That is a common problem many families have especially as kids get into after school activities.
It is so easy to forget about dinner and then when it comes time to eat you ask “What’s for dinner?”. Usually you then open the refrigerator to find there isn’t much there. Then you go to the freezer and realize it will take too long to defrost anything. Finally it is the pantry hoping there is a box of pasta and some sauce in there.
Your life is very busy and if it is like mine it just keeps getting busier. My daughter just the other day said “Dad, we only have two nights during the week where we don’t have to do anything.”
So what can you do to solve the “What’s For Dinner?” problem?
This is what I have my clients do as a quick way to solve this problem.
Have 2 food prep days a week. So maybe Sunday and Wed you prep as much food as you can up until the next food prep day. Sit down on Saturday or Sunday and plan out what you want to eat for dinner that week. Then look at what can be prepped ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
If it is a casserole or something that you won’t cook until the next day you can prepare most of it the day before and put it in the refrigerator. Then you have it ready to just put in the oven on the day you are going to cook it.
Cut up your vegetables that you are going to eat with your meals during the week ahead of time on one of these 2 food prep days. Do as much as you can during these scheduled food prep times and you will find that eating healthier at dinner becomes much easier.
Personally I am one that when I am hungry I want to eat soon and not have to spend an hour preparing a meal and waiting for it to cook. So having those 2 times a week where I can cut up and prep as much as I can helps to speed up dinner every night.
You now have a plan ahead of time on what you are going to eat every night. You won’t ask yourself the question of “What’s for dinner?” and most importantly you don’t end up eating junk for dinner or snack on things you shouldn’t be snacking on while your dinner is cooking.
Here is a recipe my wife just made on Sunday. She was home alone that day with our 2 kids so to make her life easier she created this in the crock pot. It calls for making it on the stove top, but to make her life easier and less hectic she used the crock pot. That is great way to cook a great meal where you set it and forget it until it is done. No checking the skillet to make sure nothing is burning.
When you can incorporate a crockpot into your meal plans makes meal prep and cooking much easier. For many meals like pork chops or a roast you can put the food into the crockpot in the morning and set it on low. It will be ready when you come home from work and before you have to run your kids to those evening activities.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and leave me a comment below and let me know if you liked this article and would like to see more quick tips like this along with a recipe.
Spicy Pumpkin Chili
1 pound ground beef (Could also use ground turkey here)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (15 oz ) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15oz) can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 (28oz) cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook beef until it is no longer pink. Should take about 5-8 minutes). (From here is where my wife put everything into the crockpot. You can make this recipe either way.) Stir in red pepper flakes, garlic and onion. Continue cooking the beef mixture until onions have softened. Add the green and red bell peppers and cook 5 minutes more.
While this beef mixture is cooking combine the beans, tomatoes, garlic, onions and the remaining ingredients into the crock pot or slow cooker. Combine the cooked beef mixture and slow cook for 1-2 hours or until it is hot and everything has cooked down.
Once done you can spice up the meal with various toppings such as sour cream, shredded cheese, scallions or even quartered limes. You could also add some chorizo sausage to the meat mixture to add an additional flavor to it.
This is an easy to make minimal prep time type meal. Just the way I like it. 🙂
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Don’t forget to leave your comment below on if you liked this article or if it helped you with your meal prep. Once you make this recipe also let me know what you thought of it.