Busy? Here’s Some Quick Meal Ideas the Family Will Love

How-to-fix-real-fast-meals.Picture source:

Busy? Here’s Some Quick Meal Ideas the Family Will Love

Busy nights don’t need to mean grabbing fast food while on the go. While fast food is an option at times, it’s not the healthiest choice and should be done infrequently. For parents who are busy, finding the right meals to make is crucial. Meals need to taste amazing so everyone will enjoy them, but they need to be made in a hurry while the kids are saying they’re starving. Try out the following ideas to make busy nights a little bit easier and still have home-cooked meals.

Weekly Meal PlanUse a Meal Plan

Meal plans are perfect for fast meals. Everything is ready, the food just needs to be heated up, and there are tons of options to pick from. Purchasing ready-made meals is a great way to make sure everything is healthy and that there’s always something that can be made in a hurry. Meals can also be prepped ahead at home if there’s a day during the week that isn’t so busy.

Basic Chicken Stir FryStir Fry

Stir fry is a great option that allows for mixing it up a little bit. Stir fry generally comes together fast and can be a healthy meal option that everyone will love. Play around with the meat ingredients as well as the vegetables to create a new family favorite. With everyone’s input, the end result can be a stir fry that’s easy and fast to make, as well as delicious.

21 Sheet Pan MealsSheet Pan Recipes

Sheet pan recipes are perfect because they’re easy to prep, can be prepped ahead of time, and don’t make a huge mess. Everything is placed in a single pan together, then cooked in the oven. Plus, there are tons of options for sheet pan recipes, so it’s easy to try out something different and find a new family favorite. When prepping ahead, most meals can all be frozen together, so all that needs to be done is thaw and place it on the sheet before cooking. For some recipes, thawing may not even be needed.

Grilled Cheese SandwichGrilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is always a favorite. Turn it into a filling meal by serving it with a bowl of tomato soup for dipping. Tired of having the same grilled cheese all the time? Add meat to the sandwich or try different types of cheeses. Many different types of cheeses are perfect for grilled cheese and can change the flavor just enough to make it a great option for the whole family.

Chicken Rice with Parmesan CheeseChicken and Rice

Chicken and rice is another standby that’s the perfect option for busy parents. It’s easy to make, and a creamy chicken and rice meal is going to be a hit with everyone. Plus, it’s possible to make it all in one pot, so there’s not a lot of dishes to do once dinner is over.

Ready to leap into healthier eating? If you rely on fast food too often or you’re just tired of being tired at the end of the day, try out these ideas for fast meals the whole family will love. 
5 Secrets to Creating Beautiful Meals at Home
4 Phenomenal Tips for Eating Healthy When You’re Working From Home

Cranberry Orange Spiral Cookies

In preparation for Christmas every year I do a lot of baking,  I usually choose 6 recipes and over a 4 day period I would spread out the baking with all  the other tasks we all have during the holiday, but hey I have fun, enjoyed doing what I love and get to share the rewards with family and neighbors. But Cranberry Orange Spiral Cookies are ones that reminded me of my grandmothers baking. She was always patient and taught me how to bake yummy recipes.

One of my first tries at baking was a Apricot pie, what a disaster, I had to piece together the crust and not because of the recipe, back then grandma used “lard”, I think I was about 12 or 13, I just wasn’t patient to roll out the crust, but that’s how we learn. I remember it still tasted great, I’m a pie crust lover so it was ok. How about you?

Sugar cookies filled with fresh cranberries and orange peel
Original Recipe Beyond The Chicken Coop: Sugar cookies filled with fresh cranberries and orange peel

Cranberry Orange Spiral Cookies

Cook Time: 11 minutes

Yield: About 60 cookies

Serving Size: About 60 cookies

The cranberry filling takes on a hint of orange of course and tastes delicious Once you bake your cookies you can put in a tight container and freeze up to 6 weeks before thawing. You can also freeze the rolls to bake at a later time.

I baked my cookies on parchment paper, it is suggest that if using a greased dark pan, bake a shorter amount of time.

Store in an airtight container or Ziplock bags


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • If you like you can add about 2 tsp.orange zest
  • Filling:
  • 1 1/3 cup finely dried cranberries (Craisins)
  • 1 cup pecans (I used walnuts cause I had lots)
  • 1 cup orange marmalade This eliminated the use of a thickener, gave it a good flavor and added sugar


  1. Cookies:
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside. Note: I use a ziplock bag, mix it up and pout it out.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes (mixer at medium speed). Add eggs and beat well. On low speed or with wooden spoon, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just blended. I used my Kitchenaid Mixer for my mixing.
  4. Shape the dough into 2 pieces and place in fridge to chill for an hour.
  5. Unwrap chilled dough and place on parchment, roll into a 12×9 inch rectangle of uniform thickness. Spread half the filling (date or cranberry) over the entire surface of the dough.
  6. Using the paper to help you, roll the dough from the long edge into a log. Wrap the dough and chill again for several hours, or overnight. And this is what I did for later baking.
  7. Filling:
  8. In a food processor, combine the cranberries, pecans (or nuts of choice) and orange marmalade until well blended. Spread half the filling (date or cranberry) over the entire surface of the dough to within ½ inch of edges.
  9. Baking:
  10. Preheat oven to 375° F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the chilled dough log and using a sharp knife, cut into ¼ inch slices, thicker if you like. Place on prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
  11. Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven for 8 to 11 minutes or until edges start to turn lightly golden (mine were 9 minutes). To stop baking, immediately slide parchment paper onto a cooling rack. Its best if you cool the cookies for a few minutes before removing from the parchment and placing directly on cooling rack.


