Knock Recipes For the Kids Off Your To-Do List Fast!
5 tips to Save Time When It Comes to Meal Time
Busy parents know the struggle of trying to feed their family wholesome and tasty meals while juggling multiple responsibilities. Try these five tips for getting easy lunch and dinner recipes off your to-do list and onto the table quickly – perfect for those days when cooking is the last thing on your mind!
1. Go-To Kids Supper Ideas to the Rescue
Have you ever stood in front of your fridge on a weeknight, with hungry little ones by your side, wondering what in the world you are going to make for dinner?
Here is a simple solution to this problem.
Create a list of your family’s favourite dinners and keep it handy in a kitchen drawer or hung up on your fridge. Include easy and budget-friendly weeknight dinners that use up pantry staples, like this Garlic Bread Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches recipe featuring Wonder® White Hamburger Buns. Add the ingredients for each dinner to this master list.
Each week, before you go grocery shopping, pick out a few dinners from the master list to serve that week and put any missing ingredients on your shopping list.
Taking the time to write out not only a list of items to buy at the grocery store, but also what your family will be eating for the week will save both time and money. How so?
This two-in-one list helps you avoid buying food that will not be eaten while also eliminating time-consuming daily shopping trips to grab missing ingredients for your meals.
You may also benefit from writing out dinner plans on a weekly calendar for all to see.
This lets the whole family know what they have to look forward to and helps you to stay on schedule. Don’t forget that as you try new recipes, you can expand your list of go-to dinners.
MOM TIP: Writing out your shopping list on your phone makes it easy to check off items as you shop and hard to forget your list on your way out the door!
2. Weekend Lunch Prep
Weekday mornings can be hectic for many families. Between waking up, getting kids dressed, fed and ready for school, it can be hard to find the time to make everyone a complete lunch.
Skip the morning lunch prep by dedicating an hour of time on the weekend to fixing lunches for the first couple days of the week.
Download your free weekly meal planner here
Start by picking a few easy lunch ideas that you know your family will love and that will fare well in the fridge.
Sandwiches are always a crowd-pleaser for school lunches and they can easily be made ahead or prepped for ahead of time. You can find more details on make-ahead sandwiches here.
Once you’ve chosen some lunch recipes and hit the grocery store, commit one hour of your time on a Saturday or Sunday to preparing the meals. Help the time pass by throwing on a TV show or movie in the background! In the end, you will have spent the same amount of time assembling the lunches, while avoiding the daily chore of bringing out ingredients and cleaning up the kitchen in the mornings.
Beware of hungry children! Make sure to store the finished meals in a specific section of your fridge and tell the family that they are not to be eaten until you say so!
MOM TIP: Later in the week, when your make-ahead lunches are gone, consider making one or two extra portions of dinner for the next day’s lunch. While you are serving up dinner, immediately put the leftovers in lunch containers and into the fridge.
Check out these easy-to-make sandwich recipes for lunch for even more inspiration and get that meal planner filled in no time.
3. Freezer-Palooza Prep with Friends
Let’s face it . . . everything is more fun with friends. So call up one or two of your close friends and plan a monthly freezer meal prep day! Each of you should start by deciding on one freezer-friendly meal to cook and exchange.
You could make meals like a big pot of stew or a Kid and Freezer Friendly Enchiladas recipe featuring Wonder® Large White Wraps. Plan to make enough family-sized portions for each friend attending the prep day (including yourself) and decide on the best location to meet.
Stick to your budget by shopping for ingredients at bulk food stores. Some savvy shoppers save money using smartphone apps to compare prices on big ticket items such as meat or blocks of cheese.
An app like Flipp allows you to easily check out the flyers for different grocery stores in your area.
On prep day, enjoy catching up and cooking with your friends! You can even turn on some fun music or a sports game. Worried that you won’t be able to cook so much food in one oven? Assemble each meal in oven-safe trays (you can find disposable trays at your local grocery or dollar store) and bring them back to your respective homes for baking.
Once the meals are finished baking, label them with the date and stick them in the fridge or freezer until you need a quick meal!
4. Kids in the Kitchen
Kids love copying Mom or Dad! Get the kids involved by giving them an easy job in the kitchen teaches them to contribute to the meal and see what goes into putting meals on the table everyday.
Parenting experts suggest asking your children to do tasks that match their skill level. For example, preschoolers can tear lettuce for salad or mix together ingredients in big bowls.
Older kids with more fine motor skills can try spreading tomato sauce onto Wonder®White English Muffins for this quick and easy English Muffin Pizzas recipe, or whisking together the ingredients for French Toast Sticks and soaking the bread.
At first, you might need to spend some extra time teaching your little ones how to accomplish their assigned task. But this initial investment of time will be so worthwhile as they grow, become more independent and can take on new challenges in the kitchen.
Check out more ways to have the kids help in the kitchen here
You may even notice that your kids are less picky about food that they helped prepare!
MOM TIP: You can also ask your children to help clean up along the way! Loading the dishwasher, washing dishes, and cleaning countertops are all doable jobs for school-age kids.
5. Take-Out Treat
Everyone has those nights when you simply don’t have the time to cook a delicious dinner from scratch. Or maybe it’s Friday, you’re tired and need a break!
Those are the perfect nights to make use of a grocery store rotisserie chicken and deli counter for a fraction of the price of restaurant take-out.
Rotisserie chickens are a tasty, budget-friendly and easy way to incorporate protein into a meal. They can be used in a variety of different ways and recipes.
For example, these pre-cooked chickens can be shredded and tossed into a salad or cut into bigger pieces and served on a Wonder® Hamburger Bun and gravy. The reasonable price tag of rotisserie chickens means that you can grab as many as you need to quickly satisfy your family’s hunger (or freeze some of them for lunches).
If you’re looking for more kid-friendly recipe inspiration that is also easy on the wallet try one of these recipes for $20 or less.
Another avenue to an easy meal that kids will love is to make use of the deli counter at your local grocery store.
These counters have various meats, cheeses, pre-made salads, soups and so much more. Check out the sales, and allow each family member to choose one or two of their favourite deli snacks.
Spread out all the fixings on a large platter and enjoy a little bit of everything for dinner – along with some fun family time!