#contessahacks: Here's How to Skip the Trader Joe's Frozen Aisle After a Nightmare Work Day
Work + Life Balance

#contessahacks: Here's How to Skip the Trader Joe's Frozen Aisle After a Nightmare Work Day

by Ally Freed
September 23, 2015

IT MIGHT BE AN EASY SOLUTION, BUT THAT FROZEN MAC N' CHEESE DOES YOU NO FAVORS. TRY THESE TRICKS TO MAKE YOUR DINNER ROUTINE QUICK AND HEALTHY. 

Nightmare work day? We’ve all been there. They’re the days when emails never end, technical difficulties abound, and your coworkers feel more like members of the mob than professional colleagues. Whatever the case may be, chances are that leaving the office to cook a healthy and wholesome meal is the last thing on your mind. When hitting up the nearest Trader Joe’s frozen aisle sounds like the best alternative, use these #contessahacks instead. {Click to Tweet} Your skinny jeans will thank you.

BEFRIEND THE CROCK POT

If you thought crock pots were only for potluck celebrations, think again. Think of these as your wild card time-savers. Throw in a handful of ingredients before you run out the door in the morning and you’ll come home to a house that smells like you’ve been cooking for hours. If you’re looking for crock pot specific recipes, Pinterest has loads of recipe ideas..

SIMPLIFY WITH A LOADED SALAD

Sometimes the best source for a wholesome and flavorful dinner is your own refrigerator. Gather up all your veggies, fruit, and any sources of protein you have on hand. Think: lots of greens coupled with power-packed proteins such as grilled chicken, garbanzo beans, or nuts. If you want a heartier meal, mix in some avocados or grains like wild rice, quinoa, or farro. Make your own dressing out of items you have on hand. Try these basic dressings that work well with any salad. Throw everything in one large bowl and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal.

BREAKFAST FOR DINNER? YES PLEASE!

Kids aren’t the only ones who can eat breakfast for dinner. While Pop-Tarts might not make the cut anymore, you likely already have loads of items on hand that are perfect for creating an adult-approved BFD. Start with eggs - they’re an excellent source of protein and can be paired with dozens of ingredients for a tasty scramble or hash. Mix in any veggies and protein you have in the fridge and scramble with roasted sweet potatoes or hash browns. You’ll have dinner on the table in no time!

PLAN AHEAD WITH AN OVEN-READY MEAL

Freezer meals aren’t just for bringing to friends with new babies, they can also be a quick and easy way to achieve a simple meal at home after a long work day. If you often find yourself stressed thinking about cooking meals, set aside a couple hours on Sunday to cook up some healthy dishes for the week. When you’ve put in the work ahead of time, dinner becomes quick and easy. Pop your dish in the oven, then relax. Catch up on the latest episode of your favorite Netflix show, and when the oven timer goes off, enjoy your homemade meal. Check out recipe sites for some frozen-ready meals such as these.

If you often find yourself stressed thinking about cooking meals, set aside a couple hours on Sunday to cook up some healthy dishes for the week.

TAKE OUT THE WORK BY THINKING AHEAD

Skipping the frozen aisle can really be summed up in one simple phrase: think ahead. Planning meals is a no-brainer strategy that combats the after work cravings for anything fried or lathered in sugar. {Click to Tweet} When you have a fully stocked refrigerator and meals in mind, cooking is hassle-free and dare we say it—fun! Check out a couple of our health-conscious contessas, Tara Milhem (The Whole Tara) and McKel Hill (Nutrition Stripped) for some delicious and healthy meal ideas!

Pick a few favorite recipes for the week, set aside a little time on the weekend to buy the needed ingredients, and write down when you’ll be making each meal. You’ll save money and time by not having to plan meals during the week. Another reason we love this strategy? It makes weeknight hosting a breeze and one of the very best remedies for a nightmare work day is sharing a meal with friends. So heat up that oven, crack open the wine, and get to cooking! You’ll be glad you did.

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Let us know what strategies you use to combat the frozen aisle in the comments below!