20 Minute Meals When You Don't Have Time

busy mom

It’s been a long day and you just walked in the door with hungry, tired children. What do you do?

  1. Whip up a three-course meal.
  2. Pass around the cereal.
  3. Call for pizza delivery.

Unless you’re Mary Poppins, chances are slim that a nutritious dinner is in the works for your family after a rough day. We all have those times when we forgot to buy an ingredient, thaw chicken or plug in the crock pot. On those days, we need a quick fix.

Here are a few ideas for healthy meals you can make in less than 20 minutes:

  • Pancakes. Grab a box of mix and make batter using half the box. Pour it into a parchment-lined jelly roll pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. While it’s baking, slice up berries and bananas to put on top. Once the pan is out of the oven, cut it into squares using a pizza cutter and voila! Quick pancakes with easy clean-up.
  • Fried rice. It’s a staple of moms everywhere who want to empty random leftovers from the fridge. While cooking rice, cut up and saute any veggies and meat you have on hand. Stir in cooked rice, cover with soy sauce and stir in an egg. Continue to cook until the egg is set.
  • Pasta. This is another chance to use up random leftovers: Heat any veggies and meat that you have on hand while boiling pasta. Add garlic and olive oil to your skillet, then toss with cooked pasta.
  • Omelettes. Cut up asparagus, green beans, spinach, lunch meat – pretty much anything sitting in the fridge. Stuff your omelette with a unique combination!
  • Baked potatoes. Just a few minutes in the microwave will cook your potato, and it can be topped with a range of things you might have on hand: Salsa, broccoli and turkey bacon are just a few ideas.

One of the best ways to give yourself an edge on crazy dinner nights is to be ready for it. Ground a large amount of beef, then freeze in one-pound portions. Do the same with shredded chicken, turkey or pork. Keep a few bags of frozen veggies on hand, and you’ll have the basic ingredients to whip up nearly any family favorite quickly!