We are in a very busy season of our life right now. We’re sometimes tired – and constantly have a lot going on. But the things that are keeping us busy are ALL good things! Being busy is not something that we don’t want to do. This is the good kind of busy. Hence the inspiration for this post on easy meals for busy seasons.
It’s really easy, when you’re busy, to compromise on food.
“Oh my gosh, I’ve been so busy and it’s 6pm?! Let’s just have cereal for dinner.” “Ugh, I can’t believe I’m getting home late again, let’s throw in a frozen pizza, kids. ” “My husband is working late again…Hot Pockets it is!” Do any of those sounds familiar? Eating a box of cereal one night is no big deal. I’m not even against the occasional frozen pizza. But during a busy season, you don’t want to eat cereal and frozen pizza every night. That is a really bad plan for long-term health (or sanity).
I know from experience…when I let food go, we don’t feel well.
I know this may not be true for everyone. But in our house, when we start eating junk, we aren’t our best selves. I know that good, healthy, homemade food is not something I can let slide for my family. Saying, “Here’s a Hot Pocket!” three or four nights a week is not going to make us feel well. We’ll be crabby and hungry more often.
I may be running around like a chicken with my head cut off most days, but I can’t let healthy food for my family fall to the wayside. That’s why I came up with some easy meals for busy seasons. These are tried and true, nutritious and filling recipes that I know will work for the entire family – and I hope will work for yours! Remember, if anything, you need good nutrition even MORE during the busy seasons of life.
Note: It might be helpful to check out the post about my non-negotiables during life’s busy seasons.
I also have those non-negotiables in my kitchen when it comes to dinner. There are things I may compromise on and there are things I will not compromise on. And the beauty is, you get to choose! BUT you have to know the things you won’t compromise on ahead of time. Failing to plan, is planning to fail!
Think about what, in your family and with your diets, that you will and will not compromise on?
I may let other things slide, but I always do my best to make homemade bread. Those healthy grains are so crucial for my family, our digestion, and our overall health. I use the Bread Beckers recipes for pretty much everything. It has the best basic dough, basic muffins, basic granola, etc. You may also buy 8 slice whole wheat flatbread if you don’t have time to make one.
I do compromise on chips. We use these as a side for dinner a lot and I am cool with compromising on that! Another thing I buy and I do not mind compromising on is crackers. We buy those because making homemade crackers is too time-consuming for me during the busy seasons of life.
We do a lot of crock pot meals, pressure cooker meals, and sandwiches. I have two Crock Pot cookbooks that I actually use all the time. The roasts, the soups, the stews, the sandwich fillings – I absolutely love that I get a lot of comments that my food looks so normal and “not hard.”
Frozen vegetables are my go-to.
Whenever I buy fresh vegetables, they always seem to go bad before I can use them! I don’t care one iota if people think frozen vegetables are no good. They are my best friend. I buy whatever bulk-size frozen vegetables Sam’s Club has on hand, then I can just go grab my frozen vegetables from the freezer and throw them in the microwave come dinner time. Easy peasy.
I also love using my pressure cookers.
I recently got one of those fancy Instant Pots, so I don’t know much about it yet – learning takes time, right? But I use my stove top pressure cookers all the time. Hard-boiled eggs in the pressure cooker is another one of my favorites. You basically look at them and the shells fall off. It is amazing!
Great Food Fast is my favorite pressure cooker cookbook. I have three different size stovetop pressure cookers and using them I can have dinner done in 45 minutes or less. I haven’t tried anything in her cookbook that I don’t like! There are a handful of ingredients in this cookbook that might be processed ingredients I don’t use. That doesn’t mean you need to throw away the whole cookbook! Just because the recipe calls for Velveeta cheese or cream of something soup or Italian dressing packet. Y’all, just sub it out for a homemade version! Easy peasy. 🙂
Good Cheap Eats in 30 Minutes or Less…I LOVE this book!
This cookbook is one of my best friends. It has chili, nachos, breakfasts, sandwiches, salads – and every recipe is delicious. It is one of the best cookbooks I have ever bought. If you are in a busy season and need helping recipe inspiration; get yourself a copy of this cookbook! This is a from-scratch cooking cookbook that gets the job done without a bunch of processed ingredients. She also has a freezer cookbook that is awesome too. But if you’re looking for good, healthy, FAST meals – this is the book for you.
Here are a handful of my favorite easy meals for busy seasons:
Million Dollar Spaghetti Recipe – meatless meal that is super filling and hearty! This is super-fast and easy. I’ve been making it for decades and it never gets old.
Sandwiches – Y’all, there is nothing wrong with sandwiches. Do not feel bad for feeding your family sandwiches. Grilled cheese, egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, peanut butter and banana, BLT – just to name a few. There are so many options and none of them will disappoint!
Sloppy Joes – When I make Sloppy Joes I double the recipe and freeze half for another night or keep it in the refrigerator for another night that week.
Breakfast for dinner – We call this one “brinner” in our house. This is a family favorite. Pancakes, waffles, eggs, toast, avocado, I could go on and on but I think y’all get the idea. Anything you could serve at breakfast makes a quick and easy dinner.
Nachos – Let me tell you something about nachos…you can have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Just throw whatever you’ve got in the fridge on top of those nachos! Sloppy Joe Nachos, Breakfast Nachos, Leftover Chili Nachos, Pizza Nachos – Nacho it up baby! Add some fruit on the side and call it dinner. It’s easy and only limited by your imagination. And I don’t know about you, but in my house, if I top anything with cheese and sour cream, the people will eat it.
Don’t let your quality of food slide just because you’re busy.
Did I say that yet? 😉 A few more tips. Take 2 hours and make your meal plan for an entire month. Find a few favorites that you can make double batches of and store in the freezer for another night. Figure out what foods are your family’s non-negotiables. Decide what foods you can compromise on to keep you from going crazy during life’s busy seasons. Find a system that works FOR YOU.
Comment below with what meals are saving your tail during life’s busy seasons!