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Top 7 Meal Ideas for Busy Families

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As winter begins to fade away and spring slips in, schedules begin to fill up and life gets more hectic. Although we’re happy to see the warmer weather, it does often mean that life gets busier. And with a busier life comes the desire for easy, yet tasty meals.

Meal planning and meal prepping have been popular phrases in the last few years, and social media is filled with pictures of tidy refrigerators containing colorful fruits and vegetables, freezer bags labeled with dates, and menus that require lots of planning, shopping, and pre-cooking. It’s all very appealing, but who (and where) are the people who live like this?

I bet the inside of their cars are really clean too.

All jokes aside, pre-planning your meals can have a positive effect on your family. Whether it means you’re now sticking to your budget better or reaching health goals, pre-planning meals can help keep you sane during even the busiest of seasons.

Our top tip for staying on track while meal-planning? Stick to a flexible schedule with a specific theme for each night. This will help you plan out your meals quicker, while still allowing for some versatility in each dish.

 

7 Days. 7 No Brainer Meals.

Pasta Dinner Night

Day 1: Pasta Night

Pasta on Monday nights is a no-brainer for us. It’s versatile enough that no matter how your week started off, you can either make it really simple or complex. If all else fails, throw a little parmesan cheese on it and call it a day.

Our quick favorite? Grab some Rock House Farm ground beef, Socci Sauce (it’s delicious), and some pasta noodles to make a hearty and healthy spaghetti. If you’ve got a little more time on your hands, roast some locally grown veggies or toast a Luna baguette with a little butter, garlic, oregano, and basil.

Another benefit to starting the week with pasta? It’s easy to reheat for school lunch throughout the week.

 

Day 2: ‘Something on a Bun’ Night

This night is always a crowd pleaser. Hamburgers on a cast iron skillet, pulled pork in the crock pot, meatballs roasted in the oven on buns toasted with cheese – the possibilities are endless.

Looking for a good local marinade, rub, or sauce? Try a few from Lane’s BBQ, Grill Man, or Braswell’s, which can be found at Farmview Market.

 

Day 3: Vegetarian Night

Sometimes, you just need something a little lighter! Vegetarian night is exactly that. Plus, it’s great on a budget! Cook up some black beans and rice, vegetable bowls with a good sauce, or even a homemade pizza.

Sheet pan pizzas are quick and easy if you have pre-made dough and those straggler ingredients in your fridge – some parmesan, leftover spinach from a salad, a little bit of pineapple, hot honey, the choice is yours!

If you’ve got a little bit of pepperoni or chicken leftover in the fridge, toss some of that on and we’ll call this night a ‘Almost Vegetarian Night’. It’s all about what works best for you!

 

Day 4: Easy Night

When we say easy, we don’t mean still having to get out your cutting board and chop up a few things. We mean really easy.

What’s easier than simply preheating the oven and baking your meal? For Night 4, let Farmview handle the cooking. In our case of Ready-to-Eat meals, we’ve got family-sized portions of Chicken Parmesan, Pot Roast, Lasagna, Pasta Bakes, and even some good breakfast-for-dinner options like French Toast Bakes.

 

Taco Dinner Night

Day 5: Taco Dinner

Later in the week when you feel yourself starting to tire, it’s time for a taco night. Most do this on Tuesdays for a good Taco Tuesday, but we recommend saving it for one of the later days of the week.

Whether you’ve set-it-and-forget-it in the crockpot, use pre-cooked rotisserie-style chicken, or opt for letting someone else in your family handle cooking the meat this night, tacos are an easy meal to make on autopilot.

 

Day 6: Go Out or Have Leftovers

For most, this is usually a good Friday or Saturday night meal option. What’s better than rounding out the work week with a meal you don’t have to cook, and a house that doesn’t need cleaning after? Plus, everyone can choose what they want to eat!

If you’re not heading out for dinner, have a leftover night. Reheat anything you’ve got in the fridge, cut up some fruit and vegetables, and let everyone pick what they’d like to eat. This is an especially good night to have if you’re known for always making more food than what your family can eat in one night.

 

Day 7: Sunday Supper

The idea of Sunday Supper is constantly featured in blogs, cookbooks, and even brought up by friends and family. Sundays are a great day to reset, prep for the week ahead, and even try out a new recipe that may take a little more effort or time to make.

Whether you’re trying out a new soup or smoking a pork butt bought at Farmview, Sundays are your days for making memories with your loved ones.

 

Don’t think too much... just cook!

When it comes to meal-planning, the easiest way to tackle your week is to start with a template. Use the above meal ideas to help form your meal plan, then head to the grocery store!

While some of us may enjoy cooking for our families, it can easily become a chore if it gets too overwhelming. Something we recommend? Think less & act more. Pick the things you know your family loves and learn how to simplify those meals. Soon, it’ll feel so natural to make those meals.