Now that school is back in session in some parts of the county, the sometimes stressful weeknight dinner hour is back. With both kids and parents juggling busy schedules cooking a weeknight dinner can quickly become like a reality cooking show challenge the kind where you only have so much time before the clock runs out. Someone needs a ride to practice or piano lessons and the only option left for dinner is a drive-thru meal, which can become habit forming if the convenience factor becomes an easier option than cooking at home – which can sometimes feel more like a chore.
Am I being dramatic? Not really. If you have had at least one child in organized sports or extracurricular activity after school, then chances are you have experienced what I just described. Add another child and their activities and cooking dinner really becomes a challenging game of time management where parents and their kids often lose and restaurants often win.
A strategy I often employ is having a dozen meal ideas as my go-to dinners that can be made in 20 minutes or less. Beating the fast food game is not only possible, it can be delicious too. One can only eat out so much, right? Salads, soups, pasta, rice dishes, tacos, or even breakfast for dinner are all that can be easily prepared quickly.
Today I have a One-Pot Pasta dish slightly adapted from Martha Stewart. This pasta dish can be made by adding all the ingredients to a large pot and allowing the liquid to cook the noodles before it evaporates. In my version I use broth instead of water and add chicken along with more herbs. This is one of those meals you can feel good about feeding your family and gain confidence in winning the dinner hour rush game.