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5 Tips to Get Dinner on the Table on Busy Nights


Does the thought of making dinner fill you with dread? Trust me — you don’t have to rely on takeout on nights when you’re tired! These tried-and-true tips are perfect for women on the go.

Embrace “Brinner”

Not familiar with the term? It means breakfast for dinner. I’d recommend some soft scrambled eggs with some veggies and cheese mixed in and a side of bacon or sausage. I know as a kid, this was an easy way for my parents to make dinner exciting and sneak in some vegetables without too much protesting.

Bulk chop your veggies

When you do have a little extra time, cut up some extra vegetables and store them in the fridge. Brussels sprouts, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower are great, keep well and make the next tip take even less time.

Try a tray dinner

You’ll need a sheet pan, some good cooking oil (I suggest avocado oil, ) a protein, vegetables and some seasonings. The idea is you cook everything on the sheet pan together, limiting the prep time and number of dishes required.

Here’s an example “recipe.”

  • 1.5 – 2 cups halved brussels sprouts
  • 1.5 – 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • garlic powder
  • oregano
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread out the veggies on a large sheet pan. Drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil and toss to get everything lightly covered in the oil. Nestle the chicken breasts in the vegetables. Drizzle the second tablespoon of oil over the chicken. Sprinkle everything with the seasonings. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temp of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. (A meat thermometer is an inexpensive and invaluable kitchen tool.)

Double a recipe

Let’s say you’re going to whip up a pot of chili one Sunday afternoon. Why not make twice the normal amount and save the extra in the freezer? The next time you know you’re in for a busy day, move the frozen chili to the fridge in the morning and simply reheat on the stove when dinner time rolls around. Try one of my favorite recipes: Roasted Red Pepper, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Chili. (It serves 4-6 people as is, but could easily be doubled as a freezer meal.)

Try a grocery or meal delivery service

Nowadays, you don’t need to spend any time shopping or even cooking! You can get someone to do all that for you, from grocery shopping apps to meal delivery services. Meals can come oven-ready or filled with fresh vegetables and ingredients to chop and season as you like. Meal delivery services give you the ability to choose how much time you spend on your food, and how long or short you want to wait for it to cook.

Embrace your slow cooker!

The slow cooker is the perfect kitchen tool for busy families! Toss everything in before you go to work in the morning, and when you come home all that’s left to do is ladle your meal into bowls and enjoy. We make pulled pork in ours probably every other week. We use a very simple recipe and it’s a great base for whatever toppings we’re in the mood for. Craving Mexican food? Put the pork over some shredded lettuce or red cabbage and top with some black beans, salsa and guacamole. In the mood for Greek? Use some baby spinach as a base and top with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives and tzatziki.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • 2.5 – 3 lb boneless pork butt
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • salt & pepper
  • chili powder

Core the peppers and roughly chop. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Peel the cloves of garlic. Cut 8 small slits around the pork butt and push a clove of garlic into each one. Lightly rub the pork with some chili powder, salt and pepper. Put the peppers and onions into the crock pot/slow cooker and lay the pork butt on top. Pour 2 cups of water in over the veggies. Put the lid on the crock pot and set to cook on low for 8 hours.

You’ve got this! Plus, we’re sharing an Instant Pot recipe for Chicken Soup and Dumplings in our Fall 2018 print issue. Don’t have an Instant Pot recipe? No problem. Stovetop instructions are included!

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