Simple Breakfast. Cereal is my typical choice for the family. Oatmeal and eggs provide additional, though rare, options.
Simple Lunch. We eat sandwiches or eggs most days. Sandwiches may be PB&J, turkey, or toasted cheese. (Are you excited yet?) Our sides are typically some fresh or canned fruit and yogurt or homemade applesauce. Carrots are our favorite raw veggie. Weekends we may have salad. Some days my lunch is even less complicated, as you can see.
Semi-Homemade or Homemade DinnerOur family meal, dinner, keeps me busy enough. I often begin dinner preparations a few hours before our meal. Dinner at our house is not always from scratch, but I'm trying more and more to use less processed foods. Each week I try to have at least one easy evening meal planned. Tacos, pancakes, and spaghetti all fit the easy evening meal.
Meal Planning. I meal plan evening meals one month at a time. It works for me because I can be flexible, if needed, but I still know what we'll be eating each week.
Freezer. I buy meat only on sale. I often make a big meal and place at least one meal's worth in the freezer. After cooking a turkey, chicken, or ham, I like to put leftovers in the freezer to make meal prep incredibly easy for meals like fettucine Alfredo or chicken pot pie. Homemade waffles and pancakes freeze well to be served on another occasion.
Slow Cooker. Many of our favorite recipes are made in the slow cooker. If you worked full-time, I recommend a programmable one. As I can typically plan to be home in the morning to prepare the meal, the standard slow cooker works for our family.
Leftovers. Of course, there is another way I try to make dinner easy for myself. We love leftovers. Days when I do not need to cook a main course allows time for dessert preparations.
FFYN. Sunday evenings (unless we have company) provide a special time at our home. We call it Fend for Yourself Night, but the reality is I have small children who need attention in the form of nutrition. They are not capable of getting their own meal, so I often make oatmeal with blueberries or bananas for dinner. It's also a good night to finish any leftovers from the week.
We each run our homes in different ways. Our meals will not look like yours. I don't think they need to, but I do hope you find ways to make cooking easier on yourself. One of my friends has a child with multiple severe food allergies. She makes everything from scratch. In the days of frozen, canned, and boxed meals, her choice is rare. Yet, more and more people are making the push toward whole foods. I do not serve only whole foods, though I am really trying to make more of an effort to incorporate more and more into our diets.
What do you do to make meal time easier? Do you serve mostly homemade meals, mostly processed, or somewhere in between?