We all have those weeks where we feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Between work, taking care of your family and keeping up with duties around the house, preparing a healthy meal every night can feel like an impossible task. During weeks where things seem especially busy, it can help to have a few easy and quick recipes on hand. If you are looking to add some healthy and simple recipes to your rotation, keep reading for some suggestions.
Meals that your family can assemble on their own are some of our favorites for busy nights. These recipes require minimal preparation, most of which can be done ahead of time, and are perfect for families with picky eaters. Here are a few of our favorites self- assembly meals:
- Taco Bar: An at home taco bar is always a go-to for busy weeks. It is super easy to set up and is truly a crowd pleaser. Start by preparing a protein of your choice with a quality set of steel pans. Use your steel pans to pan-fry taco meat, shredded chicken, or fajita veggies to fill your tacos with. You can do this part ahead of time or in a large batch if you want to use your protein for another meal during the week. The only other thing you will need to do is heat your taco shells. Heat soft tortillas individually on one of your steel pans or warm a large batch of hard shells in the oven. Then all you need to do is set out your toppings. Use premade salsa and guac and pre-shredded lettuce from the store to save time. Then put out things like sour cream, cheese, taco sauce, and pickled jalapenos to complete the meal.
- Salad Bar: A salad bar is another self-serve meal that we love. Set out a couple different varieties of lettuce (get the pre-washed, pre-cut bagged lettuce to save time), then put out some diced veggies, crunchy toppings like croutons, nuts or seeds, and sliced avocado for a healthy source of fat. You can also pre-prepare some grilled chicken and hard boiled eggs for added protein. Set out a few dressing options and you’ve got an easy, healthy meal that everyone can customize to their liking.
- Make Your Own Pizza: A make your own pizza night is sure to get everyone in your house excited. Similar to the previous two, you will want to prepare and set out your toppings. You’ll need a pre-made pizza sauce, a couple different types of pre-shredded cheese and all your favorite pizza toppings (don’t be afraid to get creative!) For the crust, Trader Joes has an amazing pre-made pizza dough that can be cut into four individual sized pizzas. Cook in the oven or on the grill and you’ve got an easy and quick meal that your whole family will love.
Crock Pot Recipes
Of course, we have to talk about the crock pot when discussing easy recipes. There is nothing more hands off than a meal made in a slow cooker. Not to mention that you can do the minimal amount of preparation required for the meal when you are making breakfast or packing lunches in the morning. This way you don’t have to dirty your kitchen more than once a day. So put away your steel pans and try these crock pot recipes for busy families:
- Chicken Alfredo: Instead of cooking the pasta, sauce and chicken for this recipe separately, save time and dishes by doing it in the crockpot! You’ll want to combine 2 pounds of chicken thighs, salt and pepper, two chopped onions, four cloves of garlic, and 2 chopped red bell peppers. Then cover with a 16-ounce jar of alfredo sauce. Do not stir yet. Cover and cook on low for seven to eight hours. Then add fresh fettuccine noodles and cook on high for 30 more minutes. Stir together and enjoy!
- Veggie Soup: If you don’t have time to watch over a soup cooking on the stove all day, then try making soup in the crockpot instead. You can make any soup you like in the crockpot, but if you need suggestions, here’s our favorite veggie soup recipe: Combine onion, carrot, celery and garlic with potatoes, zucchini, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh parsley, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper in your crockpot. Cover with vegetable broth and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. In the final 30 minutes add in frozen peas and corn. Mix together and you’ve got the perfect veggie soup for a cool fall night.
Dinner Made Simple
Use these easy dinner recipes on the weeks where you feel overwhelmed or overtired. You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to get a healthy and enjoyable meal on the table for your family. And, you may even find your kids asking for taco bars and at home pizza nights on a weekly basis!