Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easy Meal Planning Ideas

Recently, I have been all about making meals for dinner that I can prep in 30 minutes or less during nap time. Right now, our evenings are a little crazy. T usually naps until 5:30/6, and when he wakes I nurse him, and usually somewhere between 6/6:15, we sit down to dinner. But since he's nursing right before that, I can't stand at the stove and prep in the evening. Such a serious mom problem. But all joking aside, it has taken some trial and error to find what works for us in the evening. I recently shared some of my favorite easy prep meals with two friends, and at the end of my email to them, I said, "This would be a good blog post!"...so here ya go! Hope another busy mama out there finds this helpful.

Most of these are prep ahead meals and a few are super fast meals where I chop and measure things beforehand and throw in a skillet and quickly cook when it's time to eat. Also, a lot of these I've shared on instagram already, but since you can't leave direct links on instagram, I thought this might be helpful for anyone looking to spice up their meal plans.

This is an easy one to prep ahead of time! Also makes a great meal for a new mama! We omit the jalapenos, but that's about the only change I make. These are so yummy!

This was a new recipe I recently found in a copy of my Rachael Ray magazine, but these were a hit. I prepped them ahead of time and did everything but the egg wash and the baking. I popped them in the oven before I fed T, and by the time he was done nursing these were ready for dinner. An easy make ahead meal!

Shaved Brussels are one of my favorite ways to eats Brussels. This recipe from my friend Nina is a keeper. I subbed smoked chicken sausage for the andouille so M would eat it (she does not like spicy). This wasn't one I prepped ahead too much. I did do all of my chopping ahead of time and made the dressing for it, but really it was a quick cook time! Highly recommend this one!

I have my friend Rachel and snapchat (I'm erchla on there!) to thanks for this one! Rachel snapped this one day, and I immediately pulled up my pinterest and added this my recipe board! This was SO good and so super easy. Like the meal above, I didn't prep too much eahd of time other than the chopping. Cook time was super short and was ready fast. All three of us loved this.

An oldie but a goodie, but I love this for an easy week night dinner. I can make it all during nap time in under half an hour, and then pop it in the oven at 5:30, and dinner is ready by 6:30. We usually pair with a salad or roasted asparagus. This past time I made it, M ate two big servings. Might need to start making two!

If you like shrimp, MAKE THIS! You can prep the shrimp ahead of time and leave it in the fridge all day and then cook right before you're ready to eat. Honestly, trimming the green beans was what took the longest for this meal. Such an easy and great dinner!

This is a random one, but this salad is one of my favorites! It's so simple, and there's not much to it, but it makes a great side for any meal. 

Skinnytaste Shrimp Tostadas
This was a new skinnytaste meal for us, but one I'll definitely make again. I made my gaucamole and tostadas earlier in the day (corn tortillas, brush with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and bake at 350 on each side for 4-5 min) and the rest was easy to throw together at dinner time. 

How can you go wrong with something that involves caprese salsa?! I served this over arugula and made J a baked potato to go with his. I prepped everything early in the day, and grilled the steak right before T woke up and ate at 6. While he ate I let the steak sit and finish cooking, so timing wise, it worked out perfectly. I could eat this weekly. Flank steak is favorite at dinner time, and this caprese salsa was just awesome. 

And a few more links...no pictures, but I love these meals because they're all super easy make ahead meals that I just put in the oven before dinner.

Pioneer Woman's Baked Ziti (this will feed your family for days!)

Now you tell me...
What meals do you love that are easy to make ahead of time? Would love some new things to add in to our rotation.


  1. THANK YOU! :) It's the true mommy juggle. Love these quick recipes! I need to be better about prep earlier in the day - that would save a lot of time!

  2. Seriously, all of these look SO good!

  3. Thanks for the shout out! I MUST try that gnocchi recipe ASAP!

  4. Thanks!! I'm having the same problem of nursing and trying to get dinner ready too. I needed this!!!

  5. I love this! I am usually good at meal planning but haven't really cooked dinner in weeks bc things have been crazy and the after school hours are... Intense. 😁🙄. I needed some inspiration and will be trying some of these!

  6. Totally saving all of these right now!!! They might even make me hate cooking a little less ;) Thank you!!