You would think that as a homeschool teacher, I would have plenty of time to prepare a good, nutritious meal every night. Wrong. Between teaching, writing, and running off to church and gymnastics, we usually don’t have a lot of time to cook. I don’t have the time or money to take my kids out to fast food three or more nights a week, so I have to come up with something that I can make quickly. These are some of the easiest meals that I make when I’m short on time.
Baked potatoes can be cooked in the microwave, so they’re a super quick meal (instructions can be found here). Even better, they can be combined with many different ingredients, from broccoli to chili. I always try to keep a bag of potatoes in the house, along with ingredients for baked potatoes, because it is something that I can throw together on the spur of the moment. Another easy variation to this is to keep pouches of mashed potatoes in the house. You can combine a pouch of mashed potatoes with corn, gravy, ground beef, chicken, or traditional potato toppings. My kids like to eat baked potatoes, so this makes a good meal on the go.
Quesadillas are another quick meal that I make for my family. All you need are two tortillas, some cheese, and a little oil to fry it up in. Warm up a little oil in a frying pan first, over medium heat. If you don’t start out with hot oil, the first quesadilla will turn out a little soggy. Put the quesadilla together, and place in the warmed frying pan. Turn over after a few minutes, and cook on the other side. Adding a little taco seasoning will give it a little extra flavor. Other variations on the quesadilla include pizza quesadillas, where you put a little pizza sauce and pepperoni in the center, along with some mozzarella cheese. It’s taken me a little while to perfect the technique, but my kids like these as well.
Burritos and Tacos
Burritos and tacos are also easy to make. These are also great for my family because my husband doesn’t always want to eat meat, and you can add all the ingredients separately. I don’t always use the same ingredients, but some of the ingredients that I use include refried beans, ground beef, rice, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream. I always keep some of these ingredients on hand, along with tortillas and taco seasoning, in order to make these and the quesadillas. I usually tear up the tortilla and mix all the ingredients up for my two-year old, and he has taco salad.
Steamed Vegetables and Rice
This is a pretty easy meal to make if you have a way to steam vegetables. I made these last night. I cut up squash, broccoli, and carrots. The carrots had to be cooked for twice as long as the squash and broccoli, so I put them in the steamer first. While the vegetables were steaming, I made some instant rice. I also cut up a chicken breast and cooked that up while the vegetables were steaming and the instant rice was cooking. I combined the vegetables and chicken with some teriyaki sauce for flavor.
Since my family is often out and about in the evenings, I always like to have a few quick and easy meal ideas available for dinner. Another thing that I like about these meals is that they are inexpensive too.