Quick prep tips and recipes for busy people (so pretty much everyone)
Spring is here and we're even busier than usual. In lives that feel whirlwind-fast already, spring activities make us question how we can juggle it all and get a healthy dinner on the table. Here are my quick prep tips and some recipes that'll help you get dinner on the table with less stress.
6 quick prep tips to make dinnertime smoother
- Meal Plan: Take one evening and meal plan. Look at your schedule and make sure you plan the quickest and easiest meals for busy nights .
- Prep Ahead: I've found Sunday evenings are usually the best time to pull out veggies and chop and dice them for the week. Then when I make dinner I pull out the right bag or container and we're cooking in no time.
- Plan for protein: Cooking chicken breast? Cube it or slice it thin ahead of time for quick cooking. I love to butterfly and flatten chicken breast. It bakes, grills, or fries in no time. Flatten burger patties so they're thin and cook quickly.
- Slow cook for fast meals: Utilize that slow cooker. Sometimes a slow cook is the best way to a fast meal. Pop dinner in in the morning and come home to the amazing scent of dinner ready to be served.
- Think takeout at home: Fried rice, burritos, tacos, and burgers are quick and easy to make at home. I'm a huge fan of my rice cooker and often add canned black beans to make a base for Asian- or Mexican-styled meals.
- One pot wonder: One pot dishes are a time saver! Broccoli is one of my favorite fresh vegetables to throw into the pasta pot. It gets done when the pasta is done, then I drain it and finish the dish in one pot.
Ready to get cooking quick prep meals? Here's one of my family's favorite recipes that cooks up in no time. You can add pine nuts, cooked chicken, beef, tuna, or black beans for protein.
One pot broccoli mushroom pasta
- 1 box pasta
- 1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 cups cream of mushroom soup (homemade link above or store bought substitution referenced)
- 2 cups milk
- Salt to taste
- Water for pasta
- Choice of protein (1 can black beans, drained, 2 cups cooked chicken, a can of tuna, etc.)
Fill pan 2/3 way full with water. Bring water with a small pinch of salt to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta and broccoli. Cook to al dente. Approximately 5-7 minutes. Then simply drain. Dump back into pan and add protein, mushroom soup, milk, and desired salt. Cook over low/medium heat until thick.
Want a quick easy prep meal plan? Here are five quick and easy meals for your week.
- Ginger Garlic Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Brown Sugar Garlic Chicken (from It is A Keeper) with Baked Potatoes and Salad
- One Pot Quinoa Burrito Bowl
- Can't Believe it's Mushroom Beef Tacos
- Baked Trout with Lemon and Garlic, rice, and steamed broccoli
What are your favorite quick prep meal tips? We'd love to hear from you.
About our contributor:
Heather writes at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond where she shares her love of cooking and all things food. She's a homeschool mama to 3 kids and loves to read when she isn't whipping up food in the kitchen. Her best party tip: less is more - make less food but make it amazing.