Prior to becoming a mom, Thursday was my most favorite day of the week. With the craziness of Monday and Tuesday behind me, and the promise of a weekend filled with fun and sleep looming in the not-so-distant future, I was not only in a good mood, but also my most productive. I would spend the day digging myself out from under a pile of emails and paperwork, return phone calls, get in a good work out on my lunch break, and tie-up a bunch of loose ends, and then I’d apply a fresh coat of lipstick, slip on a pair of high-heeled pumps, spray my wrists with perfume, and meet my friends for dinner and drinks, not caring how late I got home or what time I rolled into the office the following morning.
It was glorious.
And while I would argue quite strongly that my life is much more meaningful and rich and full than it was all those years ago, it seems things have a tendency to fall apart once Thursday hits now that I’m a mom.
Take last week for example…
The vent on our above-range microwave fell onto my head while I was making my morning coffee, the mere thought of wearing shoes made my daughter have an EPIC meltdown (how dare I suggest such a thing?!), our car threatened to run out of gas on the drive to school, the pile of laundry in our walk-in closet became too big to ignore, the dust bunnies under our bed had begun multiplying, I failed to finish an important work project before school pick-up, and when I frantically raced into the kitchen at 5:30 pm to make dinner for my already starving family, I was greeted by an empty refrigerator.
Now, I realize that none of these things are a big deal in and of themselves, but when they all happen on the same day when you’re running on next-to-no sleep, it can feel like the entire world is against you. And even though I know I could have easily saved myself the hassle, ordered takeout, poured myself a beverage, and called it a night, I am determined to maintain my 2016 resolution to be a better version of myself.
And for me, a huge part of that goal involves enjoying a well-balanced, home-cooked meal with my family each night.
The only problem is, I don’t have hours upon hours to spend at the grocery store, but by keeping my pantry (or ‘cantry’, as I like to call it) fully stocked with nutritious, canned goods, I am never in a bind when our refrigerator runs out of food.
Did you know cans seal in nutrition, freshness, and flavor naturally? In fact, fresh fruits and vegetables are harvested at their peak of ripeness and canned within hours, making the can one of the best ways to lock in nutrients and get food from its source to your family table.
Canned foods can also be a hallmark of a healthy diet, and according to a recent survey, registered dieticians rate canned foods as important in helping both themselves (81%) and their clients (89%) to prepare nutritious, convenient and affordable home cooked meals.
And since canned produce is on par nutritionally with fresh and frozen varieties (and in some cases even better), today I’m teaming up with Cans Get You Cooking to share this simple tuna casserole recipe, which is my go-to meal on nights I want to serve something nutritious and filling to my family, but my refrigerator is bare.
What I love most about this recipe is that it’s ridiculously quick and easy to make, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all meal. You can easily substitute certain ingredients to appeal to different taste buds, add breadcrumbs and melted butter for a fabulous, crisp topping, and if you’re health-conscious like I am, you can use low-fat dairy options, or skip the cheese altogether.
- 2 cups pasta of choice
- 2 cans tuna (I prefer albacore packed in water)
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- ½ cup skim milk
- ¼ cup canned peas
- ¼ cup canned carrots
- ¼ cup canned mushrooms
- ¼ cup canned green beans
- Cheddar cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Cook pasta as per cooking instructions on package
- Combine pasta, tuna, soup, milk, and canned vegetables into a large bowl and mix together well
- Transfer mixture to an oven-safe casserole dish
- Baked uncovered for approximately 20 minutes
- Sprinkle with cheddar cheese before serving (optional)
Nearly half of moms (49%) are most likely to run out of food in their refrigerator on Thursdays (some even earlier!), and since cans seal in foods’ natural goodness and nutrition, keeping my ‘cantry’ stocked with my favorite foods has been a huge time-saver for me as a mom.
And I’m not alone.
66% of moms feel stressed if they have to make an extra trip to the grocery store to buy dinner ingredients they don’t have at home, and while 61% frequently resort to takeout or go out to eat because they don’t have the ingredients on-hand to make dinner, 95% are more likely to make home cooked meals if their pantry is well-stocked.
Don’t forget to visit the Cans Get Your Cooking website where they share delicious recipes, meal solutions, and nutrition and sustainability information. You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.
And remember: with a well-stocked ‘cantry’, a healthy, homemade meal is only minutes away, even on your busiest, craziest day!
I am part of the Cans Get You Cooking campaign with Mom It Forward Blogger Network and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
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