Planning Meals For A Busy Fam By Ali Hively
Planning meals can be stressful. Even the best laid plans can be thrown off by a busy schedule or unexpected commitment. Too often our fridges are full, yet we run out of time to make anything!
Here are a few quick tips that you can implement today:
Make a list of your family’s favorite meals:
In order to create this list, have a conversation about it with your family. Don't assume you know what they want without asking - this is a great opportunity to talk about dinner ideas. Keep this list on the fridge so you or your family can add to it anytime!
Look over your week:
Be realistic when you think about how many nights you are actually going to cook.The majority of us aren’t able to keep up with cooking every night, and that’s totally okay! Make a mark on your calendar for nights you are going to cook.
Pick a night for leftovers:
Plan for them. Cook a little extra the night before and enjoy the night off cooking.
Have themed food nights:
For example, you can have a Mexican, Asian, Greek, Italian, Hawaiian, Thai or any other fun themed night. Then, plan your menu for that night around the theme. Have fun with it! If once a week is too much, you could do it every other week.
Allow for flexibility:
If something comes up, be ready to throw your chicken into the freezer and move on!
So your weekly calendar could look something like this:
Monday - Family Favorite
Tuesday - Taco Night - Theme Night!
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Family Take Out Night - Find a healthy dish at your favorite restaurant. When you order in, make one large order of the healthy dish instead of several single-serving dishes. For example: chicken fajitas or fattoush salad to serve the whole family for dinner.
Friday - Homemade Pizza and Salad Night
Then, all you need to do is pick a few meals each week and plug them into your calendar!
Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Easy Naan Personal Pizzas
1/2 cup basil pesto and/or tomato sauce
¾ c. shredded mozzarella cheese
½ c. parmesan cheese
Your favorite toppings - roasted veggies, peppers, olives, pepperoni, mushrooms, spinach, etc.
4 whole wheat naan bread
Preheat oven to 425 degree F. In a small bowl stir together the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses; set aside.
Spread with basil pesto and/or tomato sauce.
Arrange naan on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle each with cheese mixture and toppings of choice.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
For the bowls:
3 cups of cooked rice
1 Rotisserie chicken, chicken pulled
1 jar of your favorite salsa
Black beans, drained and rinsed
Corn, fresh, canned or frozen
Lettuce, chopped or shaved
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Prepare your burrito bowl toppings by transferring them into bowls.
Heat your chicken and shred the meat, feel free to add taco seasoning or salsa to flavor.
Fill each bowl with cooked rice, and/or cauliflower rice top with shredded chicken, salsa, and desired toppings to build bowls.
For another option, substitute rice with riced cauliflower or shredded lettuce.
Chocolate Chip Snack Bars
2 cups raw cashew pieces
12 pitted Medjool dates
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Mini chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
Line a 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
Pulse cashew pieces and dates until they begin to form a paste. Add in vanilla extract and salt, and continue to process until the mixture is blended into a paste. Add in chocolate chips and pulse.
Spread mixture in the pan, press down and spread evenly.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until firm.
Picking up the parchment paper, remove from pan and cut into bars. Save the bars in baggies and store in the refrigerator for about a week.