The start of a new school year is upon us. Am I rejoicing? You bet I am! While I love my little monsters and angels (depends on the day), I am ready for them to head back to school. This working from home with kids running around all day is not for the faint of heart.
While the 8:30AM - 3:30PM window might get easier, you know what is about to become insane? Oh yeah, you have kids, you know where I’m headed. The evenings. The homework, the team practices, band practice, horseback riding, juggling lessons, chess practice, ukulele lessons, orthodontist appointments, open houses, massive projects that are somehow due the next day... you get my drift. Not going to lie, it causes me to hyperventilate a bit. My whole family goes in different directions each night. The only thing they have in common every night? They expect me to feed them and I really don’t like to cook for hours on end.
I don’t know who takes care of dinner in your house, but in my house it’s me. I’m the one who is done working first and I’m the one without a commute. Most days I’d prefer a long commute to making dinner. This year though, I’m taking a different approach to dinner. No, we’re not hitting the drive-thru every night. Feeding five people from a restaurant menu costs as much as a weekend vacation. You know I’m right. I’m not making dinner from scratch either because who has the time for that?
Want to know my secret? I love finding easy-to-assemble meal ideas at everyone’s favorite bulk store – you know the one I’m talking about – Sam’s Club. I love that I can pick up everything from pancake mix to highlighters to prescription glasses to paddleboards (true story) in one stop. With Sam’s Club, I can have meals that taste "homemade," without the "homemade" part. They’re all perfect for reheating too, which is another criteria at my house, since everyone eats dinner at different times.
Looking for some ‘homemade’ back to school meal ideas that can be completed in thirty minutes or less? I’ve got you covered, friend. These have been tried and tested by the bottomless pits I feed 300 times a day. To make life easy, I buy in bulk at Sam’s Club about every other week and save so much with their limited-time offers and everyday low prices.
- Repeat after me, 'The freezer aisle is your friend'
Two simple ideas right here. Grab a meat and a bag of veggies, then roast them together on a baking sheet. Feeling extra fancy? These premixed bags of pasta with veggies followed by freshly baked cookies will really make you the MVP of dinnertime. Another winning tip? Have those cookies in the oven in time to let the kids grab one or five (no judgement) for an after school snack.
- Fall nights mean comfort food
Is there anything better than mac and cheese? I mean really, who wouldn’t eat that every day if they could? Sam’s Club is fantastic for finding better-for-you options of your favorite comfort foods. You need to try pairing their marinated Alaskan salmon with the cauliflower mac & cheese, and a bag of frozen veggies or fresh premade salads. Delicious, protein packed, and the leftovers never go to waste.
- Takeout without taking out a loan
Come Friday night, we all have had a heavier snack after school. Then once everyone is home from practices or whatever crazy thing we have going on, it’s family movie night. I require two things on family movie night: (1) a movie we’ve never seen and (2) easy, fun dinner. We usually have an extra kid or two for family movie night, so buying in bulk is key. Add some rice to this meal and you’ve got your favorite Chinese takeout meal at a fraction of the cost.
- The phrase ‘Bring a side’ just got a lot less stressful
The magical refrigerated aisle at Sam’s Club has the best chicken pot pies and pasta dishes. The pasta dishes are my ‘go-to’ item for potluck dinners.
- You can make practically any meal in thirty minutes with a rotisserie chicken
Everything goes better with a rotisserie chicken. Use the chicken on its own in a salad (bagged ones of course) for dinner and lunch. Shred it in broth and simmer in the slow cooker all day with veggies for soup. Chop it up and use it for enchiladas. Need more ideas for ways to use a rotisserie chicken? Click here.
Ok, I know cake isn’t technically a meal (well, most days), but I just had to let you in on this secret. Sam’s Club cakes are delicious, affordable, and rival any specialty bakery cake I’ve ever had. I do not make homemade birthday cakes anymore. Baking a cake brings me no joy, and I’m horrible at it. See below for an example of the cake that put me solely in the ‘all birthday cakes come from Sam’s Club’ mentality. That sad looking cake with blue ‘flowers’ took me hours to make and tasted just as bad as it looked.
- Breakfast is a win any time of the day
Breakfast for dinner made from pancake mix is a way to quickly cover dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. Simply make enough for both meals. You can even freeze the pancakes and use them throughout the week. Add some eggs on the side or (my favorite) use the pancakes as the ‘bread’ for peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Speaking of peanut butter…
- When all else fails, there’s no shame in my favorite option -
PB&J taste delicious any time of the day.
As you can see, my Sam’s Club membership is priceless! Even better, get a $45 Sam’s Club eGift Card when you sign up for a $45 membership. Do the math, it’s an amazing offer! You’re going to love the many perks of having a Sam's Club membership including everyday low prices, purchasing items in bulk that you use every day, and easy-to-prepare meals that taste homemade.
*I was provided with product or compensation for this article. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.