Busy parents know the drill: wake up, make breakfast, go to work, chauffer the kids, cook again (or hit the drive-thru), go home and fall asleep standing up. No wonder there’s a fast food restaurant on nearly every corner. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little planning you can have healthy meals, and feed your family frugally, all week long. A little prep work on the weekends is all it takes.
- Fire Up the Grill: Why cook a single meal on the grill when you can be eating that delicious barbeque all week long? The key is in the meat. While steaks, hamburgers, and pork chops aren’t great reheated, grilled chicken breasts can be quickly steamed with a little water in a covered frying pan. Eat ‘em in sandwiches, make chicken salad, or cook up some quick veggies and rice. Grilled chicken lasts about 4 days in the fridge and 4 months in the freezer.
- Cook it Slow: You can fill up the slow cooker with beans, meats, veggies, and spices in less than 30 minutes to make stroganoff, chili, or stews. Cook on low for 4 hours or more. At my house, there’s always enough leftovers for several meals during the week especially when I mix in some rice.
- Chop It Good: If you have 30 extra minutes on the weekend get out the knife, cutting board, and food processor. Hand-chop some fresh veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers. Use the food processor to mince onions, garlic, and jalapenos. Store the veggies in the fridge or in microwave cooking bags in the freezer. Making a quick, healthy meal is a lot faster when the veggies are pre-chopped.
- Roll Up Some Breakfast: If you’re really ambitious, you can roll up about a dozen breakfast burritos and freeze them for hearty wakeup meals all week. Cook potatoes and onions together, add scrambled eggs and spices. Roll the ingredients into a flour tortilla (whole wheat for healthy eating). Steam or microwave the delicious burritos and serve with grated cheese, salsa, and guacamole.