home delivery meals Archives - A Crafty Spoonful

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.

 

Planning Ahead: Meal Delivery Service For Busy Weeks

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Planning Ahead Meal Delivery Service For Busy Weeks

After recovering from gallbladder surgery last week and this week, there’s one thing I was grateful for. Ok, two. My mother-in-law and husband’s help AND Charlie’s Classic Cooking meal delivery service.

I love to cook. I love to eat. I love to watch my family enjoy what I eat. But after going through surgery, or even just having a super busy week schedule, having pre-made meals in the fridge that I know are going to be delicious just takes a huge weight off my shoulders. And when it’s food as good as Charlie’s? Well… lets just say my family was very happy.

We first heard about Charlie’s Classic Cooking when my son and I took two awesome classes a few months back with Stone & Glass as part of their Fire and Fettucini classes. Perfect for just about any coupling you could think of – mother son, father daughter, significant others, girlfriends, “bros” … hahaha – Stone & Glass paired with Charlie’s Classic Cooking to bring together a glass making class and a cooking class. I did the glass making class and Ethan made some amazing fettucini for us to enjoy together after the class ended. I’ve been thinking about that fettucini ever since.

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Meal Delivery Service From Charlie’s Classic Cooking

The meals were delivered to our door step and my husband was able to take them inside and put them in the fridge. Each one was labeled with what was inside and we were given our menu with reheating instructions. This made it easy to plan which meal to make on what day depending on what the kids and my husband had going on each night.

Here’s a peek at our menu: 

  • Lime and cumin grilled chicken with tomato-corn relish and fresh green beans;
  • Fettuccine alfredo with carrots, broccoli, red peppers and mushrooms;
  • Swiss steak with egg noodles and baby carrots; and
  • Sheppard pie with mashed potatoes and spinach salad. 

It was hard for me to choose a favorite as I already LOVE Chef Charlie’s fettucini, but the lime and cumin grilled chicken was so juicy and flavorful that it won me over! And I was able to turn leftovers into chicken enchiladas a day later. YUM! My husband, however absolutely loved the Sheppard pie and swiss steak.

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At Home Prep | Enjoying Our Meals

Once the meals were delivered, all we had to do was store them in the fridge and pull whenever one we wanted to enjoy that night out and follow the directions. It was easy enough to simply leave the choices in my husband’s capable hands, give him the menu with reheating instructions, and let him prepare the meals for the family. He literally had to look at what temperature the oven had to be at and heat up the meals. And if pinched for time, we could use the simple microwave instructions.

What I loved, besides the ease in which these meals came together, was the fact that I could still customize them to my family’s liking. Take the Swiss Steak for example. My daughter does not eat most meats (besides bacon, salmon, and chicken nuggets) at dinner. So my husband simply set aside some carrots and noodles for her to heat up seperately. Even my choosy eaters were able to pick and choose what parts of the meals to enjoy.

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These home delivery meals start at $175 for a family of four, receiving four dinners for four people weekly. The weekly meal service allows you to have chef prepared meals weekly. The meals are delivered right to your door (home or office) weekly and monthly menus are sent via email or on their website as a weekly reminder of what’s for dinner each week. You can check out the Charlie’s Classic Cooking website or email charles@charliesclassiccooking.com for more info! 

What would you love to taste from Charlie’s Classic Cooking? 

*** This giveaway is now closed ***

Congrats to Linda Appleby! 

Chef Charlie doesn’t just want my family to enjoy a good meal, he’s also giving one away to one lucky reader on the Simmworks Family Blog! 

One winner will receive a dinner-for-four delivered right to your door (a value of $75).  

Open to US only, 18+. Must live in San Diego County. This giveaway ends October 16th, 2015 at 11:59EST.

Mandatory Entry
Please comment* below with what you would love to taste from Charlie’s Classic Cooking. Take a look at this sample menu of what others are being delivered in their weekly meal service drop offs. 

Thank you and good luck!

*Important: By completing any entry in our giveaways, you agree to ALL of our giveaway terms and conditions. Comments such as “Thank you for the giveaway” “I want to win” etc will not be counted as the mandatory entry and will be deleted along with all corresponding bonus entries. Please be aware that comments are moderated and may not appear right away. Make sure you use a valid email address so we may notify you if you’ve won! Giveaway winners will receive their meal directly through the sponsor. Winner must provide mailing address within 48 hours to receive their meal.

 



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