5 Tips for Making Weeknight Dinners Easier + A Southwestern Steak + Sweet Potato Bowl Recipe

These 5 tips for making weeknight dinners easier were inspired by our sponsor, Terra’s Kitchen. Read ahead to find out how you can save time and money in the kitchen while still getting delicious dinners on the table during the week! 

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We are now in the throes of school life and as we near the busiest time of the year, I’ve really started planning ahead. That means keeping up with my calendar, staying on top of our budget, and making sure I have dinner on the table every night. Sometimes that last challenge is harder than you’d think! 

In an effort to not only stay on top of our budget (eating out is expensive!) but also make sure I have dinner ready nightly, I’ve come up with a few ways that I can cut a few corners by planning in advance and using tools like Terra’s Kitchen to make my week a LOT easier. 

5 Tips for Making Weeknight Dinners Easier

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1. Meal Delivery

I’ve tried out a few frozen or prepared meals out in the past but I just can’t get over not being able to cook my own food. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love my microwave for things like popcorn and microwavable bacon (the kids can make their own and there’s no mess!). But cooking my meals in the microwave from the freezer just isn’t as tasty. 

So when I heard about Terra’s Kitchen and looked at the weekly menu offerings they had, I was excited to try out a few of their meals through their meal delivery program. Not only is it not frozen, it comes in a climate-controlled vessel straight to your front door. When I unloaded the vessel, I simply removed the removable shipping label, placed it back outside, and it was picked up the next day and on it’s way to shipping more food to someone else. These vessels can be used up to 100 times! Waay better than the styrofoam packaging I was used to for previous services. 

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2. Meal Planning

With Terra’s Kitchen, I can input the meals I’ll be making from them into my weekly meal plan. That means I’m only shopping for breakfast and lunch (and a few items for snacks). I don’t have to worry about dinners because I’ll be making healthy meals in 30 minutes or less with my Terra’s Kitchen orders! 

Meal planning really does help for more than just dinner. And it’s a great way to stay on track with our budget because we only buy what we’ve planned to eat. It also allows me to keep an eye out for weekly specials and coupons in the paper. It may sound daunting to take this time on the weekend but it does pay to plan ahead when there are PTG meetings, soccer practice, and homework looming over our heads during the week.  

Terra’s Kitchen includes the ingredients list and recipes of each of their meal items and it’s conveniently printed on a 3 hole punched piece of card stock so you can easily add it to your meal planning binder. If you love a recipe, you’ll know exactly what to purchase to recreate the meal again and again in your home! 

3. Prepping Ahead

When I meal plan for the week, I also try and get all of my prep work done in advance on Sundays. That way I don’t have to think about cutting and chopping during the week. I also pre-package the kids snacks for lunches as well so they’re easy to grab. 

Well, Terra’s Kitchen does the same thing! All of the ingredients I received were pre-portioned and pre-chopped ready to go straight to the fridge. And the containers they were in fit perfectly on top of one another. It was kind of fun playing Tetris in my fridge to get everything to fit perfectly! Plus there was still room for the essentials we always keep in the fridge. 

Tip: You can use the containers your food comes in as seed starters for your garden! We’ll be sharing our seed starting tips next week so stay tuned! 

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4. Freezer Meals

Now I know that things do come up and sometimes we don’t even have the mere 30 minutes to cook a meal. So I prep ahead and turn leftovers from one meal into freezer meals for a meal in the future. I turned the leftovers from this amazingly delicious Southwest Steak and Sweet Potato bowl into mini pot pies to gobble up in the near future when all I have time for is turning on an oven and sticking a freezer meal in to bake. By prepping freezer meals for the oven or the slow cooker, I can make sure the days we don’t have a Terra’s Kitchen meal are covered! 

5. Time Management

My biggest enemy during the week is time. The time between picking the kids up from school and dinner is a big black vortex that seems to disappear before my eyes. No, seriously. I have NO idea how time goes so quickly between then. 

So in an effort to be better with time management, in addition to meal planning, shopping, and prepping on the weekends, I also set a timer to go off 30 minutes before my husband normally comes home from work so I know when I have to start cooking dinner. It’s so easy to get sucked into working just a little longer when you work from home so setting limits and timers is important. 

By setting aside this time and scheduling it for these tasks, I’m able to stay on top of feeding the family. And a fed family is a happy family! 

