Saturday, April 21, 2012

Meal Shortcuts for Baseball Moms

Baseball season presents a struggle for busy moms in the area of menu planning.  With two boys playing Little League, our family may end up at the ballpark four nights a week.  This creates an issue getting a homecooked meal on the table each night.  Over the years, I have developed several methods to avoid fast food on those busy nights.  Try one or a combination of these to find what works best for your busy family.

  • SLOW COOKER MEALS - This is my favorite method!  Because of have a monthly menu already prepared, I know I have all of ingredients I need already on hand for the meal.  See Blog Beginnings: Menu Planning to learn more about creating a menu and shopping list.  I do all of the prep work the night before we need the meal.  All ingredients go into the removable pot and are refrigerated.  In the morning, place the pot into the slow cooker base, and turn it on!  A hot meal is ready when you walk in the door from work/school, and you can quickly eat, then head to the ballpark.  If there is no time to eat the meal before the games, pack healthy snacks to take to the ball park.  Put the slow cooker on "Keep Warm" and return home to a yummy meal.
               Try these slow cooker meals:
               Chicken Tortilla Soup
               Broccoli and Cheese Soup
               Chicken Alfredo
               Pork Chops and Gravy
               Chicken Quesidillas
               Meatball Subs
               Roast and Veggies

  • 30-MINUTE MEALS - The following meal ideas can be prepared from start to finish in 30 minutes or less.  These work well when you have a late evening game.  There's plenty of time to get in from work, prepare the meal, and eat before heading to a 6:30 or 7:00 game.
          Try these 30-minute meals:
          Quick and Easy Spaghetti
          Quick and Easy Pizza Puffs
          Red Beans and Rice
          Sloppy Roast Beef Po-Boys
          Quick and Easy Chili
          Beef Enchilada Casserole
          Baked Ziti Pasta

  • DELI ROTISSERIE CHICKEN - One shortcut to a quick meal is to buy pre-cooked meat.  The cheapest and yummiest way to do this is to buy a deli rotisserie chicken.  They can be found in most grocery store deli's and are relatively inexpensive (usually $5-6).  Almost any recipe that requires boiled, sauteed, or baked chicken can be adapted using this pre-cooked chicken. 
         Try this recipe:
         Chicken Salad
         Adapt these recipes using pre-cooked chicken:
         Spinach Fiesta Casserole
         Baked Chicken Spaghetti
        **I will post more ideas soon.  ANY recipe that calls for chicken can be shortened this way.

  • FREEZER MEALS:  Many of the above recipes can be prepared in advance in bulk portions, then frozen in disposable aluminum pans (before baking).  Take a pan out of the freezer the night before you need the meal.  Put it in the refrigerator to thaw over night.  That evening, bake the casserole/dish at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Spinach fiesta casserole, baked chicken spaghetti, baked ziti pasta, and chili are a few that I have tried as frozen meals.  Most casseroles and soups can be frozen.  At one point, I was spending the first weekend of the month cooking and freezing meals.  Use this method in combination with the others to create variety in your menu.
With a little planning and advanced preparation, mealtime (even during baseball season) can be easy!

(For more "baseball mom" tips, visit my post on The Ultimate Baseball Mom's Survival Bag .)



  1. I have bookmarked this page to come back to often for your recipes, so excited! I'm not a baseball mom, but I love to find things that are quick and easy! Thanks for linking up and sharing this!

    1. Thanks, Amy! A lot of my posts are "meal ideas" more than "recipes" - easy things that take very little effort. You'll have to check out my latest post ("She brings him good, not harm...") to hear a little about my husband's diabetes and some changes I'm trying to make in our diets.

  2. I freeze my own chicken. Cheaper than the deli kind, but still just as quick. I bake it all at once, and some I freeze in whole breasts, or some I cut into strips and grill a bit first. I do the same thing when I cook a crockpot chicken. We eat a couple meals of it then pull the rest off and freeze it (along with the broth) for chicken noodle soup or chicken and dumplings. Then, whenevery I have a recipe that calls for chicken, I can fix it super fast. All I have to do is add pasta or veggies for a 15 minute meal.

    I do the same thing with hamburger. I buy a big family pack, brown it all together, and then freeze. If I'm making chili, tacos, goulash, spaghetti w/ meat sauce, homemade hamburger helper, etc. all I have to do is thaw out the needed amount. It's awesome.

    1. That's a great idea! I'm going to cook several chicken breasts in the crockpot tomorrow and freeze the meat for a busy night!