Thank you Idahoan® Mashed
Potatoes for sponsoring this post. Idahoan® Mashed Potatoes are real potatoes, real easy, delivering homemade taste on demand.
Weeknights are a race against the clock. By the time I get home, it’s 6pm and the kids are starving, need baths, and homework review and practice before heading off to bed. Trying to prepare a family meal from start to finish in under 30 minutes can be a challenge. That’s why I’m all about the mom hacks.
Both of our kids were hard babies. Dinner time was beyond challenging with a crying baby, so that’s when I started searching for easy meal solutions and sides I could prepare in minutes.
Slow cookers and Idahoan® Mashed Potatoes are two of my secret weapons to getting those tummies fed and tackling the rest of our nightly routine.
Mom Hack: 3 Tips for Preparing Family Meals in Minutes
Tip #1: Slow Cookers + Instant Pots
If you’re not slow cooking or instant cooking, you’re losing valuable time in your day. I couldn’t survive without my slow cooker during the week! Before I go to work in the morning I toss in frozen chicken, roast beef, or sausage and meatballs.
Some of my favorite family meals to prepare during the week are
- Salsa Chicken Dump – frozen chicken breasts + jar of salsa (low, 8-10 hours)
- Beef Stew – baby carrots, baby red potatoes, stewing beef, beef stock and a few seasonings (low, 8-10 hours)
- Turkey Meatballs and Gravy – frozen turkey meatballs, gravy, heavy cream, mushrooms and seasonings (low, 8-10 hours)
- Mild Italian Sausage + tomato sauce with garlic, Italian seasoning, s/p (low, 8-10 hours)
Tip #2: 5 Minute Side Dishes
Easy sides are my jam, plus my littlest one loves to help me finish up the meal when I get home. One of our go-to sides is Idahoan® Mashed Potatoes. They’re made from 100% real Idaho® potatoes and available in a variety of flavors even my kids enjoy, including Four Cheese (my kids favorite), Buttery Golden Selects, Bacon & Cheddar Chipotle (my husband’s favorite), Butter and Herb, and Buttery Homestyle®.
Idahoan Mashed Potatoes can be prepared in as little as 5 minutes with two easy methods: stove top and microwave. Most of our side dishes are made in the microwave because my son likes to “help” and press the buttons. Simply heat water in a microwave safe bowl for 4-5 minutes and stir in the pouch contents. Super simple and packed full of delicious, homemade flavor.
Some other quick sides include:
- buttered noodles
- rice pouches
- steamable veggies and grain/veggie mixes
- mac + cheese (because kids.)
Tip #3: Weekly Prep
Thinking ahead at the week, you can prepare extra of your grains to reheat, chop vegetables and potatoes to freeze, etc.
Using your slow cooker or instant pot to prepare the main meat/protein is the big time saver. Making bulk in your side dishes and eating as leftovers during the busy week is a definite added time saver as well.
With a little trial + error and a TON of practice, we’ve got our family weeknight meals down in cook time and up in flavor. Plus I don’t dread dinner time as much as I used to!