You don’t have to be a busy parent to want dinner on the table ASAP at the end of the day. With having only a short window of time to get home, get settled and get dinner on the table, I’ve picked up these 5 strategies to help me through crunch time.
1. Use your freezer You have one, it’s free, use it. Think of meals that can be made in large batches such as soups, sauces, stews and meatloaf, meatballs and breaded chicken cutlets. Keep frozen vegetables for a quick side. It’s also good to have a few kids meals on hand for the nights they don’t want what you’re eating or you want to order in.
2. Make a meal plan Whether it’s for a few days or the entire week, meal plans will help you streamline your shopping and reduce time in the store. Consider a food delivery service such as Fresh Direct and shop anytime you have a few minutes.
3. Reduce dinner prep time Cut and prep your veggies on Sunday or if you’re using carrots one night and you need them later in the week cut them all at once (another benefit to a meal plan!). Most cooked grains also keep well for up to one week. I’ve found that having Monday’s dinner prepped on Sunday is very stress reducing!
4. Buy a slow cooker This may require prep time the night before, but nothing beats a ready-to-serve dinner when you walk in the door. Dinner doesn’t get much easier than these 3 Ingredient Tacos.
5. Keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer Have basics such as pasta, rice, beans, lentils, tomato sauce and veggies at the ready so you can always cook up a simple dinner.
What are some of your tips for quick weeknight dinners?
This perfect end-of-summer salad highlights plenty of summer favorites! It is packed with fiber, iron and vitamin C and pairs well with fish, chicken, burgers or anything you want to grill on these last weekends of summer.
The recipe is from Once Upon a Chef, and the only change I made was to the dressing. Instead of using canned chipotle peppers I used one teaspoon of smoked chipotle powder. It gave the salad a bit of heat, but even the non-spicy food lovers at the table enjoyed it. The salad keeps well, covered and refrigerated, for 1-2 days and was delicious as a salad with some added spinach and tomatoes the next day. Don’t worry that the recipe makes too much, because it will not go to waste!
Hold on to the fading flavors of summer with these easy recipes:
Heirloom Tomato Salad: Toss together a variety of chopped heirloom tomatoes, roughly torn basil, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.
Summer Succotash: Combine 1 cup of fresh corn kernels, 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup fava beans, 1 Tbs chives, 1 clove garlic (minced), 1/2 small onion (minced), kosher salt and pepper.
Chimichurri: Finely chop or puree the following in a food processor: 1 cup fresh parsley, 1 Tbs fresh oregano, 1 clove garlic, kosher salt and 1 tsp red wine vinegar. Mix or drizzle in olive oil until smooth.
Roasted Carrots with Dill: Peel and slice carrots on the bias to 3/4″ thickness. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat with Kosher salt and pepper. Roast at 375 degrees for ~25 minutes or until carrots are browned. Remove from oven and top with chopped dill and a drizzle of olive oil if needed.
This modern take on a classic dish will leave the entire family asking for seconds. The original recipe on Epicurious called for an 8 inch iron skillet, but I have a 12 inch and modified the ingredients as follows. See the original recipe for cooking instructions.
~1/4 cup olive oil
3 small/medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
~1 Tbs fresh sage, chopped
1/2 large bunch of curly kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 3/4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 large acorn squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 1/2 lb roasted chicken – meat torn into bite sized pieces
2 sheets of puff pastry dough, thawed
1 large egg
Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
Still deciding what to make for the big game? These quick ideas will make your food a winner, even if your team doesn’t pull through.
2 tsp red onion
2 Campari tomatoes
Jalapeno or red bell pepper to taste
Juice from 1/2 of a lime
Cilantro to taste
Cut avocado into pieces and mash with a fork. Mix all ingredients, add more or less of each to your taste.
Old Bay Wings
3 lbs of wings (~24 pieces)
Old Bay seasoning
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly brush the wings with oil and coat liberally with Old Bay seasoning on both sides. Place on a baking sheet covered in foil and also lightly brushed with oil or non-stick cooking spray. Bake for ~30 minutes and serve hot.
These bruschetta are perfect for meat and veggie lovers alike. The only change I made to the recipe was to use half of the butter and a little less water.
Add a little extra cayenne to these cheese straws for a spicy southern kick.
Look for Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil to spice up some seafood starters. Think about serving shrimp with red beans and rice or in lettuce cups with a splash of lemon juice.