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5 meals for busy nights

As you know, my husband and I both work full-time so that makes evenings extra hard because we are always in a rush to get out of work, get the kids and get home in time to make dinner and have everyone fed by 6:30 at which point my son has a meltdown and enters the danger zone.  Luckily, we commute most days so at least I have a buddy in the whole evening routine and we’re able to split up pick-up duty but it is still so STRESSFUL.  It’s also stressful planning healthy meals.  We have majorly slacked off this summer and have eaten horrible, gone out to dinner more times than I can count and relied on pizza and hot dogs at least once a week.  But normally (and we really are getting back on that train this week) we eat pretty healthy.  But there are still nights when we know we have to work late or when one of us has to deal with the kids alone that we need something fast and easy and maybe not the healthiest but still better than going out to dinner.

I’m not talking crockpot meals which deserve a separate post.  Crockpot meals are amazing but they do require some planning.  Here, I’m talking about staples you should always have on hand in the pantry or in the freezer that you can whip up in under 20 min because you got out of work late, you’re stuck in traffic, you didn’t plan anything else or you don’t feel like spending time cooking the meal you had planned.  These are all carb heavy so again, not going to help you lose weight but most everyone in the house should eat these :)

Ravioli + meatballs:
Ingredients: 4
Adelle’s chicken sausage meatballs (I like the italian ones best for this meal)
Organic cheese ravioli (we buy the big box from costco and freeze it)
Marinara sauce (We like simple truth organic tomato basil)
Olive oil
Boil Pasta, warm sauce and meatballs on the stove, serve.  My daughter doesn’t like sauce so we just put olive oil on her noodles.
I’ll serve this with a quick side salad for a side of steamed veggies

Penne + turkey (aka spaghetti)
Ingredients: 6
Organic whole wheat penne noodles
Lean ground turkey
Marinara sauce
Italian seasoning
Granulated garlic
Olive oil
Pretty much the same as above…boil the pasta and cook the turkey meat :)  I add in the italian seasoning and garlic just for some flavor (both seasonings are from Costco).  I add the marinara (same as above) to finish off the sauce.  I also have to do seperate olive oil noodles for my daughter since she doesn’t like sauce.  We add parmesan cheese if we have it but not a deal breaker.

Burritos/burrito bowls:
Ingredients: 6-8
Refried beans
Red pepper
Sour cream
Taco seasoning
My husband, daughter and son all prefer to go the burrito route and I’ll admit, I totally do the same if I’m extra hungry or lazy.  The burrito bowl takes just a few more steps but is slightly healthier.  We cook the meat in taco seasoning and warm the beans on the stove.  Chris likes to get out our grill pan and press the tortillas on their first but that’s too much work for me so I just toss them in the microwave to make them softer. If we have a red pepper to use and I have time to chop it, I’ll toss it in a pan with a little oil and cook it up for a few but only if we have time.  The kids don’t like it but I can at least get Chris to eat a veggie if it’s right in front of him.  The burritos are just assembly line style with turkey, beans, cheese, sour cream and red pepper.  If I’m doing a bowl I throw all of it in a bowl with some hot sauce. And sometimes I’ll top it with an avocado if we have one. {Note actual burrito bowl from my house photo.  This was today’s lunch which included chips}

Grilled cheese + tomato soup
Ingredients: 3
Tomatoe Soup
Olive Oil
You guys aren’t stupid.  You know how to make grilled cheese but I will say it’s even faster when you use a griddler instead of getting out a pan.  You can do two sammies at the same time and it’s way less messy.  We spray the bread with olive oil and toss it on. **If we plan this out ahead I’ll pick up a rotisserie chicken and mix that with some sriracha and add that to the sammies and it is amazing!!!  We also really like the Pacific Organic brand of soups.

Sun-dried tomato + italian chicken pasta
Ingredients: 3
Sundried tomatoes in olive oil
This is one of Chris’ favorite meals and I actually don’t like it :(  It’s a little boring for me but if he wants to make dinner I’m not going to complain!  It’s also better if you add some shredded parmesan on it.  Grill the chicken in the griddler, boil the noodles and mix together a healthy portion of tomatoes + oil with the sliced chicken and noodles.  Here is a link from a previous post about this one.


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