Many nights on my drive home from work I dreaded the “What’s for dinner?” discussion. I usually didn’t have anything planned, and I was exhausted from a long day at work. I hated suggesting to my family the same old stuff or delivery. Sound familiar? There is a better way to make quick, delicious meals at home. Here are tips to help you skip the fast food on a busy night.
Batch Cook Your Proteins
Or even have some simple freezer meals prepared that you can heat and eat. I like to batch cook some proteins on the weekend when I know I have a busy week ahead. On a Sunday afternoon, I can prep 3 or 4 proteins at one time when I know I will be home taking care of other chores, like laundry or the yard. For example, I can cook pork in the slow cooker, grill chicken outside and roast beef in the oven.
In one of my Facebook groups for moms, a woman asked for ideas on easy, go-to weeknight meals. She was describing a similar scenario as above. She had a few children, she and her husband worked, she wanted to be able to get food ready for them without having to eat out frequently. The most interesting and surprising response I read was something like “it won’t kill your children to eat sandwiches for dinner.” It gave me the permission I needed to realize that a sandwich is a perfectly reasonable, easy weeknight meal. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a plain ham and cheese sandwich. Try grilled cheese or using your waffle iron to make them more “fun”. Plus, my kids love sandwiches.
There was a point in my house where my husband just flat out told me he was tired of rotisserie chicken. I would probably buy 2 a week during our really busy seasons. So, maybe go a little easier on rotisserie chickens than I did. But, they are quick, convenient and usually low cost. Just pick one up on your way home and add your family’s favorite sides. I also love these 15 Easy Meals Using a Rotisserie Chicken from the Busy Budgeter. Of course, I have to modify them for my picky eaters.
Plan Your Meals
To be the most proactive and break the cycle of eating out, start planning your meals for the week ahead of time. You can incorporate a plan for a quick meal or even take out on those nights that you know you will be extra busy or more tired than usual. It also makes it easier to know what proteins to batch cook when you have a plan for the week.
Even on those nights that you are too tired to cook, have a great plan for an easy week night dinner and skip the fast food lane! What are your go-to meals to help you skip the drive through?