12 Simple, Quick Meals for the Busy Family

We have all had those out of control crazy days where even the most carefully planned out day has gone south, and suddenly we find it’s 4:00 and we have NO idea what we are going to serve our family for dinner or the original meal we had planned is still sitting in the freezer.

Now, we become the frantic mom trying to think of a simple healthy meal to serve our families. How can we avoid being the frantic mom?

Here are Three easy steps to NO more Frantic 4:00 dinner madness:

Step 1 – Make a list of SIMPLE meals you can prepare in 20 minutes or less. Place this list in an easily accessible place – Fridge, bulletin board, your cell phone, planner book. Where ever you need it for quick access.

Step 2 – Keep ingredients on hand for 2 to 3 of these meals.

Step 3 – When creating your weekly or monthly meal plan, add a Frantic Mom meal, ready to be used for any day of the week that might go crazy.

My girlfriend Sue called me the other day saying – “Trisha, you need to have a list on the 24/7 MOMS site of Fast meals for us Moms to use when our day goes out of control” My response – “Great idea, Make me one”. And with that Sue quickly made a list of “12 Fast Lane Dinnersto share with us.

Last minute ideas for the panic stricken mom
By: Susan Fox

1. Deli sandwich– Start with a loaf of garlic bread from your grocery store, slice loaf in half lengthwise add deli roast beef and provolone cheese or ham and Swiss cheese, or whatever deli meat- cheese combo you like. Put in between bread, return to foil bag and heat in the oven. Serve with chips and or veggies or fruit. Add some canned tomato or chicken noodle soup for a heartier meal.

2. Spaghetti with jarred spaghetti sauce – brown some ground beef if you have time. Good old store bought French bread and a bagged salad will do on a hectic day.

3. Omelets- Just add cheeses, diced ham, green onion, tomato, canned chopped olives, whatever you’ve got on hand.

4. Breakfast Dinner – Scrambled eggs, sausage, (keep a couple packages in the freezer) and frozen hash browns.

5. Frozen lasagna – Add salad and bread.

6. Pigs in a blanket – Use turkey or veggie dogs to make a little healthier. Wrap in crescent dough and bake according to package instructions. If you have small kids this is always a hit. Add some apple sauce and carrot sticks.

7. Strawberry waffles, pancakes or French toast – Add sausage or bacon if you like. Who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner.

8. Baked potato bar – Well I guess you do need to plan a little ahead to bake them unless you nuke ‘em. Add favorite toppings, cheese, broccoli, leftover chicken (or buy a precooked chicken at the deli just for this) or any leftover meat you have, olives, Parmesan cheese, etc, etc. be creative and let everyone serve themselves.

9. Deli roasted chicken with roasted veggies – Dice red potatoes, carrots, onion and red and green peppers (be sure to dice potatoes and carrots small for quick cooking) Toss veggies with a generous amount of olive oil and lemon-pepper seasoning from the seasoning aisle. Roast in the oven at 450 for about 30 min .or until tender.

10. Pasta with store bought pesto sauce- Add cherry tomatoes and zucchini if your family will eat it, and top with Parmesan cheese. Add a French bread.

11. Super easy summer pasta salad – Start with corkscrew or bow tie pasta- or any fun shape. Add diced veggies like tomato, zucchini, olives, red onion, add diced pepperoni slices if desired and toss with bottled Italian dressing. Tastes better if it can marinade for a couple of hours.

12. Barbeque chicken breast with Au-gratin potatoes – I use Kraft honey barbecue bottled sauce. Pour over chicken and bake at 350 for 1 hr. Our favorite side dish to this is Betty Crocker Au-gratin potatoes. You can bake both at the same time. Look for baking times on the potato box.

Do you have a Fast Lane – Simple meal idea to add to your list? Comment or Email it to trisha@247moms.com and we will continue to grow our Fast Lane meal list for moms.

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7 Responses

  1. My kids’ favorite is homemade pizza. I usually make fresh dough (courtesy of the bread machine) but in a pinch tortilla shells make great crusts! I always have a jar of pizza sauce and a bag of mozzarella cheese in the fridge. Each of us gets our own tortilla and gets to decorate our own personal pizza. Pop in the oven for about 5 minutes and voila!

  2. Beef Stroganoff

    1 lb. ground beef
    chopped onion to taste
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    1 cup sour cream
    2 Tbsp ketchup
    2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
    4 oz. can sliced mushrooms
    6-8 oz. noodles

    Brown meat and saute onion till tender. Mix soup, sour cream, ketchup, Worchestershire sauce, and mushrooms with their liquid. Pour over meat and heat through.

    Cook noodles and serve stroganoff over top of noodles.

    – Amy

  3. I added a link to this post in my Resources for Working Moms section. Great ideas…thanks! (And I’m a little embarrassed to report that my boys had toaster waffles for dinner tonight, followed by homemade yogurt popsicles for dessert…the waffles were topped with fresh blueberries and the popsicles had mashed up strawberries and bananas…that’s sort of healthy, right?)

  4. I love that you are posting this, because I often find myself too exhausted after a busy day to want to cook some extravagant meal!

    I also agree about the homemade pizza. My husband LOVES my chili cheesedog pizza. I buy pillsbury crust (located by biscuits in grocery). Sauce is a can of no bean chili. Slice hot dogs and put over chili, then top with shredded mozzarella.

    It’s quick, easy and YUMMY!

  5. I like to get a family size (3-5#) of ground beef on sale and make sure I have onions, peppers and black beans. I make up a big batch of taco meat, serve it that night as burritos or taco salad, then freeze the leftovers in ziploc sandwich bags (1# approx.) for those frantic nights. It is one of those balanced meals with protein, vegetables, dairy, etc. We like the addition of the beans (either black or kidney) for more protein, making less meat in your diet!

  6. I use my mom's skillet lasagna recipe frequently

    Layer in skillet,
    1lb browned ground beef
    1lb cottage cheese (or ricotta if you rather)
    3C egg noodles or bowtie pasta
    1 pkg dry spaghetti mix (or your own seasonings)
    1can tomato sauce
    1can petite diced tomatoes
    cover skillet with lid and cook on low for 30min
    top with mozarella cheese and parmesian and you are good to go.

    Serve with bread and salad or frozen veggies.

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