We are still unpacking boxes at our new house. I have decided that I definitely don't like moving, especially with little kids. Dinners have been a hurried affair, and will remain so while I continue to set up house. Life for many of us can be quite busy (even without a move), so it can be hard to keep up on making healthy meals at home. Here are some ideas that will help get dinner on the table without a lot of time spent in the kitchen.
1. Meals that reheat
Let's admit it, some meals make rotten leftovers. But, if you make meals that are just as tasty reheated, they can be served at next day's lunch or for another dinner too.
Chili is one wonderful food to consider. Make a giant pot of it (if there are more than yourself or a couple to feed) and serve it the first night with sour cream, cheese, chopped onions, crackers-whatever toppings you like. Skip a night, and then serve leftover chili (which will taste just as good, if not better after a sit in the refrigerator) over baked potatoes with desired toppings. Skip another night and serve over nitrate-free hotdog, or homemade French fries. Another idea: serve it cold over a salad with Mexican toppings like salsa, avocado and sour cream for a "taco salad".
Soups and stews can be made in large batches and easily reheated for lunches or for other dinners. Like chili, they can actually taste better after a sit in the refrigerator.
A big pot of beans can be made one day and served a variety of ways during the week. I love black beans tossed in a salad. It can be really simple, or you can add leftover roasted chicken, avocados, cucumbers, diced carrots or tomatoes. You can also add them to scrambled eggs for a hearty egg scramble that can be served for any meal. Or, mash them up and refry them in some healthy oil or fat, and put on the table with burrito makings.
2. Meals that cook slowly, but are fast to throw together
Sometimes you can take just a few minutes to throw something in the oven or slow cooker, and then let it cook while you are busy. There are so many recipes that fit this category. Here are a few ideas.
Easy Chicken Noodle Soup:
While this takes a few hours to cook, it only take minutes to throw together. And I am sure it could easily be adapted to a slow cooker.
3. Quick meals from start to finish
White Chicken Chili:
My friend, Katie
, gave me the following quick recipe to try- 2 cans white beans (or dry equivalent), a jar of salsa, 2 cups cooked chicken (grab a rotisserie – you deserve it!), 2 cups chicken stock. Heat through and add a block of shredded Monterrey or pepper jack cheese.
I really like making egg based meals when in a hurry. They are so nutritious, especially when bought from a good chicken farmer. You can make scrambled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs, and omelets in a matter of minutes. Or what about a Bacon Zucchini Frittata
Breakfast for dinner:
Along with eggs, you can whip together some sprouted flour pancakes
, or make French toast using hearty whole wheat bread and serving with pure maple syrup. Growing up, we often had a Swedish pancake for dinner that was hearty, egg-y, and delicious. Breakfast meals are often quite fast to whip together, so easily make a fast dinner too. We have even been known to have a fresh fruit smoothie and eggs for dinner!
Ground Beef: Since ground beef is so quick to cook, it is simple to make meals based around it. You can make a taco salad with Mexican beef, or tacos. You can flavor ground beef with ginger and garlic and cook with shredded zucchini. Serve over rice with soy sauce.
Stir-Fry: Thinly sliced beef or cubed chicken can be used in a stir-fry and served over rice as well. You can cut up a giant bag of thinly sliced vegetables on one day and then stir-fry or steam throughout the week.
If you have homemade broth (beef
) on hand, you can make a wide variety of simple soups throughout the week quite easily. Lentils, especially red lentils, cook quickly as well.
Those are a few of my ideas for making meals that are healthy without having to spend as much time in the kitchen. I'd love to hear your ideas!