Libby’s helps solve #DinnerDilemma for busy parents + Giveaway for Magic Bullet Set!

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libbys fruits and vegetables


Now that we are in the thick of back to school and all the sports and other activities beginning again for the year, schedules are quickly filling up fast for many parents, which makes it tough to get healthy, affordable meals ready for your family each night. In our house, we have 1 daughter in elementary school and another in Pre-K, yet I am amazed already at the busyness of our schedule with sports, church activities & keeping up with nightly homework. Add in to all of that the stress of getting a healthy meal on the table quickly when you arrive home in the late afternoon or early evening and it definitely creates dinner dilemmas.

Libby’s Fruits and Vegetables  realizes this is a very busy season for parents as they get back into the swing of things and adjust to new schedules, so they are sharing some quick solutions to similar dinner dilemmas that many parents face on a regular basis. They know that parents face issues with finding meals that are affordable and convenient, finding time in the day to create these meals and being able to work everything around your schedule.

Check out this infographic that Libby’s  created with  ideas in how to use canned fruits or veggies to create some shortcuts for your meals when you add them in to favorite recipes or use them to  get some exra veggies into meals for your picky eaters.

Libby's Infographic Starts with a Can

Libby’s sent me a few cans of their fruits and vegetables to challenge me to try to solve some dinner dilemmas that we face in our home. We do have some picky eaters, so we decided to try to get some extra veggies & fruit into their food as well as find ways to make mealtime less stressful with some shortcuts. I love to be able to use fresh fruits and vegetables when I can, especially as they are in season, but some nights are just so busy that you still want to provide nutrition for your kids, but don’t have time to find the best deals on produce for that week to save money and then chop everything up that afternoon or evening. That’s where you can use shortcuts like Libby’s canned vegetables & fruits to save some of that time as well as costs, if you need to keep your budget lower. If you watch the deals, you can often find canned veggies & fruit for $.50 or less a can with sales and/or coupons.

libby's fruit and vegetables

Here’s our menu for dinner last night:

We have had a super busy week with activities and getting used to our new schedule with our girls both in school, dr appts (my older daughter broke her finger a few wks ago) & just lots of driving. So, it was all about finding some shortcuts to help us get a healthy dinner on the table. Our girls also can be picky eaters, but I knew they love Mac ‘n Cheese, so I decided to add some veggies to the Mac ‘n Cheese in case I couldn’t get them to eat enough of their side veggie. For those tricky eaters, you have to find whatever will work to get those veggies in!

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Homemade Mac & Cheese with peas

 dinner with libby's shortcuts

5 Cup Fruit Salad

Easy 5 Cup Fruit Salad  Recipe – with  Fruit Cocktail – check out our recipe for a quick and easy fruit side dish for those busy nights when you need a fast side dish!

More Tips to Help with Dinner Dilemmas:

Meal Plan for the week – This is definitely the most important tip as having a meal plan will definitely help lower your stress level, even if you have a busy day.  The good news is that you know what you will be preparing, even if it will take time to prepare, at least you don’t have to take time searching for ideas. Pick the easy, quick meals for those late nights of soccer practice where you can throw it together within 20 minutes or less.

Put your slow cooker to use so you don’t have to work as hard – This is one of the best time-savers as you let the slow cooker do all the work for you! You can do your prep the night before chopping things up — or use shortcuts like I often do for slow cooker soup meals – use canned vegetables in place of fresh vegetables to save time & money so that you can literally dump the ingredients in and go that morning – you’ll come home to a delicious, nutritious meal!

Here are a few slow cooker recipes with minimal prep time:

*Mexican Tortilla Soup – this is not technically a slow cooker meal, but it could easily be made into a slow cooker soup.

*Winter Minestrone Soup – this is another soup that can be made as a slow cooker soup & has minimal prep

* Slow Cooker Teriyaki – you only need 3 ingredients for this quick & tasty slow cooker meal

*Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla soup – this is literally a dump & go recipe – you can even use frozen chicken. I use canned vegetables for this recipe to make it even faster.

