10 Easy Steps to Make Healthy Dinners a Breeze

If you find that you’re cooking more than usual, putting dinner on the table may feel like a chore. These 10 easy steps will help you put dinner on the table with skill and confidence so you can spend more time focused on what truly matters. They are sure to make dinners a breeze!

1. Do weekly meal planning.

By applying a focused approach with advanced menu planning, you won’t waste time figuring out what’s for dinner. Spend one day a week mapping out your week of meals, performing an ingredient inventory, writing out your grocery list and doing your shopping. Everything will go much smoother once you’re organized.

2. Add prepackaged groceries to your list.

Items like prepackaged salads and canned beans will become your new best friends when you need to make dinner in a flash. Their quality is top-notch. For instance, the taste of a prepackaged salad is comparable to that of fresh-cut greens. The only difference is the time savings.

3. Shop the grocery store salad bar and deli.

Besides salad, you can find numerous pasta salads, beans and even hot items that require minimal preparation. Serve your finds on beautiful dinnerware, and no one will know you made dinner with very little effort.

4. Show your slow cooker some love.

Crock pots and slow cookers have been around for ages and their popularity continues to increase. Prep dinner in the morning and you’ll have a piping-hot dinner ready at the end of the day.

5. Buy precooked meats.

Creating meals with precooked meats is such a time-saver. You can use cooked rotisserie chickens to make chicken pot pie or chicken noodle soup. This hack can trim up to 20 minutes from dinner preparation.

6. Simplify and shave recipes.

Stick to recipes with seven ingredients or less during the week. It can be time consuming to deal with a laundry list of ingredients. Save time-intensive gourmet recipes for your weekends or special occasions instead.

7. Freeze, freeze, freeze!

Sunday is a great day to do some prep work for the week ahead. Cut and freeze vegetables ahead of time, cook and freeze meats for later use, and don’t forget dessert. Make a big batch of cookie dough to freeze for baking during the week.

8. Reuse leftovers.

Repurpose foods — such as mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables — for delicious new meals. For instance, use leftover mashed potatoes to create salmon cakes an entirely different dinner.

9. Get help!

Dinner can always make it to the table quicker when you have some helping hands. Getting the kids to pitch in will speed up the process, and add some fun to the mix too!

10. Relax.

Just remember that if all else fails, you can order some takeout and relax. It happens to the best of us sometimes.

© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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