Mom Seeking New Ideas

Updated on October 20, 2006
T.P. asks from East Providence, RI
21 answers

I work part time but my oldest keeps me busy running around all day, she goes to tap class, then soccer then cheerleading by the time we get home its 7:30 so I try to make quick meals so she can go to sleep at a decent time. I've run out of ideas for quick meals and both kids keep asking for something new???

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T.D.

answers from Providence on

do you have a crock pot? There are a lot of great recipes for crock pots. It's east too... all you do is throw the ingredients in in the am before leaving for the day, and let it cook. Also you could try kreaftrecipes.com, they have a lot of quick one dish meals.

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D.

answers from New York on

I work full-time and have a 2 yr old son. With the schedule he is on he eats dinner at 6:00 and most nights I don't get home until 5:30 so here is what we do. My hubby does all the cooking for the week on Sunday. This way all I have to do when we get home is heat it up. It's much easier and it keeps Aidan on schedule considering he goes to bed early too. He makes a big Meatloaf or breaded chicken and all I have to do is make a side dish and a veggie.

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E.B.

answers from Boston on

you should check out meals.com it's really good and kraftfoods.com

liz

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E.F.

answers from Syracuse on

http://www.kraftfoods.com/kf has some very easy and delicious recipes. They also have a magazine you can send for for free. I love it. My favorite magazine/cook book is Simple and Delicious (formerly Quick Cooking)-- you can pick it up at Wal*Mart at the check-out or by subscription (I have subscribed for many years). You can find them at: http://www.bestsimplerecipes.com/Default.aspx?r_d=y

I also make a menu 2 weeks in advance. It's typed and saved on the computer and hung on the fridge. I put the date, the meal, and the source (magazine, cookbook, my head, etc.), and the page number, then when I get home from work and from transporting kids, I don't have to wonder about dinner. I know what I am making. It is also how I make my grocery list--- I refer to the menu and build my list from there, so I always know that I have the ingredients. Of course--the menu is subject to change--- on an especially hectic day--- we order pizza---and everyone is happy!!!

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C.W.

answers from Providence on

Hi T.,
There are 2 things in the Kitchen I could not live without. My crock pot is # 1. I actually have 2 crock pots. Some days I have both working while we are out. I tend to cook meats in one & veggies in the other. That keeps our meals from all tasting like stew. Although home made stew is a great meal in itself. There are millions of crock pot recipes. I honestly don't think there is a food that doesn't cook well in a crock pot. You can find recipes from rice to dessert on line that can be set in a crock pot & left to cook till you are ready to eat it.
The time bake in my oven it #2. I know a lot of ovens don't have this feature any more but if yours does learn how to use it. You can come home to the wonderful smell of a roast or chicken that's ready to eat. You can bake potatoes right along side the meat & have veggies all cooked in the crock pot on the counter. Time bake allowes you to have lasagna, mac & cheese, or anything else you may crave that takes a longer time to cook. You could even mix up some cookie dough earlier in the day & leave it in the fridge. As you put dinner on the table your daughter could scoop the dough onto a baking sheet. (or you could do that earlier too & put the whole baking sheet in the fridge too. -cookies will take slighly longer to bake when you start with a cold sheet) Then you pop it in the already warm oven while you eat your delicious dinner. By the time (or slightly before) your done eating you'll have fresh baked cookies for dessert. What a "super mom" you would be & all without stressing while you are tired from being a taxi & "starving" for a late dinner.
As with any food prep be careful that the foods you use won't spoil before they cook. Some foods don't last well at room temp for long periods before cooking. Most foods are ok to be left in a cool oven for a few hours before the heat turns on.
If all else fails there are many good foods that are pre-cooked or take almost no time to cook. We have enjoyed the Boston Market side dishes from the freezer section. Uncle Ben's has ready rice that takes 90 seconds to cook in the microwave. Green Giant has a large variety of frozen veggie blends that are pretty close to fresh cooked. When you have a chance search your grocery store for some other easy prep foods that your family may like. There is a lot out there.
Hope this gives you some helpful ideas.
C.