*Slow Cooker Taco Bean Soup – cook up bulk ground beef on the weekend and freeze in 1 lb bags. Take out the night before to thaw & then you’re ready to go with this recipe to dump & go in the morning. Use those canned vegetables to make it even faster in the AM.

*Whole Chicken Slow Cooker recipe – this is a simple recipe with just a few ingredients for a very frugal meal using whole chicken

Libby’s Dinner Dilemmas Discussions – Week of Twitter Parties

Next week, September 16th – 20th, Libby’s Fruit & Vegetables will be featuring Twitter parties about the #DinnerDilemma that parents face during the busy school season and 5 bloggers will be sharing their tips throughout the week regarding ways to make healthy, affordable meals for their families, for whatever season you are in life. We’d love to hear all of your tips on how you create nutritious and affordable dinners for your family!

Each day at 12 pm pst/3 pm est, a different blogger will host a Twitter party with @LibbysTable to share tips on different topics on feeding your family healthy meals:  ways to save time, money and being better organized to make mealtimes smoother in your house.  We will be hosting one of those Twitter parties with @LibbysTable on Thursday September 19th at 12pm pst/3pm est. You can find the Twitter party by following this hashtag on Twitter: #dinnerdilemma

Here are the details on the week of Twitter parties:

Date & Time: Monday 9/16 – Friday 9/20

Where: #DinnerDilemma on Twitter

Who is hosting: @LibbysTable and different bloggers each day – we will host a party on Thurs 9/19

Why: Discuss dinner dilemmas people face & tips & tricks to save money, time, convenience and more!  We’d love to hear your best tips on how you

 Make sure to put this on your calendar so we can all learn from each other on how best to beat these dinner dilemmas we all face!

Giveaway – Magic Bullet 17 Piece Set (Valued at $49.99)

magic bullet giveaway item

Libby’s wants to help you solve your dinner dilemma’s and make busy nights much easier by offering an awesome giveaway for 1 lucky Thrifty NW Mom reader. 1 winner will receive a Magic Bullet 17 Piece Express Mixing Set, which is valued at $49.99.

Here’s more info about the Magic Bullet (from Amazon)::

The Magic Bullet replaces a food processor, blender, and coffee grinder, yet it occupies only the space of a coffee mug. It stays handy on your countertop for instant meals and snacks. There are no buttons to push. Just load the ingredients into the short cup, the tall cup or one of the four mugs. Twist on the cross or flat blade, place the bullet on the power base, and press down – in seconds, you’ll have chopped onions, minced garlic, grated cheese, spaghetti sauce, salsa, soup, chicken salad, smoothies, shakes and more. To heat or chill, simply place the magic bullet cup or mug in the microwave, refrigerator or freezer.

This giveaway will end on Tuesday September 17th at 9pm pst.

The winners will be drawn using “And the Winner Is” plugin and announced on the blog.  I will also email the winners. The winners will have 48 hours to contact me, otherwise a new winner will be drawn. US residents only & you must be 18 yrs or older to enter the giveaway. This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook in any way.

Here’s how to enter this giveaway::

1st Entry (required entry): Tell us  your best tip  for making dinner time easier during the busy week.

Extra Entries : (make sure these are all separate comments, with a comment for each entry)

2) Subscribe to the Thrifty NW Mom feed via a reader of your choice or email (must be verified)

3) Leave a comment here saying you “like” the Thrifty NW Mom Facebook page (on this post – not on Facebook! )


Disclosure:  Libby’s sponsored this post and I also received several cans of Libby’s products to review.  The Magic Bullet Set will be given to  a Thrifty NW Mom winner randomly chosen.  All opinions are 100% mine. See our disclosure policy  for more details.


