This post was sponsored by Michael Angelo’s. All opinions are our own.
One of my favorite parts of blogging is experimenting in the kitchen and bringing you recipes that utilize (mostly) whole foods and real ingredients. But as much as I love to cook, I just can’t always pull off homecooked meals on busy weeknights. And with the rapidly approaching holiday season and our first year of elementary school activities, I know our schedule is about to get a whole lot tighter. But how do you save time during the holidays when ALL THE MERRY THINGS are happening at once?
The solution? Well, as much as it surprises me to say it, I’ve started venturing down that frozen aisle again. I stopped looking years ago when all the options were just awful, but times have changed. As consumers have demanded better frozen meal options, many stores have listened, bringing us foods with better ingredients. One name that meets our family’s seal of approval is Michael Angelo’s. This week, it was Michael Angelo’s Family Size Lasagna with Meat Sauce and Eggplant Parmesan.
Why do we bypass all the other frozen options, yet say “Yes!” to Michael Angelo’s? That’s easy – Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods is a family-owned and operated business with a passion for preparing quality meals for your family. CEO Michael Angelo Renna and his mother Sara have been cooking Italian food the right way for years, bringing that traditional Italian flair to a wide variety of single-serve meals and family size entrees found right in the freezer section.
Creamy cheeses, lots of herbs, chunky sauce…Michael Angelo’s has it all. All except artificial ingredients, that is. Their products are always free of additives found in other frozen and prepared foods. There are NO preservatives, and you’ll recognize every ingredient on the side panel. The meals are prepared fresh, flash frozen, and delivered directly to your grocer’s freezer. And you can tell.
We pair ours with a Super Kale Salad from the deli (or make our own) to round out the meal and everyone–including the kids–is happy to sit and eat. And I’m happy to save at least 30 minutes that I can devote to something else while dinner bakes in the oven.
Michael Angelo’s meals include real ingredients, no preservatives and nothing artificial. You’ve got bigger meals to plan during the holiday season (Thanksgiving is up next!) so why not leave the weeknight stuff to Michael Angelo’s?
Here are a few more ways we’re saving time and getting things done the easy way this season…
Shop online. Ah, the beauty of the internet. Sure, it can be annoying (*cough*starbuckscup*cough*) but it can also be a lifesaver. Create that Amazon wishlist, watch those prices and deals, then do your shopping at your leisure in your jammies and big socks. Time saved: getting ready, drive time, waiting in line.
Make a meal plan. Planning is an obvious way to get ahead. When it comes to meals, you’ll gain time and, most likely, save money. You can bet you’ll make better choices, too, when you’re thinking and planning instead of wondering which drive-thru to hit because you are simply out of ideas. Plan out at least 2 weeks at a time, then put that menu in a place where you’ll see it every day. (For real, I forget things a lot.) Once you get some practice, implement the “cook once, eat twice” idea. Today’s roast chicken is tomorrow’s chicken salad. Time saved: staring in fridge, walking away from fridge, staring in fridge again as if something has changed…
Get it delivered. No, not pizza. Get your groceries delivered! Grocery delivery services are popping up all over, and they’re doing it right. Most guarantee your satisfaction with every item, and just think of the money you’ll save without all those impulse buys! Just create your order online, then drive up, pick up, and pay. Time saved: drive time, checkout lane boredom, wandering aimlessly through aisles.
Be OK with saying NO. No matter how much fun an event will be or how much you feel like you “should” go, overcommitment is never a good answer. If you’re spent, you won’t enjoy the time anyway, so choose your “yes” events carefully. You’ll have a better time and won’t end up resenting the commitment or regretting it later when you’re exhausted or behind on other things you need to do. Time saved: social anxiety, bad small talk, possible hangover recovery.
Say yes to a little help. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Line up those good choices, and rely on them when you need to. After all, as Michael likes to say, “If you can’t find it in Mom’s kitchen, you won’t find it in our food.”
As an Italian girl with an Italian mom, I can totally feel good about that!
Look for these varieties in your local grocery store, natural food store or warehouse club store. (Find a store near you.)
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Sausage and Meatballs
- Lasagna with Meat Sauce
- Chicken Piccata
- Vegetable Lasagna
- Shrimp Scampi
Do you find yourself short on time during the holidays? How do you make it all work without losing your cool?