The Holidays are upon us and so are the insanely hectic schedules.  If we thought we were busy before, well, we certainly had that redefined.  I know, when we get busy, the first instinct is to forsake homemade meals.  But, when life is this hectic, we need those nourishing meals all the more.  Cooking dinner doesn’t have to be a huge commitment, with a little planning it can come together in a snap.

1)  Soup

It is definitely soup season in our house and I, personally, couldn’t be happier.  What is more comforting than a fabulous bowl of soup?  We make broth every weekend to ensure we have enough broth to get us through the week.  Haven’t quite put broth into your schedule?  Try the Pacific Brand of broth at your local grocery store.  I also try to make large batches of legumes so that I have several jars ready to go when I need to bring something together quickly.  The above soup has been affectionately termed, ‘refridgerator soup’.  It usually comprises whatever leftover veggies are in the fridge, some leftover meat from a roast chicken or ground meat, some legumes, and the seasonings of choice.  We particularly love adding pesto to our soups.  Voila!  Super-nourishing meal and it can be done in about 30 minutes.

2)  Skillet

We have grown quite fond of skillets and they easily become the meal of choice when I don’t really feel like cooking.  We make these a couple of different ways:  potatoes, sausages and kale and onions (then topped with sauerkraut at the table for a probiotic punch) or a ground meat of choice, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, onions and maybe some greens if I have them, topped with salsa and avocado slices (similar to the recipe linked above).  Season as you like, for mexican flare:  lime juice, cumin, chili powder, etc.  Our favorite potatoes are the purple ones that come with some fantastic antioxidants, phytonutrients and are lower glycemic than your standard russet.

3)  Thai Curry

With a little bit of green or red curry paste, some coconut milk and fish sauce, this dish also comes together very quickly and is a big kid-favorite in our house.  The above recipe uses broccoli, peppers and zucchini, but we typically use onions, spinach and some green peas.  We like to make our curries with fish, a white fish for a green curry, or salmon with a red curry.  Divine!

4)  Crockpot Meals

I adore the crockpot, in fact, we will be having a crockpot meal tonight.  With a little planning, these do come together really easy.   We love making pot roasts, orange chicken, chicken cacciatore, soups, and so much more.

5)  One-dish meals

Sometimes you really, really don’t have time to prep but just want to throw something in the oven and be done, right?  Well, the above linked dish, Roasted Chicken, Carrots with Olives and Lemon is just that.  Cut up a few carrots and lemons, throw them on a roasting pan with some cut up pieces of chicken, season a touch and put it all in the oven.  Easy peasy.

I hope your mouth is watering and you are now inspired to go and make a tasty meal in your kitchen!