“Go-To” Meal Ideas for Busy Moms

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

Hi guys! I don’t know about you, but I feel like there is always something that needs to be done. I’m trying to be fully present while at work, fully present with my son when I’m home, and still keep up with regular workouts, my skincare routine, my devotional life, keeping the house clean, building my business – it can be a lot. The last thing I’m trying to do in the midst of all that is spend a lot of time figuring out what to cook and spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s just not my thing. So, this week, I looked over my recipe bank, and my son and I spent some time talking about what some of his favorite meals are while I put together this week’s meal plan. I thought it’d be fun to share what some of our go-to’s are for our busy lifestyle.

Before we dive in, I want to emphasize that the two things that make this work for me are my recipe bank and weekly meal planning. Notice I did not say weekly meal prep, though I do meal prep quite often. The value for me is all in the meal planning. It’s a big part of how I’m able to stick to one grocery trip per week and keep my grocery expenses as low as possible without sacrificing eating well. The other game changer has been my recipe bank. For the past two months, whenever I make a meal that we enjoy, I write it down – or rather I type it up. I keep an Excel file with different tabs for breakfast, lunch and dinner (we are a ‘leftovers’ family), snacks, and this week’s plan. Toward the end of every week, I think about what I want to make for the next week, and if I’m short on ideas, I’ll just pull up this file and browse through my homemade menu of options. Once we decide what we’re going to have (my son helps me pick), I shop our pantry and build my grocery list around whatever we’re missing. Now, I’ve been slacking on filling out the ‘this week’s plan’ tab, but it’s essentially my grocery list. So, I’ll either add things to a list in a note app on my phone, or I’ll write things on the white board on my fridge and take a picture of it before I go to store.

Now, on to our go-to’s. These are some of my son’s favorites because they’re delicious, and that’s a factor for me too, but they’re also easy quick and easy recipes – big reason why they’re some of my favorites. Spending hours in the kitchen is not my thing. I just don’t have the time. I need something that can come together fast without sacrificing nutrition or taste. These are either cooked and ready to eat in less than 15 minutes or require less than 15 minutes of prep time.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

BREAKFAST – usually picking 2 from this list to have as a meal:

  • Eggs – scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, or egg bites
    • Side-note: I think I’ve finally been able to perfect my egg bites recipe. This is essentially a dupe for the egg bites at Starbucks. They’re super easy to make yourself. Let me know if you’d be interested in seeing how I make these.
  • French toast – traditional slices, french toast sticks, or french toast bites
  • Pancakes
  • Bacon
  • Oatmeal
  • Grits
  • Sausage
  • Hashbrowns
  • Waffles
  • Crispy crowns or tater tots

LUNCH:

  • Leftovers
    • Do not despise leftovers! These are choice number 1 for us. On the days where we don’t have leftovers in the fridge, or just craving something else, one of the others is usually what’s on the rotation.
  • Grilled cheese sandwich (I like to add ham or turkey in mine)
  • Chicken noodle soup with crackers or a sandwich
  • Lunchables (little man would probably try to live off of just Lunchables if I let him)
  • Homemade mini pizza
  • Fish sticks or chicken nuggets/fingers/strips and fries
Photo by Anthony Leong on Pexels.com

DINNER:

  • Salmon with rice (the marinade is what makes this really flavorful, but our favorite seems to be lemon pepper)
  • Shrimp alfredo (add a veggie into the pasta or serve it on the side)
  • Sausage and potatoes (add a veggie on the side)
  • Spaghetti (get creative, I’ve added different things each time – roasted eggplant and carrots, ground beef, ground turkey, sausage)
  • Pizza
  • Honorable mention because this takes some time – collard greens, ham, and cornbread

We keep it pretty simple for snacks – no cooking involved for these:

  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Fruit
  • Salami and cheese (could also be a decent lunch)
  • Popcorn

There are definitely others that we love, but these seem to be the foods that are on constant rotation in our house. I can never go wrong when I’m serving these – almost a guarantee that my son will eat everything on his plate.

What are some of your family’s favorite foods? Let me know if there’s anything you think we should add to our go-to menu!

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