By Julie Provost
Your spouse is deployed, and you are left alone with your three children. Cooking has never been a favorite of yours, but when your spouse is there, you can share the duties. But right now, your spouse is gone, and you’re responsible for all of the meals. Ordering pizza and chicken nuggets is getting old, and you want to start making healthier meals for you and your kids. Here are some ideas!
If you don’t already have a crock pot, buying one would be a sound investment. You can do so many things with this kitchen appliance. One of the easiest crock pot meals you can make is two-ingredient slow cooker salsa chicken. Put some chicken and a jar of salsa in your crockpot. Add spices if you want. Once the chicken is done, put it into tortillas and start your dinner.
2. Breakfast for dinner
Who says you have to only eat breakfast foods in the morning? Have a breakfast-for-dinner night. You can stick with eggs and bacon or serve waffles and pancakes. On your more busier nights, have a cereal bar.
3. Pizza and salad
Depending on how easy you want to keep this meal, you can cook a frozen pizza or you can make your own. Add a salad to the meal and enjoy. This is going to be a much cheaper option than ordering pizza, and you can customize your pizza and salad to make them the way you want.
If you are in the mood for a heartier meal, pull out your crock pot. You need a beef roast, carrots, onions, potatoes, beef broth, and onion soup mix. This is ideal for Sundays when you are in a weekend slump. Your house will smell so yummy when this is cooking throughout the day.
This chicken dish can be served with rice or potatoes. All you need are some chicken breasts or tenders, Ritz crackers, milk, cheese and some spices. You can also prepare the chicken ahead of time and freeze. That will make things easier during the week when you are trying to decide what to make.
One-dish dinners are ideal during a deployment. This one covers all your bases. Put chicken, potatoes, and green beans in your dish. Then add Italian dressing and butter and put in the oven.
Tacos are always a hit, and you can add whatever toppings you want–different cheeses, salsa, lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, beans, and more. You can go with soft tacos or hard shells or just stick with a taco salad.
Cook the baked potatoes and then lay out the toppings for everyone to choose from. Butter, sour cream, bacon, veggies, and herbs are a good idea. There will be something for everyone. Add a salad for a little more food on the table.
9. Hamburgers and fries
There is something comforting about making burgers and fries at home. You can do the burgers on the grill or the stove. Fries can be from a bag or homemade, whatever you prefer. What you make at home will taste better than any fast food burger. You can add cheese to make cheeseburgers, set out condiments, and enjoy.
10. Chicken salad
Cook up some chicken and make a salad. This meal is perfect for meat leftovers. You can stick with chicken or even use steak. Add whatever veggies, cheese, and dressing. Pick up a loaf of french bread to go with the meal.
Casseroles will save you during a deployment. For this one, you need frozen french fries, ham, broccoli, milk, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and cream of mushroom soup. With casseroles, feel free to experiment with the foods you have in your home. Chicken and cream of mushroom soup with a vegetable is another easy option. Find casseroles your family will eat and add them to your rotation.
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.