Spring is such a busy time around my town. Many moms I know are so happy when summer arrives because evenings less hectic, since we usually don’t have to cart kids around to practices/games/scout meetings/lessons/club meetings plus still get home for dinner, homework, baths/showers as well as getting them to bed in time so they’ll get off to school the next morning on time with hair neatish, teeth brushed, homework completed and fed breakfast. Lately I’ve noticed requests and conversations about how to feed kids on those hectic spring evenings when they have all those after school activities. Especially if a mom/dad has more than one kid in a variety of sports with different days and times when these are scheduled.
So, how to get kids fed nutritious food they’ll eat as well as not drive us crazy trying to prepare in the 50 seconds we’re home?
I’ve had a few posts with 10-20 minute recipes and other suggestions here, here, here and here.
Crockpots are a wonderful way to have dinner ready when you’ll be home for enough time it takes to eat. I’ve made stews, ratatouille, chili, soups in mine.
- Cooking a pork butt to make pulled pork is always a kid pleaser. (Cooking the pork one day letting it cool in fridge overnight makes it easier to remove the fat. Just reheat portions with bbq sauce). I often serve it with coleslaw and either over noodles or on rolls. You can even wrap with foil to bring to your game/practice, etc.
- Chicken stew with dumplings my mother-in-law introduced me to is a family favorite. Using the left-overs for a chicken pot pie stretches the one into two meals.
- Roasting a chicken whole. Slice onions and line bottom of crockpot. Remove the giblets/neck and stuff chicken loosely with celery, carrots, thyme. Coat it with olive oil, salt pepper and Penzy’s Mural of Flavor Spice/Herb Mix and cook for 6 hours on top of the onions low. You can use the leftover bones to make stock in same crockpot.
What if we’re not home at dinner-time? Picnic-style dinners to bring with you, maybe even eat in the car.
Cucumbers, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers are fabulous to travel with and you can always bring some Ranch dressing if your kids like it. Yesterday we met with friends and I had a store-prepared tabouli, hummus, couple of cheeses, crackers, carrots, olives and yogurt squeezers with a bottle of seltzer. This was fine to tide them over or even to give them a balanced meal.
As I mentioned before you can wrap sandwiches in foil as well as burritos, quesadillas, and even full meals. There are so many containers out there to help you manage eating on the run.
If you have time before they get home from school plus the creativity and patience it takes, you can make fun bento-style containers for each kid. I love looking at some of the designs out there, but I’ve never had the time nor inclination to do it myself!
Quiche/Egg Pie – whether you make it or buy it many kids will like this classic egg pie. There are so many varieties with various ingredients. My kids love the NZ version with 2 crusts: Bacon & Egg Pie.
So, no need to always go to the drive-through at fast food chains or always stopping to pick up a pizza. It can be done with either some preparation or just a little planning. And summer is just around the corner! (Even though it feels as though winter finally just ended.)