Do you ever have one of “those” days? You know the kind I mean. You’ve got to work, pick the kids up from school, take them to their after-school activities, and run errands? Oh, and everyone is hungry and ready for dinner. I’ve had these days plenty of times! If you’ve ever wondered how to put on your “superwoman” hat and find quick meal solutions for a busy weekday, here are some tips to help.
5 Ways To Prepare Quick Weeknight Dinners
1. Make A Meal Plan– Have you found yourself staring into the pantry wondering what to cook? That can be discouraging when the entire family is saying, “I’m hungry NOW!” I’ve found the easiest way to combat this problem is to make a meal plan. I decide on a week’s worth of easy dishes, write down the ingredients I need and plan my shopping list around them. Having the ingredients on hand means I know I have everything I need. There’s no last minute trips to the store for one ingredient I’ve forgotten. My meal plan differs from a weekly menu because it’s a general list of dishes I can prepare. I’m not committed to preparing a dish on a certain day. If I (or my family) am not in the mood for a certain dish, I can whip up another.
One of the many reasons dinner might have to be rushed!
2. Prep in Advance- Have some spare time on the weekend? (Yes, I know that’s almost impossible.) Do the meal prep in advance. I like to buy a large package of chicken and divide it into family-sized portions. I place the chicken into gallon sized freezer bags, add seasonings or marinades, and pop the bags into the freezer. Other good options are to chop up veggies, like onions and peppers, and store them in the freezer. It’s no problem to pull out a bag and allow them to defrost in the fridge during the day and cook them in the evening.
3. Use a Crockpot– What’s better than coming home after a long day and finding dinner waiting for you? It’s my secret dream to arrive home and find someone cooking for me. Since that probably won’t happen, I settle for a crockpot. It’s a great way to prepare soups and stews, but there are lots of good recipes for crockpot casseroles and desserts available too.
4. Have One “Go To” Meal– Plan one dish that you can make quickly and keep the ingredients stocked at all times. It’s best to choose a meal with only a few ingredients that you can commit to memory.
5. Use Frozen Dinners – One of my meal planning secrets is to always have a frozen dinner on hand, like the family sized Bertolli Chicken Florentine . It comes in a 36-ounce size, so it feeds the entire family and contains yummy ingredients like chicken, spinach, and pasta. Since it can be prepared in a skillet, it’s a one-dish meal that saves on clean-up too! All I have to do is pour the mixture into the skillet, cover and heat 12 to 14 minutes. I stir it occasionally as I am preparing the rest of the meal. I like to round out my meal with some crusty Italian bread and a salad. Having a frozen dinner on hand means no matter how tired I am I have a meal I can prepare at home. There is also an Ibotta offer on the Bertolli and PF Chang’s Home Menu frozen meals. You can get a $1 off at Walmart!
Sure, it’s nice to go out and eat, but the cost can add up quickly. Plus, I prefer to be relaxed when I’m eating out, not rushed. Knowing I can prepare easy weeknight meals at home no matter how tired I am helps me save on my budget.
What are your best tips for preparing quick meals for your family?
P.F. Chang’s and P.F. Chang’s Home Menu® are registered trademarks owned by P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc. and are used with permission. Bertolli® is a registered trademark of R&B Foods, Inc., used under license.