7 Family Friendly Recipes for Busy Parents

In a world where we are rushing from one activity to the next making homemade/healthy meals seems next to impossible! Finding recipes isn’t the problem. We love pinning those yummy looking recipes on Pinterest but the problem is finding time to try them in the middle of our chaotic schedules! I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite go to meals. These are tried and true and are consistently made at our house. I hope you and your family enjoy them!

A lot of these recipes make a pretty good bit. I love to freeze the extras so on those crazy nights when I don’t have time to cook, all I have to do is set it out to thaw in the morning and then heat it up that night. Remember to always store extras in an air tight container!

Slow-Cooker Beef Chili

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/slow-cooker-hearty-beef-chili-111270.aspx

Slow-Cooker Beef Chili

Slow-Cooker Beef Chili

How We Roll: We use 1 can of light and 1 can of dark Kidney beans. (Look for low sodium or no salt

added). We aren’t onion people so I only chop ½ an onion. Add a can of Diced Tomatoes (no-salt added). Add 2 cloves minced garlic for additional taste. Use whatever cheese you have on hand. This goes great with Fritos! You can easily double this recipe for a crowd or for freeze ahead meals.

Sloppy Joes

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/04/sloppy-joes/

How We Roll: We add an entire “small” can of no salt added Tomato Paste and only ½ cup Ketchup. Omit Red Pepper Flakes. Add about ¼ tsp of salt and pepper. Add a can of diced tomatoes (no salt added). Sounds weird I know but it adds flavor plus tomatoes are healthy for you! This recipe makes a ton so we divide what we won’t eat within 2-3 meals and freeze the rest in air tight containers.

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

Chicken Tortilla Soup

http://www.bakedbyrachel.com/slow-cooker-chicken-tortilla-soup/

Crock-Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Crock-Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

We LOVE this recipe. Although it’s a soup, it’s not as heavy as chili or Taco Soup so we sometimes make this in the summer.

How We Roll: Use a 16 oz bag of frozen corn (thawed or unthawed – doesn’t matter), 2 cans of no salt added basil and oregano diced Tomatos. I omit serrano pepper and use closer to 3 cloves of minced garlic. Shred whatever cheese you have on hand and we just use regular tortilla chips and crush them over the top. This makes a lot so we freeze the extra for a later meal.

Buffalo Pork Chops

http://www.allisonskinnyjeans.com/2013/08/buffalo-pork-chops.html

How We Roll: Season both sides with salt, pepper, Garlic Powder, and

Onion Powder. Let them sit there for about 10 minutes like that. I completely cover my chops with thick slices of mozzarella! These are also good reheated! Just cover with Aluminum Foil and reheat in the oven!

Buffalo Pork Chops

Buffalo Pork Chops

Crockpot Jambalaya

http://redbeansanderic.com/?p=2791

Crockpot Jambalaya

Crockpot Jambalaya

How We Roll: We have made this with or without chicken and a separate time without shrimp. If you are

adding chicken and you have a stand mixer, use the mixer to shred your chicken! We add a can of diced tomatoes and okra to it. I love that this is made in the crockpot! It makes a ton and can easily be frozen for future meals!

Chicken Nacho Bake

This is probably an all-time favorite in my household and one that we probably cook at least once sometimes twice a month!

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/chicken-nacho-bake-108694.aspx

How We Roll: I usually cut the chicken breasts in ½ because they are

Chicken Nacho Bake

Chicken Nacho Bake

large. We always buy enough chicken to have leftovers. If you ½ the chicken then just cut one strip down the center. We use ¾ cup salsa and a HEAPPING 1/4 cup sour cream. Mix the two together and sprinkle in some minced garlic or garlic powder and pepper. Pour over the top of the chicken. Follow the rest of the original recipe.

Homemade Krystal Burgers

http://www.betterrecipes.com/blogs/daily-dish/2013/05/29/easy-cheeseburger-sliders/

How We Roll: Add garlic powder to the mixture. A little tip – the level of fat % will determine how much the meat will shrink. Example: 75% meat will be A LOT smaller than 85% meat once it has cooked. The hardest part of this meal is getting the giant meat patty out without breaking it and draining the grease. I also use paper towels to squish the remaining grease from the giant patty. Wrap leftover meat patty in foil for easy reheating!

Homemade Krystal Burgers

Homemade Krystal Burgers

Easy Enchiladas

enchilada 3My family loves Mexican dishes! I love easy, healthy, and tasty dishes! This recipe gets checks in all the right boxes! It’s easy and you make your own enchilada sauce which cuts down on the processed foods.  I looked at several different recipes before I settled on this one. I was concerned that it might be a little bland so I of course tweaked it to fit our taste….I tweaked it a little too spicy so I’ll tone it down next time. For the original recipe, go here.

What you Need:

  • 10 taco size soft flour tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded (or finely chopped), cooked chicken
  • 3 cups cheese – shredded (we just Colby-Jack)
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Optional Ingredients:

  • 4oz medium can diced green chillies (optional)
  • 1 can Rotel (well drained)
  • dash of cilantro
  • dash of cumin
  • dash of chilli powder
  • dash of parsley flakes
  • 1.5 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1/4 of onion diced
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

TIME SAVER: Stop by the store and pick up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken!

1. Spray skillet with non-stick spray. Dice chicken and onion and place in skillet. Cook chicken until done….set to the side.

