Kristen from My Sweet Mess is sharing her tips for making mealtimes easier, she is also giving us a delicious recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup. Kristen is an expert in sharing many healthy-ish recipes, her family, mom life, home decor, and travel on her website. She also offers nutrition counselling.

Butternut squash rigatoni on frying pan.

Do you ever see the meme floating around that says something like “who knew being an adult meant spending all your time trying to figure out what to eat for dinner”?  Well there’s a reason for that – it’s true!

Chopped veggies on a plate

Trying to figure out how to make a nutritious meal that tastes good alone can be challenging. Now times that by three every day, add in full time work, kids, sports or other activities, picky eating, and allergies to name a few and it can feel incredibly overwhelming or like a full time job.

But it can be easier. I have implemented eight steps at our house that help ease the meal time burden.

Cajun salmon on top of veggies

Tips for Making Mealtimes Easier

  1. Make use of frozen vegetables – they work great in things like stirfry. You can make your rice, add whatever fresh items you have and then toss in your frozen vegetables and your sauce – and dinner is done in under 30 min. Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and edamame are all great choices and my secret ingredient to making stirfrys more flavourful and kid friendly, toss in some frozen pineapple too.
  2. Grab a rotisserie chicken  - store bought rotisserie chickens can be a life saver and are relatively inexpensive too. Pull the chicken off all at once and throw it in a bag in the fridge that way it’s easily accessible for your next meal and if you don’t think you’ll use it all, put some in a freezer-safe container and freeze until you need something quick again. There are so many meals you can add the chicken too, like a salad or bowl, tacos or quesadillas, pizza, sandwiches or wraps, pasta or even chicken noodle soup.
  3. Consider tofu, shrimp or fish instead of your typical protein choice. All three of these items offer a ton of protein and other important nutrients. Plus they take less time to cook then chicken, pork or red meat. Even if you forgot to take them out of the freezer.
  4. Keep your favourite wraps or some naan bread on hand – and load them up with leftover veggies and protein of your choice.
  5. Think differently when you think salad. Salads can be boring, especially the premade ones you get at the grocery store. But, salads can be made into a nutritious, delicious and filling meal simply by adding things like nuts, seeds, fruit, grains and lots of chopped veggies.
  6. Pasta is a great nutritious meal, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s quick and easy too. Choose whole grains when you can and add whatever you have available. You’d be surprised how good random ingredients end up tasting together. Some of my best meals have been made this way. And don’t forget – you don’t need a homemade pasta sauce, or pasta sauce at all for that matter. You can just as easily use some olive oil, or a little butter, some lemon, and frozen spinach. You can coat those noodles with a variety of items and who doesn’t like variety.
  7. Think sheet pans – sheet pan meals are relatively quick, most being done within 30 min or less. You can cook your veggies and proteins together and all you really need is a little oil, seasoning and salt and you’re good to go. You can pop it in the oven, spend a bit more time with your kids, relaxing with a glass of wine in hand or whatever it is you’re missing out on these days.
  8. Have build your own meal days – build your own meals can be done with pizzas, tacos, smoothies (for breakfast), pasta salads, and more. It’s a great way to use up the odds and ends you have kicking around in the fridge and pantry. Bonus, it’s great for picky eaters too. You decide what you set out, they decide what to put together. There’s something for everyone and you don’t need to worry about the dinner time drama of I don’t like this, I don’t want that, etc. If you’re looking for some build your own platter ideas, you can check out my Top 10 Build Your Own Meals
Apple salad in a bowl

Meals don’t have to be your typical meat, starch and vegetable. Allow yourself the freedom to switch it up and make life a little easier.

To get you started I thought I’d share with you our family favorite meal ready in 10 minutes:

How to Make Chicken Noodle Soup

Pasta, chopped chicken, chopped carrots, peas.

Prepare all ingredients:

  • 8 cups of vegetable/chicken stock
  • 2 cups of store bought rotisserie chicken, skin removed and roughly chopped
  • 3 cups of frozen vegetable mix (peas, carrots and corn)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1, 340g box of your favourite noodles (macaroni, bowtie, and fusilli noodles all work well)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Chicken noodle soup in a bowl with bread

This soup is as easy as it gets!
It is simple, quick, nutritious, warming and tasty and something the whole family will love. It is also relatively inexpensive and no one will know that it didn’t take you all day to make.

When the kids are back in their activities and things get a little crazy, we eat this sometimes once a week or more and I’m not sad about it. As a full time working mom of two, who also runs a business and goes to school - I will adopt pretty much any tips or tricks to make life easier.

And I promise you, the more you incorporate these tips into your meal making process the easier it will get. So easy you might just find yourself enjoying mealtimes here and there.

Chicken noodle soup with carrots, peas.

Tips for Making Mealtimes Easier
 
Cicken noodle soup with rotisserie chicken, vegetable mix and noodles.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Ingredients
  • 8 cups of vegetable/chicken stock
  • 2 cups of store bought rotisserie chicken, skin removed and roughly chopped
  • 3 cups of frozen vegetable mix (peas, carrots and corn)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1, 340g box of your favourite noodles (macaroni, bowtie, and fusilli noodles all work well)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Add your stock to a large heavy bottom pan on med/high heat.
  2. Add in your dried thyme, chicken and a little salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil and add noodles and frozen vegetables.
  4. Cook until noodles are done (according to the package).
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Tips for Making Mealtimes Easier and Chicken Noodle Soup is written by Kristen. Follow Kristen on Instagram and check out her delicious recipes on her website My Sweet Mess.

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