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With the whirlwind of parties, gatherings, errands to run, gifts to buy, and decorating duties this holiday season leaves little time for meal planning!
But don’t fret!
I am giving you the gift of kitchen cooking shortcuts that is sure to ease the overwhelming dinner dilemma that plagues us when we get home after a day of running around.
So put your feet up, relax and read on how to hack your way through dinner and keep that cheery holiday grin on your face!
Get Semi-Prepped Foods from the Store
Don’t be afraid of some store bought food. It can give you a total kitchen win that will result in a quality meal without all the addititivies you might find in a typical take out meal. Here are some ideas:
- That rotisserie chicken can be a life saver when you have no idea what to eat. Use it to make soup, chili. Shred the chicken and take the leftovers to make a tasty taco lunch. Really strapped for time? Just add some frozen veggies and eat! This is the best way to get a good protein source with out wasting time cooking.
- Get a frozen cauliflower crust or gluten free pizza crust to make a quick pizza. Add a teaspoon of Wildtree’s Pizza Sauce Seasoning blend to your favorite plain tomato sauce then sprinkle with your favorite cheese and veggies for a filling meal. Want more veggies in your meal? Try Wildtree’s Eggplant Pizza recipe.
- Cut down prep with ready-to-go veggies. Buy pre-chopped produce, especially those hard-to-manage vegetables (ahem, squash) that are more time-intensive to prepare. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and roast for a side dish or add to salads during the week.
Batch Baby, Batch
Having a healthy, home cooked meal every night is something that can be feasible. Enter batch cooking! For those of you not familiar with this term batch cooking is when you make a large portion of food in one period of time then freeze or refrigerate to have on hand the rest of the week. It is a great time saver if you hate cooking dinner every night, but still want to eat well during the week. It is a really efficient way of cooking so you get the most of out of your food.
You may be thinking, “but I don’t like leftovers.” No worries! Batch cooking is actually something entirely different. It actually consists of cooking more food then you need and then repurposing it for another dish later on. For example.
- If you want to have a Meatless Monday instead of just the needed amount of quinoa for that recipe make a large batch so you can take the rest and make a hot breakfast bowl, add it to your salad, or give your soup a little sustenance later in the week
- Like eggs? You can take a bunch and cook them different ways. One recipe I like to have for the week is Egg in Avocado. Want to keep it simple? Just boil a few of them them at a time. Keep them in the fridge for up to a week to use. They will be ready when you need to make a meal. Add them to salads or just devil them with a little mustard for a quick snack that takes no time at all.
- Veggies are my favorite things to batch out. The best is squash and sweet potatoes. I will cook a big spaghetti squash then let it cool and have it ready to be seasoned with my favorite spices. One recipe I like making is with cilantro pesto. If you are looking for something easy you can just top with olive oil and Wildtree’s Dill Dip. Once you batch this squash you can reheat it or top it on your salads. Sweet Potatoes and butternut squash are two other veggies that I like to batch cook. Bake up a bunch at time so you have them on hand for whatever type of recipe you want to make: a mini breakfast pancake, some sweet & spicy snack bites, a southwestern salad, mixed with another veggie in a soup, or just simply baked.
Make Clean Up Easy To Save Time
For me the worst part of cooking is the clean up. One way I save time is by making one pot dish meals. One way to minimize clean up is to cook your meals in a crockpot, Instant Pot, in one pan in the oven or on the stove top. You will be smiling when see the lack of dishes that need to be washed. Not sure what to make? Try these recipes on for size:
- Jonzing for some asian take out? Unfortunately, these foods are often laced with preservatives, too much sodium, and hidden sugars. Instead make this one pot Asian stir fry recipe that utilizes frozen veggies to save time leaving you with a healthier meal that will hit the spot.
- Want to learn how easy sheet pan dinners can be? Check out these pork, chicken, and shrimp recipes. These meals give you veggies and protein all in one place.
- Are you asking yourself, “what the heck is an Instant Pot?” Have no fear! You can learn how to use it and make some tasty recipes.