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Great Ideas for Easy Dinners
But if those don't appeal to you, it doesn't hurt to ask store employees for ideas, either.
At Whole Foods, for instance, most employees have worked in the food business and can direct you to a quick, satisfying meal, whether it's made from scratch or popped into the microwave, says Scott Crawford, Atlanta-based regional prepared foods coordinator for the company.
For the time-challenged, Crawford tells ParentDish in a phone interview, there are bagged salads and pre-cut veggies you can add to salads, soups and pasta dishes and bottled sauces and marinades. Or, you can grab something from the prepared food case.
One main ingredient, many possibilities: Rotisserie chickens offer all sorts of possibilities for easy dinners. Crawford says he and his family regularly buy two at a time. He says they eat one that night for dinner, and, a few days later, he might add the shredded meat from the second chicken to a bagged salad with goat cheese and dried fruit for a tasty dinner.
He also recommends splitting your meatloaf recipe in half. Use one half for dinner that night and form the rest into meatballs that can be stored in the freezer for dinner down the road. They can be cooked and tossed with jarred marinara sauce and served over pasta or as a meatball sub.
Get the right tools: A crucial piece of equipment for harried parents is a slow cooker, according to Crawford and Trish Kazacos, corporate nutritionist for Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans.
Kazacos tells ParentDish she prepares extra stew in the morning, and then freezes the leftovers for another meal when she's crunched for time. She has also stocked her freezer with Lean Pockets, which she likes because they offer nutritious whole grains and her school-age sons love them without noticing they're healthy.
Seek ideas online: Recognizing the need to help parents, many grocery stores and food companies, including Wegmans and Whole Foods, offer last-minute dinner ideas on their websites. SuperCook.com allows you to type in what you have on hand and then offers recipe ideas based on those ingredients.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.