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5 Quick & Easy Meals

We were so excited. Like, really excited. Maybe too excited, in fact. This is the week we’re going to eat healthy! we thought to ourselves. Said to ourselves. And, at least for the moment, actually believed! So, we sat down and made a grocery list. Fruit this. Vegetable that. Organic as far as the eye can see! We jumped in the car on a quest for health! We flashed our membership card to the Costco human-counter (click, click, click!) like it was the Gold-Plated Deluxe Premium Platinum Sapphire Ruby Card or something. That’s how proud we feel about our Costco card. We weaved that red handled cart in-and-out of overzealous free samplers (some who we saw go back twice!) and grabbed everything — okay, almost everything — that was green or lean. Bags of broccoli. Antibiotic-free chicken. Frozen mixed berries.  You name it, we bought it! And, friends, as the clerk scanned one item after the next, we felt proud, because we’d entered a new phase of our life, the one where we bought pure, fresh ingredients, cooked from scratch all three meals, and were like the people we’d seen in every Netflix documentary on healthy eating (click here to see our five favorite Netflix obsessions!).

And then we got home.

The next day, it was late in the afternoon. We’d been working since we woke up. And neither one of us had eaten. Anything. Unless you count coffee as breakfast, that is. We were just so busy running our business! Food wasn’t at the top of our to-do list. So, hangry and too tired and busy to prepare a real meal, we took a quick glance at all that healthy uncooked food that would take too long to prepare, and went. to. Chipotle.

That night, for dinner? We did it again. And the next day for lunch. And the next night for dinner. By the end of the week, that fresh produce? It was spoiled. That antibiotic-free meat, it wasn’t good anymore. Those grandiose plans, well, didn’t go as planned! So, what’d we do? The logical thing, of course! We went back to Cotsco and did it all again! THIS time will be different, we reasoned. Last week was a fluke! We won’t be as busy this week! Well, the next week came and went just like the one before. Fresh hopes and groceries spoiled… again. After a few weeks of this happening, spending money on groceries we didn’t eat and even more money on eating out to compensate, a friend said something that, to us, was a revelation, “You teach everyone else that time is money and, therefore, to outsource everything they can, so they can spend more time doing what they love with the people they love and less time doing things that aren’t those. “OUTSOURCE” YOUR COOKING! You shouldn’t cook anymore. At all. Just accept it. You’re never going to stop being busy! You need to let that idea go.” 

And the weight came off our shoulders. Just. Like. That.

And the weight came off our shoulders

We’d been putting so much pressure on ourselves to cook three meals per day, but, to be honest, that was totally unrealistic for us. Why? Simple! Amy doesn’t cook (see this post to understand why), so all the cooking was falling to Jordan. Problem: Jordan has just as much work to do in the business as Amy, so meals just weren’t getting cooked at all, and we are spending DOUBLE time on groceries we weren’t eating and eating out. What’s worse! We were also losing the drive time to and from Costco, the shopping time, the drive time to Chipotle, the ordering time, and the drive home! Not very efficient for two number-crunching time-savers who LOVE efficiency AND saving money! So, what’d we do? Well, we’re happy to report that we found a solution!
 Our friend recommend that we try eating only pre-made meals for one week. “Go back to Costco,” she said, “and choose things that are healthy, tasty, and you don’t have to prepare.” When we did the math, we realized that, if cooking from scratch in the least expensive and eating out is the most expensive, then pre-made meals were right in the middle, but since in our real life we were paying for the ingredients AND eating out, we might actually save A TON! And we did! Today, we want to share with you our favorite five quick and easy meals (that are pre-made!) from Costco that we’ve been loving recently that are no more than 5 minutes of prep, delicious, affordable, and have been saving us time AND money! For anyone else who’s been feeling guilty about not having it all together, either! Enjoy!

1. Kirkland Signature Soups

Costco’s pre-made homemade soups are in the refrigerated section near the fruit at our store, and for under $10 for a two-pack that serves 2-3 large portions each, it’s a steal at less than $2 per serving. Jordan sticks to chicken tortilla and minestrone because they’re low in fat and calories. Amy rocks out the broccoli cheese because she understands portion control. The tortilla soup pairs well with the Late July tortilla chips, too!

Prep Time: 2-5 minutes in the microwave. Boom!

