Do you ever have one of those weeks when you know that things are going to be crazy? Of course you do. We’ve all experienced that. If you haven’t, teach me your ways, oh wise one. But for the rest of us mere mortals, let’s talk about how to get everyone fed during one of “those weeks”.
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I’m an advocate for cooking from scratch and most of the time I do. But if it’s a choice between taking some shortcuts in the kitchen or picking up fast food, by all means, embrace those shortcuts! It’s still going to be far healthier than most anything you’ll find in a drive-thru.
I love a meal you can just stick in the oven and pretty much ignore. Place chicken breasts on a sheet pan, season to taste (I like garlic salt, pepper and Creole seasoning), cover with foil and place in 350 degree oven along with baking potatoes. About 30 minutes later, remove foil and brush with your favorite barbecue sauce. I like to make my own most of the time but there is a time for bottled BBQ sauce. This is it. Return to oven and continue cooking until chicken and potatoes are done.
A few minutes before chicken and potatoes are ready, cook some veggies. Those bags that steam in the microwave are just made for crazy, busy weeks. Dump a bag of salad in salad bowl, toss with your favorite dressing and dinner is ready!
- baked chicken breasts with barbecue sauce
- baked potatoes with butter and sour cream
- steamed veggies
Slow cookers are a lifesaver, especially if you are going to be away from home all day. Most of the time I like to brown the roast on the stove before placing in the slow cooker but you know what? It isn’t essential. If you’ve got to be out of the house early in the morning, skip that step. Season well, place in slow cooker, place potatoes, onions and carrots around and on top of roast, and add some liquid. I like to use about a tablespoon of worchestershire sauce and some red wine. Beef or vegetable broth work well, too. Set on low and look forward to coming home to the delicious smell of roast beef. Extra time saving tip: Use a bag of baby carrots instead of peeling regular ones.
Heat up some store bought rolls or bake a can of biscuits (yes, you have my permission to use canned biscuits!). Since you’ve already got vegetables cooked along with the roast just toss a quick salad and dinner is on the table.
- roast, potatoes, onions and carrots in slow cooker
- biscuits or rolls
Be sure you’ve cooked a big enough roast for leftovers. Slice or shred the leftovers and heat on the stove with some barbecue sauce. Toast some deli rolls and place BBQ beef inside. Bake some sweet potato fries in the oven and serve with purchased cole slaw or potato salad. Tip: Your local BBQ joint is a good place to pick up the coleslaw or potato salad.
- barbecue beef sandwiches (using leftover roast)
- sweet potato fries
- coleslaw or potato salad
I like to make my own sauce but I also keep a jar or two in the pantry for busy nights. I like Aldi’s organic tomato basil sauce really well. Add a tablespoon of Italian seasoning and a splash of red wine to your favorite jarred sauce. Cook a bag of frozen meatballs, add to the heated sauce and serve over cooked pasta. While the meatballs are cooking, heat up some garlic bread and toss a salad. Super quick and easy!
- spaghetti and meatballs
- garlic bread
Whether you choose a frozen pizza or delivery is up to you but Friday is pizza night. Add a quick salad and call it good.
Hopefully you can talk someone else in your household into grilling the burgers while you slice tomatoes and prepare the fruit. If the weather is nice, eat outdoors. Maybe even on paper plates!
- burgers on grill
- all the usual toppings
- fresh fruit
Hopefully your busy week is drawing to a close and you can take a deep breath. Celebrate with a hearty brunch and let everyone over the age of 10 fend for themselves the rest of the day.
- pancakes or waffles
- bacon or sausage
For more easy dinners, check out this post:
What are your favorite easy dinners?