Sometimes motherhood feels like a never-ending cycle of meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking (and then often cooking something else because all of the sudden your six-year old has decided that potatoes are “yucky”) and cleaning dishes. Feeding your family healthy meals is obviously a priority, but it shouldn’t take over your life. Here are five easy recipes that you’ll feel good giving your kids, but will leave you a little extra time to actually enjoy their company, or let’s face it, do laundry, help with homework, check work emails, or learn to function on four hours of sleep.
1. Berry Oatmeal Smoothie
Mornings are a blur. Getting the kids out of the house with matching socks feels like a victory most days. For those days when there is no time for a sit-down breakfast, you can still give them a healthy, filling meal on their way out the door with Food.com’s Blue and Red Berry Smoothie. This easy smoothie blends oatmeal, non-fat vanilla yogurt, blueberries and strawberries for a breakfast full of healthy grains, protein and antioxidants.
2. One-Pot Lasagna
One way to save time throughout the week is to make meals that will give you leftovers. This One-Pot Lasagna from Pinch of Yum is not only easy to prepare, but makes enough for everyone’s lunch the next day. Use a dutch oven to start the meal on the stove and finish it in the oven. A dutch oven is a staple to invest in — perfect for this and other one-pot meals. With this recipe, you’ll prepare the sauce on the stove, cover it with noodles and mozzarella and then bake for 25 minutes. This simple recipe calls for whole wheat noodles and can be easily modified to sneak in veggies like carrots or spinach. The bonus of one-pot dinners is... there's only one dish to clean after dinner.
3. Slow Cooker Pork Tacos
Another pro-mom move is to prepare one main ingredient that you can turn into several meals in the same week. This simple slow cooker pork from Cooking Classy can be used for pork tacos one night and Mexican pizza two nights later. Simply combine boneless pork spare ribs with apple juice and taco seasoning in your slow cooker in the morning and you’ll have impossibly tender, delicious pork ready when you get home. Load your tacos with healthy ingredients like avocado, pico de gallo and black beans and then top with fresh cilantro and lime.
4. Five-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Soup
Set yourself up for success on a night when you have a late meeting or soccer game and make this amazing five-ingredient soup from Gimme Some Oven. Combine chicken stock, fresh spinach, shredded cooked chicken, Great Northern beans and pesto in a saucepan and simmer. Serve with a crusty bread and you have an easy, tasty meal that is chock-full of protein and healthy greens. Double the recipe and you’ll have lunch for several days, too.
5. Salmon Patties
Getting kids to eat fish often involves some Jack McCoy-level negotiating skills, but not so with these healthful, delicious and cost-conscious salmon patties from Mom Advice. The secret ingredients in these patties are lemon zest for a fresh pop of flavor and baked potatoes, which stretches the fish and gives the patties a pleasing texture. Serve with an easy roasted vegetable like green beans or asparagus and wild rice.