Easy Make-Ahead Dinner Ideas for Frenzied Fall
It can get your heart racing: Everyone’s back in the office from vacations and ready to jump into new projects, kids are loaded up with school activities and sports practices and holiday season is not too far off in the distance. Early fall is not exactly a peaceful time of year. One thing that can help you keep your calm is a weekly meal plan that includes at least a couple make-ahead dinners. Incorporating nutritious grains such as wheat germ, as well as plenty of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins, adds a bonus to the mealtime hour: great nutrition!
Here are a few strategies to make your fall nights go a bit more smoothly.
Use that sensational slow cooker
Once temperatures start to cool down, it’s time to pull out the crock pot, that wonderful timesaver which allows you to prep in the morning so dinner is a snap later. Another added plus: Food prepared in the slow cooker stays hot, so if you have to do your dinner in shifts, no one is stuck with sticky pasta or cold casserole. Here are a few recipes to get you started this season:
Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Wheat Germ. If your mornings are just as crazy as your evenings, chop the veggies in this dish before bedtime the night before. It’ll make morning prep much quicker and you’ll have a flavorful dinner later.
Pork Carnitas Tacos. Variations abound for slow-cooked pork, chicken and beef to use in tacos. There’s a reason why: It doesn’t get much simpler or tastier than tortillas, fillings and a side of beans or rice on a weeknight.
Vegetarian Chili with Wheat Germ. It’s easy to make meatless slow cooker dishes, and this chili is one of our favorites, sure to be a crowd pleaser. Store-bought rolls or homemade cornbread (quickly baked the night before) complete the meal.
Go large on leftovers
Love to cook when you have time? Create something delicious on Sunday that can carry you through a couple more meals. While scrumptious right out of the oven, our Baked Ham with Wheat Germ Crust can provide joy to your family’s taste buds long after it cools down. Try mixing it into this Broccoli, Ham and Pasta Salad from Eating Well or into a quick-cooking ham, cheese and spinach frittata for a tasty breakfast-for-dinner.
Soup things up
Soup is almost always better the second or third day, so consider making a batch over the weekend to serve up later in the week. Here are a few to try:
Onion Soup with Gruyere Toasts and Wheat Germ. Prepare the soup ahead of time, then quickly finish it with the toast and cheese for a rich—and fast—supper.
Gingery Lentil Soup. With its fragrant ginger, curry and garlic, your family will clamor for this Health magazine recipe as it simmers in the kitchen.
Butternut Squash Soup with Wheat Germ. Get a good dose of vitamin A and the added nutritional benefits of wheat germ when you make this dish. Toss a mixed green salad and serve with a baguette for a simple and tasty midweek dinner.
How do you manage busy mealtimes?