Batch Cooking Rocks!
On Tuesday taco nights, I often cook up extra meat to freeze. These leftovers can then be used in soups, on nachos, or in quesadillas throughout the week. Whether it’s for lunch, a snack, or on the weekend when I take a break from cooking, it never hurts to have extra food ready to eat.
Whenever I find little pockets of time in my day, I try to cook or prepare extra food to have on hand. For example, when I buy fruit, I try to wash it and put it in containers for ready-to-go snacks. If I’m making steak, I cook extra to put on salads another day. Just make sure to let it cool before storing it!
Think of preparing extra food as a self-care method that eases your stress and workload.
Get Inspiration From Real Military Spouses!
While I love looking at Real Simple recipes, I often find that what’s real simple for other people just isn’t simple for my family—especially during baseball season! Instead of relying on Pinterest, Instagram, and dusty old cookbooks from the pre-working mom days, I love asking other parents for their favorite tips and tricks.
I usually get the smartest, easiest, and healthiest recipes from other busy moms. I recently had a mom tell me that she adapts popular recipes to make them a bit healthier. For instance, instead of burger buns and taco shells, she might wrap her kids’ meals in romaine lettuce or make taco rice bowls. Sometimes she even shreds spaghetti squash to use instead of pasta on spaghetti nights.
So, when my kids get bored of Taco Tuesday or normal burgers, I can whip out these innovative twists to standard recipes and change things up. Even if they don’t end up being hits that make it into my recipe binder, I can rest easy knowing that my kids are healthy and fed.
Create A Cheat Cabinet
They say that failing to plan is planning to fail. However, I feel like it’s actually good enough to have just half of the week’s meals mapped out—this gives me the opportunity to improvise and handle unexpected schedule changes.
Sometimes, I cook my kids chicken before their baseball game at 4 pm only to have them come home a few hours later hungry again. For times like this, it’s useful to keep a few packages of Chinese noodles and frozen breaded chicken on hand. I can simply put them in the toaster oven for 10 minutes and voila—a second dinner is served!
I try to make sure that I have a few staple dinners ready to go in case my growing kids want a second meal. Some easy favorites include pasta, sloppy Joe mix, tuna, and macaroni and cheese. Make sure you always have a few things on hand that you can easily throw together for a last-minute feast to avoid fast-food runs. Share your favorite weekday simple meals in the comments.