A Quick and Easy Meal Solution For When Dinner Gets Forgotten
Keeping a family healthy, happy, and functioning is no easy feat. There are many tasks that never seem to end because, well, really they are constant needs. The seemingly insurmountable piles of laundry, the floors that seem to always need sweeping, and the kitchen sink where dirty dishes seem to multiply. Of course, the meals and snacks are also an unending responsibility that I’m sure I’m not alone in dropping the ball on from time to time. I am no stranger to the sinking thought of “Oops! What’s for dinner?” when making dinner is the last thing I want to do. On those days when dinner plans have fallen short and I need to get my family fed, we turn to the quick and easy meal solution of “Buffet Dinner”.
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Janes Family Foods. I’ve been enjoying these kinds of buffet dinners for years now, and have often considered sharing about it on this blog, but Janes gave me the extra push I needed to actually write about it. While I have been compensated to do so, all of the above and below are my true and personal ideas and opinions.
My Quick and Easy Meal Solution for When Dinner Gets Forgotten
Buffet Dinner has become a staple in our home for when we need to get a relatively healthy meal pulled together quickly. We dubbed the term one evening when we were struggling to think of what to eat after a busy day. Having recently been to a “real” buffet with our toddler, she kept suggesting we go for buffet dinner. However, even if our little island did have a buffet we could stop by, the price of a buffet dinner is just too much to afford on a regular basis. Instead, we took her idea, saying we’d make our own buffet dinner, went home and pulled together a variety of little-to-no-prep foods, most of which we already had kicking around in the freezer, fridge, and pantry.
These dinners have fast become a favourite of our now 4-year-old. She will often request we make our own buffet. Pleasingly for me, I find that our low-appetite eater tends to eat a lot more during these mainly finger-food meals. I think the presentation – having all of the food choices put out together on share plates to take from bit by bit – is a large part of what makes this meal special for her, and motivates her to continue choosing little nibbles until she’s eaten to satisfaction.
Buffet Dinner Night Food Ideas
There are many different food choices that can be incorporated into a home buffet. Not everything need go together. It’s buffet, remember – there are all kinds of random dishes at a buffet. Use what you have.
While the items tend to change based on what we have available, we almost always include chicken nuggets (or some form of frozen chicken) as a protein option. We keep some stocked in our freezer in case of such dinner emergencies.
Janes Quick and Easy Protein Options
There are a variety of reasons we like Janes products. A Canadian company (you know how I love to support Canadian business), almost all of their chicken and fish products are free from trans fat, low in saturated fat and most of their products are a good source of Omega 3. As someone who is generally very conscious of what I feed my family, I like that almost all of Janes chicken products are free of preservatives. I also appreciate that their packaging is made from 100% recycled material.
We’ve been alternating between Janes Pub Style Popcorn Chicken and Janes Pub Style Chicken Nuggets since these are available at our local grocer, but there are many more chicken options for quick meal solutions to choose from, including burgers, breasts, buffalo bites, and strips. I’m also very interested in Janes new Natural Goodness products, which contain only the most basic, natural ingredients.
Here are some other foods we might include in our buffet meals:
Frozen edamame beans – In the shell works best for us, as the little one enjoys removing the little protein-rich green beans from their pods.
Tortilla chips and dip – Guacamole, salsa, sour cream, left-over chili, hummus, cheese sauce, etc (Dips can be used for veggies, too!)
Quick-cooking veggies – Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green peas, etc. (Steam cook if possible, as boiling removes nutrients from food.)
Cheese and crackers
Sliced sausage or other deli meats
Bake-from-frozen yam fries, curly fries, or tater tots – These can often cook for the same time at the same temperature as the chicken nuggets.
Salad mix – These ready-to-mix bags of salad are a serious time-saver around here
Pickles, pickled onions, pickled beets… any kind of pickled goodness
Leftovers – what needs to be used up in your fridge?
Frozen appetizers and nibbles – Chicken nuggets, popcorn chicken, chicken strips, fish bites, cheesy jalapeno poppers, quinoa balls, meatballs, etc
The key here is trying to balance convenience, nutrition, and deliciousness. I try to include as many healthy options as I can, while still staying true to the fun buffet style of including random delicious (but not necessarily very nutritious) options like fries or greasy, cheesy nibbles.
If you’d like to stock your freezer with Janes chicken (or fish) for those evenings when you need a quick and easy meal, you’re going to want to enter the giveaway below.
*Janes Family Foods Giveaway*
Enter the rafflecopter form below for your chance to win five (5) coupons, each for the redemption of any Janes chicken or fish product. Contest is open to residents of Canada, aged 18+. Full contest details available within the Rafflecopter. Remember to come back again tomorrow to enter again through the daily entry options! Giveaway closes January 25, 2018, at 12:00am Pacific Time.
Disclosure: Again, this post has been sponsored by Janes. While I have been compensated to share about their tasty chicken products, all opinions, ideas, and experiences are my own. You can view my full disclosure policy here.