How to Feed my Family Faster

Kelly, a married working mom, says she has zero time to shop and cook but is sick of preparing the same four meals week after week. We came up with a new game plan for her family dinners.
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Break out of a broccoli rut

She buys broccoli every week because it's cheap and convenient, but she's sick of it! New frozen veggie options are more fun, and many come with a built-in sauce, like Archer Farms Szechuan-Style Green Beans (at Target) or Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers (with veggies like zucchini, tomatoes and bell peppers in an EVOO-herb sauce). Bonus: They steam in the bag -- no dirty dishes!

Try a slow-cooker shortcut

She wants to use her slow cooker but doesn't have time to plan ingredients in advance. The key: Use a tasty sauce as a base. We like this Korean BBQ-inspired version from Target (made with soy sauce, ginger and toasted sesame seeds). Pour over beef ribs, pork shoulder or chicken; slow-cook and serve in tacos.

Choose quick-cook whole grains

Her favorite healthy standby, brown rice, takes almost an hour to cook. Shave down the time by 75 percent and shake things up for the family by substituting brown rice couscous instead. It comes out perfectly tender in just 15 minutes on the stovetop!

Make an instantly meaty meal

She buys her meat frozen -- a smart move so it will keep. But then she gets home, and nothing is defrosted -- oops! Perdue's new fully cooked, lightly breaded cutlets (with 65 percent less breading than typical chicken fingers) go from freezer to table in minutes for an easy main.

Have a go-to tomato sauce

Tomato sauce is a versatile meal building block, and we love this new artichoke-parmesan version from Mezzetta. You get loads of fresh artichoke hearts -- fuss-free! Toss it with pasta, spoon over fish, or stir into ground turkey served on sub rolls.

Make salads speedier

She always buys spinach for omelets but never finishes the bag. The solution: Keep toppings on hand for quick, hearty salads. Buy dried fruit and nuts, or shredded cheeses and olives, together from the salad bar -- it's cheaper than buying them separately.

Bang out breakfast

The family loves pancakes but rarely has time to make them. As weird as it looks, this pressurized can keeps batter ready to roll. Try organic whole wheat with brown sugar and cinnamon.


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