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Old 05-19-2011, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I know that I don't need to go into how busy our lives are, because all you ladies know.  I also know that I don't need to go on and on about how it is so late by the time we eat that my kids or whiny, or that I don't want to spend valuable time with them prepping meals.  I feel like I have put all this stress on myself to prepare "whole" and healthy suppers and it is something I need to let go. 


For now, I need to focus on just getting food on the table.  So, I started a spreadsheet of meals that are fairly healthy that require 5 mins or less of prep time.  I also don't want to spend a ton of time the night before prepping because I don't HAVE the time.  So, this is what I have come up with and I would love any other ideas or input because I know I am not the only one in this spot. 


BLT's (with the bacon made the night before) and fruit

Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Cold cut sandwiches and fruit

Egg Bake (assembled the night before, baked when I get home)

Vaious crock pot soups and meals

Quesadillas (actually bordering on too much time!)

Taco salad with the meat fried up the night before.

Scrambled eggs with veggies


Would anyone else be interested in adding to this list?  I would love something to print out when it comes time to meal plan--a go to list. 

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Old 05-19-2011, 07:02 AM
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Thanks for the ideas!


I also like the crockpot especially when it's cold out and it's dark early. For some reason we can go longer before dinner in the summer.


I also try to have a bowl of cut up veggies soaking in cold water in teh fridge for the kids to grab when they get home just in case meal prep is taking longer than expected.

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Old 05-19-2011, 12:20 PM
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I do lots if meals with my crockpot and/or cook large meals at one time. I usually only cook every other day and we eat leftovers on the other night. I always cook a big meal on Sunday night so Monday night's dinner isn't a concern since Monday seems to be especially crazy. Dinner is much more manageable to me when I do not have to cook daily. 

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Old 05-20-2011, 07:22 AM
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Here is an idea:

Grill chicken breasts sunday with extra for 2 meals, one chicken salad, the other chicken tacos, quesadillas, whatever.

Also Bobali crusts for pizza.


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Missing Asa James, born into this world 11-17-08 and into the next 12-25-08
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:33 AM
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Along the lines of previous poster - you can bake a bunch of chicken in the oven at once - I usually do 8 breasts.  Put in a glass baking dish, add some olive oil to coat and salt and pepper bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.  Then you have a lot of extra, juicy, baked chicken to make delicious things with.  Such as:


chicken sauteed with veggies (canned or frozen is fine, leftovers are a bonus)

Chicken on green salad

chicken salad


Other ideas:  hamburgers with sauteed onion and peppers doesn't take very long - longer than 5 minutes, but really only about 10-15, and most of that time you can just let it do its own thing and play with your kids - you just have to give the veggies a stir and flip the burgers.


Umm, where is DH in all of this?

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Old 05-20-2011, 01:25 PM
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Have you thought about getting a dutch oven?  My mother has one and she coats it with oil, then tosses the ingredients in and cooks it for an hour on 450.  At first she was really relying on the recipes but now she makes up her own.  We don't like a lot of seasoning so we only salt it if we feel the need to and eat it up. 

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Old 05-20-2011, 03:01 PM
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One I discovered/remembered recently was Beans n' Franks.  Cut up 3 or so hot dogs into small slices, add to can of baked beans.  Heat up. 

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Old 05-24-2011, 07:31 AM
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Different types of stir frys? Have meat/veggies already to go, then just stir fry and make some rice.

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Old 05-24-2011, 10:59 AM
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here's my favorite thing of late.  i love it.  dh will eat it.  dd will eat it and she is piiiiicky!

it's all convenience foods of sorts but the healthy ones.  you could modify.


take one package of a microwaveable rice product (we love one that's a big mix of grains & not just rice but can't remember who makes it - seeds of change! one of those organic brands)

take one can of white beans/cannellini beans (we like back to eden- is bpa free can)

take one jar of tomato/ pasta sauce, your choice (we use whatever's on sale and yummy)


cook the rice according to directions (the packs i refer to cook in 2 min in microwave) and put beans in a bowl in micro while you do, they also are cooked in a few minutes.  stir in the tomato sauce, melt cheese on top. 

you could mix in greens, esp if you had baby spinach or whatever on hand. 


SUPER fast and all that stuff can just sit in your pantry until you're ready to use it. 

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Old 05-24-2011, 06:14 PM
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Cheese and crackers, apples and carrots or other easy to toss on the table veggies. I'm all about fruits and veggies that you can eat raw, without much preparation too. 


Another favorite is pasta with butter and cheese. I usually add some garlic and some sliced tomatoes. It's easy and quick!


Great thread and one I need to be watching!! Dinner can be so stressful after a long day!

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Old 05-25-2011, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Great ideas! To the person who asked where my DH is, he doesn't get home until 6pm so if I waited until he got home to start, we would eat even later!



We also do a lot of spaghetti with sauce too, frozen ravioi's with sauce.  I just hate all those carbs :) 


I made some refried beans in the crockpot one day and a roast the next and we ended up with roast one night, beef and bean tacos another night and then bean and cheese burrittos the following.  Poor kids have wicked gas but dinner tasted good :)


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Old 05-25-2011, 11:05 AM
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For nights when I work I've found that Trader Joe's has GREAT stuff! In the freezer section last week I got wild mushroom risotto, asparagus risotto, and a gnocchi with red sauce. Each was under $4 for three servings, and took 7 minutes or less to cook. Add a green salad, and there is dinner in about 10 minutes.
Each was quite good, though I added extra butter and white whine to the risotto and Parmesan to the gnocchi.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:47 PM
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Another vote for Trader Joes freezer section!  


