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A Moment to Read & Sandwiches Again for Dinner

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So my high today… I had a few moments to escape outside, sit on my deck and enjoy some time reading. The weather here in Boise has been absolutely beautiful and I am trying soak up as much of the sunshine as I can. And thanks to my mother (a past marriage and family therapist), I have a large array of self-help books to browse through when I am looking for something to read. So much fun! 😉

My low today is simply the fact that I have not been diligent about planning out meals and cooking healthy dinners for my family. We have been eating lots of easy to prepare meals like sandwiches, so I am feeling quite guilty for not whipping up a big family dinner. Hopefully, I can make up for this over the next few nights but we are once again having sandwiches tonight. Do any of you have any quick, healthy and kid-friendly meals to recommend?

[h2s_box]Every Monday-Thursday Wednesday, I share my high(s) and low(s) for the day past week and I encourage you to do the same in the comment section below. My high(s) will simply be the best or most exciting thing that happened to me over the last week or so and my low(s) will be something not so great that took place. As you may have noticed, I have slightly changed how frequently I will be posting these Highs/Lows. As is typical for me, I came up with this idea to share these daily and then quickly realized that it is a bit overwhelming to share Highs and Lows each day. For this reason (and my own sanity!), I will be posting Highs/Lows every Wednesday. Thanks for understanding.[/h2s_box]

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Comments 140

  1. Teresa A

    Do a stir fry anything, super fast. Also when you buy ground meat cook it ahead and freeze that way you can always have a quick taco, spaghetti, enchiladas etc… with VERY little work. (also takes less space in the freezer pre cooked and bagged flat) Also do the same with chicken always keep some frozen shredded so when in those slumps you can pull it out and QUICK anything is an option. Worst case you throw a quick soup or casserole together using it. But I do agree with the others USE the crockpot, frozen meats are great for a day cooking.

  2. Christine B

    My High for the week is looking at a toddler trampoline for my oldest boy or looking at a pool for my dad my husband and my boys(18month old and 2month old) for the summer.
    My low this week and last week was the awful flooding that occurred in northern Illinois destroying a school that I went to when I was young ( school is no longer used) and being unable to even leave my home 10 minutes from the river because flood waters surrounded our home. FYI I almost messed my car up and had the check engine light on from going through knee high water never again will I do that and I shall stock the pantry for future emergency’s.

  3. jiya

    Collin if u are in this kind of situation…let me know the ingredients u have in hand. I am a vegetarian & love to cook…I will create a meal with it for u.
    Tofu sandwiches are healthy option.
    Cut tofu in slices(can be star, moon). Put a little olive oil in pan & cook tofu from both sides. Toast bread in same pan. Put bread slice on tofu, add mango salsa or glucamole top the sandwich with other bread. Enjoy!!

  4. Aleshia

    Taco Salad. My 4 year old, 2 year old, and husband love it! One head of lettuce, 1 lb of ground beef, a package of cheese Doritos, cube cheese 1 lb, package of taco seasoning. cook meat add seasoning, chop up lettuce, crunch up doritos, mix
    together with the cube cheese. Easy Peasy! 20 min and you have a hot cheap dinner

    • Melissa

      Taco salad is my go-to lately. We do regular tortilla chips, and make it healthier by using lots of chopped raw veggies. Yummy!

  5. Molly

    Have you ever tried freezer meals? And by “freezer meals” I mean spending a day/afternoon of cooking or preparing things that can be frozen so you can pull them out later to heat and eat? This is a life saver for us. We both have highly demanding careers not to mention our son and the fact I’m in grad school. I’ll spend a Sunday prepping (totally get the kids involved) and then freeze them. Normally I can knock out a few weeks of meals in one afternoon. Now I have options HEALTHY options that are quick and delicious. LIFE SAVER I tell you!

    • Tilla Ham

      would you mind sharing some recipes you find tha twork well? i’ve been wanting to do this for years as i hate cooking, am not good at it, am slow at it, and we are at the dance studio every evening. I have a weight issue, and want my daughters to learn to eat healthier and avoid the same when they are older and no longer ballerinas 25 hours a week.

      • janice

        I second that! Have always wanted to do freezer meal but never know where to start!

        • Molly

          I’d love to! It’s late here and I need to hit the hay, so to speak, but I’d be happy to throw together a recipe document and post in a comment later if that’s ok? I’ll give fair warning that not ALL are “healthy” (c’mon, who doesn’t need a good and easy pasta bake once a week!). It will help you get the idea of freezer meals though. Modify as you see fit!

