Holding down a full-time job while running a household with two busy teenagers is exhausting. Although most teens can get through homework on their own, their activity schedule is ridiculous. No matter how organized I get, I have at least one night a week I simply don’t have the energy to cook. It only takes one thing to be slightly off-schedule for the entire evening plan to get blown.
So, I am going to use a new tactic this year; I am going to be prepared for the easy, low-carb meal that is healthy and family friendly. Rather than use the fast-food drive-thru on the way home, I am going to keep staples in the freezer and pantry to ensure I can create a healthy, low-carb meal at home, even when I’m not feeling up to it.
The key to being able to make an easy meal is having the correct tools as well as the ingredients. A must-have for me is a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers get healthy meals done in a fraction of the time a conventional oven takes. Furthermore, everything cooks in one pot, so cleanup is easy. Another handy item to have on hand is a sheet pan.
Keeping key ingredients on hand is also important, and knowing you have all of the items available makes it easier to get the kids involved in the preparation. Pantry items to keep on hand include vegetable or meat broths, jars of salsa, nut butters, canned coconut cream, tuna, canned tomato sauce, a variety of vinegars and oils, olives, coconut aminos in place of soy sauce, and a variety of sugar-free salad dressings.
In the freezer, keep frozen vegetables, chicken breasts, ground beef, and frozen ginger and/or garlic cubes. Also keep plenty of spices, fresh onions, and garlic on hand. Now that we are ready, let’s get to the recipes.
Sheet Pan Meal
A great meal can be made on a sheet pan, generally within 30 minutes. Line the pan with foil and throw on fresh or frozen veggies, a protein of your choice, and roast in the oven. The combinations are endless and there are loads of recipes on the internet. Sheet pan meals can be tailored to any dietary preference, such as keto or vegan. And it’s super easy to clean up. Just remove the foil and cleaning the sheet pan is simple.
Anything that can be made into a sandwich, placed between a bun, or put into a tortilla can be wrapped in lettuce. Getting rid of the bread and flour tortillas keeps a family on the low-carb track. Try tuna salad, tacos, burgers, or Asian chicken wrapped in lettuce leaves. Again, the combinations are limitless and can be made quickly with very little to prep. Use leftover roasted chicken or even hard-boiled eggs for a quick protein ingredient. Check out the lettuce-wrap recipe ideas at PeaceandLovelowcarb.com.
Low-Carb Skillet Lasagna
Skillet lasagna is something I used to make all the time. It’s really quick, even using lasagna noodles. However, in looking to cut the carbs, the noodles are easily replaced with spaghetti squash. It’s equally as delicious and fast. Spaghetti squash can be cooked quickly in the microwave. And while the squash is cooking in the microwave, the beef can be sauteing in the skillet. Have one child shred the squash while the other sets the table. An easy recipe can be found at Sweetpeasandsaffron.com.
Instant Pot Enchilada Soup
I can sell almost any meal if an avocado is involved. This recipe can be topped with fresh avocado and sour cream if you like. When you look up the recipe, it looks like there are a lot of ingredients, but they are mostly seasonings. And if you don’t have the red bell pepper, you won’t really miss it. The rest are items that are found in a properly stocked pantry and freezer. This is a one-pot meal that is finished in about 30 minutes. Find the recipe at ketodietapp.com.
I always hate to see summer go; it’s my favorite time of the year. But I am determined to be more organized this fall to keep the family eating healthy! Here’s to the new school year and making the grade at home with dinner.
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