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5 Go-To Meals For Busy Families

My busy family of 6 has to eat! On days I don’t feel like doing too much in the kitchen but still want us to eat good, this is what I make.

This Monday, it was getting close to the time that I'm supposed to pick my niece and nephew up from school, so I pack up my belongings from my office at church to go get them. After buckling them up, then I was off to my kids school to get my 3 kids plus my nephew who also goes there. From there, it's to my sister-in-laws house to drop her 3 off to their Dad, and then usually I'm off to pick up my 2 year old from daycare. Well, in my ripping and running I realized that I didn't have anything to make a complete meal at home, so instead of picking up my lil guy, I left him in daycare a little longer to run to the grocery store. Now even though I dropped off 3 kids, I still had my 3 out of  4 with me, so it's a little more complicated than just a lets move and get what I got to get, it's a 'stop pulling her hair, I said no already, where did you go, hold on to this cart, you better be quite' kind of thing. Grocery shopping with kids is no joke! And to make it all worse, I hadn't gotten to make my infamous planned menu yet, so I didn't even know what I was going to make. I don't like going to the store everyday so I try to get meals for at least a few days whenever I go to the store, so I'm usually super organized, but when I'm not, I'm really not, really really not, unfortunately.

So here we are, cruising around Country Market and I'm relying on my memorization of the previous elaborate menus I've come up with, drawing blanks; all the while my 5 year old daughter had been holding her pee since before school let out and has to GO RIGHT NOW!!! By this time, I just want to be in and, out but had to be because I only had 25 minutes total anyway before I get charged extra for keeping my kid in daycare for extended after care. I'm short on time, the kids are getting rowdy and I'm getting short on patience, so I just start going down the aisles and let my inner Go-To Meals take charge. Down the aisles I looked for all of the ingredients to get me from Monday to Friday without coming back to the grocery store another day; and i did that quick, within 15 minutes, and with my hyped up kiddos asking for everything that they saw. I did forget two things that I’d have to go get later, but still think I did pretty good. Here's what I picked up for dinner this week:

Barbecue Meatloaf Dinner

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli and cheese, cornbread

Tuna Casserole 

Tuna Helper, Pillsbury biscuits, corn

Chicken Dinner

Chicken, green beans, corn bread, shells and cheese


Spaghetti, broccoli and cheese, and corn bread

Shepard’s Pie

Shepard’s pie, and cornbread 

These are a few of my go-to meals that I can whip up while the kids are doing homework at the kitchen table. Yes, that sounds a bit hectic, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Kids preparing to get fed good food while they handle their responsibilities. I make cornbread a lot. Everyone loves it and it’s something that they would at least eat if they won’t touch anything else. I don’t play that, ‘making two meals to satisfy picky eaters’ thing. (Very rarely I do, but I don't advertise it) What I set on the table was made with love, for whoever is sitting there... so y’all gonna eat this food and like it, even if you don’t like it! 

For dinner, I ended up making meatloaf. Hubby was getting off a little extra later than usual and wouldn’t be able to eat dinner with us that night so I decided to move dinner up a little earlier. In order to cook the meatloaf faster, I made a batch of meatloaf cups. I baked them in a cupcake pan and was done with it in a half hour. By the time I was done making the sides everything was done and food on the table as the folders were going in bookbags... win win situation! And the kids loooved the mini loafs, that was a hit and I’m definitely doing that again.

Meatloaf Ingredients & Outcome

I throw everything in my meatloaf. I don't do ground beef much, so I mix 2lbs of ground turkey, one egg, 3/4 cups milk, seasoning packets for meatloaf, 1/4 bottle of bbq sauce, 1/4 bottle of ketchup, half a bag of croutons crunched up (ran out so i used dry stuffing mix), minced garlic, green and red peppers, Lawry's Season Salt, onion powder, and ground pepper. I sprayed oil in my cupcake pan and spooned the meatloaf almost to the top of each cup. Then I couldn't find my loaf pan and didn't feel like digging under the cabinets so I just used a casserole dish and formed it into a loaf. I cooked the meatloaf cups at 375 for 30 min, and the big meatloaf same temp for one hour. Then I made some boxed mashed potatoes, broccoli with cheese, and corn bread.

Another mean that is hearty that I like to make is of almost all the same ingredients, so a lot of times when i make one during the week the other will show up in a couple days. It's shepard's pie, which I never heard of until my husband and I got married and made it for me on his night to cook... been hooked ever since.

I take 1 lb of ground turkey and cook it to crumbles on stovetop and season it with Lawry's Seasoned Salt, lemon pepper, and then after it's cooked pour a few squeezes of bbq sauce and cook until hot. While that is cooking, I put a bag of frozen mixed vegetables in a microwave safe bowl with a little water, butter, and salt and microwave for 5 minutes, or until fully cooked. While that's cooking I make 6 servings worth of instant mashed potatoes. After everything is individually cooked, I layer the meat on the bottom, then layer the cooked veggies (I usually put sliced cheese on top of the veggies), the next layer will be the mashed potatoes, and then you sprinkle shredded cheese on top. I cook it in the oven for 350 for 15 minutes, or until the cheese melts perfectly. I then mix the Jiffy cornbread and through that in the oven for twenty minutes. Let it cool, then wala... dinner is served!

 Please subscribe to stay tuned on the next post for some of my other Go-To Meals for my big family! Feel free to leave any comments, or questions you may have. Thanks for checking this out! I love you and I'll be blogging to you later!

Stephani Sturgis

Steph's Open Book

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