          • Tracy

            Molly!
            That would be so completely awesome! I know a lot of us are in similar boat & any recipes like this would be a wonderful start! Thanks!

          • s

            Yes!!

          • Nans

            Thanks!

    • Jenny

      Me too!!!

  6. Valerie

    Oh Collin I am right there with you on the dinners!! I blame the snow. We’ve gotten 30% of our annual snowfall here in the Rockies in the month of April. I make some meals ahead but some days I don’t even get those out. I’m hoping the warmer weather inspires me. 🙂

  7. janice

    When weather is warmer, my hubby loves to grill. He makes enough for that meal and also throws on some extra for the next night or two.

  8. Tilla Ham

    my low for today is my husband coming home in a bad mood again…i always get happy and peppy in the spring and he always gets burnt out and crabby….blah 🙂 My high for today is the sunshine. opening the sunroof, blasting the music, and soaking in some desperately needed vitamin D while trudging around to get the kids

  9. Tricia

    I cook up things in batches. I take one afternoon a week and cook up a big pot of chili or stew or cook up a bunch of chicken tenders and freeze them in portions so when I don’t feel like cooking or don’t have time I can take some out and microwave it. Especially for my son…hubby and I don’t mind eating sandwiches but we want him to have a meal with protein etc. With the chicken tenders already cooked and frozen I always have tortillas on had so I can make a chicken quesadilla in seconds for my son. I also make frittatas a lot since you can throw almost anything into it and doesn’t take long at all to cook. And every time I cook a meal I make a double batch so there are leftovers for the next busy night. 🙂

  10. Fio

    Chicken Fajitas: I use the tray freezing technique to have sliced bell peppers and onions when they are on sell. Also, I slice chicken cutlets when on sale and tray freeze as well. First, start the rice, I add frozen veggies, butter, and chicken buillon. Fast dinner involves sateeing first the peppers with onions with olive oil, salt, and paprika. Finally, sautee the chicken and add the same seasonings. It all takes about 15 minutes. Make a lot and you have a few dinners. You can make a burrito wrap, or make a fajita bowl with rice, beans and other ingredients.

  11. Tiffany Torres

    My high for the week just happened this morning! I am a HUGE book nerd and I received notification that I won a signed copy of a book from my favorite author! This couldn’t have come at a better time since it’s my Birthday this Sunday 🙂 My low is just my lack of motivation in general. I’ve had a lot on my plate lately and I’m finding it quite challeging to muster the energy to do even the smallest tasks!

    • Heather C.

      Omg, me too Tiffany… My lack of motivation is driving me nuts. I too have so much going on right now that some days it’s hard for me to find the drive to make sure even the smallest of tasks get completed at home. Made me feel better just reading your post, and seeing I’m not the only one going through this! Thank you! 🙂

  12. Kris

    I needed this post again today Collin! My low was definitely screaming at my 2 year old because she kept banging a metal bucket into everything. I think I need to check out that Graceful parenting book you have in your stack! My high was going to the library and the store with her because she was so good and easy while we were out!

  13. Laura

    My high for the day was getting a new fridge! My low was my husband coming home from work grumpy! But I did make home made french fries. I typically don’t cook much, but recently I’ve made french fries, naan, and banana pineapple bread. I love this site for tasty looking, healthy, and easy recipes!:

    http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/

    • Tilla Ham

      must have been a day for grumpy husbands, mine is lucky i’m too tired to lift my leg to his rear:)

  14. Ketsy alexander

    I buy chicken breast and prep them to freeze in ziploc bags. I do thin slices ready for grilling, strips for stir fry and stuffed with ham and cheese for the kids and with different veggies (broccoli, spinach) and cheeses (provolone, cheddar). Then the work is cut in half. I keep a lot of fruit in the refrigerator and the kids sometimes get fruit salad with granola and yogurt as one of the weekend meals to give me time for myself or to prep for the week 🙂 Also make sandwiches fun. Pills bury crescents are easily baked as bread instead of traditional breads. I recently made some to look like carrots by putting a tad bit of food color in the egg wash. Kids dig fun foods 🙂

  15. Ketsy alexander

    My low for the week is husband spending way too much time hiding in the bathroom with his smartphone. My high is that when we argue or he gets caught messing up, things go my way for a very, very long time. A healthy argument comes in handy every so often 😀

  16. ashley

    my hogh today is my husbands family came over which i adore and sisters-in-laws baby came out from the hospital. my low was definitely arguing with my husband in front of his aunt and i had to leave the room cause i started crying .. men can be so stubborn

  17. Dee

    Collin, Go look at the recipes Dr. Oz has on his website. He has people on his show all the time making healthy recipes and then they get put on his website. I’ve seen them make really quick meals on his show. Just a thought.