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Old 05-26-2011, 10:16 AM
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Trader Joes Orange chicken. On the stove regular long-cooking white rice with carrots in a steamer on top.

I put the chicken in the oven but there are a few ways to cook it. I use one packet of orange sauce on the chicken and one on the carrots.


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Old 05-26-2011, 01:57 PM
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We always have cooked whole wheat elbows on hand as a staple. (The WF private label is the best we've found.) Great for bulking up frozen or canned soup or filling in the holes.

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Old 05-26-2011, 02:41 PM
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I discovered frozen veggies. They are almost the same taste as fresh (and often cheaper). I just put them in the microwave for a few minutes.


Our kids are also often hungry earlier then we can cook a dinner (we get home at about 6:15 pm), for that reason I pack their lunchbox with some extra (healthy) snacks that they often eat in the car on our way home. Then we have some more time to cook a nice dinner at home, they will eat a little more from the newly cooked dinner.

When my DH is away on B-trip, I often do just sandwiches with soup and fruit or salad, etc.



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Old 05-26-2011, 02:59 PM
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This is more for breakfast but is easy as pie and healthy!


Before bed:


Pour 4 cups of water and 1 cup Steel Cut oats into sauce pan.

Bring to boil.

Turn off heat, put lid on and go sleep.


In the morning:


The oatmeal is basically done, but you can heat it up and cook it a bit. Add any nuts or dried fruits or sweetner at this point. Stores well in a mason jar in the fridge too.



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Old 05-26-2011, 03:52 PM
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I do that oatmeal thing in a crockpot all night with any kind of fruit. Maybe some brown sugar and cinnamon. I'd like to use milk but you can't cook it that long in the crockpot. Maybe I'll try the overnight thing with milk in the fridge.

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Old 05-26-2011, 07:37 PM
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Different salads that are made in advance are nice in the summer too - black bean salad, lentil salad, pasta salad with chicken, potato salad with some chicken or ham or white beans in for protein, couscous and chickpea curry salad - that kind of thing.


Baked beans on toast is a staple around here too.





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Old 06-05-2011, 05:04 AM
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if you have veggies all cut up a few days in advance you can make all sorts of great salads and such.  


We're into vietamese cold rolls right now. They're super easy and quick- rice rolls filled with some bean noodles (both only take less than a min in hot water to soften/cook) all sorts of pre-chopped veggies plus any left over protein like chicken or hamburger.  Super healthy and a great way to repackage leftovers.  This week ours have been chicken, carrots and red bell pepper.  You can also make them up in advance- they last 2-3 days in the fridge

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Old 06-06-2011, 12:21 PM
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Stir fry. Cook the rice (I use brown) on The weekend or the night before.

Omlettes. This is what we so if we really have zero time.

Mostly we eat a lot of soup. Homemade broth takes little effort in the crockpot overnight - just bones and leftover veggies. Strain and freeze in smaller portions and it's easy to use.
If you have a good base soup doesn't need a lot of other stuff to taste good. Start by sautéing veggies, add quinoa or leftover rice and broth simmer while you set the table and you're done.

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Old 06-17-2011, 04:59 PM
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my crutch - supermarket veggie trays. Day 1 serve veggie tray with egg sandwiches or grilled cheese. day 2 veggies go out to snack on while I make pasta & sauce - cook extra pasta Day 3 chop any remaining veggies toss with pasta and salad dressing - pasta salad :) Or sometimes Day 2 is some sort of rice dish so day 3 can be fried rice instead. We don't do this every week - but the super stressful ones, it's a given.

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Old 06-17-2011, 08:39 PM
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Salad with the prepackaged grilled chicken on top with garlic bread and a side of fruit.


Scrambled eggs and toast with applesauce.


Instant oatmeal with canned fruit added to it. I microwave diced peaches (including the juice), a bit of milk, and the oatmeal together. So yummy! I serve with toast.


Frozen waffles with strawberry fruit topping and a bit of Cool Whip. (It's a fun meal; not a staple) I serve it with sausage links.


Sandwiches and soup with a side of fruit or cottage cheese.


Chili dogs and frozen veggies. (Turkey franks, vegetarian chili sauce with no beans, and some shredded cheddar cheese). 


Kielbasa and sauerkraut. (Just heat and serve - no prep).


Tacos (this does require some prep but I buy shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, cut olives, to make it faster).


Spaghetti and meatballs (I buy premade frozen meatballs) with salad or veggies.



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Old 06-18-2011, 11:07 PM
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One of my favorites is beans n rice. Obviously it can be done super cheap using plain rice & dried beans & we have done that but our favorite way is:
Box of quick rice (we use zatarains brand mexican)
1 or 2 cans of whatever beans (not chickpeas, fave is great northern, sometimes with black also)
Some type of sausage (or our fave is all beef hot dogs lol) sliced & quartered
Chopped onion
Cook rice, drain beans, brown sausage (maybe with seasoning) & onion, put it all together & cook until beans are heated.

Great leftovers for work too!

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Old 06-25-2011, 10:45 PM
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Love this, thanks for sharing!  A few of my faves:


black bean salad (I use canned beans) with corn, tomato, avocado, cilantro or basil, greens such as spinach, etc.


quesadillas/burritos with fresh tortillas, cheddar, avocado, spinach, tomatoes, salsa, limes


Trader Joe's frozen meals with added veggies


and our current favorite: fried rice with leftover rice stored in the freezer




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