Here we go! Swim practice starts afterschool today, so I'm at the pool for several hours right up till dinnertime. Does healthy eating, meal planning, and saving money go out the window for the next four weeks? No way! It's just a matter of using some smart strategies to get dinner on the table FAST. Whether your sport is swimming, soccer, baseball, or something else, these cooking strategies can help you feed the family and stick to your goals:
Try any of my 5 Beginner Crockpot Meals as a simple solution to a busy weeknight. It doesn't take much time to put frozen or thawed chicken or pork in the crockpot and dump a jar of salsa or a can of diced tomatoes over it. Prep the rest of the taco fixings while the kids are unpacking their sports bags and/or showering. You can even prep these meals ahead of time and freeze in zipper bags. Dump the bag in frozen to cook on low all day, and still pull off a home-cooked meal by dinnertime. That's what I did this morning: I pulled some frozen Chicken Teriyaki out of the freezer and loaded my slow cooker. Over breakfast, I cooked some brown rice, which I'll just reheat in the microwave this evening. Later this week, I'll do the same with frozen Pulled Pork for sandwiches, and serve with buns and some carrots and celery on the side.
I've always liked one-pot meals, like my Turkey Parmesan Pasta, that cooks all at once in a half-hour. Now I'm trying some new recipes called One Pot Wonders from Pinterest. I believe that this One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta is the original recipe that started the trend. Since then, more have popped up, like the One Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein. I was very skeptical it would work, but it totally did! You basically throw everything in the pot (I use my 5-quart skillet with lid) and walk away till it's done. It doesn't get any easier than that!
My kids have been raised on pasta salads and the idea that chicken on top of green salad is a meal (my husband still fights that one). Whether you prep the salad the night before, early in the morning, or right at dinnertime, it's quick to pull odds & ends out of the fridge and toss with some lettuce or pasta for a healthy meal. Our go-to recipe is Spinach Feta Pasta Salad, but we've been poking around on Pinterest looking for some new flavor combinations. This Italian Quinoa Salad and BLT Chopped Salad sound great and include all the veggies and extras that my family loves.
What's your favorite strategy to get dinner on the table fast?