Does it feel impossible to quickly and easily prepare a homemade dinner for your family at the end of a busy day? Try one or all of these planning hacks to have a great meal on the table in no time. Just a little shopping and prep on the weekend can yield a weeks’ worth of easy homemade meals.
1. Purchase Fast- Cooking, Healthy, Entrée Portions
Buy high quality protein portions (wild caught, organic, or pastured when possible) and repackage each individual portion in a freezer safe zip lock baggie or vacuum seal. With a sharpie, mark each packet with the entree name and the date. For speed in cooking, keep portions thin! Packets should be organized in the freezer by type: fish, pork chop, steak, chicken, etc. For speed in cooking chicken, it’s lovely to have precut tenders, or thinly pounded breasts (known as paillards). When it’s time to plan for dinner, select the entree type desired and the number of portions needed. Allow proper time for defrosting in fridge. Saute in healthy oil and spices. Done!
2. Plan Ahead for Carbs If They are Included in Your Diet
Making a carby side dish can be time consuming, but items such as mashed potatoes may be freshly prepared in advance, portioned individually or family sized, and frozen. Rice may be prepared in advance as well, portioned and frozen, but a rice cooker is fast and easy to use. Buttered egg noodles may be prepared from dried in less than ten minutes.
3. Dress Up Those Frozen Non-Starchy Vegetables
Delicious, frozen or canned organic veggies are available in most grocery stores these days. Dress them up with onion and garlic powder, a touch of salt and pepper, a pat of butter, some chopped fresh herbs, or some crumpled bacon. Your kids will eat them up!
4. Fix a Lazy Salad
Not feelin’ it right now to wash and spin salad and cut up veggies? Serve bite sized whole veggies such as cherry tomatoes and baby carrots. Served mounded on a tray with a side of dip, they look cheerful and appetizing. Rather provide fruit? A bowl of in-season berries or cut up melon will hit the spot!