“Working parents have it tough. I have no earthly idea how it’s possible to work 40+ hours a week, run errands, go to PTA meetings, put Band-Aids on boo-boos and prepare dinner for hungry families. But mom and dad are superhuman – and manage to fit more activity into one day than seems remotely reasonable.”

Meal Idea #1

That quote is from a Huffington Post article. To help, they link to five easy and delicious meal ideas for busy parents. One of them is Beef Macaroni with Soy and Ginger that only takes 27 minutes from start to finish. You simply bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook one pound of elbow macaroni for six to seven minutes; drain, don’t rinse. Meanwhile, put two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add two cloves of finely chopped garlic, a thumb size of peeled and finely chopped ginger, three stalks of finely chopped celery and a large onion, chopped. Then cook for five minutes – or until the vegetables are soft. Add a pound of lean ground beef. Cook until the meat is cooked through.meal-ideas.jpg

In your large pot (now empty!), add two tablespoons of butter. With the heat on low, add the macaroni and the beef/veggie mixture. Mix together and add five tablespoons of soy sauce, one tablespoon of sriracha sauce and a handful of chopped flat parsley. You can also add a tablespoon of sake, if desired. Enjoy!

Meal Idea #2

NPR.org offers ten strategies for busy parents so they can get healthy dinners put together – and one strategy is to reinvent. If, for example, you cook a quantity of chicken breasts, one night you can eat the chicken with healthy sides. Shred the leftover chicken, freezing half for later and refrigerating the other half for more immediate use. The writer makes chicken salad with the refrigerated half. Later, the frozen chicken can become the core of another meal. To help, here are 55 different recipes using chicken with the busy cook in mind!

Meal Idea #3

If you’re looking for a quick and healthy meal that uses no meat, TheParentSpot.com provides a macaroni and cheese recipe that adds healthy quinoa, and the writer swears her kids never notice! With prep time, this recipe takes an hour. You precook six cups of elbow macaroni according to package directions. Do the same with two cups of quinoa. Then preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make the sauce, melt four tablespoons of butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Then stir in three tablespoons of flour. Carefully cook this mixture, without overcooking, until it’s very light tan in color. Whisk in one and a half cups of milk. Allow this mixture to gently boil, whisking throughout. Reduce the heat to simmer. Continue to occasionally whisk for five minutes. As the mixture begins to thicken, add three and a half cups of shredded cheddar cheese, along with two teaspoons of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper.

Then, place the cooked macaroni and quinoa in a baking dish and cover with your sauce, along with another half a cup of cheddar cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until you notice the cheese on top is golden brown and bubbly.

Bonus Tip
Through the magic of Google, you can find plenty more meal ideas that are ideal for busy parents!

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