  1. My best idea during the week to get dinner time easier is to plan ahead. I know, sometimes it’s really hard to do. I find its so much less stressful to plan the week ahead and even make dinners ahead of time and freeze them on the weekends.

  2. To make dinners a little easier for me on weekdays, I cut and prepare most of the meals on the weekend, For example, I can cut and store my vegetables (etc.) in the fridge for stir fry. Then I can pull them out, on Tuesday, and just have the actual cooking portion of the meal left (turn on the rice cooker, and stir fry the vegetables) – The prep was all done!

  3. I utilize my slow cooker for a lot of meals when I have an exceptional busy night. I will cut and prepare all the food the night before, and then in the morning take it out of the refrigerator to put it in to the crock pot. For example, on a night when the older kids have play rehearsal and younger kids have sports, and I don’t get home from picking everyone up until after 7:15, it is so nice to walk in to dinner already cooked on the counter top. My favorites are soup and stew recipes, and I will also use my timer function on my bread machine to have freshly-cooked bread ready at the same time as we get home. It’s a meal my whole family (four kids ages 4-18) can enjoy!

  4. I like to create foods/meals that can last for more than one night, and utilize my leftovers well. For instance, I can roast a large batch of chicken and vegetables in my crock pot for one dinner, and then the next night I will use the left over chicken to make a chicken chili/stew. Then the next night I will use the left over vegetables by adding salsa/seasoning, heating them up and and making veggie fajitas. If I can get a large batch of cooking done on the first night, then I can use left overs to create new (but quick, since the main portion is already cooked) meals.

  5. Plan and make meals ahead of time to save time and money. I sometimes make things that just need to beat heat up later.

  6. Make dinner at lunchtime or naptime or even in the morning (and put it in the fridge)–anytime other than right after school, so it’s easy to toss in the oven and eat it when it’s ready.

  7. I use a large grill pan that accommodates the whole meal, which makes cleanup a breeze, I put in the meat, sauce, and canned veges and I can make a complete meal in one pan!

  8. My best tip is to create an easy meal plan for the week and to have foods ready to prepare each night.

  9. I can’t stress enough how much planning ahead makes dinner SO much easier and less stressful! even if you plan it that morning! Add long add I know what I’ll be making, it makes my life so much easier!!

  10. Quick weekday dinners: make large amount of meat/protein fo Sunday dinner, then use for other dishes. For example, large pork loin in crockpot for dinner main dish, then shred and add sauce for pulled pork sandwiches, add to large skillet of fried rice (with plenty of peas and carrots), shred into burritoes, use in pork sukiyaki with simple chinese sauce and rice, etc.

  11. My best tip is to make a few meals at one time! Divide up servings and put them into the freezer for use at a later date! So when that busy .. crazy day.. happens, you’ll have already prepared a full meal! I call them ‘frozen dinners’ lol.. not like the ones you purchase at the store; but healthy home cooked and ready to eat at any time!

  12. Dinner planning is key for me to make weeknight dinners easier. Getting prep done ahead of time is also a huge timesaver at 5 pm when everyone is hungry! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  13. Doing the prep work for meals the morning of or night before. Also using a crockpot to have meal cook all day while away at work.

  14. I plan my meals ahead and go shopping one time for the week. Knowing what we’ll eat ahead of time takes stress out of the everyday decisions.

  15. What really helps me is having a meal plan for the week. That way I don’t have to spend any time thinking about what I will make that night, I know that I already have all the ingredients I need, and if needed, I will have already pulled out of the freezer anything I need defrosted the night before.

  16. I have a schedule, I make the same food schedule each week. So Monday nights are always the same, Tuesday nights are always the same, Wednesday nights… Always the same, etc. except Friday nights- I always make a new fun meal on Fridays, Saturday nights I take something out of the deep freezer that’s pre-made (I.e. lasagna, orange chicken from Costco, etc) Sunday I crock. It massively cuts down on the grocery bill too and takes the brain work out of what’s for dinner. It keeps me from over buying at the grocery store! Thrifty and easy!

