posted in Giveaways

Keeping Dinners Simple and Stress Free {$100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway}

Life can get crazy-busy in a home where the husband travels for work and the wife is trying to run a successful business out of the house, while raising a kid who is involved in every sport imaginable. Needless to say, dinners are very often rushed and on-the-go. Most nights, simple is the name of the game for dinner in our house. Generally I cook at home. We don’t do fast food or ready-made store-bought meals, so anything that can help make dinnertime quick and easy is a big bonus for me.

When my husband is traveling, I’m totally guilty of making a dinner for me and a separate dinner for my son. I’m perfectly happy having a large plate of sauteed veggies. I like some flavor with my veggies, so it’s a no-brainer to use LAND O LAKES® Butter with Canola Oil for my stir fry (moderation is key). The flavor of butter  comes through just perfectly in my bounty of vegetables, and it’s so easy to just scoop out what I need and pop the tub back into the fridge.

For my son I make his favorite: ravioli, again, scooping out a spoonful of the butter with canola oil and adding it to the pasta, where it melts in nothing flat. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to both of our dishes and we’re happy campers.

Another dinner that makes everyone happy and alleviates stress in our house is grilled cheese. Super soft spreadable butter is a must for making a successful grilled cheese, so here’s another occasion where LAND O LAKES® Butter with Canola Oil comes in very handy. Straight out of the refrigerator, it’s creamy enough to spread onto soft bread slices.

And it makes for a perfectly delicious and buttery grilled cheese sandwich (accompanied by tomato soup, of course).

There aren’t any artificial ingredients in this product — just sweet cream, canola oil and salt. So I can feel good about feeding it to my family. I use LAND O LAKES® Butter with Canola Oil in all kinds of dishes that might normally call for a combination of butter and oil anyway, like these Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots.

Peppery Grilled Garlic Bread (or any garlic bread, for that matter) is made easier by using this soft, spreadable butter.

And the butter works perfectly in the sauce of one of our favorite chicken dishes too: Cheddar Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Apple-Bacon Pan Sauce.

If you’d rather not place a branded tub of butter on your dinner table — maybe for a fancy occasion or perhaps because it’s just a personal choice — LAND O LAKES® Butter with Canola Oil is so creamy and soft that it’s easy to transfer to your own cute little dish.


We love it on warm Pumpkin Cornbread (a family favorite).

Because we lead such busy lives, the dinners where we can actually sit and eat together as a family are truly treasured. Our family does enjoy the flavor of butter in our food. And I enjoy the convenience and the real ingredients in LAND O LAKES® Butter with Canola Oil. It’s a product that makes my life just a little bit easier, since I can reach into my refrigerator and find an already creamy and soft product that is ready to spread. P.S. This is a product that has always been in my fridge — we’ve used tub butter for convenience for about as long as I can remember! And now for the giveaway!

For a chance to win one of two $100 Visa Gift Cards, leave a comment below sharing something you do in your kitchen to make dinnertime simple and stress-free.
This giveaway is now closed- the winner will be announced soon.  Thanks for entering! 

No duplicate comments.You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 3/4 – 3/17/13.

570 Responses to “Keeping Dinners Simple and Stress Free {$100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway}”

  1. postedMar 4, 2013 3:14 AM

    The best way to make dinners stress free for me is the crock pot, I call mine “my wife” because she has dinner ready for me as soon as I walk in the door, we all could use our own wife.

  2. postedMar 4, 2013 3:24 AM

    to make dinnertime simple and stress-free I have a well stocked panty and freezer…being prepared and having options is the name of the game!

  3. postedMar 4, 2013 3:29 AM

    I’m a PhD student and I often don’t have time or energy to cook dinner for me and my husband when I get home at night. I make one big meal (usually soup, but sometimes something else) on Sunday or find the time on Monday, and then we eat the leftovers all week – except for homemade pizza night on Wednesday 🙂

  4. postedMar 4, 2013 4:13 AM

    I make a point of making dinner as simple and stress-free as possible! I try to plan menus for the week, do my shopping accordingly (or plan meals using what I already have), and I often to all the prep work for the week at one time. So, if two different meals call for chopped onions, I do the chopping for BOTH at the same time (usually on Monday). I also use my crock pot at least once a week! So easy!!

  5. postedMar 4, 2013 4:15 AM

    I tweeted about this awesome giveaway!

