Schedule disruptions – a meeting running late, traffic, or a kid’s activity can lead to everyone coming home starving. The answer isn’t mac + cheese; here are some other ideas:
- Meal-prep. Over the weekend, make batches of lentil soup or casseroles and freeze half. Prepare snacks, lunches, and even breakfasts in order to have super-fast meals ready all week.
- Stock your kitchen & pantry. A great trick to quick meals is having food staples you can throw together. Dried lentils can be cooked quickly and work very well in an Indian dal recipe. A can of beans with salsa is a quick snack or can be made into tacos. A Caprese salad is simple and delicious. Frozen veggie and beef burgers can be defrosted and then pan-fried. Even a simple meal of a sandwich or can of soup works!
- Your slow cooker is your friend. Simply chop up vegetables and other ingredients the night before or morning of your planned dinner and let the slow cooker simmer all day while you’re at work. Bonus: you’ll walk in your door to a wonderful aroma or your ready-to-eat meal.
- Salad me up, Scotty! Instead of creating a main dish with a couple sides, consider preparing a big, substantial salad. Bagged salad mixes and a few chopped vegetables along with a chosen protein source and voila! – your dinner is ready.
- Freezer finds. Frozen vegetables are usually already in bite-sized pieces and offer a nutritious alternative to fresh vegetables (which often meet their demise at the back of the fridge after a long, busy week). Use the frozen foods as a side dish, throw them into soups, stews, or even delicious stir-fries. Additionally, frozen fruit and a smoothie made for dinner works well for when you only have a few minutes.
- Breakfast-for-dinner. It’s easy to make a frittata, smoothie, or even some oatmeal and to have some fun!
- Wok this way. The unique shape of the wok provides two main benefits: 1. it requires less oil and 2. it’s a speedy cooking utensil! Chop up some vegetables and add a protein source; your dinner will be ready in mere minutes.