  17. For me, the key to easy weeknight meals is planning for leftovers. For example, if I roast a whole chicken on Sunday, we can have a leftover chicken dinner on Monday, then on Tuesday, I might use what’s left of the chicken and vegetables to make a pot pie or quiche, which we eat again on Wednesday. By Thursday and Friday, it’s back to the drawing board, when quick meals are in order (grilled sandwiches, or pasta with sauce, etc.).

  18. I like to do extra chopping or cook extra side dishes over the weekend to make things easier on weeknights.

  19. My tip is to keep basic staple ingredients in your pantry. Nothing drags out dinner making like a surprise dash to the grocery store because you didn’t know you were out of milk.

  20. My best tip as a SAHD is to pre-plan your meals weekly. Take into account each days schedule in what you will be cooking. It really, really helps to have everything laid out in advance!

  21. My best tip for makiNg dinner time easier during the week is to plan a menu and follow it so I don’t make poor choices when I am hungry.

  22. I try to do as much Puerto work as I can while the kids are in school. I also plan my meals for the week around grocery deals – basically, we ear according to what’s on sale. I OK through the weekly deals and coupons and plan our meals for the week based on that.

  23. To make dinner easier I plan the weeks meal plan in advance. I also put my crockpot and leftovers to use.

  24. Best tip is to prep ahead of time. Cut veggies and marinate either on Sunday or the night before so when you get home you can throw it together faster.

  25. My best tip is to plan ahead and do as much preparation at the weekend as you can. I often make the mashed potato and rice for the week on a Sunday

  26. I spend time on the weekend planning and shopping for the dinner menus for the coming week. Saves me from several trips to the grocery store.

  27. I do lots of prep on weekends, but my husband now works until 8pm, so we don’t eat until late – gives me plenty of time to cook after I get home at 6:30.

  28. This sounds a bit too obvious…but, I’d say planning & preparing ahead as much as possible is helpful. The biggest problem we face is conflicting schedules :(
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  29. I like to keep things on hand in the pantry that can go together quickly in case I don’t have time to cook. I also freeze some things to be microwaved for an almost instant meal.

  30. I like to make sure meals are pre planned, and use either my crockpot or electric pressure cooker so I don’t have to fuss over it all!

  31. I’ve “liked” your facebook page for ages! Love how easy it makes to keep up with deals in the area!

  32. The one thing I do to make my weeknight dinners easier is to cook all my meats on sunday and vacuum seal it all for the week!

  33. To make dinner easier during the week, I plan out my menu. By doing so, I don’t have to think. I know exactly what I’m making and the ingredients involved.

  34. I like to make multiple ‘batches’ when I do cook in order to freeze and save 1/2 for another day.

  35. I try to plan out shopping for the meals I’ll make for the week so that I don’t have to worry about what should I make tonight…also on days I know I’ll be too busy to stand over the stove, I use the crockpot so that everything is set in the morning and by the time dinner time comes around everything is ready.

  36. I do all of my shopping and prepping for our meals during the week on Sunday, makes getting home from work at 6 and having dinner by 6:45 doable! I also find a ton of great crockpot recipes and pintrest.

  37. My best tip is meal planning. I like to create my meal plans on the weekends for my busy week. Even if the meal planning is just pulling my proteins out of the freezer into the fridge to defrost. It saves me a whole lotta time and scrambling.

  38. My best tip would be to double recipes when possible and freeze one meal for later. On busy nights it is easy to pull a frozen meal out for a quick warm up.

  39. My quick dinner tip is to plan a menu and prep for it. If you have all your bits pre-chopped the cooking goes much faster.

  40. The best tip I have and use to making dinner time easier during busy weekdays is knowing ahead of what to make. That is half the battle for me. Having chopped veggies on hand is always a plus

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