  6. postedMar 4, 2013 4:19 AM

    Planning ahead helps a lot! If I have a general idea of the food plans for the week, it really makes each night less stressful.

  7. postedMar 4, 2013 4:24 AM

    I make dinner less stressful by planning in advance. There’s a menu on our fridge, so everyone knows what we’ll be having. I can shop and prep early, and the kids can’t complain they don’t like the meal because they had plenty of time to either get used to it or ask for changes!

  8. postedMar 4, 2013 4:28 AM

    To make dinner stress-free, I make a large thing of quinoa or couscous at the start of everyweek to have on hand for dinners.

  9. postedMar 4, 2013 4:29 AM

    i like to prechop some veggies on Sunday so i can quickly throw them into a dish during the week. I also like to make ahead and freeze a couple meals so I always have something on hand

  10. postedMar 4, 2013 4:30 AM
    Lee W

    I plan out recipes on Sunday night and go to the grocery then to have everything ready for the week!

  11. postedMar 4, 2013 4:31 AM

    Making some things ahead while the kids nap helps a ton

  12. postedMar 4, 2013 4:34 AM

    we have a pretty set-in-stone time for dinner, and since everyone knows it, they’re usually at the table when the food is hot and that’s always a huge relief to me. 🙂

  13. postedMar 4, 2013 4:41 AM

    Plan the menu ! If I know the kids have activities, I opt for an easier dinner option like breakfast for dinner or a crockpot meal.

  14. postedMar 4, 2013 4:48 AM
    Amy G. H.

    My husband travels a lot, so there are many weeks where I just cook for myself. I find cooking for 1 to be difficult, so I will usually make a large dish (like lasagna or eggplant parmesan) and eat that for dinner all week. The only caveat is that by Thursday or Friday, I start to get tired of it! 😉

  15. postedMar 4, 2013 4:57 AM

    Using my slow cooker is a must! And I try to put enough meat in it the first time so we can get two unique dinners out of one meal! I love Land O Lakes butter, I keep the tubs in my fridge too!!!

  16. postedMar 4, 2013 5:05 AM
    Wendy W.

    I’m an obsessive list-maker – I plan my menus out two weeks in advance and post it on the fridge, along with the printed recipes. When I take out the ingredients for the night’s meal, I take a quick look at the recipe for the next day so I can take the meat out of the freezer and double-check that I have all that I need on hand. It took me a long time to wise up … lol … but after running to the grocery store in the middle of making dinner about infinity times, I finally got my act together 🙂

  17. postedMar 4, 2013 5:06 AM

    I cook when I’m stressed, which usually leaves me with too much food for my family to eat. The answer: freezer. Whenever I have a hectic day, I can whip some of my already prepared meals that I have cooked in the past, and then frozen. Easy!

  18. postedMar 4, 2013 5:09 AM

    Planning our meals out 3 to 4 days in advance and sometimes being able to have the same meal (when I make extra) twice in one week.

  19. postedMar 4, 2013 5:15 AM

    I prep the ingredients I am going to use in a recipe the night before.

  20. postedMar 4, 2013 5:19 AM
    Jenna K.

    I bake double when making casseroles and put one in the freezer to break out on a busy night!

  21. postedMar 4, 2013 5:22 AM

    I like to menu plan. I don’t do it every week but I definitely see the difference when I do. Dinner time is so much easier when I plan ahead.

  22. postedMar 4, 2013 5:25 AM
    Cheryl in AL

    As I am shopping I make a list of the meals I have the ingredients for. I Post the list on the fridge where we can decide which one we want. It allows flexibility and speed.

  23. postedMar 4, 2013 5:35 AM

    I try to plan out our meals on Sunday so I know exactly what we are having for dinner throughout the week.

  24. postedMar 4, 2013 5:45 AM
    Joanie from CLBB

    I do a lot of washing and prechopping veggies for later use. Often premix flour and leaveners for baking a few days later. Wish I had more faith in the crockpot like many of your readers. We are not friends tho 🙁

  25. postedMar 4, 2013 6:00 AM
    Darla S.

    For me a well stocked fridge and pantry help me keep supper stress free. We also eat pretty simple and not a lot of fancy and complicated dishes.

