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When youve done your planning and shopping, look for dishes that can go from one night to another without too much trouble, Daley told Education World. "I always try to think of how a dish can double up," he said. "I also look for variety, especially since I hate leftovers. To eat Monday's dinner again on Tuesday drives me crazy. I have to come up with something different and fun."

Monday's steamed rice side dish, for example, can become the basis for Wednesday's fried rice main dish, Daley noted. Monday's roast chicken, served whole, can be chopped up and tossed into Wednesday's rice or used as Thursday's tortilla filling -- "using Tuesday's tomato sauce, of course."

Picking up an entre at the store and building a meal around it is another time-saver. "Many supermarkets offer products that have been pre-peeled, pre-sliced, even pre-cooked so you can just throw them into a recipe," noted Daley. "A rotisserie chicken is a godsend for many people -- you can serve it as-is, or dice, cube, or slice the meat for other dishes."

A vegetable variety can add a tasty touch to the meal. "There are lots of delicious frozen vegetables available that come with sauces or seasonings already in the bag. They are easy to prepare and very healthy," Jegtvig added.

Cooking large quantities in advance and freezing some of it also is a valuable time-saver. "Crockpots are great," Jegtvig said. "Cut up some pieces of meat or chicken, add some vegetables and broth and set the heat to low. You will come home to a delicious stew that only needs an easy salad and maybe some whole grain bread for a complete meal."

Rotondi said she sometimes tries to make a vat of something on Sunday -- soup, stew, or pot roast. "Something you get sick of by Thursday, or that can be frozen," she said.

Quiches are another meal that can be made in advance using pre-made pie crusts. They require four eggs and whatever else you want to add, Rotondi added. And for those concerned about their egg consumption, if you eat a quarter of a quiche, youre only eating one egg," she said.

Or spend some time on the weekends making your own frozen dinners. "If your weeknights are incredibly busy, take some time on the weekend to prepare some healthy meals," advised Jegtvig. "Portion out the meals and freeze them. At dinner time, just heat them in the oven or microwave."

Keeping variety in meals when everyone is so busy always is a struggle, Rotondi noted. One way to liven up a meal is with an unusual dessert. "We enjoy buying interesting produce," Rotondi said, referring to herself and her 12-year-old daughter. "Try serving a novel fruit for dessert if you are serving something for dinner that appeared earlier in the week."

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