Happy back to school week! I know in my house our schedules are really getting hectic. As well as school, my kids’ sports and after school activities are already in full swing. Each one of my daughters does a different sport, Girl Scouts, choir, youth group and we haven’t even started piano lessons yet so our afternoons and evenings are pretty booked up. I know most parents of kids are in the same boat. So how are family meals supposed to happen when you are at practice or driving to and from right at dinner time? And who has time to cook after a day at work when you’re spending all your “free” time shuttling kids all over the place?
I’ve decided to do a regular series about weeknight dinner on the run to come up with some solutions to this problem: how to feed your kids satisfying, healthy meals within the confines of their extracurricular schedules. Since this may mean sometimes eating in the car or at the practice field, how do you maintain those important interactions that happen naturally around the dinner table? How do you not resort to fast food? Easier said than done, right?!
The key is planning. In order to serve healthy, homemade food you have to have something on hand that you can heat up (i.e. food made ahead and frozen), something that doesn’t take much prep or cooking time (sloppy joes, frozen fish sticks, etc.) or something from the slow cooker. You may need to get creative with having your usual dinnertime conversation in the car.
Here is one of my favorite, easiest slow cooker recipes that everyone loves. This was given to me by a friend and also makes a great party dish:
5 lbs skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 large onions, chopped
2 large bell peppers, chopped
2 oz Tequila
1/2 cup water
1TBSP sea salt
1/2 TBSP coarsely ground black pepper
Pinch of ground cayenne to taste
Put chicken breasts into crock pot frozen. Cover with onions and peppers.
To make juice:
Zest two of the limes into bowl. Set limes aside for juicing. Juice all four limes – keeping even the pulp. Mix lime zest and juice with other ingredients and whisk together.
Pour over ingredients in crock pot.
Set crock pot to low for 8 hours.
Stir to shred the chicken
Serve with tortillas or over brown rice.
What tricks do you use to handle weeknight wackiness?