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Southwestern Steak and Sweet Potatoes Bowl

Recipe courtesy of Terra’s Kitchen

  • 16 ounces sweet potato chunks
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • .7 ounces jalapeno slices
  • .3 ounces minced garlic
  • 12 ounces skirt steak
  • 2.25 ounces sliced scallions
  • 1 avocado

1. Preheat the oven t o450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. 

2. Cook the Potatoes: Pour sweet potatoes onto baking sheet. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of cumin (optional) over sweet potatoes and toss with your hands to coat. Place in the oven and roast until browned and tender (approximately 20 minutes). In the last 5 minutes of cook time, chop the remaining jalapeno and use a spatula to stir it into the potatoes along with the remaining garlic and all of the scallions.  

3. Make the Steak Rub: Pour half of the jalapeno slices, half the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper into a small pile on a cutting board and keep cutting through the mixture with your knife until the jalapeno releases juices and you have made a wet paste. Rub mixture over steaks. 

4. Cook the Steaks: Rub a grill pan with 1 teaspoon of canola oil and place over high heat. Once grill starts to smoke, add steaks and cook to medium rare, turning once (approximately 3-4 minutes per side). Remove to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice against the grain and make sure to save the juices on your plate to use later. 

5. Dice the avocado by cutting in half, removing the pit, using a pairing knife to cross hatch the flesh and scoop out flesh with a spoon. 

To Serve: Divide sweet potatoes between two bowls and drizzle the steak pan juices over each. Fan sliced steak over potatoes and top with diced avocado. 

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Do you have any tips for easy weeknight dinners? 

Want to try Terra’s Kitchen for yourself? Use code SIMM30 at check out and save $30 off your first order (no expiration). The only condition is a minimal order of $64.99 (which is always the minimum to ship). Enjoy! 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Terra’s Kitchen. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Easy Dinner Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

Chicken with Campbell's Cheesy Broccoli Oven Sauce

Since having my third child, dinner is usually the farthest thing from my mind at the end of the day. Between working from home, dropping off and picking up the older kids, and entertaining my baby throughout the day, It’s just not as important as my kids or my work (unless making dinner is work!).

Over the past few months I’ve become a little pro-active in making sure that I don’t have to worry about anything once dinner time arrives by doing a lot of meal prep on the weekends! I’ve been stocking up on various oven and crock pot sauces to help me out and make dinnertime a breeze. All I have to do is remember to grab the right protein, veggie and sauce and I’m on my way to making a delicious meal for the family.

Our current favorite? Cheesy chicken and broccoli. So easy to make in a snap! Almost as easy as our favorite slow cooker freezer meals.

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli with Campbell's Cheesy Broccoli Oven Sauce

Easy Dinner Slow Cooker Freezer Meals - Campbell's Slow Cooker Sauces There are quite a few sauces that you can easily incorporate into your freezer meal plan. With these pantry staples you really can make dinner a quick and painless part of the day. And don’t get me started on the delicious oven sauces like the cheesy broccoli chicken featured above.

Today I’m sharing one of my favorites: Tavern Style Pot Roast! Not only is this slowcooker sauce amazingly delicious, it’s something I can keep in my pantry until I need it.

Easy Dinner Slow Cooker Freezer Meals - meat and veggies

Easy Dinner Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

How To Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

To create this simple slow cooker freezer meal all you have to do is gather up a few ingredients. I included a beef roast, chopped carrots, chopped potatoes, and one onion, cut into large chunks.

Then I simply labeled a gallon size freezer bag with the name of the meal and the date I’ve prepared it to freeze. That way I know exactly what meal to grab when I’m looking to start dinner. Once everything is ready to go I add all of the ingredients to the bag and pop it in the freezer for later. Slow Cooker Freezer Meals - label gallon bagSlow Cooker Freezer Meals - pot roast For other dishes that are just as simple I do a similar meal prep. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Hawaiian Pork – Add pork roast, green beans (fresh or frozen), and pineapple chunks to the bag. Stock up on frozen rice and serve pork and green beans over rice.  

Beef Stew – Add beef, diced potatoes, carrots and, onions (fresh or frozen) to the bag. Serve with a nice salad. 

Shredded Beef Tacos – Add beef roast, onions, peppers, kidney and/or black beans and corn to the bag. Use with taco shells or as a filling for burritos or enchiladas.

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What’s your favorite freezer meal to prepare?

