The kids are back in school. Hooray!!! But not so fast. While there are many good things about school starting back ( No worrying about babysitters, we get back to a routine, and early bedtimes ), there are also some negatives. The primary one for our family being that weeknights become hectic. By the time we all get home it’s a rat race to do homework, and prepare dinner, and get everyone bathed, fix lunches for the next day, and lay clothes out. Thankfully my wife is a super woman because she can multi task like no one I’ve ever seen.
But here’s the problem. I go into work early and my wife takes the kids to school. Then I get off early and pick them up while my wife works later. I then get home and we start our routine while I start dinner. This works great but I’m always looking for a way to make dinner easier. This leads me to the point of this post. I’ve come up with 3 steps to effortless school night meals.
Step 1: Pick up a Effortless Meal From Walmart
My family and I were at Walmart this weekend and I noticed the Coca-Cola Effortless meals. This caught my eye because I was thinking about school nights and looking for something easy and quick to fix for dinner. You can pick up a complete Marketside rotisserie chicken bundle which includes the rotisserie chicken, a side of your choice (potato salad, cole slaw, or macaroni salad), and a 2 liter Coca-Cola product. Just like that…you’ve got everything you need for a great family dinner.
But I was looking for something different. That’s when I spotted the Marketside Pizzas. The Marketside Pizza Meal bundle includes a 16″ Pizza and a 2 liter Coca-Cola product. I grabbed a 16″ Five Cheese Marketside pizza along with a 2 liter of Coke Zero and headed down the aisles to pick up my toppings.
You see, my family is all over the place with what we like on pizza. I love onions and bacon, my sons usually only eat cheese, my daughter likes pepperoni and bacon, and my wife will eat anything as long as it doesn’t have onions, peppers, or mushrooms on it. To combat this, I had a brilliant idea. I picked up the five cheese Marketside pizza, a pack of turkey pepperoni, some diced onions, and a pack of cooked sausage and bacon crumbles.
I was in the store a total of 15 minutes and I had a complete meal for my family. I’d say that counts as a win.
Step 2: Let Everyone Put Their Favorite Toppings On
Next, we get to the first school night after the weekend. Everyone is tired and the kids are doing homework. My wife isn’t home yet and I want to have dinner ready when she gets home. The boys are complaining that they are hungry and are starting to look at me like I’m a rack of lamb…I’m a little worried. I decided it was time to cook the Marketside Pizza we bought at Walmart.
I laid the pizza out and set the toppings up beside it. At this point it was just a matter of everyone picking the toppings they wanted and placing them on the pizza. The boys liked doing this, they love to help out in the kitchen and they enjoyed topping it. I even let my 6 year old top my portion since all he eats is cheese and was feeling left out. This step took maybe 5 minutes and that included my son and daughter arguing over who had a bigger area topped. At this point the kids were salivating…I was hoping this didn’t take 30 minutes to cook.
Step 3: Bake The Perfect Pizza
I’m not bragging…but I knocked this one out of the park. I worked my way through college working in a pizza joint so I know good pizza….and this one turned out perfectly. Here’s how I did it:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- Place the pizza directly on the rack (this made me a little nervous…but I went with it)
- Bake for 8 minutes at 375 degrees
- Turn the oven on broil and cook for 2 minutes (watch it closely at this point)
- Fill your glasses with ice and pour your Coke Zero
- Slice your pizza, plate it, and enjoy!
We loved this pizza. My family eats a lot of pizza from a lot of different places and I think this was our favorite. But the important point here is that we had a meal on the table in 15 minutes on a school night. Even though we purchased this on the weekend you could easily stop by after work and grab either the Marketside pizza or the rotisserie chicken and a Coca-Cola.
Check out these other effortless meals inspirations and leave a comment below telling me how you would use Marketside products and Coca-Cola to make quick meals for your family.