Do you find yourself scrambling in the kitchen at meal time? Looking at your pantry thinking… “I wonder if he/she will just eat a can of beans?”. I do. All. The. Time. I ask almost every mom I see “what do you feed your kid? Help me!” These are 5 great meal idea’s I’ve gotten from mom friends that have saved time and my sanity at meal time.
#1 Pita Pizza
This is damn brilliant! It’s especially fun for older toddlers who like to help out in the kitchen. All you need are pita’s, pizza (or pasta) sauce, cheese and whatever toppings you want! I am noticing that my son is REALLY interested in helping in the kitchen. He is only 15 months old but already he wants to be involved.
If he is fussy and I give him a ‘job’ it almost always immediately stops the chaos. He wants and NEEDS to be put to work. It’s super messy and requires a lot of patience but letting him do a bit of the work makes him happy and therefore makes me happy.
Let your little one sprinkle the cheese on themselves. Let them use the spoon to spread the sauce or add the mushrooms to the pizza! Once you have built your pizza you just bake in the oven at 400 ° for 5-7 mins and BAM meal is ready!
#2 Freezer Sandwiches
A friend of mine invited my son and I over for playtime and I tell her “I have no groceries and I need you to feed us or I can’t come because I have to do groceries” (Story of my life). She say’s no problem come over.
Lunch time rolls around and turns out #momlife she does not have much in way of groceries either. She pulls out these pre-made frozen peanut butter sandwiches for our kids and they were a hit! GENIUS!
I am a big fan of planning ahead and freezing whatever you can to make your life easier tomorrow. It never occurred to me to freeze a sandwich! this is SO HELPFUL especially when your scrambling at lunch hour.
When I got home I scoured the internet to see if this is a ‘thing’ or if my friend is the Steve Job’s of sandwich innovation. This is totally a thing! (She’s pretty brilliant though). Some other great options include; chicken sandwiches, tuna sandwiches and meat and cheese sandwiches. Switch up your bread options and use slider buns! Really, the world is your oyster here. Although I did read that fresh veggies don’t freeze well so skip the lettuce!
Okay I have to give my Italian mother-in-law credit here. Nearly every Sunday she hands us a bag of frozen homemade meatballs. These are a HUGE lifesaver!! In a pinch if we haven’t planned a head we can easily reach into the freezer and grab a handful of frozen veggies and frozen meatballs for lunch or dinner.
If you don’t have an Italian mother-in-law handing you ready made meatballs every week like I do, don’t worry, you can still do this! I have also gone out and purchased frozen meatballs from the grocery store. I typically just look for the most plain flavored ones so that I can mix them into almost any meal plan.
If you want to make you own here is a great recipe for ‘all purpose meatballs’ perfect for the freezer!
I use these meatballs to make so many meals! Here is a list of meal ideas for your freezer meatballs:
- Spaghetti and meatballs
- Meatball subs! Use a hot-dog bun some pasta sauce and shredded cheese!
- Plain meatballs and and frozen veggies for a fast meal on the go
- Meatballs and spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles
- Meatball Pita Pizza! Crumble your meatballs to make a nice topping for a pita pizza
#4 Chicken, Chicken, Chicken
I’m learning that having cooked chicken ready and available in the fridge is necessary at all times. Chicken is such a versatile meat and can be made into a quick snack, lunch or dinner. Sometimes when I am pressed for time I will just purchase a rotisserie chicken from the local grocery store. This is a fairly affordable option and stay’s fresh in the fridge for a few days. I usually transfer the chicken to a better air tight container when I get home.
I like the rotisserie chicken option because I can use it for dinner the first night then for chicken sandwiches for lunch the next day. And finish it off with soup that lasts a few days in the fridge.
If you don’t want to spring for a rotisserie chicken its really easy to bake chicken breasts or thighs in the morning. Some times while we are getting ready for work I throw a couple seasoned chicken breasts in the oven. It takes about 20 mins to cook and I just toss them in the fridge for dinner as a run out the door.
#5 Quesadillas (Using Left Overs)
I am using the term “Quesadilla” pretty loosely here. It’s so hard to get kids to eat left overs. I’ve found a great way to get the whole family to enjoy left overs is to make Quesadilla’s out of your left over meals. Just stuff your left overs into a tortilla and grill on your stove top! Don’t forget to add a few fun and delicious sides like guacamole, sour cream and salsa.
My son will basically eat anything with bread and cheese. So Quesadilla’s are a great ‘go to’ when I’m having a tough time getting him to eat. He love’s when I cut his food into little triangles for him so these are perfect for that.
- Cheese burger quesadilla- Use beef crumble (Break up some of those frozen meatballs!) and add cheddar cheese!
- Chicken and cheese Quesadilla- Shred your left over chicken smother in their favorite cheese!
- Pizza Quesadilla: Use the left over toppings from your Pita Pizza
- Meatball Quesadilla: Half your meatballs, cover in a marinara and mozzarella! Delish!
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