  26. postedMar 4, 2013 6:02 AM

    Yesterday I baked a lasagna and I had my husband watch the kids because I can’t get anything done with them running around the kitchen. Most nights when I’m making dinner, my husband isn’t home yet. When he’s not home, I make sure the kids are occupied with a craft or watching a video so I can get the cooking done. That makes it stress free for me!

  27. postedMar 4, 2013 6:03 AM


  28. postedMar 4, 2013 6:03 AM

    I like to batch cook quinoa and rice to keep in the refrigerator all week. Makes it easy to put together quick lunches, and easy to throw together quick dinners. I also soak/cook huge batches of dried beans (garbonzo, black, red, pinto, navy, etc….) then freeze in portions similar to what would come in a can – helps to throw quick dishes together!

  29. postedMar 4, 2013 6:05 AM
    Cheryl R

    I prep veggies a couple times a week and keep a well stocked pantry.

  30. postedMar 4, 2013 6:22 AM
    Janice Cooper

    Plan my dinners for the week in advance. I even try to cook enough for leftovers the next day. Also if we have something simple and fun for dinner I use paper plates which helps cut down on clean-up.

  31. postedMar 4, 2013 6:23 AM
  32. postedMar 4, 2013 6:27 AM

    I try to prep the night before. That way I can just heat and eat:)

  33. postedMar 4, 2013 6:28 AM

    I usually do a lot of cooking on sunday so the rest of the week can be nice and easy!

  34. postedMar 4, 2013 6:33 AM

    Cook on Sunday and heat & eat during the week!

  35. postedMar 4, 2013 6:36 AM

    To make dinnertime simple and stress-free I try to as much of the menu planning and shopping on the weekend.

  36. postedMar 4, 2013 6:42 AM
    Erin K.

    To make things simple and stress free, we make as much as we can ahead of time. With 2 kids under 3, I do not have the time to spend an hour in the kitchen!

  37. postedMar 4, 2013 6:45 AM
    Lisa H

    To make dinnertime simple and stress free, my husband and I make a menu for the week before grocery shopping.

  38. postedMar 4, 2013 6:50 AM

    When I bring fresh vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower home I cut them up right away so they are ready to use.

  39. postedMar 4, 2013 6:56 AM

    Planning ahead is how I keep my meals stress free. I make sure that I have all the ingredients at home. I make sure that any meat or chicken is defrosted and ready to go.

  40. postedMar 4, 2013 7:02 AM

    Plan, plan, and more planning! I make my menu ahead, shop ahead, and try to prep as much as I can that morning or the night before. It’s a necessity to my sanity 🙂

  41. postedMar 4, 2013 7:09 AM

    I like to do meal prep on Sundays. Chopping, precooking, etc. The crockpot is awesome too, but I usually don’t have that much time in the morning.

  42. postedMar 4, 2013 7:12 AM
    Liza Glick

    I prep as much as possible on the weekend

  43. postedMar 4, 2013 7:14 AM
    Cheryl Newton

    Menu planning. It’s so nice not to hit 5 p.m. and start panicking about what to make for dinner.

  44. postedMar 4, 2013 7:16 AM

    I make dinner with a glass of wine and some pandora. Stress free.

  45. postedMar 4, 2013 7:21 AM
    Cheryl C

    Well my kids are grown and have busy schedules of their own but I prep ahead of time as much as possible and like to cook things on the weekend that I can pop in the microwave for lunch or dinner later in the week.

  46. postedMar 4, 2013 7:22 AM
    Laura in Texas

    I purchase a big 10-20lb bag of chicken thighs, legs or breasts (whatever looks good and is inexpensive). I make up several ziplock bags each with their own marinade and labeled. Then I put the amount of chicken in I need for my family, seal it, mix it and freeze it. On this crazy days, I pull a bag, put the frozen goodness in a dish and stick it in the oven to bake for about 1.5 hours (adjusting time for the different cuts). I usually seperate the pieces out after about 45-60 minutes so I don’t cook a gihugent meat piece. It is so easy I can have the kids do it if I need extra hands. The chicken is delicious and really stress free since the kitchen is mess free as well with the exception of the dinner plates. 🙂 Did I mention I’d love to win a gift card please?!

  47. postedMar 4, 2013 7:29 AM

    I try to do some prep work on the weekends (roast veggies, make sauces), so weeknight dinner assembly goes a lot faster.

