Busy family meal planning. Should I say they are "weeknight easy daily parent meals"? In other words, make parents life easier.
"Everybody is busy." I heard this saying all the time from many, many people. Of course, different people define "busy" differently. Some manage "busy" better than the others.
Throughout my life, I experienced different kinds of "busy". After my parents separated, I was the only one picked up the financial burden for the family. So, I worked 7 days a week, at least 10 hours a day. Since my part-time job was to teach piano lessons at the house of my students, I literally ran from one place to another. But I didn't feel like I was so out of control. I was totally fine with waking up at the crack of dawn and getting back home late to eat my late dinner at night.
When I have my own kid, I always feel like there is not enough time for me. Juggling with a full-time job, I need to drop off and pick up my kid on time. After getting back home, I need to make sure that he revises his homework within 3 hours before him going to bed. While he is doing that, I need to make sure I put a healthy dinner on the table. Even though I am ok to just gobble up the leftover, I want to make sure my little one has a balance diet and great health.
On top of that, he gets extra-curriculum. We try to limit to one sport at a time. Between practices and games, I always feel like running out of gas. I know many parents out there that their situation is 2 times or multiple times worse than mine. Some families we know from school have 4-5 children in a family. There is just too limited time to squeeze in sport activities after school. We are lucky enough that my husband and I always stay to watch the game and cheer on. Other parents always drop off one kid and take the other kid(s) to a different game. When the 2nd drop-off is completed, it is time to go pick up the other kid. Back and forth. Back and forth.
Whatever I just described, I am pretty sure that you can relate some or all of them. So, I purposefully picked up some recipes based on these criteria:
The busy family meal planning here is not only for lunch or dinner, but also for breakfast, side dish and snack. Some may fall into multiple categories. Like you may want to serve breakfast food during dinner time. Or, your side dish leftover could be your morning snack. So, switch them up as you wish.
You can make big batches on a weekly basis with several different flavors line up. All you need is to have enough stakable containers. This is great for you as parent in case you are running late for your breakfast or lunch. It is also awesome for kids, especially during morning that you want to get them out of the door asap.
Love this recipe. You can make ahead of time and wrap each burrito individually with aluminum foil. While you are busy at getting around in the morning, pop them into the oven for 250F to warm them up. Another great on-the-go breakfast.
This could be a great on-the-go breakfast, snack, side dish or a healthy dessert, especially on a hot summer day. If you and your family are ok the smoothie made ahead of time and lose the freshly ground-up ice frothy texture, pour the drink into several on-the-go cups and keep them cool in the fridge. So, you only need to grab and go.
I love banana bread, zucchini bread, pumpkin bread and other kind of bread alike. You can make a big batch of this pumpkin bread. Wrap them in aluminum foil and store in the fridge. It stays good for a long period of time for you. You just slice it up and enjoy.
These salad recipes are great and sustainable. Some can toss with the dressing and packed away for 4-5 days. Cucumber and berries will go rotten within a short period of time once they are cut up. But with the help of the salad dressing, they stay good for 4-5 days. Some salad can only have the dressing tossed in when it is ready to serve. So, you can assemble the salad together and bring along dressing for morning snack at work.
Great for pairing with any dinner.
The dressing will keep the sald good for 4-5 days.
The salad dressing also works its wonder on this one, too.
I used to despite frozen vegetables. Not anymore....This recipe is always like a life-saver to me. If the crowd is too big or I need to include vegetables in the meal, but have none, this is my go-to recipe.
This rice salad could be a side dish or dinner. Make the wild rice ahead of time and only add grape tomatoes and mozzarella cheese before serving.
This recipe is very similar to the one with Kielbasa. Definitely, a great side dish. I always pop this dish and cook it with other food in the oven and let them cook simultaneously. 1 bird, 2 stones.
Like mentioned earlier, the salad dressing will keep 2 major ingredients good for a good period of time when they are all chopped up.
This simple drink could be anything. Making the concentrate allow you to make a lot of serving with one jug occupied your fridge.
This is another salad in which the dressing will keep it long for good. Also, it is also a very popular salad in my family circle. Once it is on the table, it is gone in no time. People rave about it for months. I would say this most probably is your staple or only keep it to yourself if you don't want to share.
Some side dishes I suggested earlier are great for snack at any time during the day. But there are times that you are way too busy to worry about that. Been there, done that. So, here are some suggestions for you if you need some store-bought items for snack time:
While the soup is cooking on the stove top, you can have time to slice up some crusty bread and heat up under the broiler for a couple minutes. Then, rub each bread with a piece of garlic or just serve it with butter.
This can be a make-ahead meal. When you have more time during the week, cook this soup ahead of time. Cover it while it is still boiling, it will stay in room temperature for up to 3 days. You don't need to worry about moving stuff around in your fridge to get extra space for the soup pot. Learn more about this trick from the recipe.
You can pair this stew with bread, mashed potatoes, rice and pasta.
Chop and drop. It is this recipe about. I always use a turkey roasting pan to cook a big batch. It is tasty with tons of fiber.
Making this dish for breakfast could be too much. But while you are monitoring your kids to complete that day of homework, the oven will take care of your dinner. How does it sound, huh?
Talking about dinner that dishes free. What? Yep, everybody eats with their hands. Napkins and paper plates are all you need. Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil, absolutely dish-free. Better than take-out, huh?
A traditional Chinese chicken dish turns into a one-pan meal which is super easy. Pop it into the oven and walk away. With very little maintenance, dinner for a big family is this simple.
This can be a side dish. But on a hot summer night, this is a great alternative and filling dinner.
If you love spicy, this is another great casserole dish for you.
The original recipe needs skewers for easy serving, especially if you have guests. But you can skip that part and use grill basket to make this dish on your dining table in no time.
Talking about healthy and having main course and side dish on the table at the same time. This is definitely your go-to recipe.
This slow cooker recipe is great for taco night.
You may be super busy to squeeze out any time to make a traditional dish like the Polish Golabki. I am sure you will get the same flavor and satisfaction from this twisted version.
Overcook your food is definitely a turn-off. But it won't happen to this soup recipe. In fact, I tried several times to warm it up with the slow cooker the next day. Man...it tastes even better. I mean...much better.
Leftover always gives you headache. You want to keep the food, but it is boring. What should you do with it? This is one of my most searched and most popular recipes. It is tasty, easy and healthy. The vegetables you put into the slow cooker stay in shape for a long period of cooking time. It is great for a super cold winter night.
This is my family everyday soup. 100% natural ingredients. You would be surprised the flavor you get out of the vegetables by skipping broth.
Another great crock pot recipe. Feel free to pair it with bread, mashed potatoes, rice and pasta.
Pre-cooked the pasta during the weekend or whenever you are doing all the cooking for the week. Then, this dinner is only about assembling everything together.
Both pudding and whipped topping keep this cake very moist and stay good in the fridge for a week.
Although every time I make this cake roll, it will be gone as soon as it hits the table. It is another sustainable dessert that you can make a few days before serving.
This dessert is crazily easy. Mix, pour and freeze are the steps you need to make them happen.
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