping it simple isn’t baking a breakfast casserole while trying to get ready for work and get the kids off to school. However, there’s a flip side! Making casseroles ahead for future use is brilliant. If you discover extra cooking time over the weekend to make that breakfast casserole, you are set for days! Just heat a slice and serve with fruit for a super quick, healthy, and easy breakfast.
The same thing goes for lunch and dinner casseroles. Make ahead, and they will save you a lot of time and effort.
3. Make too much
This is one of my personal favorites. Whatever you’re making, make too much for your family to eat in one sitting. Double a soup recipe so you can get 2 dinners out of it. Roast twice as many vegetables so you have a premade side dish for another meal. Make an extra-large salad at dinner so you can have it for lunch the next day.
4. Eat raw
Vegetables and fruit can be eaten straight from the garden. Just because you’re used to eating raw vegetables with dip as an appetizer doesn’t mean that they can’t also be a quick, enjoyable side dish. One of my family’s favorite side dishes is applesauce! I serve it straight from the fridge with pork and a vegetable. They always go back for seconds.
5. One pot, skillet, and sheet pan meals
One pot, skillet, or sheet pan means only one thing to clean up! There are literally hundreds of these recipes specifically because of our busy lives. Soups, pasta dishes, chili, skillet meals, sheet pan dinners… the possibilities are endless, delicious, and as time-consuming as you’d like.
6. Clean out the fridge
Leftovers from all the food you’ve made throughout the week not only provide you with a quick and easy meal but also saves you money. Everyone can have a second helping of their favorite food from the past week while using up those one-serving leftovers you may otherwise have to throw away. It’s kind of like feeding your family with minimal effort, for free!
7. Quick from the store
There are those times when we don’t have leftovers in the fridge. Nor do we have the energy to cook something even quick. If you’re going to pick something up, why not pick it up from the grocery store? Most stores now have ‘grab and go’ entrées, salad and hot bars, deli options, etc. And with the budget in mind, being at the store gives you so many more healthy possibilities than a restaurant. Try a rotisserie chicken with a salad kit and a steamable bag of green beans.
8. Meal prep
The technique of planning and cooking healthy meals ahead of time is tried and true. You can meal prep one day ahead or take one day to prepare meals for the entire week. It’s a glorious feeling to realize that all you have to do is eat! There are a lot of experts teaching the skill of weekly meal prepping. However, if this option seems overwhelming to you, it can be as simple as making a casserole ahead of time, doubling your soup recipe, or making 2 sheet pan meals at the same time.
With all of these guidelines, start by picking a few that speak to you the most. Now, tuck them right behind the question, “Ok… what am I feeding my family?”
***This article was written as a contributor article for MOMprenuer Success Magazine. If you would like to learn more about Anna Paszkiet Coaching or check out her magazines, visit www.annapaszkiet.com!***