2. Cracked Wheat Salad

This salad is made fresh at Costco every day and is in the refrigerated section as well. It’s got kale, red peppers, cranberries, cashews, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and more underneath a sweet chili ginger sauce. It’s also just under $10 per salad and you get two large portions or four side-salad portions — and it’s DELICIOUS! Get two because you’ll want more after you finish the first one! Hint: If you add chicken to the salad, it’s a meal on its own!

Prep Time: None. Just scoop and serve!

3. Chicken, Pita, and Hummus

Those three words make Jordan’s little Greek boy heart skip a beat! We got the inspiration for this one because Jordan’s favorite menu item at Pita Jungle (a local Mediterranean spot) is literally just that: hummus with shredded chicken on top served with pita bread on the side. We can make that at home! we realized. So we did, and it’s just as good. Here’s what to do! Buy the pita bread from Costco for a few bucks (it’s uh-mazing!), a rotisserie chicken for five bucks, and a container of either regular or roasted red pepper hummus for five bucks each. We get both because we like to mix it up! So, the total is less than twenty dollars. Simply cut up the chicken at the beginning of the week and leave it in the fridge. Then, when you’re hungry, put a few heaping spoonfuls of hummus onto a large plate, spread it out so it covers most of the plate, sprinkle chicken on top, drizzle a little olive oil over it, heat the pita bread in the oven for 2-3 minutes on 400 degrees, cut into small pieces and serve! Hint: If you like Kalamata olives, throw a few of those in with the hummus with some cucumbers and tomatoes! It just takes an extra minute!

Prep Time: 5 – 10 minutes total.

4. Butternut Squash Ravioli 

We haven’t eaten pasta at home in a LONG TIME, but we decided to give this a try and really liked it! Amy said, “It tastes like Thanksgiving!” For whatever that’s worth! It’s probably not enough to serve on its own, but with a pre-made side-salad or soup and some of that chicken sprinkled on top, you should be good to go! The best part? The ravioli only cooks for THREE MINUTES in boiling water!

Prep Time: As long as it takes you to boil water and dump pasta out of a bag!

5. Butternut Squash Risotto OR Vegetable Lasagna

Okay, this last one’s a tie and neither is from Costco! Both are from Trader Joe’s! Amy really, really, really likes the butternut squash risotto (with rotisserie chicken mixed in) because it’s literally a matter of heating it up for four minutes, stirring it, heating it for four more minutes, and eating it! Jordan likes the vegetable lasagna — even though it bakes for about an hour in the oven — because too much butternut squash is overkill for him! Amy says there is no such thing as too much butternut anything. Both are amazing dinner choices, though, and REALLY easy! The risotto is about two servings for five dollars and the lasagna is about the same. Again, it’s more expensive than making it yourself (still cheaper than going out!) but you don’t have to cook, you get something different, and you don’t have to go anywhere! All those reasons make it worth it for us!

Prep Time: About 10 minutes.

And that’s it! If you’re struggling with the same things we were struggling with, give yourself permission to try this for a week and see how it goes. It’s been a huge stress-reliever for us, and we’re finally eating most meals at home without having to think about it (really at all) until minutes before we want to eat. It’s seriously the entrepreneur’s/busy person’s dream! Let us know which ones you try and if you have any suggestions for us to try, let us know!

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  1. Vanessa Matthews

    September 30th, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    I cannot help but laugh at this post!!!! Not just because I’ve gone to chipotle with you guys but because We have done the same thing before! (Several times) Anytime I’m out of town or working late, Matthew eats Chipotle at Least once or sometimes twice a day! At least it’s pretty healthy! Right? So, it’s pointless to shop and buy a bunch of groceries and they go to waste. I hate wasting food.

    Do you have a My Fit Foods near you? It is Amazing!!!!! It was perfect for us because we were able to pick out whatever We were in the mood to eat (as you know, we have different favorites)! We were not wasting anymore food! We saved time on cooking and cleaning! The best part, it’s HEALTHY and delicious!! Win win!

  2. Amy & Jordan

    October 1st, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Haha! YES! We’re all in the same boat! We do have My Fit Foods we’ve just never tried it before (that I can remember) so now might be the time! Love you guys!

  3. Jenny McQueen

    October 5th, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Not to encourage your takeout habit…but if you love chipotle, order on their app, choose your pickup time, & skip waiting in line all together!

  4. Amy & Jordan

    October 6th, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    Haha! We’ve TOTALLY been meaning to try that! Sounds life changing 🙂

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We help people take great photos and build profitable businesses that change lives. We’re high school sweethearts, former elementary school teachers and professional photographers who believe education is serious business, but learning should be fun.


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