No matter how much I prepare for it, and no matter how many parties or events I say no to, this is just the busiest time of year. The gift shopping may be done, but my family has still got class parties and not one but two holiday school programs coming up this week. Partner that with a little bit of work travel on the horizon, and neither my husband nor I can seem to find much time to cook.
This week, with a goal of not eating out or eating at 9 p.m., our meal plan is all about assemble-and-eat meals that can be thrown together in 20 to 30 minutes. Here are the five meals we eat when our schedule is too packed to cook.
Welcome to This Week's Meal Plan
I believe meal planning is the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. Since I'm frequently asked by friends and family what I'm cooking for dinner each week, I share my weekly meal plan here. Whether you're just learning to meal plan and looking for a real-life example of how this works or you're an old pro on the hunt for inspiration, here's a peek at how I'm feeding my family this week.
New to meal planning? Start here.
- The Beginner's Guide to Meal Planning: What to Know, How to Succeed, and What to Skip
- The Best Way to Use a Weekend for Meal Planning Success
- Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before You Start Meal Planning
- 5 Strategies for Picking Recipes for a Week of Meal Planning
This spaghetti with meat sauce takes just 20 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot, and my whole family loves it. Plus, the way the meat and the pasta cook up together makes this my new favorite version of this classic weeknight dinner.
Tuesday: Crunchy Black Bean Tacos
My family eats these crunchy tacos a lot, and for good reason. This is a 15-minute dinner made from pantry staples that we all love. I'll steam some frozen corn the microwave as a side.
Wednesday: 15-Minute Miracle Minestrone
This miracle meal is a little quirky because it calls for a can of tomato soup, frozen vegetables, and the pasta from a box of macaroni and cheese. But the whole thing takes just 15 minutes to make with no chopping or constant stirring. Served with some store-bought rolls, this is a pretty perfect midweek meal.
Thursday: 90-Second Scrambled Eggs
Breakfast for dinner is often my default Thursday night dinner because it can use up leftovers (think: frittata or omelet), but tonight we've got back-to-back holiday programs at school and we need a seriously fast dinner. Scrambled eggs and toast is a super-simple meal, and each of us can eat between preparing costumes and getting out the door.
You might remember that over the last couple of weeks I've been stocking the freezer for just these types of weeks. The grown-ups have a cocktail party on Friday night and to keep our date night budget in check (hello, babysitters are not cheap!), we're feeding the kids pizza that we stashed in the freezer.