The Dinner Hustle

I LOVE to cook, and ideally I would cook all day Sunday sipping red wine listening to mellow music while prepping meals for the coming week.  Sounds dreamy but there is absolutely no time for that especially during baseball season. That leads me to using my resources so I’m ready to prepare quick healthy meals during the school / work week.  It’s all about being prepared to hustle so I thought I’d share my strategy for healthy family dinners.  

I have not always loved or even known how to cook for that matter.  Irish people are not typically the best chefs (with flavor or any seasoning anyway!).  There, I said it, sorry Mom!

Growing up I wasn’t taught or asked to help in the kitchen.  However, my best friend’s Mom, Shirley, and my mother-in-love, Kris, were always giving tips and sharing recipes.  As a young couple, we made it through a number of years ordering or going out to dinner but it got more difficult and expensive with kids.  Plus I found out that I needed to eat a healthier diet (low sodium / no preservatives) because I have Medullary Sponge Kidneys which leads to kidney stones and other complications.  I found this about ten years ago and have been meal planning, cooking and eating healthy (for the most part) ever since.  That is when I discovered The Six O’Clock Scramble.  LIFE CHANGING!  

This is an online subscription to weekly meal planning with quick yet diverse and delicious dinner options.  Every Wednesday you receive a weekly email with new recipes for the week. You are able to customize each menu to allow substitutes for allergies or other restrictions/preferences  as well as change the serving size from the standard family of four to my larger family of six. Most recipes are catered for a busy week so you can prep / cook in less than 30 minutes.   They also give suggestions on what you can do ahead of time so you are ready to roll when walking in from a long day of work. I often delegate these tasks to my older daughter or Mom who watches the kids after school.  Game changer! Check out the Scramble, I promise that you will LOVE it! Here is one of our favorite scramble recipes:

Tortellini with Broccoli and Pita Garlic Bread


Package of Cheese Tortellini

Head of Broccoli

½ Red Onion

1 Cup of Chicken Broth

Teaspoon of Minced Garlic

Tablespoon of Olive Oil

Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Garlic Powder


Boil tortellini.  Heat olive oil for a minute then add minced garlic and red onion.  Cook until red onion softens. Add broccoli and chicken broth. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat.  Let simmer for ten minutes then add pasta. Serve topped with shredded parmesan cheese and pepper.

Heat oven broiler.  Butter pita bread, sprinkle garlic powder and top with mozzarella cheese.  Broil for 2-3 minutes about six inches beneath the flame. My kids LOVE this alternative to store bought garlic bread.  It is so easy, delicious and so much healthier!

Don’t get me wrong we zoom through the drive thru regularly, order pizza every Friday and I love to dine out when exploring the city!  But the Scramble is my nucleolus. It saves time as well as money knowing the exact ingredients to buy and the recipes are so simple. There are often leftovers for lunch and it’s really expanded the foods my kids will eat.  They are not picky and will try anything!



Michelle Arnold