Have you ever heard this from your family or friends? Or, maybe you have even said this?!
Let's face it - with our crazy schedules, we have to find ways to bring convenience into our kitchens!
What about dinnertime?
It IS possible to bring convenience into your kitchen to help simplify and healthify dinnertime! And, you can do it in a way where you avoid all those "...but I don't want boring leftovers..." complaints.
So, what's the solution?
Planned-Over meals or 2-for-1 meals!
Also known as "planned-over meals" or "cook once, eat twice"...these meals can be lifesavers on busy weeknights. There are many ways to do this.
All it requires is a little planning and then the possibilities are endless!
Slow Cooker Magic, Multiplied!
Investing just a few minutes in the morning to get the ingredients into the slow cooker (or you can even get them ready the night before), will let you come home in the evening and dinner can be on the table in a matter of minutes! Plus, with intentional planing, what you don't eat for that meal can be transformed into super easy and delicious meals for dinnertime over the next few days.
Now, we are not talking about boring leftovers! These ideas make the second (and even third) meal seem brand new -- and your family will completely forget they are eating leftovers, because they are not, they are PLANNED-OVERS!
- Enjoy the Slow Cooker Balsamic Pork the first night, and then savor the Pork and Balsamic Onion Quesadillas the next night.
- Crock Pot Mexican Chili turns a second meal into a great-tasting Loaded Sweet Potato with Mexican Chili.
- Cook sweet potatoes in the slow cooker! This will make it simple to enjoy the Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato Quesadillas and the Moroccan Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie!
- The flavor-filled Slow Cooker Jamaican Pulled Pork will not only make a fantastic Hawaiian Stuffed Sweet Potato, but also completes the Island Pork Salad, which would be perfect for lunch too! You could also make the Slow Cooker Thai Pork or the Slow Cooker Cuban Inspired Pork, and then transform it into the Banh Mi Sandwich or Banh Mi Grilled Cheese.
- If you make the Seasoned Slow Cooker Chicken, the ideas with leftover chicken are endless...Loaded Chicken Salad Sandwich, Comforting Chicken Curry Soup, Thai Chicken Pizza, Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps, Chicken Kale & Apple Salad, Pineapple Chicken Quesadillas, Pistachio Pesto Chicken Pasta, plus many others!
Beyond the Slow Cooker...
Prepare a big batch of rice and use it throughout the week in quick and easy meals:
- Korean Beef & Veggie Bowl
- Kedgeree Rice Bowl
- Bi Bim Bop
- Spicy Fish Taco Bowl
- Thai Basil Beef Skillet
Make a batch of Crunchy Coleslaw, and then enjoy it multiple times:
Enjoy hard boiled eggs - especially when there is an abundance at Easter:
- Classic Ham Cobb Salad (you can use your leftover Easter ham too!)
- Avocado Egg Salad
- Salmon Nicoise Salad
- Mini Pesto Egg Sandwich
Transform leftover meat:
- The flavorful Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloin turns into a delicious Tropical Pork Cuban Sandwich
- Create an amazing Bulgogi Pizza with your leftover Beef Bulgogi
Turn dinner into breakfast:
- Wrap up your leftovers into grab-and-go breakfast burritos, then simply warm them up in the microwave or oven or on the stove. Try the Cajun Inspired Breakfast Burrito and the Chicken Bulgogi Breakfast Burrito.
- Add an egg on top! The Chorizo Sweet Potato Tostadas or the Butternut & Black Bean Enchilada Skillet are fantastic options!
Dressings and sauces - make them once, use them twice (or more)!
- Whip up a double batch of avocado cream and use it for delicious Fish Tacos, the Mexican Black Bean Veggies Pizza and the Tuna Lettuce Wraps with Mango & Jalapeno.
- The mouthwatering Thai Peanut Sauce is ideal for the Thai Vegetable Noodle Stir Fry and works great as the sauce for the Thai Pizza!
Recently, after talking with a friend, she was saying how she doesn't have time to cook anything for dinner during the week. When asked what her morning routine involved, she said that she gets up, grabs a cup of coffee and checks Facebook for about 30 minutes. Bursting with excitement, we said "That's perfect -- you only need 15 minutes to throw something in the slow cooker and dinner will be ready when you walk through the door! Plus, you will have leftovers for super-easy meals the rest of the week!" As you can imagine...we got that raised-eyebrow look and she probably thought we were a little crazy, but we KNOW it got her thinking. Just one small change to a current habit like this is all it would take to make a huge difference!
We know it takes some planning, such as making a list and picking up ingredients at the store, but just imagine the feeling of knowing dinner is planned and underway, so you can come home after a long day and get a great-tasting, nutritious meal on the table with little effort – and little cleanup!
What a stress reliever!
So, go ahead and pick the ideas you will make THIS WEEK...it IS possible, even when your schedule is jam-packed!
Your health and your family's health are worth it!