  18. Samantha Booker

    Collin, I am so enjoying the highs and lows. We all have them and sometimes it helps to read the good as much as the bad!
    The dinner thing is a real struggle of mine right now, too. My husband works a 5 pm – whenever shift and I stay home full time with our almost 1-year-old twin boys and 4 1/2 yr old girl who I am homeschooling (preschool/getting us both ready for the fall)
    It is really hard on the days when I am out couponing (with all the children) or we have appointments to make it back in time to “feed” my husband. Not only do I have to make it back in time to prepare a meal, but things have to be brought in from the car, babies nursed and daughter’s lunch prepared first most days.
    Anyway, not trying to vent my own issues here — LOL — but I feel ya!!! I am really trying to do more of the make ahead kinds of things or at least browning and seasoning meat and freezing it. I wear my crock pot out, too and there’s a lot more variety than you think with crock pot recipes. My husband is a big eater and usually eats a heavy meal and takes 1 to work, so it can just be difficult to feel like I have him taken care of. BUT, he never complains, never expects me to do anything and will gladly hit a drive through or make a sandwich and grab a can of soup. It’s my own battle! haha

  19. Moncia

    Fast meal in 1/2 hour that the kids will eat…..Ham Linguini.

    Boil linguine noodles. While that is cooking, saute 1C walnut pieces, 3 cloves minced garlic in light olive oil. then add i bunch fresh chopped parsley and 1lb ham (julienned). By now, your noodles will be done. Dump them into a LARGE bowl. Toss with the ham and walnut mixture. Add 1/2 C fresh grated Parmesan and add s/p to taste. Easy Peasy and the kids will love it. It’s good for you too. I serve mine with grilled zucchini or steamed grean beans. Let me know how you like it.

    I loved being out in the Treasure Valley weather today as well!!!

  20. daltonjsmom

    Today’s high: A tie for watching it snow awhile this morning (in MO) and reading these moms talk about their (NORMAL!) lives instead of posting about how they feed their families nothing but hand-packed lunches and fruit and veggies every night!

    Today’s low: My husband has pneumonia, passed out at the dr.’s office. He is supposed to be off school (teacher) for a week, but agreed to 3 days.

    Dinner plan: At the farmer’s mkt Sat. morning, I bought 10 servings of veggies and a pound of grassfed ground round. I am going to try to have 2 servings of veg each night (3 of us) with individually frozen fish, chicken, or shrimp (burgers one night), tuna croquettes, etc. Friday night will be leftovers, plus a sandwich (tuna salad, egg salad, etc. If no veg left I plan to fill in with beans and rice, soup, mac and cheese or whatever. When it gets warmer, we will grill. That way I don’t have to feel guilty b/c they have had tons of healthy stuff all week long and I am entitled to a rest! (I also made homemade chicken soup last night for the hub, and he and I both pack a lunch every day to take to school!)

  21. daltonjsmom

    Oh, and I also have stocked up on #10 cans of freeze dried and dehydrated foods. It has changed my life! I can now make soup in about 10 minutes with beautiful vegetables already chopped without going to the store. They will last on the pantry shelf in the garage outside my kitchen door for years! I am so glad I did this and can’t wait to get a wider variety!

  22. mom

    wow…sounds like a hip2save cookbook is in the works with all these tips and ideas!

  23. deb

    My High was being able to walk after total knee replacement. My low was pulling the muscle in the other leg

  24. Kate

    Spaghetti is a staple in my house! Very easy and everyone in my family loves it!

  25. jenniferr17

    My high was finding out 1 bank accepted our offer on a short sale. Now we just have to wait and hope that the 2nd bank accepts it too. My low was my daughter having the stomach flu.

    • Tanya

      good luck on the short sale! we finally have a close escrow date, after about 7 months with our short sale. once we got the 1st accepted, the 2nd was just a few days later!

  26. tam childers

    My go to easy and quick meals to make for my nearly 3 year old are fish tacos (only take minutes to thaw in a bowl of water and cook in 5 mintues). Also Chicken fried rice or chicken tortilla soup using shredded rotisseri chicken I keep in the freeezer, ready to use for a fast meal option.