2. Preheat oven to 350.

3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.enchilada 5

4. Whisk flour into butter and cook for 1 minute over heat.

5. Add broth and whisk together. Add in garlic, and spices.  Cook over heat until it’s thick and bubbles.

6. While that’s cooking and getting bubbly – combine chicken (if you cooked it, then finely chop it before this step), Rotel, and 1ish cup of cheese. We always add more cheese than the recipe calls for. =-)

7. Take sauce off heat and let it start cooling off a bit.enchilada 6

8. Fill tortillas with the mixture above and roll each one and place them seam down in a greased 9×13 pan.

9 Whisk sour cream and chilies into the sauce. (be careful it’s not too hot or the sour cream will curdle).

10. Pour over enchiladas.

11. Bake in oven for 20 minutes then take out and add the rest of the cheese. Bake an additional 5ish minutes until nice and bubbly. Then broil until cheese browns just a little.

enchiladas 2ENJOY!

Tips for Busy Parents

Our days and nights are full of work, homework, getting the kids to practices, and ready for school the next day so you can repeat again. Finding shortcuts or tricks to make things go easier but maintaining healthy lunches and dinners are sometimes easier said that done!  Over the years we have found a few short cuts and I hope you find them helpful.

1. COOK AHEAD – This one is my favorite. We are a family of 3 so we don’t require a mountain of food at super. We also aren’t huge leftover eaters. I have learned that if make a big batch of something, I can keep some out for a few nights and freeze the rest!! That way when we have a crazy day a few weeks later or someone is working late, etc. I can pull it out the morning of and let it thaw out so all I have to do is warm it up! Saves a ton of time!

2. Make ahead lunches.  You can do this for kids and adults alike. Our child loves homemade lunchables. I get deli ham, a cheese stick, and some crackers and put them in a sandwich container. If you have more than one sandwich container you can make several lunches and stack them in the fridge. I also do this for grapes, pudding, raisins – get small containers to fill them up store them in the proper place. I’ve also taken snack size baggies and filled up a weeks worth of whatever snacks or desserts she is going to have so all I have to do is pull one of each and load the lunchbox.

3. Allow your child to help pick their clothes out for multiple days. Sometimes we lay out the whole week but honestly we usually do it for 2-3 days out. Because we live in the South, the weather can be unpredictable at times so I find it’s easier to do it for about 1/2 the week.

4. Get your afterschool activity stuff ready – have your child lay out their leotard or whatever sport outfit they need before they go to school (or the night before) so that as soon as they get home they can get changed and aren’t scrambling to find what they need.

5. Lay out your work clothes – Moms and Dads this will help you out too. Now, I’m too flighty to lay out more than one day ahead for me – I change my mind to much. However, it will save you time and headaches if you go ahead and figure it all out the night before…..usually I even do it while my favorite show is on commercial. Multi-tasking!!!

It’s Salsa Time!

salsa 3We went to a party a few months ago and tried the best Salsa ever! We’ve been wanting to make our own for awhile, and the lady gave us the recipe.  Salsa is a GREAT snack. My husband eats a small bowl for a late night snack just about every night. Several recipes call for it so by making your own you are cutting back on even more preservatives going into your foods!

This works best if you have a food processor as it can hold more than a blender. I only have a blender so I split the ingredients and did it in two batches and then mixed it all in a big bowl before I bottled it up. As you can see in the picture, I reused an old Salsa jar that we bought from Wal-Mart. Don’t throw away those old salsa jars/bottles. You can save money and reuse them to store your homemade Salsa or soups, etc.

What you need:

1 lg can of whole peeled tomatoes (No Salt Added)

4 Large tomatoes

1 med onion

1/2 bushel of fresh cilantro (pull the leafy tops off the stems- it’s ok if you leave a little bit of the stems).

1 Jalapeno

2 TBSP of garlic salt

2 Tsp Minced Garlic

I add my ingredients as I get them ready.

I add my ingredients as I get them ready.

Quarter the tomatoes (don’t chop because the blades will do that for you), dice the onions,  and chop the cilantro.   If you are doing it in a food processor and it will hold all of the ingredients go ahead and add them in as you get them ready.  If you are using a blender then I would put 1/2 the ingredients in and put the other 1/2 in a bowl to keep your workspace clean.  Once the first batch is done, do the second batch.

USE GLOVES!

USE GLOVES!

You’ll want to add the Jalapeno in before you blend it in the food processor. If you are using a blender, I usually put this in with the last batch. A careful note when dealing with Jalapenos that I learned the hard way – the SEEDS are what make it HOT! I STRONGLY suggest using gloves when dealing with a Jalapeno. The first time I made the Salsa, I did not and then I touched my neck and it burned all day long! Cut the stem off of the Jalapeno.  Cut it in half and take the seeds out.  Add 1/4 of the seeds to the Salsa to begin with and set the rest of the seeds off to the side. If you decide it’s not hot enough, you can always add more.  Next, cut the outside pieces of the Jalapeno in half again. You should have 4 pieces. Chop those four pieces and add to the Salsa. Blend together.

If you used a blender, add the two blended batches together in a big bowl and stir it up really well. Taste! If it’s not spicy enough, add more Jalapeno seeds. If you got it too spicy, you can add additional tomatoes (blended) to off-set the temperature.

A cleaning note for your blender: I just learned this recently so I’m sharing to hopefully keep you from getting cut by the blades! Your blender may come apart from the bottom. The bottom of mine screws off and I can pull the blades out instead of reaching my dishcloth down inside it! Maybe I was the only person that didn’t know that, but just in case thought I’d share!

The bottom of your blender may screw apart for easy cleaning!

The bottom of your blender may screw apart for easy cleaning!