Home and Organize
The end of the school year can be more hectic than usual. End of school events, spring sports, planning for summer travel, scheduling kids’ summer activities and warm weather home maintenance get added on top of work schedules and daily chores. Sure, you could rely on take-out for dinner. But even with the busiest of weeks, there is a way to keep family dinners home-made and wholesome.
Pick up these must-have items for a week’s worth of family meals that can be ready in twenty minutes:
Fish, chicken or steaks
Buy enough for two family dinners. The first time around, grill or bake your favorite way and serve with a simple salad and bread. Use spice rubs to make preparation faster than marinades. Use the leftovers over two more nights by combining with stir fry veggies and rice or in tacos, quesadillas, or burritos.
Bagged salad and fresh dinner bread
One or two bags of salad greens can last through two family meals. Make a quick salad meal by topping a bagged salad mix with leftover bits of meat and veggies or your favorite nuts, cheese and sliced apples. Add a slice of fresh bread for a satisfying meal.
Frozen stir-fry vegetables
If you have a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, you can create a stir-fry or side dish in just a minutes of mostly hands-free cooking. For more flavor, add a teriyaki sauce in the last few minutes or simply sprinkle with soy sauce and sesame oil.
Rice is an easy base for stir-fry meals. Plus, rice seems to keep better in the fridge than pasta, making it a "cook once, eat twice" time saver.
Edamame is simply boiled soybeans, but find the kind still in the pod and kids can have fun popping the beans into their mouths. High in protein and nutrients, it's a great side dish to round out meals lacking nutrient-dense foods. Serve with a frozen pizza, cheese quesadilla, or pasta.
Frozen pizza has a bad reputation, but you can find a fine stand-in for a busy night. Choose one with an ingredient list you understand. You want to see ingredients for dough, tomato sauce, real cheese and any toppings, but not much else. Look for a thin crust and try to avoid artificial preservatives and colors. Add bonus points for whole wheat flour.
Stock up on your family's favorite fruits. Fruit can stand in as a side dish for picky eaters or become part of a quick dessert.