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5 Dinner Essentials for the Busy Mom

Dinners don’t have to be complicated. But, dinners don’t have to be take-out either. Here are some essentials I make sure to grab at the grocery store to keep dinnertime quick and healthy!

Chicken

I’m a big fan of grabbing a pack or two of skinless, boneless chicken tenderloin. If I don’t get to all of it in one week, I make sure to throw it in the freezer before the end of the week. There’s nothing I hate more than wasted food.

You can easily change-up what you season the chicken with, if you are a fan of variety like myself. My husband loves Montreal Chicken seasoning that he can throw on the chicken right before it goes on the grill. I prefer to marinate the chicken for a few hours prior to grilling.

Most of these marinade items can be found in the common pantry: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, rosemary, sage, mustard, garlic, and dill. They are probably those spices you didn’t realize you still had. If you don’t have those, get creative and try your own version.

Meatloaf

As we approach fall weather, my family is craving heartier meals. If you are not a huge red meat fan or you are trying to watch your diet, you can always substitute this easy ground beef purchase with ground turkey.

Make sure you also grab (or have handy) bread crumbs, eggs, canned tomato sauce, onion, and salt and pepper. Mix together and place in a loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Quinoa/Rice

These are items that won’t go bad if you don’t end up using them in the same week as your grocery store trip so grab a few! An easy item to add to any meal is a rice pilaf or brown rice. Place your chicken or pork on a bed of rice and it makes your quick meal look a little more gourmet.

My favorite quinoa is the rosemary and olive oil. You can boil it quickly and after it cools it can be mixed with some chopped watermelon (yes, watermelon) and feta. Try it. You can thank me later. It’s a family favorite!

Vegetables

This is where I go super easy. Frozen. This mama on the go has to have something she can easily throw on the grill, on a skillet, or (gasp!) in the microwave. We stock up on our vegetables in the frozen section and try to get in a variety of different kinds.

I try to stay away from the vegetables that have too much added cheese or butter on them. I find the kids actually like just the regular vegetables, especially when I involve them in the decision at the store.

Dessert

You don’t have to make dessert every night – believe me I am not an advocate of daily dessert. But, on those nights when your sweet tooth is in overdrive and you could go for some chocolate, it helps to have a baking mix on hand.

We recently tried an organic salted chocolate chip brownie mix from foodstirs modern baking. It wasn’t as crunchy as I generally like having my brownies but it was a winner with my kids. The salted chocolate taste was fantastic and is perfect for that sweet tooth craving.

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