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Dinner at the concession stand? Try this instead

You don't have to make concessions at the concession stand. Getting my kids to eat right is daily goal of mine as a mother, but I find this particularly challenging on the weeknights that they have after school activities and sports.

We usually eat together as a family at the table, but there are some nights when that's just not possible. I don't want to stuff them with drive-through fare, and we don't necessarily want a full meal at 4 in the afternoon before we're on to the next game, so that limits our dinner options some evenings.

But with a little planning, I've found that we can still eat good food together before or after a weeknight event. Here are some of the ways we get good meals on the go.

The trusty ole crock-pot. There's a whole library of recipes made for the slow cooker that don't turn out like mush.

Breakfast for dinner. You don't have to flip pancakes after extra innings, instead prepare a breakfast casserole like the ones we make for Christmas morning. Make ahead and throw in the oven. You can pair it with fresh fruit slices.

Picnic time. Not at the game, but afterward. I like to make up a big sandwich on a long loaf of french bread using leftover meat or rotisserie chicken from the deli. Elevate it to dinner levels by layering it with fresh sliced vegetables and arugula instead of lettuce.

Speaking of picnics, don't forget the pasta salad. Pasta "salads" are great because they can be made ahead of time and can be served cold or at room temperature. It's a great place to load up veggies.

Pizza You can make a fresh pizza in less than 30 minutes -- and it tastes better than frozen. Publix and other grocery stores sell fresh pizza dough in their bakery's cold case, so all you have to do is supply the toppings. Divide the dough and let each child prepare their own for a treat and a time-saver.

We'd love to hear your go-to vs. go-thru meal ideas on busy weeknights.

--Tracey Henry

Follow us on Twitter @WhoaMomma

Posted by Sharon Wynne at 1:36:55 pm on April 25, 2011