Laura’s note: Enjoy this fantastic, helpful post from Bethany!!
Don’t have time to cook? Eyeing the fast food line? Wanting to eat at home, but don’t have the time for lots of prep work? Here is what I make when I’m in survival mode.
I used to cook and bake for fun. Before I had kids (barely remember those days!) I’d spend all morning on Saturdays leisurely whipping up cinnamon rolls, soups, muffins, and pastas. I remember those easy breezy mornings: listening to my podcasts, humming away, stopping to leisurely sip my hot coffee in silence.
Fast forward to present time: I now have three kids, ages four, two, and four months old. Gone are the leisurely baking hours. Now I’m just desperately trying to get something—anything—in the oven with two toddlers clinging to my legs, and one baby in the baby carrier on my chest. If the something I get in the oven is healthy than I feel like I officially deserve a gold star.
It’s called survival mode, and I for sure am in it these days. The first few months after having my third, we had a wonderful meal train and lots of help. But now that baby girl is a bit older, we are self-sufficient, and I’ve had to figure out how to feed us all (three times a day!) without hitting up the fast food line too often.
Here are the dishes I turn to again, and again when I just need to throw something quick into the oven or crockpot to get food on the table, and into bellies without a lot of chopping or prep.
Simple Cheesy Salsa Chicken
This is one of the most incredible main dishes, if you ask me. It takes TWO MINUTES to prep this. Just throw three ingredients in your crock pot or Instant Pot, turn it on, and walk away. The most laborious thing you might have to do is shred the cheese, but you can even skip that step if you purchase shredded cheese. It couldn’t get any easier!
I use this to make soft or hard tacos, burrito bowls, nachos, or for soups! It’s the best!!
Is it glamorous? Probably not. Is it easy and does it fill tummies, and make my toddlers happy? Yes, yes, and absolutely yes.
Easy Noodle Stirfry
My husband LOVES Chinese food, but none of us like how we feel after getting food from the restaurant. When I tried this Easy Noodle Stirfry, I was blown away by how good it was! Now, it does require some vegetable chopping (which is stressful if you’ve got a bunch of littles around) so I like to prep the veggies early in the week, so it takes just minutes to throw this together. I chop up a bunch of veg on Sundays and then use it throughout the week to make easy, nutritious meals!
Simple Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken
This one’s right up there with the Cheesy Salsa Chicken in the easy category. You guys, it is SO simple to throw together, and incredibly delicious! I like to quickly get some rice simmering as a side, and then set out fresh fruit and we’ve got an entire, nutritious meal that took minutes to prep!
20-Minute Taco Soup
Here’s what I do when I make this soup: toss the ground beef in the skillet, and walk away. Stir it now and then. Pour in the salsa and broth. Stir in the cheese. And done. It has only four ingredients, and doesn’t require anything of me except perhaps opening the salsa jar. It’s delicious, nutritious and a crowd pleaser!
Simple Barbecue Beef RoastIs there anything better than coming home to a roast in the crock pot?
Here is what Laura says to do to make this recipe:
- Walk to the freezer and get out a roast. (30 seconds)
- Open the package and put it into a crock pot. (20 seconds)
- Get out some barbecue sauce and dump it on the roast. (20 seconds)
- Grab an onion, pull off the outer layer, rinse it, and quarter it, then threw it in with the meat. (40 seconds)
- Plug in the crock pot, turned it on low, walked away. (10 seconds)
Now that’s my kind of recipe! The fact that it tastes AMAZING is a bonus.
Those are my favorite recipes to make when I don’t have the time to cook. Try them and be amazed at how much easier they make your life!
One of my survival foods right now, is cheesy spaghetti. I add a 8 ounce block of cream cheese to the sauce while it is heating. It really adds a nice touch to plain old spaghetti.
When my twins were little, I had a stash of frozen tortillas in the freezer. Lunches were often tortilla pizzas… Pull out some frozen tortillas, put them on the cookie sheet, spread sauce and sprinkle cheese. I would broil them for just a minute or two to melt the cheese and Wala lunch is done
Into the Crockpot on low 8-10 hours:
2-4 pounds beef brisket
2 cups beef broth
(This takes approx 1 minute!!)
Shreds easily when it’s done. Serve as is, over rice or potatoes, on bread for a sandwich, in taco shells or over nacho chips with all the toppings you like!