  48. postedMar 4, 2013 7:32 AM
    Marnely Rodriguez

    We tend to pre-portion meats so we don’t have to defrost entire packages of protein since we are just two, makes for easier prep!

  49. postedMar 4, 2013 7:34 AM
    Amanda V

    To keep things stress-free, we plan our meals for the week on Sundays and get all the groceries. That way, we don’t have to worry about deciding what to eat when we get home from work, we just have to pull together the ingredients.

  50. postedMar 4, 2013 7:35 AM

    Planning out my menu ahead of time is a great help — I know what to buy and what I’m going to make each week!

  51. postedMar 4, 2013 7:38 AM
    Lisa Thomas

    I menu plan and use my crock pot a lot to keep dinner time as stress free as possible.

  52. postedMar 4, 2013 7:45 AM
    Kelli Farley

    I plan my meals out for the week so I know exactly what I need from the store and I don’t waste time after work trying to decide what to make.

  53. postedMar 4, 2013 7:45 AM

    I make food that will last multiple days. Yay for good leftovers!

  54. postedMar 4, 2013 7:47 AM

    To make dinners stress free, I try to prep my meals on Sunday. Chopping veggies, cooking rice, making sure I plan out my meals for the week. Grocery shopping alone takes so much time that I don’t have!

  55. postedMar 4, 2013 7:50 AM
  56. postedMar 4, 2013 7:51 AM

    I like to prep ahead- it’s easier to grab a cookie when you have nothing ready. But with some chopped veggies in the fridge, snacking is healthier and good for you meals come together quicker!

  57. postedMar 4, 2013 7:57 AM
    Mary O

    I love to plan my meals for the week on the weekend before. 🙂

  58. postedMar 4, 2013 8:06 AM
    Kim P

    Planning ahead – having everything you need for the week makes it easier.

  59. postedMar 4, 2013 8:10 AM

    Pasta is the easiest stress free dish in our house – all the kids love it and now Ronzoni makes a 3.5 minute one!

  60. postedMar 4, 2013 8:13 AM

    I just plan out meals for the week and make sure if I don’t have that much time that day, that I get as much prepped as I can

  61. postedMar 4, 2013 8:16 AM
    Denise M

    i use my crockpot as much as possible

  62. postedMar 4, 2013 8:20 AM
    Meredith Brooks

    To Make Dinner less-stressful I prep ahead of time. Like cutting veggies & getting things measured out.

  63. postedMar 4, 2013 8:26 AM
    Luba D.

    The best way to keep dinner (and everything else) stress free is to plan ahead. I like to think up some dinner ideas over the weekend or during my lunch break at work. This way you can also pick up any missing ingredients on your way home!

  64. postedMar 4, 2013 8:26 AM

    i always listen to music in the kitch. and i heart my crockpot! my whole family loves the land o’ lakes spreadable butter, too. ; )

  65. postedMar 4, 2013 8:27 AM

    I listen to music!

  66. postedMar 4, 2013 8:32 AM

    I try and plan my meals for the week and do some prep on sunday afternoon/night.

  67. postedMar 4, 2013 8:33 AM
    marie in Colorado

    Freezing meals ahead and using my crockpot!

  68. postedMar 4, 2013 8:40 AM
    Jess Z

    We have a weekly menu plan and will prep for them a couple of days in advance if possible. We make everything from organic ingredients, all from scratch, so if we need tortillas, rolls, or pasta on a busy day, we’ll make them a day or two in advance. We also keep things in the freezer that we prepared for the days that are just too hectic that we can just throw in the oven and bake.

  69. postedMar 4, 2013 8:52 AM

    I try to do all my chopping first so that I’m not letting something burn while I’m busy at the cutting board…definitely lowers the stress level a lot!

  70. postedMar 4, 2013 8:54 AM
    Linda K

    I use my Crock Pot a lot and I usually have pretty simple meals during the week and leave the more complicated meals for the weekend when I have more time to cook and clean.

  71. postedMar 4, 2013 9:11 AM

    Roasting my veggies w a little EVOO & seasonings while doing the rest of prep (lunch, washing dishes, searing/cooking meat) is super helpful for me.

  72. postedMar 4, 2013 9:12 AM
    Christina Cramer

    Weekend prep isn’t ALWAYS possible with time constraints, but when I can, ingredient prep on weekends is always helpful. Chopping veggies is a hassle when in a rush during the week!

