After working and running errands throughout the day, cooking a hearty, healthy meal for the family can be a daunting task — that is, unless you have the tricks to make a fast, simple meal that hits the spot. Here are a few of our favorite tricks for making simple family meals.
Spice up old favorites.
The kids are sick of having spaghetti again, and your husband just can’t take another plain old salad… so spice it up. Adding simple spices such as crushed red pepper, oregano, salt and pepper to canned sauces and bottled dressings can add a new dimension to old dishes. Plus, at certain grocery stores, you can buy spices for as little as $1 a container.
Make it now, enjoy it later.
Some leftovers just don’t keep well, but if you take the time on weekends to make real, exciting meals and freeze them, you won’t have to deal with picking at leftovers during the week. Instead, make lasagna, soup and other easy-to-keep meals and store them in the freezer or refrigerator until they’re needed. Pop them in the microwave or oven for a few minutes, and bam: You have a fresh, homecooked meal for your family.
Limit it to one pan.
Half the stress of cooking is the mess it leaves in its wake. Simple, one-pan meal recipes can cut down on after-dinner cleanup. Whether stir-fry fajitas or authentic Chinese food, these meals can be simple, delicious, healthy and worry free — and all you have to clean is one measly pan.
Freeze your meats.
Whether you buy frozen meats or just freeze them yourself, keeping a stock in your freezer can be a lifesaver come mealtime. Frozen chicken breasts are inexpensive and healthy, and they taste just as if you bought them fresh. Need to make a salad more filling? Defrost some chicken breast in the microwave and cook with spices of your choice. Now you have a salad for a meal instead of a side salad. Frozen burgers can be grilled as is, then dressed up with spices, veggies and condiments.