Throwing together quick and easy meals is almost a necessity for a stay-at-home dad, and most other parents, for that matter, and we're talking something that can be whipped up with ingredients from around the house and with as little prep time as possible. The food can stay in the oven as long as it takes, but preparing dinners can be a pain when you barely have a free hand.
So here are four ideas to help build an arsenal of easy meal ideas:
Check out Food LabelsA majority of ingredients, big or small, have recipe ideas on their packaging. Most of those recipes can be made quickly with little hassle and can be surprisingly tasty. Check out that can of soup or the back of an instant rice package to see what they offer. And don't be surprised if it becomes a family favorite.
Get Some Pre-Made MealsEveryone has days when they don't want to even enter the kitchen. Pick up some easy fixes next time you are at the store. A family-sized frozen lasagna, a take-and-bake pizza or a rotisserie chicken all can be quite good in a pinch. Many stores also have other fresh, pre-made family dinners to fit a variety of tastes. Throw in a bagged salad or a side you can whip up fast and you have a cheap and effortless complete meal.
The need for fast meals isn't a new trend. There are hundreds of ideas out there that have been tossed together in books and published. Spend a few minutes at the book store to see if something wets your lips. Some good examples are Campbell's 1-2-3 Dinner
, which has ideas for breakfast, lunch or dinner using soups as a foundation, or the Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook
, which has many crock-pot meal ideas that have been gathered from actual home chefs.
Recipe ExchangeYou are certainly not alone in needing to get dinner done in a flash. Hit up your friends and fellow parents for their ideas, especially those who have a lot of experience running around with the kids yet getting hot dinners on the table at the same time. Just as you have built up a few quick recipes in your arsenal, so have they. See if they'll give you a few and return the favor. There can never be too many ideas to get dinner done in a snap.