Since having kids, I’ve gotten
lazy efficient in my meal prep. Gone are the days of leaving work at 6 p.m., picking up groceries, then starting to make a semi-complicated meal and eating dinner at 8 or 9. These days, if dinner isn’t on the table by 6:30, both of my kids turn into hangry monsters, and the evening is over.
But, I’ve found that it’s nearly impossible to cook dinner with hungry 1- and 3-year-old children who both like to be held when they’re cranky. So what are we doing? These days, I’ve turned into a meal planner who buys groceries in advance and prepares as much of dinner ahead of time as I can. Here’s what we are eating a lot of these days:
Breakfast for dinner
What it is: In our house, it’s typically eggs with avocado, spinach and toast
Why I like it: Everyone in my family will eat this. My baby girl will eat toast with avocado and runny eggs, my son will eat scrambled eggs with a few pieces of spinach cooked into them.
What it is: Cook 1.5-2 pounds of chicken (breast or thighs or I like to do a combination of both) in a crockpot with a jar of salsa for 7-8 hours. After it’s done, serve how you like. I like to serve it as a taco salad with sauteed peppers and onions, guacamole and fat-free refried beans on top of spinach. You can make tacos or burritos with the filling, as well.
Why I like it: It cooks while I’m at work (you can even throw in the chopped pepper and onion if you don’t want to saute them) and makes enough that I have leftovers the next day.
Here’s a sample of a similar recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Salsa
Shrimp sushi bowls
What it is: Cauliflower rice topped with cooked shrimp, edamame, spiralized carrot, cucumber, shredded seaweed and topped with a sauce made of sriracha, mayo, vinegar and soy sauce
Why I like it: I love the taste of them, and everything about it can be prepped in advance. The day before I make this, I chop cucumber, spiralize the carrots and make the sauce. The day of, I defrost the shrimp (if frozen, because frozen cooked shrimp are about as easy as it can get) and edamame and I put it all together
Here’s a sample of a similar recipe: Spicy Shrimp Sushi Bowls
Sheet pan salmon & veggies
What it is: I put a salmon filet on a sheet pan, surrounded by a good roasting veggie (I like broccoli, asparagus or green beans). Sometimes I top it all with pesto, other times I just add salt/pepper/garlic. Then, everything is baked together.
Why I like it: I love fish and this is the easiest way to make it, plus a lot of veggies.
Here’s a sample of a similar recipe: Pesto Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner
Sweet potato zucchini hash
What it is: I finely chop zucchini, sweet potato, pepper and onion. I roast the zucchini and sweet potato with a spice blend of paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder. While the veggies are roasting, I saute the pepper and onion with chicken chorizo and the same spice blend. When everything is done, I mix them together. Some days we’ll top with an avocado. If we haven’t had eggs that week, instead of chorizo sometimes we will top with a runny egg.
Why I like it: It can all be prepped and even prepared a day in advance. Then, feel free to heat it up on a saute pan and you’re good to go.
Here’s a sample of a similar recipe: Sweet Potato Zucchini Hash
Question for you:
What are your go-to easy weeknight meals? Bonus points if you can make it ahead of time!