Busy Moms Can Find Time to Cook
Guest Blogger: Tee of That’s IT! Mommy
Dinner time is an important meal because it’s one of the few moments most families spend time together during the week. Unfortunately, like every busy mom, sometimes I have very little time to plan a meal. I just don’t know what to cook. And sometimes I’m just too tired to cook! I admit that cooking doesn’t come easy for me. I’m always looking for simple recipes and to save time on cooking and preparation.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if moms had an extra hour daily just for meal planning? Well there are ways to save time in the kitchen and you get to spend more time at the dinner table! Here are some of my tips that have helped me save time or at least relieve some stress!
▪ Meal plan! Planning out your meals can help you save time! Advanced planning cuts down spending time every day on what to cook and then rushing to the grocery store for those missing ingredients. Spend an hour or two, once a week and plan out your meals. After your meal plan, shop for the ingredients that you are missing. You know what you are eating every night.
▪ Referring to your cookbooks for ideas is also meal planning. Just don’t be like me and buy cookbooks for the pretty pictures. When selecting a cookbook look over the recipes-are they realistic? Will your family enjoy the meals? Do you really need an entire cookbook dedicated to honey? (I have this cookbook!) Find cookbooks that offer quick recipes which aren’t so darn intimidating.
▪ The internet is the best resource for easy dinner ideas! Sites like readyseteat.com have saved my butt when I was in a pinch! I really like how readyseteat.com displays prep time, the amount of ingredients that you need plus easy to understand directions. Print out your favorite recipes from various sites and create your own recipe book!
▪ Cook and freeze. I know many friends who cook for an entire week! Just heat up and get ready to eat!
▪ Store up! I usually have taco kits, canned tomatoes, canned beans, and frozen veggies on hand! Believe me, they come in handy when you are in a bind or haven’t had a chance to shop! Some nights I make fried rice by cooking up rice, adding egg and frozen vegetables!
▪ Think simple! Grill chicken with baby potatoes and asparagus. I only use olive oil, pepper and sometimes garlic. Easy!
▪ Have the family help prepare! Family members can dice, rinse and set the table! Every hand helps and lessens the stress on mom or dad.
What is my staple last minute meal? Tacos! They are fun and super easy to prepare. My daughter loves putting together her own tacos! I had a can of Ro*Tel® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies in the pantry which led me to check out their site where I discovered Rockin’ Tacos! I looked over the recipe and declared, “I can do that!” I used soft tortillas and a can of Ro*Tel® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies to season my beef. My 5-year-old can only handle so much spice so I put aside some of the cooked unseasoned beef for her. I then went ahead and added the seasoning and diced tomatoes. My husband loved our spicy soft tacos!
Here’s the recipe I used from Ro-Tel.com
• 1 pound ground sirloin beef (90% lean)
• 2 cans (10 oz each) Ro*Tel® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, divided (I decided to only use one can of tomatoes).
• 1 pkg (1.25 oz each) 30% less sodium taco seasoning mix
• 1/3 cup water
• 12 flour tortillas (6 inch), warmed
• 3 cups shredded lettuce
• 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1. Cook beef in large skillet over medium-high heat about 7 minutes or until crumbled and no longer pink, stirring occasionally; drain. Add 1 can un-drained tomatoes and seasoning mix; mix well. Stir in water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, drain remaining can of tomatoes; set aside.
3. Spoon meat mixture evenly onto tortillas; top with lettuce, drained tomatoes and cheese.
For a milder flavor, use Ro*Tel® Mild Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies. Draining the liquid off the second can of tomatoes reduces the spiciness of the tomatoes used on top of the tacos.
Feel free to include avocado, beans or sour cream! That’s the beauty of tacos! Add a variety of foods or keep it simple. This meal only took me 20 minutes to prepare and my entire family lent a helping hand!
What are some of the challenges that you encounter when trying to make a family dinner and how do you make time for it? Any last minute meal tips?