Real Food is obviously important to me, but for any of us, life can get in the way of our dinner plans. I have 4 young kids, ages 6, 5, 2, and 5 months. And making dinner time seems to be the time when all you-know-what breaks loose.
This dinner last night took about 20 minutes total, and 5 minutes of hands-on prep time.
Here are some of my tricks for "quick" meals. These are all things you can do ahead of time and use in a pinch.
Double it. When something is labor intensive or takes a while to make, make more! Then you have some stored in your freezer for those times you don't have time to make it. Some things I double and freeze:
Homemade cream of chicken soup
Can. I'm a big fan of canning because it's so nice to have convenience food that you can just pull out of your pantry and not have to defrost. Just pop open a can and you're good to go. The only special equipment you need is a pressure canner, or a water bath canner for fruits. I bought a Presto brand 23 quart for $79 on amazon. Things I can and store:
Beans (garbanzo, pinto, black, kidney)
And soon I plan to do:
Do some of the prep ahead of time. When you are chopping an onion or another vegetable, do you cover it and store it in the fridge? That's what I used to do until I read Katie's idea on Kitchen Stewardship- she just chops the whole vegetable at once and freezes it in a baggie. I use this tip with onions all the time and it's been a great time saver to be able to grab pre-chopped onions and use them in my meals. I also am more likely to throw spinach in my omelets when it's washed, chopped and ready to use from my freezer.
Meal plan for the tamale meal shown above:
Steam tamales. (20 minutes)
Melt bacon grease in pan. Add pre-chopped onions to pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add can of black beans. Simmer on low.
Cut and smash avocado.
Dinner is done in 20 minutes, and for 15 of those minutes I can be holding the baby, helping with homework, or pulling the two year old off the baby... and my family still has a nutritious meal for dinner.
This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursdays and Fight Back Fridays.