Dinner time is family time. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get everyone together and it’s often even more difficult to find time to prepare meals. Home prepared meals are generally healthier than take out options. With a little meal planning and some advanced preparation you can get a meal on the table in mere minutes. Here are some fast family meal ideas to help you get started.
Southern Style Crock Pot Chicken
If you have five minutes in the morning, you have time to pull this meal together. Layer the following items into your crock pot:
* 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 8 oz. can green chilies
* 15 oz. can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
* 15 oz. can of corn, drained
* 15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
* 15 oz. can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
* 15 oz. can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Sprinkle a packet of taco seasoning or chili powder on the mixture. Cook for 6-8 hours on low. When you get home at night, shred chicken with a fork. It should be nice and tender. Serve with tortillas and your choice of sides/toppings. Consider shredded cheese, avocado, salsa, and shredded lettuce.
The crock pot is an ideal kitchen tool for busy families. You can make soups, stews, roasts, and casseroles in your crock pot and it only takes a few minutes of your time.
Choose your favorite pasta shape and cook according to package directions. Slice your favorite vegetables; consider zucchini slices, broccoli, carrots, and cherry tomatoes. Toss all the vegetables with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven for twenty minutes at 350 degrees F.
Toss the pasta with the vegetables and serve with parmesan cheese. It’s a healthy meal with grains and vegetables. Use whole grain pasta for added nutrition.
Sausage, Kale, and White Bean Soup
In a large stock pot, put five cups of chicken broth. Slice a pound of Andouille sausage and add to the pot. Add a can of white beans and one pound of coarsely chopped kale. Cook to let kale soften, then serve. It’s great with crusty white bread on the side. This recipe literally takes about ten to fifteen minutes – just long enough for the broth and ingredients to get hot.
When looking for fast family meal ideas, look to your resources. A crock pot and make-ahead recipes are a busy family’s best friend. Plan ahead, prepare what you can in advance and enjoy meal time with your family.