This post is sponsored by You’re Better On Beef
I’m not sure what I was thinking when I said yes to yet another dance class. I really wasn’t thinking at all.
I wasn’t thinking about how I was going to manage two different school pick-ups, and homework, and readers. And I certainly wasn’t thinking about how I’d manage to make dinner when we are out of the house until after 6:30 three nights in a row.
It must have been a momentary lapse in sanity.
But my kids love to dance. Dancing is good for them. I’ll figure out how to juggle bus pick-up, and readers, and dancing, and dinner, and keep my sanity somehow… right?
We’ve been doing the three crazy dancing nights for a few weeks now, and I think I might almost have it under control.
The thing that has kept me from losing my mind so far is being able to get dinner ready really quickly. If we can walk in the door and have dinner on the table fifteen minutes later, the rest of the night is a whole lot less crazy.
To make that happen I need two things – I need some fast dinner tricks, and I need some quick and easy recipes.
First up, the fast dinner tricks…
How to get dinner on the table in 15 minutes:
- Make meals that only require one cooking method and one pot/pan. They are quicker to cook, and quicker to clean up!
- Simple recipes that have a short list of ingredients and only a few instructions are quicker and easier to make.
- o Look for recipes that combine a healthy range of foods together in one meal e.g. Beef with veggies and rice, which makes it easy to eat the recommended amount of veggies and red meat in one meal.
- Frozen veggies, microwave rice, or fresh noodles make preparation even quicker and easier, use them!
- o Use fresh ingredients that can be cooked in lots of different ways without much preparation. One cut of beef that can be prepared in many ways, or good old mince make life easier.
- Think ahead and pre-prepare things in advance if you can – pre-cut meat and freeze ready to go, make a double batch of rice earlier in the week so you just have to re-heat etc.
- Get the kids involved, more helpers means even less time making dinner. With a bit of practice kids can chop veggies, stir things on the stove, and eventually make the entire meal themselves.
Now that we’ve got some tricks and shortcuts, you just need to work out what to cook.
To get dinner on the table in 15-minutes, I need some quick and easy dinner recipes. And I’m talking about recipes that really are quick and easy to make, not recipes that say they are ‘quick’ but need all kinds of pre-prep, or are full of pre-packaged, processed ingredients, or require the skill of a culinary master.
I’m talking about simple, fresh, meals, that I can make while also listening to my 6 year old read, reminding my nine year old to pack fruit in his lunch box, and attempting to explain year 7 maths problems. Being healthy and nutritious is also important, so I look for recipes that combine nutritional goodness, such as beef (for protein, iron etc.) and at least one serve of vegetables.
One of our favourite quick and easy meals is beef and veggie stir fry.
It’s a slight variation of the Beef, Yellow Capsicum and Snow Pea Stir Fry from the from team at Better on Beef. They have lots of great, quick and easy, meal ideas and this easy stir fry is one of our favourites.
This beef and veggie stir fry is perfect for our crazy busy nights because it only has a handful of simple ingredients, it cooks quickly in just one pan, and it’s simple enough for the kids make. My nine year old can cook this entirely on his own now.
It’s easy to vary with whatever veggies your family likes. It works great with frozen broccoli instead of snow peas, or a big bunch of bok-choy. Rump is perfect for this dish, you just throw the strips in the pan and they’re ready in just a few minutes, or if your kids like mince, swap the rump for mince or meatballs. We eat this with hokkien noodles and it’s delicious, but it’s also great with rice or other noodles.
Easy Beef and Veggie Stir Fry
Please note: this recipe uses Australian measurements and temperatures, if you need to convert measurements or temperatures you can find our printable cooking conversion chart here.
There are lots of other quick and easy recipes on the You’re Better on Beef website.
We’ve recently tried this Indian curry mince with papadums. It’s delicious, and the kids love watching the pappadums puff up as they cook. I’ve also got the beef san choy bau on my list of recipes to try.
Do you have any crazy busy nights when you need a quick and easy dinner idea?
Have you got any tricks up your sleeve for getting dinner on the table quickly?
What’s your favourite quick and easy family dinner recipe?
Leave a comment below and share your tricks, tips and recipes, because with three crazy busy dancing nights I need all the help I can get!