Well, you all know I LOVE freezer cooking. That is the number one thing you can do to get dinner on the table FAST.
1. You can do this the way I do it: Make full meals that you simply heat and eat on your busiest days, but you can also just make part of your meal ahead. For example, you can brown and freeze your meat. You can buy frozen pie crusts and keep them at the ready. You can even freeze ahead desserts to use for special parties and upcoming holiday events. I have lots of other posts about freezer cooking, be sure to check them out.
2. Make a simple menu plan once every two weeks. Look at your calendar on Sunday for the the next two weeks and see what meals would best fit your schedule. For example, if you have a sports night, plan a meal you can grab and take with you or plan a little money in the budget for dining out at the ball park. You can even plan to take MOST of your meal with you and just splurge a little on drinks or side dishes. You can make hot dogs ahead, for example, and wrap them snugly in foil, and place them in an insulated bag. Your kids can enjoy having a ball park meal at the fraction of the cost.
3. Have three meals in your pantry that are “tried and true” quick meals. We keep jarred spaghetti sauce and whole wheat pasta on hand at all times and keep meatballs in the freezer. This makes for a very quick meal, but it is still warm and satisfying. We also keep frozen vegetables at all times that can be added to any meal to make it complete. Think about what other meals your family might like, even if it is something boxed and less healthy. Frankly, even the less healthy pre-box packaged foods are healthier than a local fast -food restaurant. I used to feel really guilty about frozen pizza, but if it prevented me from stopping at a fast food restaurant on a really busy night, it is a healthier choice.