We all know how tough it can be to balance work, school, and activities during the week. And when you’re short on time, dinner plans are the first to take the hit. But rather than head over to the fast food joint or order takeout, try one of these easy, delicious meals instead.
The meals take just minutes to make and are a healthier way to get your food fast. The bonus to preparing food yourself is that you know exactly what goes into it. You can bring in healthy, locally-grown ingredients without losing any flavor.
Whenever possible, use fresh or frozen vegetables. Canned vegetables contain lots of sodium. The only exception is tomatoes, which are equally healthy when canned.
Also, remember that if you’re short on time, enlist your kids to help with dinner. Children can learn a lot in the kitchen, whether they practice reading the recipe aloud to you, exercise motor skills by stirring ingredients, or learn responsibility by setting the dinner table.
#1 Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
This meal is fast, easy, and delicious. Pair with celery sticks or a side salad.
1 bottle buffalo chicken wing sauce
Light bleu cheese dressing
Whole-grain hamburger buns
- Pull the meat off the rotisserie chicken and put it into a medium-size bowl. Discard the skin and bones.
- Stir in buffalo sauce to your desired hotness level.
- If your rotisserie chicken isn’t still warm, transfer the chicken and buffalo sauce to a pan and stir the chicken on medium heat for 4 – 5 minutes.
- Spoon the buffalo chicken onto the hamburger buns. Top with a small dollop of bleu cheese dressing.
#2 Chicken Pad Thai
This homemade take on a restaurant classic is about as easy to make as spaghetti. Serve with a side of broccoli or green beans.
Stir fry noodles
1 jar pad thai sauce (found in the international foods aisle)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bunch scallions
¼ cup peanuts, crushed
- Prepare the stir fry noodles as you would spaghetti, but begin testing a noodle for doneness after 4 minutes. It may take up to 7 minutes to cook.
- Meanwhile, cut your chicken into bite-size pieces and sauté with oil. Once cooked, move to one side of the pan and add in eggs. Scramble until cooked.
- After the eggs are cooked, stir the chicken and eggs together and add in pad thai sauce. Add in noodles when they are done.
- Transfer pad thai to plates. Sprinkle sliced scallions and crushed peanuts over the top as desired. Squeeze a wedge of lime over each plate.
#3 Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Turn on the slow cooker in the morning and come home to delicious, melt-in-your-mouth meat, ready to be made into a meal. Serve with corn on the cob and coleslaw or a baked potato.
1 can root beer
1 bottle barbecue sauce
Whole-grain hamburger buns
- Place the meet in your slow cooker, then pour the root beer over it. Cook on low for eight hours.
- Shred the meat and drain the root beer.
- Stir in barbecue sauce and then add to hamburger buns.
For more easy weeknight meal ideas, think about what the fast food or restaurant items you and your children like and try to adapt them. For example, chicken nuggets can be recreated with bite-size pieces of chicken rolled in egg yolk or mayonnaise and bread crumbs, then baked in the oven.
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