Pick A Day & Cook Away!
One of the tenants of my approach to feeding my family is to make fresh food as often as possible. Granted, trips to fast food joints are not completely avoidable, but these excursions should be the exception, not the rule.
Now that sounds great in concept but in practice, this is not as easy as one would like. Some days you're the taxi driver, others you're the homework helper and in general weekdays are just too busy for one to spend hours in the kitchen. So how does the single parent get food on the table that's made from scratch and as healthy as one would prefer? The answer is "pick a day and cook away!"
What I mean by that is set aside a day where you have time to prepare two or three large meals that you can reheat during the week and to which you can add variety with your choice of veggies and other side dishes.
Here's an approach I like to use on Sundays (my day of choice). First off, I find a dish that I can prepare in a slow cooker. For instance, I like to make a Short Rib Recipe that even my picky son will eat. When it's done, I've got some very tender rib meat with a lot of sauce that goes great with rice, pasta or even fries. The other great thing about this recipe is that the prep time is pretty short and once it's off and running, I can make something else while the ribs are filling the house with an other-worldly smell.
Another great recipe to make that the kids absolutely love is Shepherd's Pie. This one does require some time - you need to make home made mashed potatoes and prep the chop meat; but this one is a guaranteed home run and you need only add a veggie to make the meal complete.
At this point, I've got enough food prepared to take care of Sunday night and probably 3-4 more days of good eating. One last recipe that I like to sneak in is a Bisquick Quiche that is quite versatile. In fact, I often make this using left overs from the last few days. The beauty of this bad boy is that you don't need a crust to make it so there's no running to the store for a frozen crust or negotiating the perils of home made crust. And again, just add ruffage and you're good to go!
By the time I've finished making the quiche, it's time to eat and I let the kids choose which dish they'd like for dinner. I then pack away what's left and I'm all set for the rest of the week. This way, when my daughter has thirty minutes to eat or my youngest it getting picked up early by my ex, I'm not running to Burger King for an order of childhood obesity. Instead, I'm providing them with a well-balanced meal of food that I've prepared with ingredients that I've picked. Oh, and I've got a bit of time for myself - fancy that!