Five Quick and Creative Family Meal Ideas

Family Meals Pizza

Whether you’re working a crazy schedule, running back and forth from school, or juggling both, making time for a fresh and tasty dinner can be a real challenge. With the rising price (and calories!) of fast food, some nights it might feel like spending a ton or zapping frozen food in the microwave are the only options you have.

Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with 5 can’t miss solutions that are sure to cure you’re weeknight dinner ills and get you out of that supper rut!

Fresh Baked Pizza

Ever wished you could have restaurant quality pizza, complete with fresh ingredients and crisp right-out-of-the-oven crust without having to sit in a crowded dining room surrounded by strangers? Papa Murphy’s solved the riddle by creating a pizza dough that bakes to perfection at the lower than commercial pizza oven temperatures that home ovens can reach. What’s even better is that they roll the dough out, do all the prep and top it with whatever you’re in the mood for before giving it to you complete with baking instructions. All you have to do is take home the pie and put in the oven for fifteen minutes.

Not the super creative type when it comes to pizza toppings? Not a problem, Papa Murphy’s has got you covered there too with preset combos like the Cowboy (Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Mushroom and Olives with red sauce, herbs and cheese blend), Chicken Bacon Artichoke, Papa’s Favorite (Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Ground Beef, Mushrooms, Onions, Peppers, Olives and red sauce), and Angus Steak and Garlic (Angus Steak, Creamy Garlic Sauce, Roasted Garlic, Mushrooms, Peppers and Parmesan).

Papa Murphy’s even gives you options when it comes to pizza styles! Choose between thin crust, pan pizza, stuffed and even gluten free. Order online, call ahead or order in store for fresh baked pizza in your very own home!

We Recommend: Papa Murphy’s Pizza

Easy Pho

From your local grocery store grab the dorm room standby Ramen Noodles, assorted fresh veggies from the salad bar (broccoli, pepper strips and mushrooms are always great!) and a rotisserie chicken. Using a little oil, butter or pan spray, sautee the veggies for a minute or two until they are softened. Follow the instructions for the Ramen, then pull pieces of the chicken into shredded strips by hand. Stir the veggies and chicken into the noodles and broth. Pro tip: instead of adding the included seasoning packet from the Ramen just season the soup with onion powder, granulated garlic, black pepper and a little salt. Your sodium levels will thank you!

Fish Tacos

The freezer section can be your friend if you use it right. Grab a package of frozen battered fish (already fried) or, if you prefer, go with the unbreaded version. Follow the conventional oven instructions and top the fish with coleslaw and a little salsa on flour tortillas. Like tartar sauce? Chopped sweet pickles mixed into some mayo or greek yogurt (for the healthier take) work great and go really well with fried fish. Ripe avocados, shredded cheese or sour cream all add nice touches too!

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Shrimp Stir Fry

On the way home from your crazy day stop by any local Chinese restaurant and grab a side of plain brown rice. When you get home throw a bag of frozen vegetables (whatever you like, there are so many mixes to choose from it’s hard to decide!) and some frozen shrimp into a frying pan. Add a cup of water and cover on medium high heat. Stir every few minutes to keep anything from burning. When the Shrimp turn pink splash a little Soy sauce into the pan and mix it all up. Pour everything over the rice and you’ve got a hot and fresh meal without the hassle of chopping or trying to nail rice!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Delicious pulled pork sandwiches are as simple as pressing a few buttons if you have a slow cooker! Simply put a boneless pork shoulder into the slow cooker with some sliced onions and your favorite barbecue sauce and cover it all the way with water. Set the slow cooker to high and leave for 6-8 hours. If you’re around while the meat is cooking (benefit? AMAZING smells!) check the water level and add water if needed. If you’re not going to be around or you’re planning to sleep while your pork breaks down simply set the slow cooker to medium or low and allow a few more hours. Once the pork can be easily broken apart with a fork just pile it high on a store or bakery bought bun and enjoy! If you’re looking for a change of pace and need something that requires a fork and a knife add some canned beans to the mixture before setting it to go. Add rice and extra water in a one-to-one ratio for a complete meal!

Avi Shemtov is owner of The Chubby Chickpea Food Truck. You can order his cookbook, The Single Guy Cookbook, here.

And for a quick cool treat, We Recommend: Dairy Queen

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