As the weather turns warm and the trees begin to bud, our thoughts turn to the outside… and baseball – or soccer – or lacrosse – or whatever outdoor activity your kids happen to be involved in this spring. And as most youth sports are coached by parent volunteers, these practices and games are often scheduled to take place after work hours – right in the middle of dinner time!
As most busy parents are familiar with, being organized is how they survive, and dinner time at a ball field is no exception. As someone who runs the concession stand at our Little League field, there are a lot of hot dogs and cheeseburgers for dinner in our family this time of year. For families that don’t have the option of a freshly cooked dinner, or refuse to feed their kids fast food night after night (remember, kids are what they eat…), I have pulled together some dinner options that are good for the family on-the-go.
The Crock Pot
When I think of a crock pot, I think of sitting down with a steaming bowl of stew or chili and a chunk of crusty bread. Don’t think you need to put away the crock pot just because winter is over. For the busy family, a little planning and a crock pot can be a big time-saver on the busiest of nights.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with a side of coleslaw and corn on the cob – I always use the McCormick Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork seasoning mix to give me a head start with seasoning the pulled pork. In addition to the seasoning mix and the boneless pork shoulder roast, you will need ketchup, brown sugar and cider vinegar. The best part of this meal is that it freezes really well so don’t be afraid to freeze any leftovers.
Southwestern Chicken with a side of tortillas and avocado – This easy recipe starts with frozen chicken breast! It seems like when its dinner time in my house, the chicken is always frozen… Of course this frozen chicken would have to come out in the morning when you are assembling the ingredients in the crock pot. This dish calls for frozen chicken breasts, canned corn, canned black beans, small jar of salsa, top with cream cheese at the very end.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs with a side salad – Another great ‘cheat’ recipe because I start with the frozen meatballs and add grape jelly and chili sauce. Enough said.
Salads and Wraps
Salads and wraps are an easy, light way to have dinner on the run. A little prep work can go a long way toward making these meals fast. Prepped ingredients can be assembled in just a few minutes to get dinner ready so you are out the door in no time. Individual containers allow family members to eat when they have time – your daughter can eat during her brother’s baseball practice and he can eat during her dance class. These individual meals allows you to customize the ingredients per person – I love Craisins and cheese in my salads, my son only wants cheese and my husband doesn’t like either.
Chicken Caesar Salad wraps are a ‘go to’ quick meal for our family. My shortcut for this meal is to buy a chicken that is already roasted from Sam’s Club. Their roasted chickens are the same price as a raw one, and I don’t happen to have a rotisserie oven at my house so it’s probably healthier than if I cooked one myself…
Cobb Salad is quickest to make when you have bacon bits made from real bacon or you can pre-cook bacon yourself in advance, crumble it and put it in the freezer until you need it. I also make a bunch of hard boiled eggs early in the week which are also great for breakfasts on the go.
Chef Salad is traditionally made with ham, turkey and roast beef along with Swiss cheese & hardboiled eggs. Any combination of meats and cheeses can be substituted – an easy meal to customize.
What are some of your favorite quick-fix meal ideas? Share them with us by commenting on this post.
Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com
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