Fast Feast

11 Nov

I am a busy working mother.  I understand what it is like to work all day and come home to hungry kids that need a good supper.  It is tempting to go find a drive thru and just be done with it.  But let’s state the obvious and say that the nutrition in a fast food meal just isn’t the same as a healthy home cooked meal.  But how do we find the time and energy to cook a meal after a long day at work?  I will tell you how!

Anyone can have a nutritious dinner ready quickly.  It takes a tiny bit of planning, so the next time you go to the grocery store get these items on hand.  Then you will be ready to toss together a quick family dinner in less time than it would take to go out for fast food.

Grocery list:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts/1 per person
  • A jar of your favorite bbq sauce
  • Large Idaho potatoes
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • Frozen bag of vegetables such as green beans or broccoli

Now let’s get cooking.  When you walk in the door, turn the oven onto 350 degrees then go change into comfortable clothes.  Ok, back to the kitchen.   Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet, salt and pepper them, and toss them in the oven.

Wash the potatoes and pierce the skin with a fork twice.  If you don’t prick the potato with a fork, it will explode when cooking.  And believe me, you don’t want to clean THAT up!  Place the potatoes like numbers on a clock or spokes on a wheel around a microwave safe plate.  Put them in the microwave, and follow your manufacturers directions for cooking the baked potatoes.  My microwave has a baked potato button to push, and it does the rest of the work for me!  The potatoes, depending on the size, will take 15 minutes or so to cook.  Rotate them once or twice during cooking.

Set the table, or better yet, have the kids do it.  The chicken will need about 25 minutes in the oven.  After about 20 minutes, pull it out and douse the chicken in BBQ sauce.  Toss it back in the oven for the flavors to cook for another 5-10 minutes.  Check the potatoes.  Place a fork into one to test for doneness.  The potato should be soft.  When they are done, cover the plate with tin foil and get the frozen vegetables out.

Read the directions.  The vegetables that I prefer cook in their own bag.  Easy!  Put the vegetables in the microwave and cook for the designated amount of time, probably 7 or so minutes.  While those are cooking, pull out some butter, maybe sour cream too.  Whatever you like on a baked potato, put on the table.

Pull out your dinner and enjoy!  Not only will you enjoy a nutritious home cooked meal, you can enjoy the socialization that naturally comes with cooking and sharing a meal.  While you are cooking, hopefully folks are in the kitchen with you to chat with and share thoughts of the day.  A quick meal is also a great example for the family.  There are choices to fast food!  And they can be very quick!

Last thought:  do not take this whole task on yourself.  Have the kids help with the cooking, and the kids will also be on KP duty (kitchen patrol).  They can do the dishes.  Not only is it important to get a nutritious meal on the table, it is also critical for the rest of the family learn to pitch in and help.  After dinner is also a great time for the children to make their sandwich and lunch for the following day!

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