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Shortcuts to speed up dinner

Sometimes dinnertime can be a stressful time but not anymore! Here we share a variety of great tips to help keep you organized, help you save money and, of course, help your dinner planning (especially for busy moms).

Quick and easy summer couscous salad recipe

Dinner can be chaotic especially for busy moms. Let us help take some of the stress off your shoulders with these super easy and helpful tips. Get creative in your kitchen and make dinner the easiest meal of the day with these tips and ideas.

Meal planning

Start by planning out your family’s meals for the entire week (Monday to Friday). Get a notebook and write down one dinner for each night along with all of the ingredients you need to prepare your meals. This will ensure you have everything you need which will keep you on track when a particular recipe is ready to prepare.

Learn how to shop for food and plan meals on a budget >>

Choose a specific day to do all of your food shopping. Try to purchase as many of the ingredients as you can such as fruits, veggies and lean meats. You can always make a quick stop during the week for extra produce to keep things fresh and so that you don’t have anything that spoils before you use it. Just remember to always stick to your list! This helps to not only keep you on track but keeps the cost down.

Prep meals

Prep ahead of time

Choose a day, maybe on a weekend, and prep! Chop up fruits and vegetables, diced or shred cheese, portion out chicken and meats. Try to have as many ingredients as you can ready to go for use in a recipe. You will be absolutely amazed at how much time this will save you after you start prepping your ingredients ahead.

Keep your pantry stocked with staples

Tortillas are perfect for quick meals. Stuff them full of veggies or leftovers from a previous meal to create burritos, sandwich wraps and quesadillas. Since they hold up well, you can even prepare these types of dishes ahead of time and pop them in the oven when you get home for a super speedy dinner.

A variety of pastas is also another wonderful and easy thing to keep on hand. Cook a big pot of pasta and keep it in the refrigerator. Add the pasta to salads, soups, stews or even toss it with pesto and mixed vegetables for a light summer-inspired dinner.

Rotisserie chicken is not only something you won’t have to have to worry about cooking, but you can also use it in any dish! Think tacos, barbecue chicken sandwiches, wraps and salads. The possibilities are endless.

Check out these 3 easy no-cook recipes using rotisserie chicken >>

Sliced meats and cheese from your grocer’s deli can come in very handy! If you’re in a pinch or on the go for one of your little one’s soccer games, throw a sandwich together. Add some of the veggies you prepped beforehand and pack along some fresh fruit. What’s easier than that?

Fresh pizza dough

Think convenience items

Use fresh prepared pizza dough from your local grocer. Look in the bakery or cooler section to find it. You can easily transform the dough into pizzas, empanadas, calzones or quick breadsticks to accompany a salad.

Get a kale and butternut squash pizza on the table in a hurry >>

Use freshly bagged spinach that’s already been washed for quick meals. Spinach is a delicious leafy veggie providing lots of nutrients our bodies need. Keep a few bags of this mean green on hand and add it to soups, pasta or rice dishes, make a big spinach salad or even serve breakfast for dinner and mix chopped spinach into an omelet.

Take advantage of leftovers

Create delicious dinner salads by using leftovers from other meals. Sliced deli meats and cheeses go great in salads. Dice them up and toss them in for added protein and flavor. Use beans such as garbanzos which help add texture to boring salads. Nuts and seeds and even fresh fruits such as strawberries go great with leafy green salads.

Find out what to do with leftover rice >>

Up next: Quick and easy summer couscous salad recipe pictured at top >>

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