When preheating oven allow it to turn on twice to ensure proper baking temperature.


 Spiral-Sliced-Cranberry-Orange-Cookies.This is one of the recipes, Cranberry Orange Spiral Cookies and much like my grandmother made when I was a child, except she used a date filling. And this was my first attempt at a filled cookie, so it brought back many memories, which seemed that this year those would come flooding back, for some reason more than years past.

So now I share with your these yummy moist cookies that could be made anytime of year but seemed most appropriate for Christmas and because they just get better each day as the filling helps keep the cookie moist. I found the recipe idea while perusing on Pinterest, (hum I like that word) and it is actually adapted from “King Arthur’s” Website as this was the brand of flour I am using. And on their site there is a recipe for the date filling if you would like to see Pinwheel Cookies with Dates and their Cranberry Cousins
For my other great recipes check these for holiday baking:
Cranberry and Pistachio Bars-Copy Cat Starbucks
Cherry Slice Bars Recipe

Cranberry and Pistachio Bars-Copy Cat Starbucks


I was browsing on Instagram and found this recipe for Cranberry Pistachio Bliss Bars which they say is similar to a Starbucks bar that is served. I had to make these since I love cranberries and always have tons on hand.

They are easy to make, I used my Kitchenmaid mixer with the paddle to cream the sugar and butter, then added the ingredients in the order given. These bars are a tiny bit salty-sweet depending on how many pistachios you use when garnishing the tops.

When it says chopped cranberries, I chopped them fine as when you go to cut through the bars large pieces hamper a clean cut.

For the icing and since I don’t like a super thick layer, I only made 1/2 the recipe for the icing, but you feel free to spread it on thick.

I love the addition of the pistachios, they give a different consistency and just the right texture flavor. I don’t think I have ever baked with them. 

Tip: Before you make these be sure to line a 13×9 pan with foil or parchment leaving an overhang to lift out once bars are cool.

Cranberry Pistachio Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Let the white chocolate set and cut into bars.


  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 (8- ounce) block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Optional Toppings
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • chopped dried cranberries for garnish
  • chopped pistachios for garnish
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper or foil and coat with nonstick spray. Set aside.


  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add in the eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt and mix for another minute until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  2. Turn mixer to low and add in the flour and mix until just combined. Stir in the cranberries, pistachios, and white chips until evenly incorporated.
  3. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the center is just set. Don’t over-bake. I did and didnt pay attention to these instructions.
  4. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan before frosting.
  5. Frosting
  6. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth. Spread evenly on the bars.
  7. Sprinkle with extra dried cranberries and pistachios if desired and drizzle with melted white chocolate.


You could cut these anyway you like, squares, triangles or bars large or small depending on how many you want and the look.


Because you leave these bars in the pan to cool, they keep baking and I did and didn’t pay attention to these instructions on baking time, though they needed more time. I used a toothpick to check to make sure centers where a little on the dry side, wrong, should have taken them out when they were a little bit wet.

I found the original recipe on “Cookies and Cups” and she has much better pictures than I do.  Don’t you love trying new recipes?

Did you make this recipe? Tag me on @ohmyheartsiegirl on Instagram hashtag @ohmyheartsiegirl and #cranberryblissbars 

Have you checked out my other favorite recipes for the Holidays?
Vintage Cherry Slice Bars Recipe
Peek-a-Boo Cookies

Cherry Slice Bars Recipe

My Traditional Family Cherry Slice Bar ~ I found this recipe in a newspaper over 43 years ago and have baked it every year since mostly for the Holidays Thanksgiving and Christmas, unless its a very special occasion and sometimes that means family get together and BBQ’s!! And the neighbors love them!! You can make this several days before, cut ice and stack on parchment paper, store in fridge until ready to serve.

TIP:  I use an extra long piece foil to cover a 13×9 pan, turn pan upside down lay foil over bottom to form another pan, (dull side up) then insert this into the baking pan. You could also use parchment paper in the same way. This will act like a liner so when the bars are completely cooled you can lift the bars out of the pan, peel edges away from sides ( before icing ).   I use a long knife to cut into squares, then drizzle icing. This gives the bars an individual appearance and prettier for display! 

Family Favorite Pan Cherry Slice Recipe


  • Cookie Crust:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cube butter or 1/4 cup cup butter
  • 2 Tbsp powder sugar
  • Mix ingredients until crumbly, press in 9x13 pan Bake ONLY 12 minutes 375
  • 2nd Layer
  • In small bowl mix ingredients well
  • 1 cup sliced maraschino cherries (reserve juice from cherries for icing)
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of sale
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (your choice) walnuts, pecans, etc
  • Remove from pan with tip from above before icing. Pull down edges of foil from sides
  • Icing:
  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. milk
  • 3/4 tsp. reserved cherry juice
  • Mix together milk, ½ teaspoon almond extract and powdered sugar.
  • Whisk together until there are no more lumps and drizzle over cooled bars.
  • Cut into 1 ½ inch squares and serve.


  1. Mix together and spread over crust, bake 25 minutes or until
  2. toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool

And  now I would like to invite you to share
all the sweet treats you make for the Holidays.

Add your recipes and then visit to share others
Wishing you all Happy Holidays!!

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If you have Linky Recipe Exchanges for others to share, be sure to let me know below in “comments” and I will add them to this post as each comes in.

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