7 Ways to get dinner on the table that don't involve cooking
Let's face it: Even though you probably have the best of intentions, you don't always have the time (or motivation) to cook dinner.
That doesn't mean your family has to fend for themselves. These simple solutions mean you can still feed your family without ever turning on the oven.
1. Pick up something pre-assembled
If you've never explored the area near the deli counter at your local grocery store, do it the next time you go. Most places now have entire displays of pre-assembled casseroles, lasagnas and much more. Just a little bit of time in your microwave or oven, and dinner is served. It's basically homemade, right?
2. Pick up something pre-assembled... and cooked
Even easier than the you-cook-it options are the behind-the-counter deli options that include hot main dishes and sides. Get one big meal, or pick and choose individual plates for every member of your family.
3. Skip cooking the main dish
OK, so there are tons of sides you can come up with that require no (or very little) cooking, right? Salad, leftovers, fresh fruit, etc. It's the main dish part that can be time consuming. Pick up a rotisserie chicken on your way home, and dinner is almost done.
4. Serve something cold
Make one giant salad using all those veggies sitting in your fridge. This serves two purposes — your crisper finally gets a cleanout, and everyone gets a healthy dinner. If a vegetarian meal just isn't enough to satisfy some of your more carnivorous family members, then pick up one of those rotisserie chickens we discussed earlier, and shred it into the salad. Someone in your family not a salad eater? Cereal works too.
5. Make a no-cook dinner
OK, so you're still kind of cooking when you're assembling these no-cook meals, but the oven never actually gets turned on, so that's a win, right?
6. Cook ahead of time
If you know you have busy nights coming up, do all your cooking when you actually have time. When dinnertime arrives, all you have to do is reheat these ready-made meals and serve.
7. Get takeout
I know, I know. This is basically cheating. But I think we can probably all agree that sometimes that drive-thru window is just too easy to resist. Try to choose those sparingly, and order something at least somewhat healthy. You know the drill — choose the side salad over the fries, and opt for grilled chicken over breaded. Keep in mind that takeout doesn't have to mean fast food or pizza. Most restaurants offer to-go options, so keep menus of your family's favorite places with healthier options handy.
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