  27. Amanda C

    I do a quick fix with smoked turkey dinner sausage, Uncle Bens Ready Rice and steamfresh vegetables. I bake the sausage for about 10-15 minutes, microwave the rest, then cut the sausage up and mix it with the rice with veggies on the side. If they are really hungry I’ll add some applesauce.

  28. Ashley Vasquez

    Okay ready to blow your family away with a delicious meal that you can reuse for different things??? I started making this recipe I saw on Pioneer Woman a while back and my husband and kids and everyone that tries it always beg for more! Very few ingredients. It is a Sweet n Spicy Pop Pulled Pork!

    You need: 1 pork roast (butt is the best because there is not a huge bone)
    2 cans of Dr. Pepper
    4 tablespoons of brown sugar
    1 can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (I only put in 1-2 peppers because it can get super spicy)
    1 onion
    (season the roast as you please) I do like salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder.

    Preheat your over to 350 and get your stuff ready in a dutch oven or something like it. Chop your onion and place your roast on top. Season the roast. Place your can of peppers with sauce in a strainer with bigger holes (Like pasta strainer) pour both cans of dr. pepper over them to get the yummy adobe sauce in there. Take the brown sugar and put it in the liquid on the sides of the roast.

    NOW… The cooking time. Takes 6 hours. All you have to do is every 2 hours go flip that bad boy over and put the lid back on. Your roast may not take 6 hours! But it will be fall apart deliciously juicy!

    Reusing? The list is endless.

    Fry up some potatoes and mix in some meat and you have breakfast tacos!
    Nachos, baked potatoes, meaty omelet, in a tortilla alone, pulled pork sandwiches topped with cool creamy cole slaw!… I think you get the point. This stuff is amazing and freezes well. Save the liquid so they can poor a little extra on the meat if they want! Sorry this is so long but this meal really goes a long way and your family won’t complain! Hope this helps not only you, but some other hip2savers!

    • Lo

      This sounds like a great recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  29. chris g.

    Hi There-I like to keep whole wheat pitas in the fridge for a quick dinner. On those crazy nights I take them out, spread some ragu sauce on them and sprinkle with low fat mozzarella cheese. Then I bake them for about 10 minutes. And, voila, we have pita pizzas for dinner with a salad.

    • Melissa

      I always keep whole wheat pitas and/or tortillas around too! You can also spread with hummus and veggies to make wraps, or make greek pitas (kalamata olives, hummus, lettuce, and feta cheese).

  30. Melissa

    My low from Tuesday, I lost diamond from the anniversary ring that my husband gave me for our 10th anniversary. I had been about 4 places that day and thought for sure that it was gone forever so……imagine my shock the next day when I found the diamond on my kitchen rug! I had checked everywhere in the house with a flashlight, swept the kitchen floor and the next day after assuming it was in a parking lot somewhere, vacuumed the whole house. I said God, I can’t find it but you know where it is so please show me! Soooo Thankful today – can’t stop smiling!

    • Melissa

      Ack! So glad you found it! My mom’s diamond fell out of her engagement ring at my brother’s high school graduation… thousands of people there and she had been all over the place! She noticed it was lost, said a prayer, and looked around and found it within a few minutes!

  31. Stephanie

    I have a super easy meal I got from a book called Miserly Moms. It is called Rubber Chicken.

    First Night Bake a Large Chicken, serve with Mashed potatoes or rice and lots and lots of veggies or Salad.

    The Second night pull off all the chicken from the bone, save the bones, and make Taco/Burrito Night! Cook and shred your chicken, add a can of black beans, juice and all, and one package of taco seasoning…That’s it! Heat it up and serve on tacos or tortillas, top with cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, & Salsa or whatever suits your fancy.

    Third night, is Chicken Soup Night, take all the smaller leftover pieces of chicken and throw in a large pot with the chicken bones, cover with water, add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and pepper, cook the hound out of it. You can add noodles to it as well. Serve with crusty bread. Be sure to remove bones before serving. 🙂

    Three nights off one chicken. Depending on the size of your family will determine the size of your chicken, to get the most meat for all three meals. Enjoy!!

    • tinasmile@yahoo.com

      So, this would be great if I ever had left over chicken. It seems all I can make is broth with left overs. Maybe a turkey would work better for my family!

