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I don’t know which is busier for my family, the holiday season or everyday winter family life. With 5 family members, school, activities, work, blogging and well, just life, we’re super, supper busy.
Our family is committed to eating dinner together as a family every night. So, despite feeling harried and drained by busy winter nights, I plan ahead so that we can have a hearty, tasty meal no matter how hectic my day has been. Marie Callender’s pot pies and my easy winter fruit salad has become my go-to meal for busy family meals. Because I can’t not plan, I always make sure that I have the 5 ingredients I need on-hand so that I’m always ready for a hectic day’s dinner.
It seems that I’m always running by Walmart while out running errands, so I make sure I pick up everything I need to have on-hand for my go-to busy night meal:
Marie Callender’s Pot Pies
1 Can of Pineapple Chunks
1 Can of Mandarin Oranges
1 Jar of Maraschino Cherries
Small bag of Flake Coconut
Marie Callender’s pot pies are great for my family of 5 since there are so many different flavors and sizes to choose from. I’m able to get a flavor to please everyone, including my daughter that doesn’t like chicken (and any mom can tell you that making everyone happy with the meal choice is quite an accomplishment!). I appreciate that I can also get the pot pies in 10 oz or 16 oz size. That makes it easier for me to please the different appetite sizes in my family.
But as happy as I am with the flavors and sizes of Marie Callender’s pot pies, I’m just as thrilled that Marie Callender’s supports our troops. You can learn more about Marie Callender’s products and how they support our troops in supporting the USO by visiting their website.
Another of my busy mom secrets is to be sure to cover the edges of your pot pie with foil. This way the edges of the crust cook to a perfect golden flaky crust and don’t end up too crunchy (umm, burnt).
While the pot pies are cooking, whip up the easy winter fruit salad. Drain the can of pineapple, mandarin oranges and maraschino cherries. Simply mix them together in a bowl. The recipe calls for adding flake coconut, but since not everyone in my family likes coconut, I just place a small bowl of coconut on the table and let each person add their own coconut (or not).
Making the salad takes about 4 minutes, so I now have 35-55 minutes (depending on the size of pot pie and cooking time) to help with homework, pay bills, clean the house, do laundry, watch soap operas and eat bon bons (ha ha ha). I can get all that accomplish and still get a hearty, delicious meal on the dinner table so that my family can sit down and spend time together. Oh, and I can do all that at the end of another long, busy day.
My family likes to discuss each of our days and happenings over dinner. It’s the perfect time to catch up on what’s going on with 5 very, very busy people. As a parent educator, I know that research has shown that families that consistently eat dinner together have children that do better in school, have higher self-esteem, lower rates of obesity and lower rates of substance abuse issues.
Being able to catch up with each other while eating a family favorite fruit salad and a satisfying meal filled with delicious chunks meat and vegetables makes us all happy. And this busy mama is thrilled that I’m able to make everyone happy and connected at the end of my hectic day.
What’s your go-to busy night meal?
You can find more great recipes for your busy family meals at http://potpieplease.com and be sure to follow Marie Callender’s on Facebook.