Running from the Law: Simple, Savory & SMARTMADE™ Meals

Monday, November 28, 2016

Simple, Savory & SMARTMADE™ Meals

There's Never Enough Time
I don't know what exactly it is about this time of year, but life is crazy right now! Maybe it's because we're trying to cram so many fall and holiday activities into fewer daylight hours that there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. Maybe it's because my husband is traveling so much for work as he preps for a big upcoming trial and I feel like I'm left doing the work of two during the week. Maybe it's because I'm trying really really hard to lose the rest of that baby weight and finally feel good/confident about myself again that it takes more energy than I ever imagined to be active and disciplined. Or maybe it's just that life's crazy because I'm a mom and kids are a lot of work! 
Whatever it is, I've been left with a deficit of time, energy and enthusiasm. By the time I get home from work and dinner rolls around most nights, I'm utterly exhausted and overwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook -- but cooking a balanced, healthy, delicious meal for one person is sometimes just too hard, impractical and unnecessary. It's important for me to eat well, but honestly, it's just too hard to whip something healthy up most nights when you have kids clamoring for your attention and begging to be held, played with and doted on. I know they miss me during the day (because I miss them fiercely!) and as hungry as I am when I get home, I'd much rather spend the time it would take to make myself dinner with them instead of cooking. So, I'm constantly looking for ways to simplify my weeknight meals, whether that's make-ahead single-serve portioned meals, healthy take-out options, slow cooker dinners, or frozen meals.
10 Things I'd Rather Do Than Cook Dinner for Myself
  1. Play games with the kids - we've really been into Kerplunk lately.
  2. Paint pictures.
  3. Have a dance party! The Little Mermaid and the Superman theme song are on constant repeat around here.
  4. Go geocaching in a local park. 
  5. Take a bubble bath together. 
  6. Take a ridiculous amount of photos of the kids in matching jammies. 
  7. Watch Superman.
  8. Go for a wagon ride around the neighborhood. 
  9. Play Hide & Seek.
  10. Do a craft project. 
Easy Healthy Meal Solutions
Over the last few months my go-to weeknight single-serving meal was a piece of frozen salmon, sprinkled with taco seasoning and topped with some peach salsa, served alongside a portion of frozen microwaved broccoli: healthy, yet boring. 9 times out of 10, I overcooked/burned the fish because the kids were begging me to read them a book, play a game or chase them around the basement. And seriously, there are only so many nights in a row you can eat bland steamed broccoli. I'm over this meal. While I love slow cooker meals, they usually take some pre-planning the night before and/or set-up that morning and I'm just too much of a disorganized mess these days to follow through. Again, who has the time? This has left me with one very simple, practical and (surprisingly) delicious option: SMARTMADE ™ by SmartOnes (R).
I've been a big fan of Smart Ones® frozen meals forever, so I knew that the new SMARTMADE™ meal bowls would be just as good. I have a long history and love affair for Smart Ones® - before we had a cafeteria in my office building, Smart Ones® were my go-to choice for lunch nearly everyday. Mainly because I like hot meals (salads are out) and I'm not a huge fan of leftovers multiple days in a row (twice in one week is my max). When they came out with these new SMARTMADE bowls, made from real ingredients with lots of veggies, I jumped on the opportunity to try them. As I expected, they were just as good (if not better) than I anticipated. Simple ingredients, lots of flavor and tons of variety. I was really happy with the serving size and with the nutritional value for each bowl - they're high in protein (good for recovering muscles after a long run) and heavy on the veggies.
It's probably no surprise to hear that my favorite SMARTMADE meals are the ethnic ones. I love the Mexican-Style Chicken Bowl, the Spice Peanut Chicken & Broccoli, the Orange Sesame Chicken Bowl and the Mediterranean-Style Chicken Bowl. The White Wine Chicken & CousCous was really good and I loved the big chunks of zucchini and herbs. And while I've yet to try them all, I'm pretty sure there's not a one that I'm not going to like (how many double negatives can I use in one sentence?). 

I'm thrilled with the new SMARTMADE options and have been super impressed by every one I've had the chance to eat. I mean, don't get me wrong...they may not be apples dipped in ketchup (Mim's favorite meal), but I guess for now, they'll do. 
What's your go-to easy weeknight dinner solution? 


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