Being a busy mom means that some days you just do not have the time to create an intricate masterpiece… let’s be real–most days! Below are 5 quick tips to make meal time a little easier!
Pasta dishes are very versatile and simple to make. You can use two or three ingredients, and you can have it as a main meal or a side dish. Just throw in a protein, veggie, and a jar of pesto, or your favorite sauce, and there you have a quick and easy meal. You can also make a cold salad type dish with pasta. Just add chicken or tuna, a favorite veggie, and a favorite sauce (pesto, vinaigrette, etc.). Put in the fridge overnight, and pull out when it’s time for lunch or dinner! There really are no limits to what you can do with pasta!
Note: Pasta casseroles can be made ahead of time and frozen until ready to use on a really busy day!
Mac and Cheese Variety. Still in the pasta realm, but with a cheesy twist! It is pretty quick and simple. Just cook some pasta, make a quick cheese sauce, and add protein and veggies! Bowties, shells, wagon wheels or other small pasta will work. Add small pieces of healthy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus or spinach to give it a new spin. Add your protein. You can throw in black forest ham, bacon, chicken, turkey, sirloin, tuna, etc. Finally, get creative with your cheese blends: Havarti, mozzarella, cheddar, Swiss, etc. are all creamy and easy to melt.
Note: Cheese sauce is not as hard as you think. Just melt a couple tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of milk or heavy cream, and seasoning–add 3-5 cups of cheese, cook on low. Then, mix with pasta and other ingredients. For an added twist, put the mac and cheese you make in a baking dish. Then, melt a couple more tablespoons of butter, mash up some butter crackers, mix it together with a couple tablespoons of cheese, and top your mac and cheese with it. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes or until bubbly. YUM.
It doesn’t matter what protein you use, stir-fry takes only minutes to make. Throw in some fresh seasonal vegetables and have it over rice or Asian noodles, and you have a tasty meal. There are many pre-made Asia style sauces that will help make your dish a success. A few ideas: soy sauce, crushed garlic, finely chopped ginger, lemon or lime juice, chili sauce, etc.
Homemade soups can go a long way. They can be hearty and savory, or light and refreshing.
All you really need for a successful soup is good stock. Cooking your meat raw in a little broth will help get you started. For example: take a whole raw chicken and put it in a stock pot with a couple cans of chicken stock, cook on low until chicken is cooked. Strain stock. Peel off meat from bones and put back in pot with stock you just created. Add favorite seasonings, veggies, chopped onion, etc. Cook until veggies are done. You can add some water if needed. Then, add your favorite thin noodle, or some rice. Just a half a cup though! Or you will lose stock!
Yam or Sweet Potato Soup idea: You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make an easy soup. Onions, cooked yams or sweet potato, flour and butter for the roux, water or chicken broth, and salt and pepper to taste. You can add ginger, cumin, or curry powder for added flavor. Blend well after cooking through. Serve it hot or cold.
Salad Greens with Protein
Another simple dish to make is your choice of protein over a bed of green salad or spinach. Get creative and add some fresh fruit or dried fruit (grapes, apples, raisins, craisins, etc.). Adding nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.) will add some healthy pizazz as well! You can use your family’s favorite dressing, or find a quick and healthy one to make.
All 4 above ideas are great for lunch or dinner. Now for breakfast…
Mornings can be especially hectic for busy moms. However, we still need to get a healthy meal in our family’s tummy!
A few breakfast ideas…
English muffin topped with a meat and cheese. You can bake it for a few minutes to heat through the meat and melt the cheese. You can also use apples and cheese if you prefer.
Quiche (has a crust) or Frittata (has no crust). These are really just eggs, milk, cheese, and your favorite ingredients. Find a basic recipe and experiment with different cheeses, meats, and veggies. You can prep the night before and then just bake in the morning.
Egg in a nest. This is a quick breakfast favorite in my family. Google “Egg in a nest recipe” for ideas.
Bagels. These are quick and easy. Top them with cream cheese, peanut butter, or even a fried egg!
You can also make yogurt parfaits, serve fruit and cheese, or in a real pinch a bowl of cereal and fruit!
I hope these ideas help get your creative juices flowing! Please feel free to share your own quick meal tips below! I can use all the help I can get!
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