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A.C.

answers from Boston on

Hi T.-
Have you thought about getting or do you already have a crockpot? You could throw fixings in the crockpot in the morning and come home to a meal. Most recipes call for 8-10 hours on the low setting. There is an electric crockpot out there that once set for however many hours, it will automatically switch to the warm setting once the right amount of hours have lapsed. There is also a wonderful book called Fix It and Forget It. It is ALL crockpot recipes. I love it!

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C.P.

answers from Boston on

Sadly, there's a book titled "A Man, A Can, A Plan" that might help. A coworker cooks from there all the time and although some of the recipes repulse me, I'm sure you can find something useful in there. It might also just be good for some ideas. And Campbells (I think) has a book of quick recipes - usually along the lines of a can of cream of something (mushroom/chicken), rice or pasta, and a meat to throw in the oven.

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P.W.

answers from New York on

I have 2 young kids, I work fulltime, and my hubby works parttime during the night. If we get an hour together from when I get home to when he leaves, we're lucky. What I do is to prepare my meals in advance, then when I go food shopping I know exactly what I need and what I have. I do most of my prep work at night, and most times my husband just has to throw a fully prepared meal into the oven. Like most of the other responses, I also love my crockpot, and couldn't live without it. On nights when I know I'm getting home at 5:30 and Mike has to be at work by 6, we'll just have leftovers. I always make my bigger more time consuming meals on the weekends or when Mike's off and I make extra so we can have that as a full meal another night, or we can bring it to work for lunch. Hope this helps.

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J.S.

answers from Boston on

Crockpot meals may be a lifesaver for you. My 4 year old loves picante chicken. I throw a couple of defrosted boneless skinless chicken breasts in a crockpot on high with a jar of picante sauce. give it 6-8 hours then it's ready. Serve it on a bed of rice. Very healthy, & if you feel like it, add some pepper & onions. Another suggestion is picking up an already cooked chicken at your grocery store and just making a veg & side dish. I have some pretty quick recipe idea's, if your interested, send me an email & I will email them to you.

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J.R.

answers from New York on

Hi T., I live and swear by my crockpot. It's the easiest and healthiest way to feed my family with our insane schedules. To me, nothing saves me time and energy like throwing some ingredients into the crockpot in the morning and having a full meal when we get in at night. Good luck to you on your search. PS - most book stores have recipe books for crockpot cooking and cookingcache.com has some great ones.

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L.K.

answers from Portland on

Go to www.foodnetwork.com and look up almost any Rachel Ray recipe. It will either be under her name or "30 minute meals". Their search engine is a little difficult to use but her meals really are good and can be made in about 30 minutes. Also, try some crock pot meals. I've gotten some good recipes from "www.allrecipes.com". One was SO simple, put a whole chicken (breast up) in the crock pot in the morning and put a bottle of bbq sauce on top. Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours. Not too bad and SO easy!

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S.B.

answers from Boston on

I know how you feel, one of my daughters plays three varsity sports through the school year and we are always at some kind of game or practice. The best thing ever invented was the crock pot~~you can make pretty much anything, even mac and cheese in it. I have put a whole 5lb chicken in at 7:00 am before I go to work on low, and by the time I get home at 4:00 pm its done and falling off of the bone, I shut it off and most times by the time we get home around 8 or 9, all you have to do is just zap it to heat it up in the microwave. If you go on line and do a search for crock pot reciepes you can find all kinds of things.

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C.C.

answers from Bangor on

Hi T.-- I recently got a wonderful new book its " Betty Crocker Bisquick-Impossibly Easy Pies" It literally has every thing imaginable for meat and desserts too. They truly are so quick and easy. A little pepper and they are good to go, and kid friendly too for those nights when they want to help! ( try Barnes and Noble - quick to your door shipping and VERY cheap!!) Good luck!

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S.C.

answers from Albany on

Hey T.,

I know how busy you are! I am too. And even though this is a little self promotional, I have tons of recipes on my blog http://www.mommy-inc.com. There recipes you make ahead of time and freeze. Then just thaw and reheat!