      • Cath

        do what I do…the $5 rotisserie chicken from the grocery store! Great for chicken soup, chicken salad…anything!

  32. Carrie

    Pinterest.com has a ton of great recipes too!

  33. Lisa

    here is one of my faves..plus crockpot meals are real time savers! the entire family loves this recipe and it is kid friendly!

    Crock Pot Beef Pepper Steak

    Ingredients:
    2 pounds beef round steak, 1 inch thick, cut into 3-inch strips
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
    1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 can (14.5 to 16 ounces) tomatoes, cut up, undrained
    2 large green bell peppers, cut into strips, or 1 red and 1 green
    1/2 cup cold water
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    hot cooked rice
    Preparation:
    Place beef strips in crockpot. Combine oil, soy sauce, onion, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper, and ginger; pour over beef. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours, or until meat is tender. Add tomatoes and green peppers; cover and cook on LOW for 1 hour longer. Combine the cold water and cornstarch to make a paste; stir into liquid in slow cooker and cook on high until thickened. Serve over noodles or rice.
    Serves 8.
    NOTE: I have made this by adding in ALL ingredients at same time and cooking on low for 8 hours with great success!

  34. Ashley

    When you asked for healthy, delicious, and quick recipes, I had to share this one. This truly only takes about 25-30 minutes to prepare: Quinoa with Corn, Tomatoes, Avocado, and Lime. I use the recipe below as a base, but then change it around in the following ways: I cook well-rinsed quinoa with onions and vegetable broth, then everyone can top their quinoa with any of the following: thawed corn, canned RoTel tomatoes, canned black beans, chopped avocado, olive oil, lime, and sour cream. I don’t have kids, so I don’t know if they would like it, but my husband and I love it! Thanks for a great site, Collin!

    http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/08/quinoa-salad-corn-tomatoes-avocado-lime-recipe.html

  35. Lindsey Thompson

    Collin, this an area in which I struggle as well, especially since I am a newlywed and prepare meals for just me and my husband. We use emeals which sends you weekly meals with your meals and shopping list all planned out for you and your family. There are several different meal plans from which to choose and the meals are quite delicious. The pricing varies, but even without a discount seems quite reasonable. That said, Groupon has been running meals for 1 year @ 53% off over the last few months. We purchased a full year of planned dinners and shopping list for $29. Coming from someone who has been using emeals for almost a year, it is well worth it!

  36. lachmun

    The Pampered Chef has a deep covered baker (stoneware) that can go in the microwave and cook ANYTHING. You can even cook a whole chicken in it in about 30 minutes! We made some summertime spaghetti in it (about 15 minutes) the other day and it was yummy.

  37. Cath

    Put chicken breasts or thighs in the crock pot. Add a bottle of italian dressing and a package of onion soup mix. Put in just enough water that it covers the chicken. Cook on low 6 hrs or so.

    Even my EXTREMELY picky son will eat this!

    Ribs: Slab of ribs in a foil lined pan. Cover with one bottle of barbeque sauce, one small can of spaghetti sauce and 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar. Cover and put in the oven at 225 all day. They literally fall off the bones, and my kids can’t get enough!

  38. Joy

    Breakfast for dinner can be quick and healthy (pumpkin or apple pancakes-make a big batch and freeze the rest, egg white omelets, turkey bacon, scrambled eggs in whole wheat tortillas, etc.)

  39. bali

    Nothing wrong with having sandwiches for dinner (as long as you’re using whole grain and adding some fruit & veggies).

  40. christine

    oops forgot my high and low. My low was also arguing with my husband. My high was the nice weather. I hope it stays this way

  41. Alicia

    This is an easy recipe that’s worthy of company (and they all ask for the recipe). When chicken is on sale I make a bunch of batches at one time and freeze them too.

    Unbelievable chicken:
    1/2 C cider vinegar
    1/2C dijon mustard
    6 garlic cloves minced
    1/3 C lemon or lime juice
    1 C brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
    2/3 C olive oil
    boneless skinless chicken breasts (anywhere from 2-6)

    Put your chicken in a baking dish and pour the sauce over it. Bake uncovered at 375 for an hour flipping over the chicken half way through. I like to serve this over rice (we eat a brown/wild rice combo) and spoon the sauce over the chicken and rice on the plate.

    Even though this takes an hour, it easy because it’s pretty much all down time. Just mix the sauce and bake. You could use the baking time to make sides, catch up with dishes or laundry, or read on your back porch. 🙂

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