Goldfish Crusted Chicken Tenders

This post featuring Goldfish Crusted Chicken Tenders has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GoldfishMix #CollectiveBias

Goldfish Crusted Chicken Tenders - a fun meal for kids or adults

As the kids get older they are more and more interested in helping me with the daily chores. But the one thing the are always bugging to help me with is dinner. While it sounds like it’d be something that would take forever with kids, having them help in the kitchen is actually … well… a help!

These Goldfish Crusted Chicken Tenders are not only absolutely delicious but the kids have a blast helping cook them. The only thing I have to do is supervise and do the actual cooking!  [Read more…]

Quick And Easy Meal: Marie Callender’s Pot Pies + Apple Feta Walnut Salad Recipe

This shop featuring Marie Callender’s Pot Pies and a Apple Feta Walnut Salad Recipe has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EasyAsPotPie #CollectiveBias

Quick And Easy Meal Pot Pies + Apple Feta Walnut Salad Recipe

One thing I always keep in my arsenal of meal ideas is something that’s quick and easy for the weekdays. Whether it’s a 10 or a 30 minute meal, as long as the family approves I’m happy!

The whole family definitely approves of Marie Callender’s pot pies. Not only do they taste like homemade but they’re so quick to make. I can use the microwave or the oven depending on how much time I actually have or need.

And when paired with a deliciously fresh salad, this meal is the perfect way to end a winter day. Plus I end up having more time to connect with my family around the dinner table since it’s so easy to throw together. [Read more…]

Easy Dinner Solutions for the Busy Mom

I found easy dinner solutions with Campbell’s® Sauces as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars. #CampbellsSauces

Easy Dinner Solutions for the Busy Mom - dinner ready in less than 30 minutes! #CampbellsSauces

This pregnancy has thrown all thought of meal planning and cooking out the window. When I find myself at a loss for what to make for dinner around 4pm I frantically call the husband to see if he can save the day. But there are only so many weeks of burgers, pizza, and tacos before it all starts to taste the same.

So I’ve decided to get a bit more serious about planning. I mean… not too serious but just enough to find some good staples to keep around for those days I’m tempted to call the husband to the rescue.

Luckily I found a great cooking aid – Campbell’s Skillet Sauces!  [Read more…]

15 Quick and Easy Family Meals

This post featuring great quick and easy family meals is part of a sponsored opportunity with Foodie.com.

15 Quick and Easy Family Meals

With summer coming to an end (lets wipe away the tears) I have started to compile a list of great quick and easy family meals to keep on hand when school starts.

I know just how busy that time of year can get and I want to make sure we’re sticking with our budget and feeding the kids healthy meals at night. I’ve found that if I don’t have a plan I quickly turn to the easy option of calling the husband and having him pick something up.

By putting together all of my meals on Foodie I’ve been able to create a collection I can turn to whenever I start to meal plan!  [Read more…]

Fresh and Easy Kitchen to Go Makes Dinners Easy

 This post featuring Fresh and Easy Kitchen to Go is sponsored by Fresh & Easy

Fresh and Easy Kitchen to Go Makes Dinners Easy

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re moving! We have the keys in hand and are packing up the big moving truck today. Over the past few nights we haven’t had much time to actually cook. In between dishes being packed away and a dwindling food supply, we’ve had more than our fair share of take out.

Luckily I headed over to Fresh & Easy a few days ago to pick up some easy meals to make so we wouldn’t break the budget with take out prices. With their vast selection of easy meal ideas I had simple solutions for ensuring nutritious dinners every night, even when time was tight for us. [Read more…]

Holiday Appetizers: SeaPak Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

I made this delicious spicy peanut sauce as part of a compensated social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and SeaPak. All opinions are my own.

SeaPak Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce #PakTheParty #shopIt is officially December and I’m in holiday planning mode. That means seeking out the best holiday appetizers and desserts for our annual get-togethers and events. This weekend will kick off the celebrations with my daughter’s 3rd birthday. Not only are we feeding a large crowd, we’re also entertaining them as well.

When I decided on the party food I wanted to serve at her birthday party, I went with simple, delicious, and crowd-pleasing. Luckily these spring rolls are just that. By making a spicy peanut sauce to pair with the chili sauce included in the packaging, I can make a store bought appetizer more homemade. And everyone loves options, right? Since I can prepare the dip ahead of time I can spend more time with my guests. [Read more…]



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