Hope you like them.

S.

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J.S.

answers from Hartford on

A quick thing that I have made is stuffed chicken breast (sounds complicated but it's not) take a piece of skinless boneless chicken lay it flat I then usually put fresh spinach but I would only do that if you could find local organic otherwise you could just do without then chopped brocoli and then I crumble some havarti with dill cheese roll up the chicken breast and secure with a tooth pick and bake at about 350 for about 25 minutes (my oven is kind of funky so you mighht have to play with that) then I either do refrigerated dinner rolls or bisquick. Then you have meat, veggie, dairy and carbs all in one...well two!)

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K.R.

answers from New London on

Do you have a crock pot? I fidn a crock pot to be very helpful. All you have to do is throw the stuff together real quick in the morning before you leave for work and turn it on and let it cook all day. By the time you get home from dinner all you have to do is serve it up. Another idea is that there is a Campbells cookbook with abot 20 different recipes that all can be made in about 20 min. Good luck!

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G.L.

answers from New York on

Have you tried making meals ahead of time and freezing so all you have to do is reheat? I usually do on a Sunday afternoon and make a meat loaf, shepards pie, etc. Also, I LOVE my crock pot and I'll throw a bunch of stuff in it in the morning and slow cook it all day so when we get home it is right there ready for them! Fix It and Forget It recipe book is awesome and easy!! Me and all of my friends use the book and swear by it!
Good luck!

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T.D.

answers from Buffalo on

I work part time (early morning hours 5am-9am), I am a full time night school nursing student, I have 3 active kids (15, 14, 11) who are involved in highschool cheerleading, boy scouts, religion class, and my husband works full time during the day and some saturday hours. I rely alot on my crock pot. but also when i make a pot of sauce or stew, i make extra to freeze. then the night before i put it in the fridge to thaw then warm it at dinner time. soup and sandwiches also work well. matter of fact i am using my crock pot know. i browned up some boneless chicken breasts (i coated them first in a mix of bisquick, garlic powder, pepper, and a pinch of salt). then after i put them in the crock pot, i poured 3 cans of chicken rice soup (do not dilute with water) and let it go. At dinner time i make a pot of rice, take the chicken out of the crock pot and mix the rice in to what is left in the crock pot. this dish also works great with turkey tenderloins or boneless pork chops. I have even in the past cooked the meat the night before and put it in the fridge over night. added it all to the crock the next day as if i had just made it up.

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R.A.

answers from Providence on

Hello T.,
I know what you mean.. as a busy mom myself I love "Cooking with Rachael Ray" She has a book you can get anywhere even walmart it is called "Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30 Min Meals for Kids" I hope it helps. _Robin_

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J.M.

answers from Buffalo on

Hi T.
I am a stay at home mom, I have a 2yr old and a 5 yr old that just started school, I also have two stepdaughters that are at my home 3 days a week and everyother weekend, and they have their activities, all of them but the 2 yr old. I love to cook, and I make alot of casseroles, stratas, crockpot everyhthing, even potroast! also, when you do have an opportunity to cook meals, maybe you can make some ahead of time for the week and freeze them, most everything can be frozen and then put in the oven, would be fun to make homemade T.V dinners?! My mother and Nana used to do that with left overs (espacially around holidays). if you are interested in any recipes you can write me, [email protected]____.com I have a very best girlfriend ,we share alot of recipes, all of which are very good and also there is this site cooks.com excellent for finding all kinds of recipe ideas and the recipes are printable. Hapyy quick cooking:)

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P.S.

answers from New York on

Crockpot and foodtv.com!!! I have similar issues. Hubby working all day/evening, i work full time, 2 kids in activities. I make a menu on sunday, do the food shopping for all supplies needed, then I try and prepare an extra meal on a quiet evening that just needs heating up the next day. or pre-setting your oven to cook when your not home, if you have such an option. (I couldnt live w/out mine!)

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