Easy Meal Ideas for The New Year

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And just like that, we’ve sailed past Christmas and are rushing towards the New Year faster than you can say how-on-earth-did-that-year-go-by-so-fast?

I’ve loved starting a new year ever since I was a little girl. It’s always felt like a brand new journal with nothing written in it yet. A fresh start, a chance to hit the “reset” button on life and make beautiful entries.

With 2017 I have several things I want to keep working towards just like always. A big thing that I’m going to re-focus on is being intentional. That’s a huge buzzword these days, though, and it can be easy to say “I want to be intentional” without having any real plan of how to make that happen. So this week as I prepare to jump back into “real life” again next week I’m stopping to set up some plans to help me succeed.

The biggest areas I want to be more intentional about are using my time more efficiently, and keeping my energy and health at the best they can possibly be. Every year after the crazy holiday scramble that started back in October I find that my over-run schedule leads to one too many burnt out mindless scrollings of my Facebook feed, and my overtired stress hunger lead to one too many Christmas cookies. I’m happy to give myself leeway, of course, because life is life and celebrations are wonderful. Come December 26th, though, I’m ready to start making healthier choices and trade my mindless scrolling and snacking for timers, planners, and re-picking up my usual good habits.


The best thing to do when you decide to be intentional is to set yourself up for success and leave no room for excuses. This means passing out the last of the goodies, and stocking up your fridge, and especially your freezer, with better choices for quick meals made at home, especially for meals like lunch. Recently hubby and I went to Target (kid free, so fun! I picked up a coffee there and it was like a date!!) and after we got way too distracted by all their fabulous home decor options we headed over to stock up on LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Options because Target has a *fantastic* selection of them! You’re not going to want to miss out because Target will have their lowest prices of the season for all Lean Cuisine entrees at $1.99 (normally $3.00). Get in-store and stock up for the new year and winter season from 1/1 – 1/31!


I actually fell in love with LEAN CUISINE®  almost exactly a year ago. I was actually the Campaign Leader for the LEAN CUISINE® Campaign. I hadn’t ever tried them before that (crazy, I know!) but to that point I’d been pretty much just stuck with leftovers for lunches, which I was getting very tired of. I had tried different brands of frozen meal options before and had always been left less than impressed.

It didn’t take me long before I decided I had to try out LEAN CUISINE® though. All the blogger’s photos were absolutely delicious looking–I felt like I was looking at food they made from scratch, plus it had to taste good if they all raved about how they ate it every day. Then, when I kept reading about the options LEAN CUISINE® offered and how many of them were non-GMO, gluten-free, high in protein, and with organic ingredients, I thought they were worth checking out.

What really hooked me once I tried them, though, is that they were SOOOO tasty! I loved that I could pick one out, pop it in the microwave, and have an absolutely filling and delicious lunch ready in minutes. This is so perfect for me especially now that the kids are in school and I’m working every day from home. I just pop one in and then stop to enjoy a quick lunch break when it’s ready.


With choices like LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Vermont White Cheddar Mac & Cheese , LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Spicy Penne Arrabbiata, and LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Sesame Chicken these meals are also a fabulous option for hectic nights when life gets in the way and I need something easy without resorting to ordering something in or reaching for something in a can filled with preservatives. Because let’s be honest, even in January life is still life and it’s bound to stay at its usual level of crazy, at least it always does for our family!

I love that I can whip up a deliciously easy side of Broiled Broccoli & Carrots, pop in the White Cheddar Mac & Cheese, eat a satisfying meal and then get on to family time or extra work or whatever life has for us that night! I make sure to keep our freezer stocked up with LEAN CUISINE® meals, and my fridge full of fresh produce and that way I never have an excuse not to be intentional about what I’m putting in my body.


If you’ve never tried carrots and broccoli together before you absolutely must! We first made this side to serve with fancy grilled meals, like steak and crab, but I loved it so much I adapted it so I can make it in the oven during the drizzling, cold winter months here in Texas. Here’s the super simple recipe!


Broiled Broccoli & Carrots


  • 1 Broccoli Crown
  • Bag of Baby Carrots
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you work from home you can do this a little before the dinner rush starts and everyone else arrives home or if you work outside of the home do this as soon as you walk in the door and by the time you’re settled in your oven will be good to go!


Pull off several of the bunches of the broccoli crown (you can chop it up if you’d like but I prefer just to pull it off so I’m not making a big mess, plus it’s just as easy). Place those along with a handful of baby carrots into a small oven safe dish. Drizzle with olive oil and put 1-3 tbsp of butter on top, divided.


Cover with tinfoil and Bake at 400 Degrees for 20 Minutes.

When the timer goes off put your LEAN CUISINE® meal of choice into the microwave and cook according to instructions. As I mentioned my personal favorite to serve up with this side is the Vermont White Cheddar Mac & Cheese. However, the LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Ravioli also tastes incredibly delicious with it as well!


While your meal is cooking switch the oven to Broil.


While your LEAN CUISINE® meal is cooling take the side out of the oven and allow to cool as well. The top should be a little blackened because of the broiling and both the broccoli & carrots should be fork tender. This makes for the perfect side!


Now that’s all that’s left to do is sit and enjoy your delicious meal and then get back to life!

What’s your favorite LEAN CUISINE® option? Leave a comment and let me know!


Don’t forget to pin this awesome side dish recipe!





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