This week was a doozy. We had open house at both my school and my children's school as well as dentist appointments and, just for fun, we threw in a visit to the veterinarian for our labradoodle, Luke. Other than the vet visit, all of these events had been planned for weeks, so luckily I had time to prepare. And one of the main ways I prepared was planning quick and easy meals.
I know some of you are thinking, why don't you just order out? Actually, we did order pizza one night this week; however, because we live on a teacher's salary, we really can't afford to on a regular basis (I know many of you feel me). Also, sitting and enjoying a home-cooked meal with my family helps me de-stress at the end of the day; it really is one of the ways I practice self-care.
There are several different types of meals that can save you time and energy. I'm including 3 main types here because my family and I like variety, and I want to offer as much choice as possible. I hope you find a meal here that will become part of your regular rotation and come in handy when your schedule gets hectic.
Skillet or Sheet Pan Meals
If you don't own an Instant Pot or have lots of freezer space, then these meals are for you. I personally love these meals because I loathe doing dishes! To begin, sheet pan meals are meant to be cooked all on one sheet pan. I always line my pan with either foil or parchment for even easier clean up (did I mention I hate doing dishes?). Damn Delicious offers 10 sheet pan recipes, several of which my family has made and loved (the breakfast bake is killer and feeds lots of people). And if it's too warm to crank up the oven, skillet meals are another option. Kitchn serves up 10 easy skillet recipes, including my husband's favorite, chicken pot pie.
I know someone who spends one Sunday each month prepping and freezing meals for the whole month. I think people like this are amazing and wish I could be like them. The honest truth is, though, that I'm just not most of the time. But occasionally I'll see chicken or fish or pork on a great sale and will buy extra, fix up a few freezer meals and feel super accomplished. Real Simple provides 20 make-ahead dinners that can be frozen for months. My girls like the fish sticks and mac n cheese (of course).
Instant Pot Meals
My husband shook his head at me when I bought an Instant Pot on Black Friday of last year. He told me I would never use it, and it would sit in the cupboard. Boy, was he wrong. In fact, my husband actually uses it more than I do! We have found that it cooks food in a way that leaves it juicy, tender and flavorful, unlike our slow cooker, which always seemed to overcook and dry things out. There are SO MANY recipes out there, even recipe groups you can join on social media, but one of my favorite compilations of recipes is at Forkly. From cooking rice to hard boiled eggs, the Instant Pot has been a game-changer in our house (and, no, I'm not being paid by Instant Pot to say that).