Weeknight Meal Hacks for Busy Moms

“What’s for dinner?”

A recent (unscientific and conducted by yours truly) study shows that this question is dreaded by 99.9% of moms.

Whether you work out of the house, stay home, or somewhere in between, planning and preparing meals ahead of time can be a game-changer when it comes to owning the week ahead, #MomBoss style. However, if you’re like me, the idea of “meal planning” is daunting. Visions of mismatched Tupperware containers filled with equal portions of boring grilled chicken breast and a side of steamed veggies come to mind. Yuck! Not to mention, slaving over the stove all day Sunday was never my idea of a “day off.”

Alas, I knew I had to find a compromise– a way to balance preparation and my good ole’ hot mess mom ways. After consulting with several other highly reputable sources (i.e.– regular moms), I’ve devised this list of weeknight meal hacks to make your dinners easier while leaving your Sundays where they belong: on the couch.

Pin It to Win It

My “meal planning” secret is also one of my favorite social media outlets: Pinterest! Pinterest has always been a go-to for me when searching for basically everything– from new hair colors to nursery decor– so I decided to employ my favorite pinning portal to help devise my family’s weekly menu. 

Every Sunday, I hop on and seek out new recipes, or skim through my already organized boards (think “Instant Pot!” and “Dinner Tonight”) to find the perfect plan for the week. I commit to cooking two– yep, just two– recipes each week. That leaves room for leftovers and easier (read: pancakes) dinners, as well. 

Pro-Tip: When you’re bored, swap out your Instagram scrolling for some Pinterest planning. My typical searches include the words “healthy” or “simple.” Your Monday self will thank you.


After I curate my menu with Pinterest, I hop on InstaCart and plot out my grocery shopping for the week. That’s right, I use an app to grocery shop, and the food gets delivered right to my front door. Technology at its finest.

I place my order on Sunday, and schedule it to arrive early Monday. Talk about saving time and sanity– no more toddler tantrums at the deli counter. I plug in all of the ingredients from my recipes above, as well as all the staples our family needs for the week: milk, eggs, and heck, even diapers. Done and done.

Pro-Tip: Other grocery delivery sites/apps include Shipt and Peapod. Each offer different shopping options, store selections, and pricing models. I recommend trying out a couple and deciding which works best for your family’s lifestyle.

Instant Pot

Speaking of all-things-instant, have you hopped on the Instant Pot bandwagon yet? If not, I highly suggest it. One of my biggest gripes about cooking is ALL.OF.THE.DISHES (and pots, pans, utensils, etc.) that get dirty and need washing after the fact. Not to mention, many are too big for the dishwasher. Blasphemy!

I made these TASTY ribs in the IP!

With the Instant Pot, literally everything is cooked in the same pot! I wouldn’t necessarily call it “instant,” but it is pretty fast based on the pressure-cooking method. And did I mention, no dirty dishes?

Pot Roast…in an INSTANT (Pot)

Pro-Tip: The IP is different from the traditional crock pot you likely know and love. But, both are useful in their own way. I definitely recommend adding them both to your appliance library to save time on meal prep and cleanup.

Keep it Simple, Silly

Weeknights are no time to experiment with elaborate new processes and recipes with more than 10 ingredients. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Don’t overthink it, and don’t overdo it. Top tips for keeping it simple include:

  • Buy pre-cut veggies and fruits (think diced onions and pineapple slices). Trader Joes’s is my fave in this category!
  • One rotisserie chicken = a week’s worth of meals with minimal prep
  • Double the recipe, and freeze half. Instant leftovers!
  • Prep during nap time (IF you feel like it. If not, rest!).
  • Meal Kits like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh take the guesswork out of recipe planning and deliver ready-to-cook meals right to your door.

I’m far from Super Mom, but employing these hacks in the last couple of months has made me feel more productive and in-control of “what’s for dinner?” than ever before. Not to mention, I’m saving tons of money on last-minute Whole Foods runs for overpriced pre-made options. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, in moderation. I’m proud of my newfound kitchen skills and even, dare I say, enjoyment of cooking. Plus, my family is eating healthier on a weekly basis. Meal planning, you’re not that bad after all. 

Thoughts? Opinions? Something to add?
Share your mommy meal hacks below!

Previous articleLiving Life in the Sandwich Generation
Next articleCelebrate Mardi Gras Like a New Orleanian
Kelsey Hogan
Kelsey is a Royal Oak stay-at-home mama to son Reese (2.5). When she's not looking for new ways to burn off toddler energy, she's filling her own cup at The Dailey Method barre studio. Or, she's Up North. With a background in Marketing and PR, Kelsey is excited to re-enter the creative sphere as a contributor for Detroit Moms Blog. Kelsey is passionate about infertility/pregnancy loss and mental health awareness. She loves creating a Pinterest-worthy linen closet. And, she's often exploring Eastern and non-traditional approaches to healing. Follow along with her daily momming on Instagram @itskels_life.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.