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Prep in advance. "I prepare dinner while making lunch or breakfast, so if I have dry ingredients to mix I will get those together and store it in the pantry until I'm ready to combine everything for dinner," says Sarah Kimmel, founder of organizedmom.net.
Make extra. Every family has favorite dishes, so when you prepare those meals, double the recipe and freeze the other half.
Buy items in the form that you need them. "It may be more costly, but you will save time in the kitchen," says Jackie Keller, nutritionist and founder of NutriFit, a home meal delivery service and healthy food company in Los Angeles, California. "Choose shredded or sliced cheese, boned and skinned chicken breasts, and cut-up fresh vegetables."
Find shortcuts. "If a recipe calls for chicken, use rotisserie or frozen grilled chicken breasts from the store. And don't be afraid to buy a part of a recipe instead of creating it, such as marinara sauce," says Holly Clegg, author of the Trim & Terrific cookbook series.
Have breakfast for dinner. Don't have time to make dinner? Simply serve up an early-morning favorite for the family. "Scrambled eggs are one of the fastest foods to make, and in my family, a huge crowd-pleaser," says Audrey McClelland, founder of MomGenerations.com. Kelly Whitehead of Vernon, New Jersey, agrees: "Serve up some cereal and add a serving of fruit, and you have a meal in less than five minutes."
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