As a professional mom people may wonder what else do I have to do all day besides cook and clean?  If you know me there are very few days I stay home and do nothing, we are always running, getting ready to go to the next place and trying to find new active learning experiences for my children.   This means that I don’t have all day to think about and prepare dinner.  I have learned many ways to help prepare a healthy dinner fast for my family without making boxed meals or prepared frozen foods.

#1- I plan my meals for the week and stick to them.  I sit down with a few of my recipe books, and I have a list of my favorite fast meals and plan the meals for a week, I then write down the recipe pages and recipe book next to them so I can quickly find them.  I try to pick out recipes that can be ready in less than 30 minutes and take as few pans as possible to cook in, to minimize clean up.  I write down each of the ingredients I need to buy to create this whole weeks of recipes and buy all of them at my weekly grocery store trip.

#2- When I get home from the grocery store I cut the fresh veggies and bag them or put them into storage containers so when I am ready to make a recipe I don’t have to clean and cut the veggies.  This also helps me to reach for a healthy snack when the veggies are cut up in the fridge.

#3- Another one of my favorite time saving tools is my vacuum sealer especially for meats.  I buy meat in bulk like a whole turkey breast or bulk hamburger meat and divide them into one pound packages.   Before I seal meats that need to be cut into bite size pieces like steak, chicken or turkey I cut them before I seal them, I throw in seasonings or marinade in the bag before I seal them, that way when I am ready to cook that meat all I do is defrost the package in the microwave and it is perfectly seasoned and recipe ready.

When it is a busy night where I have to get the kids out the door for swimming, gymnastics or to the park, I pick my daily recipe from the list, flip to the recipe book page, grab the pre-cut and cleaned veggies, pre-cut meat add rice, bread or pasta and can create a fast, home-made, stress free meal.