1. My family eats a lot of fresh vegetables, so my biggest lifesaver is to use "almost there" prepared foods. There's no shame in using prewashed produce. Bags of prewashed lettuce are wonderful gifts to the busy cook, especially if it means the difference between your family actually eating a salad and skipping the salad because it takes too long to wash and prepare all the veggies. Same goes with those bags of broccoli, carrots, celery, and sugar snap peas.
2. Make an extra-large pot of chili (or chicken noodle soup) on the weekend and freeze or refrigerate the leftovers. Pop some cornbread in the oven (a quick mix takes less than 20 minutes to bake) and serve with a green salad.
3. The slow cooker is your friend. Share favorite crock pot recipes with your friends. The best recipes are those, such as roast beef and potatoes and veggies, where there is no cooking before or after. In the morning, you toss in all the ingredients. In the evening, you come home, open the slow cooker and eat up.
4. Spaghetti! As fun to eat as it is to say. In my family, we love Italian sausage in our spaghetti, but we're also very health conscious, so we never use very much of the sausage in any one meal. I'll cook all the Italian sausage in a package, then divide it into 4 portions and freeze them. Then, when it's spaghetti night, I defrost the meat, which then simmers with sautéed onions and the spaghetti sauce - and dinner is done in the time it takes the noodles to cook.
5. Serve healthy pizza. Pizza doesn't have to be greasy and oozing with sauce. Have a couple of premade pizza doughs (such as Boboli) on hand and experiment with healthy toppings that cater to your family's individual tastes. We love to have Mexican Pizza, for example, layered with refried or black beans, then salsa, onions, olives and a bit of cheese.
6. Sandwich night. Pick up a submarine sandwich from the deli of your local supermarket. Take off the lettuce and tomato and toast the sandwich under your broiler at home. Then pile on even more lettuce, tomato, pepperoncinis, whatever goodies you like. Slather on some gourmet mustard and you've got a delicious almost-ready-made meal.
7. Some days, choose healthy fast food. This phrase used to be somewhat of an oxymoron, but nowadays, new chains are popping up nationwide that offer fresh, healthy, locally-sourced fare. From soup to pasta to burritos, you can find something that suits everyone's tastes. Fast food choices are now much broader than the old hamburgers and French fries.
8. Find a few favorites from your local gourmet store. While this might be an expensive choice for everyday life, it sure can be a lifesaver. Stock your freezer with a few Harry & David chicken pies, for example, and the next time you have surprise guests during one of your busy nights, you'll look like the rock star you are.
Article Source: Jamie Jefferson; Ezinearticles.com
. Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape - an online magazine that provides practical tips for raising happy, healthy families.