We have three in soccer this year which means there are 3 nights a week where we are at the soccer fields from 4:30-7:30. I’m trying to think of easy dinners I can have ready (or easily reheat) for asap when we get home and am totally blanking. My ideas so far:
Basically any crockpot meal (which I normally don’t love )
Soups/chili (is it still soup season?!)
Chicken tenderloins for over salad or in wraps
There has to be more, I know people do this all the time help!
apricot / 390 posts
1. it's always soup season
2. don't sleep on a good casserole or lasagna; they were made for this kind of thing
3. i believe there are a bunch of chicken dishes can be prepared in the morning, popped in the fridge, and put in the oven come dinner time.
nectarine / 2010 posts
DD has evening activities 3-5 nights a week and I am solo with her for most of them. I don't have time to cook an actual meal when we get home - I need to walk in the door with her and have food on the table within 10 minutes. I try to cook full meals or individual items on Sunday.
For example, last week on Sunday I prepped: Pulled Pork, Roasted Chicken Sausages, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Macaroni and Cheese, Roasted Broccoli, and Green Beans. Then each night I would take out a meat, starch, and veggie. It felt like a new meal each night but it was super simple.
So two meats, two starches, and two veggies - I try not to have the same of anything two weeks in a row (other than broccoli because it is DD's favorite). Or if I do something like taco meat, I can chop all the things to go with it and one night it will be tacos and another night it will be taco salads/burrito bowls.
Other things that I will make ahead of time (and try to double and freeze if applicable): Casseroles, enchiladas, quiche, and soups/chili. In the summer I will make big batches of pasta salad loaded with veggies and some meat. On our most stressful night we often do homemade lunchables or even PB&J with fruit and pretzels - on those days I try to make sure we all have a bigger/heartier lunch.
I've accepted that at this stage of life we very rarely eat a meal "fresh" but we try to only get takeout a few times a month. So I find cooking ahead and then just reheating is the best plan.
pomelo / 5563 posts
Grilled cheese or quesadillas, buy a rotisserie chicken. We like to have “picnic” - baguette/crackers, deli meat and cheese, and veggies. Rice bowls, if you’ve pre-cooked the rice.
I got turned onto the Lazy Genius in another thread and she pointed out that dinner doesn’t need to be the main meal, so you can always just do sandwiches! Or eggs are pretty quick.
grapefruit / 4584 posts
Solidarity. I've got three kids two playing travel lacrosse (different teams), two playing travel soccer (different teams), and one playing local tball. Our evenings are a disaster this spring.
I do a lot of what you've mentioned; quesadillas are easy to have sitting on a griddle ready to heat when you get home (they also wrap up well in foil). If we have microwavable leftovers, I'll make plates and cover them with a towel/saran wrap, then zap them for 30 seconds each when we get home.
One strategy that is working for me is to feed the kids who are available a light dinner on the early end, and give them something like a peanut butter sandwich in the car on the way home from late practices....I take a variety of fruit, sandwiches, or packable dinners (like the aforementioned quesadillas) for kids to eat when they are not the ones playing. It's not ideal, but it helps a little and is better than them subsisting on goldfish and lollipops all season.
persimmon / 1483 posts
These are all great ideas! We do something similar to @PinkElephant: on the nights my kids have swimming lessons. They need to eat starting at 5 and we don't get home until about 7:45. So I give them something like chicken nuggets, quesadillas, etc. before swimming and then they have a big healthy snack when we get home so that they aren't hungry at bedtime. They like string cheese, nuts, fruit, crackers, and olives.
persimmon / 1079 posts
@bees_knees: Great ideas! We have swim during the week and my go to is breakfast! I scramble some eggs, pan cakes and fresh fruit, milk/water. I will sometimes give a breakfast bar too. They love it!
Spaghetti/broccoli and garlic bread
grilled cheese and soup
kiwi / 556 posts
All great ideas! Just adding that I try to plan meals that have a lot of leftovers, so I cook on less busy days and then have left overs on busy ones.
I fun summer crock pot recipe we love is for pulled BBQ chicken that you eat on a bun. A batch is easily two dinners for us and I just serve it with a salad, fresh veggies, and chips.
persimmon / 1064 posts
Eek this is all so good!
@smuckers: Love me a good Costco frozen lasagna! But I don't want to leave my oven running while we're gone (that's a bad idea, right? ) Maybe I could cook ahead of time and warm it up in the microwave!
@catgirl: This was super helpful, thank you!! Love the idea of using the same ingredients but in different combinations so it feels "fresh".
@erinbaderin: Was the Lazy Genius suggestion in the kids chores thread? That was me! (haha) and I TOTALLY forgot about her episode about this! Thank you for the reminder!! Eggs are sooo fast, and my kids love them and we have chickens, so not sure why I didn't think of that before!
@PinkElephant: Your idea of packing meal-ish stuff is great. Snacks, but not crap. Genius.
@Chuckles: This is so smart! Like a kid charcuterie on the go!
@cake2017: Brinner is brilliant! I usually do pancakes or something, but even those are super easy to make before hand and reheat!
@Lahela017: So smart. My toxic trait is that I hate leftovers but I think I'm just going to have to get over it. Because they are so easy!
Thank you all for the suggestions! This season is craaaazy!!