This is Barb from A Life in Balance back with tips for fast dinner meals from the grocery store. Take out food is great for a fast dinner meal, but not so great for the budget. As a family of 7, we easily spend about $35 to $40 if we do take out for dinner. I always think about how much of a week’s worth of groceries that $35 could buy.
What if we headed to the grocery store instead? You can create a simple dinner meal in about 15 minutes at the grocery store if you walk in with a plan. If you have no plan, give yourself an extra 5 minutes to scan the store’s flyer for ideas for quick meals. Focus on the frozen food section and the deli for deals on frozen meals like pizzas and lasagnas or rotisserie chicken.
With our family’s busy sports and scouting schedule this fall, I decided to brainstorm a list of simple dinner meals I could pick up at the grocery store in case I didn’t get dinner ready on time. Some of these require cooking at home which is easy to work around. For example, pop the frozen pizza in the oven immediately when you get home, and spend the next 20 minutes unpacking the car, emptying back packs, and anything else you need to do.
Everyone helps with dinner preparation. From setting the table to making the salad to putting the food in the oven, make sure all family members do something to help with dinner. I am always the most stressed when I get home and have to prepare a meal quickly while doing other tasks like checking the answering machine and emptying lunch boxes. When I delegate tasks, I am less stressed and my kids know how important it is to help out.
Fast Dinner Meals from the Grocery Store
I included an approximate food preparation time with each item. Many of these items can be found close to each other in the grocery store. Knowing what you’ll be serving helps you stay focused in the grocery store. If you don’t have time, go straight to where you’ll find most of your meal ingredients.
Some grocery stores offer the option of ordering food over the phone. My local Giant sells take out pizza usually for about $10 per pie. I can call ahead and order what I need and then run in, pick up the food, and pay for it.
- Pasta and jarred spaghetti sauce/marinara sauce/meat sauce (15 minutes)
- Tortellini and jarred spaghetti sauce (15 minutes)
- Tortellini with butter and garlic (15 minutes)
- Sandwiches: Rolls, prepackaged cheese slices, prepackaged lunch meat, lettuce, tomato (15 minutes)
- Frozen pizza and prewashed salad (20 minutes)
- Rotisserie chicken, Frozen vegetables sautéd rolls (15 minutes)
- Rotisserie chicken, Potato salad from the salad bar, Frozen veggies sautéd (15 minutes)
- Produce section has premixed prewashed salad, cut up veggies, fruit salad, and salad dressings
- Hot dogs in rolls with fruit salad or green salad
- Frozen food: pizza, lasagna, fajitas, waffles, pancakes, pot pies, chicken nuggets
- Soup in a can with a sandwich