I love cooking. Creating. Serving. Eating. Stirring a big pot of risotto is calming to me, and having a prepped and stocked fridge makes me insanely happy. However, some seasons are just not easy for finding time to mix and stir and simmer and bake. My child’s bedtime routine takes up most of the time I used to use to make dinner. And we now eat at 9 pm after she is in bed. Cooking at that point is out of the question. This mama is hungry! So how to make meals easy without getting takeout all the time?
1. Stock that freezer!
As we started depleting the freezer reserves once we got home from the hospital, I started taking a few hours one day a month to make 3-4 more meals to restock for the coming weeks. Having an ever stocked freezer makes last-minute meals super easy, and any dinner can be freshened up with a quick side salad.
Looking for fresh and easy freezer meal ideas and planning tips? Check out these posts:
- Weekly Menu: Freezer Classics
- Weekly Menu: Freezer Meals
- Weekly Menu: On the Go
- Simplify: Freezer Meals
2. Get a meal delivery service.
We get a vegetarian Hello Fresh box almost every week. I can easily add an extra protein for the husband and omit any cheese for me. Meals are simple enough they can be made in 30 minutes or less, and if I’ve prepped everything before bedtime, dinner takes even less time to get on the table after baby is asleep.
Want to try Hello Fresh for yourself? Use this link to get $40 off your first box. And let me know what you think! (Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link).
3. Use prepared grocery items.
The best time saver for easy, healthy lunches? Bagged salad kits from the grocery store. I usually ditch the dressing and make my own simple vinaigrette with oil and vinegar or swap in salsa or tahini. Toss some precooked lentils or beans in, and a hearty, filling, and fresh meal is ready in 5 minutes. Most grocery stores have a ton of prepared convenience foods in the produce section that can be taken advantage of. Yes, it costs a little more for someone else to chop and season and assemble, but sometimes the time savings may weigh out the winner.