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Let’s talk make ahead meals for busy families 🙂  Let’s face it, Back to School Season is right around the corner and for many of us parents, it is also a time of “New Year’s Resolutions”, that is, the “Back to School New Year’s Resolutions”!  If you have school aged children, then you might be the parent whose calendar goes from September to June, rather than the traditional January to December!

My resolution in the next few weeks is to create healthy, quick and easy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner that make a 10 day cycle easy to repeat and easy on our family budget! I say ten days because I like to have a two day buffer in between for spontaneous, non-planned meals for special events, pizza night, eating on the road or just having left-overs.  Meal planning is the number one strategy to keeping a good reign on the grocery budget each month.

So, on most Mondays I will be sharing one or a few healthy, yummy, quick and easy recipes for make ahead meals for busy families.  Please do feel free to try them along with me and please do let me know how you like it or have modified it to fit your family’s lifestyle and eating specifications, as other moms may need that tip from you as well!

Today’s recipes for make ahead meals for busy families are super yummy and quick.  They are great for the mornings when you and the kids need to rush out the door and you want them to have something healthy in their bellies before school starts.  And let’s not forget those lunch bags need to get packed too!

I have our family favourite smoothie here that you can literally whip this up in minutes and serve!  It is packed with calcium, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and protein!  Followed by two delicious mini muffins that will definitely not get traded at lunch time!

HINT:  Pick the groceries up this weekend and try the recipes out! But you may need to make a double batch so that you have something to pack on Monday and Tuesday!  To make it easier for you, I made a grocery list for you:

Quick and Healthy One Step “Good Morning Sunshine Smoothie” Recipe

One Step Instruction:

  1. Gather all the ingredients below and place them in a blender. Blend until smooth and pour and serve!  (We love using our Vitamix for this!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups orange juice (we like the one with added Calcium)
  • 300 grams soft tofu
  • 1 peeled banana
  • 2 tablespoons local honey (this is a good one to help your child build up immunity to allergens from local pollen)
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries or mangoes (or one cup of each!)
Make ahead meals for busy families

Yummy Moist Make Ahead Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

10 minutes to prep, 20 minutes to bake. Makes 36 mini muffins.  Freezes well up to three months.

Make ahead meals for busy families
Instructions to make 36 mini muffins or 12 tasty muffins (which happen to have 9 grams of protein per serving!): Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 medium mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 flour
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts (these are jam packed with vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, essential fatty acids, plant protein and fiber!)
  • ¼ cup organic Flaxseed, cold milled, fine grind (side note, great for lowering cholesterol)
  • 1/2 cup (or more) chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray or line large pan with paper muffin liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then add in all the wet ingredients above. Mix until smooth.
  3. In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and slowly spoon in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined, and then fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the muffin pans and top with more chocolate chips and be sure to press them in.
  5. For mini muffins, bake for 10 minutes, and regular muffins for 17 – 19 minutes. I use a toothpick inserted into the middle to check for done-ness.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then another 5 on a wire rack.  Once completely cooled pack for lunch or store extras in an airtight container.  Good for freezing up to 3 months.

Make Ahead Mini Pizza Muffin Bites

 

This is great for the mornings when your kids have to pack their own lunches, they can just grab 2-4 mini muffins and add some carrot sticks and lunch is done!

You can literally whip this up in 20 minutes, plus cool for 10 minutes and pack for lunches!  It is packed with fiber, calcium and protein!  This will make a few lunches and give you the assurance that your kids will have some good nutrition when at school.

 

Make ahead meals for busy families

Instructions to make 16 tasty muffins (which happen to have 9 grams of protein per serving!) or 44 mini muffins (bite sizes which my kids just devour!):

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts (these are jam packed with vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, essential fatty acids, plant protein and fiber!)
  • ¼ cup organic Flaxseed, cold milled, fine grind (side note, great for lowering cholesterol)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and dried Italian herbs
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup shredded mixed cheddar   
  • 1 cup chopped pepperoni

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup sour-cream, or plain Greek yogurt or soft tofu (adds more protein too!)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup melted, room temperature butter

Toppings:

  • ¼ cup store bought pizza sauce
  • ½ cup shredded mixed cheddar
  • ½ cup chopped pepperoni
Directions
  1. To make clean up easier, line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.  Right away, preheat oven to 400F.  In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients above.
  2. In another bowl, combine wet ingredients above, stir until smooth.  Pour into the flour mixture and mix well.  Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups. Spoon 1 tsp pizza sauce on top of each muffin; sprinkle each with shredded mozzarella.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes for large muffins and 11 minutes for mini muffins, until golden.  (I do the toothpick check to make sure muffins are cooked in the middle.)  Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes and then cool 5 more minutes on a wire rack.
  4. Pack for lunch and freeze the rest!  Pack them frozen and they will be thawed in time for lunch!

Hey, did you like these easy make-ahead recipes? How about FIVE MORE easy and yummy make-ahead, FREEZABLE meals for kids? That’s a week worth of healthy lunches!