Need a break from cooking tonight but just can’t hit up that drive-thru again? These dinner shortcuts will leave you feeling like the kick-ass mom you are with zero feelings of guilt.
You’re juggling all the balls! Motherhood, work, LIFE! Don’t beat yourself up for getting dinner on the table—if it’s not take out or drive-thru, then take the win.
These 5 simple dinner shortcuts make your goal of getting dinner on the table possible. Getting a quick, easy and healthful dinner on the table is NOTHING to feel guilty about.
What’s for Dinner Tonight? (…sigh)
You want to feed your family healthy(ish) food, I know. But, let there be NO mistake: if you’re a working mom, then your stress level is high. This is especially true at dinner time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do IT ALL. Dinner is one thing, but healthy…yikes. #missionimpossible
I’m a mom of two young boys juggling a brand new career. Life gets crazy & stays that way!
What you need to do is take the help where you can find it. Shortcuts don’t have to include the drive thru, take out, or frozen pizza. There’s a better way that’s just as quick.
Ready Made Main Ingredients
That’s where these beautiful readymade main ingredients rush in to save the day. This is one dinner shortcut you need to make a priority.
If you want to accomplish your goal—which likely involves avoiding the drive-thru or sticking to your budget by steering clear of delivery—then readymade main ingredients are the way to go.
Embrace the world of precooked rotisserie chickens, microwave ready pulled pork, and oven ready meatballs. One of these premade ingredients combined with a few fresh ones means a healthy(ish) dinner CAN be made in minutes.
ADDED BONUS: There’s no doubt these ingredients are a huge time saver. That’s great. But, ya know what’s even better? These are like the gateway drug for kitchen beginners. That’s right, girl. This is how you get your partner involved in dinner prep.
I mean, he can heat up some pulled pork and slap it on a bun, right? Bam. He just made dinner.
Ready Made Side Dishes
If you’ve made a meatloaf or roasted a chicken, kudos! Now, get out of the kitchen and stop trying to kill yourself over the sides. Also, if you’re just trying to get something on the table fast, then premade sides are the way to go.
Bagged salad or pasta salad from the produce section is an easy choice. You can even add amazing dips and spreads (think guacamole or tzatziki sauce) can turn a meh dish into a TOTAL winner. Check out my Veggie Taquitos or Meatball Gyros to get the full picture!
Y’all. I keep a healthy stock of all types of frozen veggie products in my freezer at all times. Dinner shortcuts don’t have to be expensive or bad for you. Frozen veggies are an amazing way to add badly needed veg into the dinner rotation without breaking the bank. The trick about using frozen veggies is to just not overcook them.
Green peas are my veggie BFF. I put those things in everything. Check out this super quick (and easy) Green Pea Pesto Pasta Salad. It all starts with a bag of those little green beauties! Also, frozen corn. Lord, I put it in a ton of recipes.
But, more than just plan old veggies, you can buy amazing kid friendly veggie sides like tots made from carrots, squash, or broccoli. You can also get things like cauliflower gnocchi, or fun spirals of any veg nowadays.
These are your friends. Embrace the frozen. Your kids will thank you.
The oldest kitchen shortcut of all time—leftovers. I have a very territorial position over my leftovers. Just ask my hubs. I pity the fool who snags that left over hunk of Italian sausage I was saving for my homemade pizza night.
I’m a HUGE believer in freezing just about any amount of leftover I have. Because that’s work I put in, and by God I’m going to squeeze every last ounce of use out of my hard work.
I mean, seriously. I freeze everything. If it’s cooked, then I freeze it for later. It saves me time, plain and simple.
Only two tacos worth of seasoned beef left? Freeze it. That’ll go on my taco pizza or in a taco dip. Only one grilled chicken breast left? Freeze it. Add it to black beans and corn for soup, tacos, or a casserole.
One of my favorite things to save is sweet potato or butternut squash. If you’ve done all that roasting, then save the cooked squash in a bag. That can go in a quiche, muffins, or quesadillas. I’m telling you, leftovers don’t have to be blah.
What is the ultimate secret weapon that working parents MUST have to get dinner on the table all week long? You guessed it—team work. Like we say at my house, Team Work Makes the Dream Work!
If your partner is working too, then you both have crazy demands on you. That said, it’s NO secret that women carry the mental load of what to cook for dinner. Even when both parents are working….
So, it’s time.
It’s time to have that talk that you don’t want to have with your partner. You need him to start getting hands on at dinner—even if he can’t boil water. That’s right! There are too many short cut (premade) options out there for the cooking challenged.
This is where we started in my house. My husband didn’t take on the responsibility of cooking dinner AT ALL. That was all on me. But, I felt the stress of that BIG TIME. Putting dinner on the table every week night was a huge priority for me. And, I didn’t want it involving a drive thru. I mean, there’s only so many burgers a girl can eat. Plus, it AIN’T cheap to eat that way.
There came a point, when we had to get our grownup pants on and make a plan.
Taking Turns In the Kitchen
The meal plan I’ve created for Freaking Delish is the same one I use at home with my husband. It’s more than a list of recipes and a grocery list. I mean, it’s that, but WAY MORE! It’s about dividing and conquering.
It helps us plan for the week, and it divides up the cooking duties. Because, let’s get real here for a second….all the meal plans in the world won’t help you if you’re still doing it all yourself. My plan was literally created with that in mind. Everyone gets a turn. Everyone has to take responsibility. It’s that simple.
I give you some easy weeknight dinner recipes that include one pot dishes, 5 ingredient meals, and other quick dishes that aren’t labor intensive. But, I also provide you with some incredibly delicious ideas for how to put ready made ingredients to good use!
If your partner can’t make a meal to save his life, he can still follow what I like to call simple “assembly” style recipes. No cooking, just assembly required! Sounds easy, right? Well, sign up HERE and try it out! Get my one week plan sent straight to your inbox. Then, if you like it—I’ve got another amazing plan that will get you through the month!
I’m telling you–the BEST dinner shortcut in the world is getting your husband to take on his share of dinner time duties.
5 Guilt Free Dinner Shortcuts
These are hands down my favorite kitchen shortcuts. These 5 simple dinner shortcuts make your goal of getting dinner on the table possible. And, ladies, help IS necessary to accomplish your goal. Timesavers don’t equal unhealthy.
Ready made main dishes and side dishes are just the easiest way to take the time out of the equation. If time isn’t on your side, then this is where you need to focus. Frozen veggies are an amazing underused shortcut that can add a lot more variety (and veggies) to your routine. Then, the beloved leftover. I’m telling you, start using that freezer & get hours of your life back.
Finally, team work makes the dream work. Divvying up those dinner duties is gonna be key to getting rid of the night time burn out.
You want the burden of dinner off of your shoulders, right? Taking Turns in the Kitchen will alleviate dinner stress, divide responsibilities & make dinner something to look forward to again.
This time saving method worked for me, and it got my husband knee deep in embracing his responsibility for dinner. I’m telling you–it can work for you, too! Get the free one week plan HERE.