I dropped Malachi off at piano lessons at 10:00 this morning, arriving home at 10:05. I needed to leave again to pick him up at 10:25. That leaves 20 minutes. (That was your math lesson for the day. If only all story problems made that much sense. Who invented those anyway?)
Knowing my day was super full: school and website work throughout the day; piano lessons for Malachi at 10; soccer for Matt, Asa, Justus, and Malachi at 2; grocery shopping for Elias and me at 2; someone coming by to pick up a co-op order at 3:30; friend coming over to study with Asa at 4; Bible study at 6:30 – and did I mention there’s a “ready to be assembled” shower in my living room and plaster dust all over my house right now?? Well, I knew I needed to stay on top of meals if we were going to actually eat today.
I decided to see how much meal prep I could get done in my 20 minutes of time before picking Malachi up from lessons. See, I can’t just say, “Here’s how to put a nutritious meal together when you’re low on time.” No. I have to go into all the details about my schedule and give my opinions on math problems and tell you about the new toilet that promises to flush efficiently that’s still in the box but will soon be in my new bathroom but not until we get all the tile issues figured out. (That is a story problem in and of itself.)
So busy day, blah, blah, blah. Here’s how to put a nutritious meal together when you’re low on time:
Today I decided to make Easy Noodle Stir Fry for lunch and Taco Salad for dinner.
At 10:06 I started browning meat for the Taco Salad. While it was cooking I washed and cut carrots and broccoli, throwing it all into a pot with spinach for Stir Fry. (The asparagus I had planned to use up was slimy so I had to throw it out. I was very disappointed and apparently need to re-read this post somebody wrote recently about not wasting food.)
I gave the meat a stir from time to time. I answered a question about an English assignment, drank a few swigs of water, and threw some blueberries into my mouth for a snack. I put water in a pot to boil noodles at noon. I got out the noodles. I dumped mixed greens into a big bowl, poured in cheese I had shredded Monday, and tossed it all around with the freshly cooked taco meat. I mixed up French Dressing for the Taco Salad.
At 10:26 I ran out the door to pick up Malachi.
With all the major prep work done for our day’s meals, at lunch time all I had to do was turn on the stove to cook the prepared veggies and boil noodles. At dinner time all I had to do was get the prepared salad out of the fridge, dice some tomatoes (which I picked up at the store this afternoon on my grocery run), and get out the tortilla chip crumbs I’ve been saving for such a meal as this. I also cut up a pineapple to complete our evening meal. That took two minutes.
Now you tell me. Is it really so terribly time consuming to prepare healthy food? I think not.
What are some of your quick-to-prepare meals that pack a punch with nutrition? Have any great “prep-ahead” methods to share with us?
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jamie garcia says
I’m in the midst of a difficult pregnancy w/our 4th under 6 yo so everything sounds monumental at this point in life! But channeling “normal unpregnant Jamie” this sounds completely doable ????.
jamie garcia says
Switch those ” ?”To “!” Lol
Ugh, I remember those days. I could barely spell the word “carrot” much less chop one for lunch in a timely manner. Hang in there!
Lindsey @ Simply Lindsey says
Tacos are one of my favorite quick and easy meals! Another is spaghetti using ground turkey, mushrooms, and 2 jars of good sauce.
Nice! I love the idea of using tortilla chip crumbs! I find it annoying to throw out what seems like half a bag of tortilla chips because they are crumbs. I never thought to use them in a salad!
I second the spaghetti. Jarred sauce is a lifesaver on a busy weeknight! I finally found tasty, affordable ($2.79 a jar) brand (Full Circle) of organic tomato and basil marinara sauce without added sugar, yeah! It honestly took me longer to snap green beans (.99 a LB!), cut up cantaloupe and grate parmasean cheese.
Wow. This is inspiring! I love your blog and just bought your healthy snacks ebook.. thanks for the daily inspiration to be faithful in serving my family and feeding them healthy food!!
Charlotte Moore says
When I made turkey soup this week I divided it and put brown rice in half and whole grain noodles in the other half. Had 2 soups with one cooking of the turkey, broth, carrots, and celery. I always double or triple with I do child and spaghetti sauce to save so many dishes to wash. It is wonderful to have in the freezer too.
I just made a big batch of lasagne for the freezer, YUM. I send it with my husband to work, and his coworkers have been BOGGLED that I make homemade lasagne. Apparently they only use the frozen kind. That made me sad.
That’s what I should make them for a dinner party – they would be so excited. :-)
Jessica G says
But, but… it is your detailed details that give this blog personality & make me smile! :D