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No matter what the season, it seems like life is busy. From young to old there are career couples, parents with toddlers running around, parents with kids in school and sports, and finally, those later years with teens who have a busy social life. Things can get especially hectic if you have kids, with days and evenings that are full of running back and forth to all the different sports and activities. If you are like me, you don’t feel like going through the drive-thru for yet another meal, not only because of cost but also health reasons. Here are some quick prep tips and meals for busy evenings.

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Quick Prep Tips for Dinner

  • Think about restaurant fast food and how you can make it at home.
  • Handheld meals that have protein and veggies all-in-one are great for before or after game “fuel”.
  • Stash paper plates, napkins, and plasticware in your car.
  • Prep meals and freeze in individual sizes for quick reheating.
  • Make “big” meals in muffin tins and freeze.
  • Change it up – have about 10 meals that are freezer friendly that you can rotate through and make double or triple batches at one time.
  • Steamer Bags – I’m not a huge fan of plastic in the microwave but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. These bags are super easy when it comes to delivering freshly steamed veggies to the table and it is definitely better than hitting the drive thru.
  • Pre-cook and freeze ground meat or strips of chicken for quick and easy meals. Thaw and heat quickly.

Quick Prep Meals for Busy Nights

  • Wraps
    • Put that salad in a wrap
    • Add grilled chicken, ground meat, or lunch meats and cheese for protein and filling power
    • Can be gluten-free wraps
    • Make lunch meat and cheese roll-ups. You can add dressings and/or greens to the inside for a change up that’s still quick.
  • Burgers and fresh veggies—
    • Pre-make and freeze burger patties.
    • Cook them the night before
    • Throw a few extra on the grill on the weekend
    • Buy baby carrots and cut celery into sticks ahead of time, then put in water in the fridge.
    • Pre-slice apples and toss them in orange juice to keep from browning.
  • Salads—
    • Buy a few containers and throw a salad in it for on the go. Mom can eat during games or practices.
    • Add meat, nuts, and seeds for a protein boost. Busy moms need all the energy boosts they can get.
    • Spend a little more on pre-washed lettuce if need be. You are still saving more than you would be if you drove through another drive thru.
  • Chicken nuggets, tater tots, and sandwiches—
    • If you’d buy it in the drive thru, make it at home.
    • Add some fresh veggies.
    • Slice chicken breast into patty thickness and grill or broil for quick and easy reheating.
    • Throw reheated chicken onto hamburger buns for a quick and easily made chicken sandwich.
    • Add lettuce, tomato, cheese, and ranch dressing, mayo, blue cheese and hot sauce, or your favorite dressing.
  • Tacos/Burritos—
    • Use flour tortillas or wraps
    • Add your rice, beans, meats, veggies, cheeses and wrap it tight
    • Wrap in wax paper/parchment paper then wrap in foil to keep warm.
  • Pizza—
    • Pre-make dough –I use this recipe, make small personal sized pizza crust, bake, and freeze. When it is time to make the pizzas I pull them out, thaw earlier in the day OR make frozen. Top with sauce and cheese, and bake until cheese is melted and/or slightly browned.
  • Stirfry—
    • BBQ Chicken and Broccoli
    • Use frozen vegetables and diced chicken, steak, or ground meat for a quick stir fry.
    • Ramen Noodles are a nice quick base for stir fry if you use them.
  • Lemon Garlic Chicken
    • Prep everything the night before or in the morning.
    • Can be baked ahead of time and reheated then served over rice or pasta.

Looking for more meal time ideas?

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    1. I don’t really use them anymore, but I haven’t found the guaranteed way to steam without them in the microwave yet and a steamed veggie is better than a boiled to mush veggie any day.

  1. Lots of great ideas! I do a lot of these kinds of things. I especially like your tip about having a rotation of freezer friendly meals and rotating through them, and making extra to freeze. Great idea! And I keep reading about making things in muffin tins – I need to start doing that!

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