Um, while we’d all love to have the time to spend 3 hours daily preparing meals for our families, the simple fact is that it’s just not possible most of the time. We’ve all got busy schedules, and the faster we can get meals prepared and on the table, the better. There are a few ways you can do that.
Let’s begin with the most important meal of the day – BREAKFAST. Cold cereal may be quick and easy, but gets boring quickly and isn’t the most nutritious thing for everyday use. Pancakes and French toast are a great alternative. Next time you make them, double the batch and freeze the rest. They freeze well and are easy to warm up in the microwave. Doubling the batch will still require the same cleanup as one batch, and you’ll be happy to have them, especially on chilly mornings. Another great breakfast trick is to make egg rounds. To do this, simply use a muffin pan, put an egg in each cup, and bake for about ten minutes. This works best with silicone muffin pans, but will work with metal ones too with a generous amount of cooking spray. Freeze extras and warm them up during the week paired with a bagel and cheese. Easy peasy, right?
Besides the usual sandwiches, a great idea for lunch is to divide salad ingredients into mason jars. When it’s time to eat, add your favorite dressing, shake, and serve. You can also freeze soup into individual portions, and either refrigerate or freeze, so all you have to do is warm it up when it’s time to eat.
Dinner menus seem to take up the most time when you have the least. Many people like freezer to slow cooker cooking – basically you take all the ingredients for a meal, stick it in a Ziploc bag, and then on the day you want to eat it, empty the bag into the slow cooker in the morning, and by dinner time you’ll have a hot and nutritious meal. This works especially well for soups, chili’s, macaroni and cheese, and pot roast meals. You can also use the double batch method, and next time you make a baked pasta dish or casserole, make two. Put one in the freezer, and then when you want to eat it you just pop it in the oven. It makes for a great meal with almost no prep time and very little cleanup.
Golden Grain Pot-Sized Pastas
Tired of broken little pieces of pasta on your stovetop? Um, who isn’t right? They’re very annoying! With Golden Grain’s Pot-Sized Pasta you’ll be able to toss your pasta in the pot, without breaking them. Genius, right? So not only does this pasta saves you time in the kitchen, it even comes in an adorable little box that fits perfectly in the pantry.
Here’s a sample menu for one week that you can enjoy if you start freezer cooking. Imagine coming home to these toothsome meals even when you’re too tired to cook. You can just place them in the oven to reheat them and serve them over some freshly cooked pasta, such as Golden Grain Pot-Sized Pastas. Enjoy, dahlings!
Mama’s Weekly Menu
Sunday – Creamy Chicken, Broccoli and Mushroom Pasta (Recipe Below)
Monday — Lasagna with Meat Sauce & Spinach and Almond Salad
Tuesday – Turkey Chilli with Whole Wheat Corn Bread
Wednesday – Turkey Tacos & Mexican Rice
Thursday – Baked Chicken & Wild Rice Pilaf
Friday — Spinach and Sausage Pizza & Walnut and Cranberry Salad
Saturday — Free Day (Hey this mama needs her rest)
Now, let’s get started y’all!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 chicken breast tenders, cut into small chunks
- 1 package (about 12 ounces) of frozen brocolli florets
- 2 cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken & Mushroom Soup
- 1½ cups Kraft Natural Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 1 package (about 8 ounces) of fresh sliced mushrooms
- 2 packages of Golden Grain Pot-Sized Thin Spaghetti Pasta, cooked and drained
- 2 cups water, you can also use milk
- California Style Garlic Salt w/Parsley, to taste
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions, set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet or fry pan over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken and cook until thoroughly brown, turning occasionally. I used the Garlic Salt w/Parsley to season the chicken.
- Remove chicken from the skillet, chop, then place it in large pot (preferably 6 to 8 quarts).
- Add in the mushrooms, broccoli, and soup then bring to a medium boil.
- After the broccoli and mushrooms are fully cooked, add in the pasta and toss to coat.
- Season with salt & pepper and add in the Parmesan cheese.
What kind of meals do you like to make ahead?
Disclosure: I was invited and compensated by Golden Grain for this post.