  73. postedMar 4, 2013 9:15 AM
    Jen P

    I am a PhD student living a crazy life, so I find it hard sometimes to have the energy to cook, although I do love it. I try to do a weekly meal plan so I am not scrambling around trying to find something to cook at the last minute, and I do all my shopping once per week so I am not running back to the grocery store repeatedly. Also making it fun by cooking with my boyfriend and listening to music!

  74. postedMar 4, 2013 9:24 AM

    I assemble and prep my ingredients first to make sure I have everything ready to get the perfect timing down for the recipe. I also love to listen to music while makes it more relaxing and fun.

  75. postedMar 4, 2013 9:37 AM

    When I buy chicken I cut it in a few pieces, put in a freezer bags, add different marinade to each bag and freeze. Later during the week when I want to cook chicken I take out the chicken pieces in marinade from the freezer. They cook really quick which makes dinnertime less stressful

  76. postedMar 4, 2013 9:38 AM
  77. postedMar 4, 2013 9:40 AM

    When I am making a dish that requires me to chop up onions, carrots, celery or bell peppers I cut up more than I need and freeze the amount I don’t need for another time.

  78. postedMar 4, 2013 9:41 AM

    We plan out a menu for the week in advance. That way we can prep the food for the week and possibly make and freeze some meals in advance and then just cook them straight from the freezer. This helps to save time.

  79. postedMar 4, 2013 9:42 AM
    Linda K.

    Plan ahead as much as possible.

  80. postedMar 4, 2013 9:42 AM

    On Mondays I sit down and plan my meals for the week – that way I know what’s coming up and how much time I need to set aside to prepare it. Taking the guesswork out of what’s for dinner is such a relief!

  81. postedMar 4, 2013 9:48 AM

    I love cooking up a bunch of hamburger or chicken and then putting it in small portions in the freezer for use in soups etc. Saves me so much time!

  82. postedMar 4, 2013 9:55 AM
    Bobbie Hayes

    Making dinner simple and stress free starts at the grocery store. I make sure that I have the complete ‘fixin’s’ for each meal and all of the standard pantry items. I make sure to move proteins from freezer to refrigerator the night before. If I use a recipe, I check the ingredients before I start. Even though I’m retired, I try for simple meals during the week and more complicated items on the weekend. (I also make some casseroles on the weekend for the coming week.)

  83. postedMar 4, 2013 10:05 AM

    I use my crockpot a lot and try to keep some nearly ready meals in the freezer.

  84. postedMar 4, 2013 10:06 AM

    On days when I’ll super busy in the afternoon/evening, I try to prep dinner ahead of time. My two year old loves to help me in the kitchen and she is generally much more genial in the morning, so it’s a win-win for both of us 🙂

  85. postedMar 4, 2013 10:22 AM
    Kim N.

    I will use the weekends to prep meals and also make meals to freeze and reheat on the weekdays!

  86. postedMar 4, 2013 10:27 AM

    making dinner simple and stress free- i am horrible at planning ahead so i always make sure that the cupboard is stocked with lots of canned goods and the freezer with frozen veggies. this way if i didnt have time to get to the store or run out of the fresh stuff i always have back up on hand 🙂

  87. postedMar 4, 2013 10:31 AM
    Sherri C

    I make out a menu for the week, each person has a favorite meal I make so everyone is happy 🙂

  88. postedMar 4, 2013 10:37 AM
    Ashley B.

    We make just one or two dinners each week that we eat for at least two nights–lots of crockpot shredded chicken to make enchiladas, tacos, mole, tostadas is cooked in our kitchen!

  89. postedMar 4, 2013 10:38 AM
    Amy L

    I make dinner stress free by cooking double batches and freezing enough for another meal. I do this with soups, casseroles, chili, meatloaf, meatballs, etc. It’s great to have the frozen meals on hand for busy days.

  90. postedMar 4, 2013 10:40 AM
  91. postedMar 4, 2013 10:49 AM

    I plan ahead-meal planning, prepping before dinner, etc.

  92. postedMar 4, 2013 11:12 AM
    Amanda L

    I do a lot of meal planning.. It makes dinner that much easier each night because you know what your are having.

  93. postedMar 4, 2013 11:19 AM

    I like to plan ahead and cut things up beforehand!

  94. postedMar 4, 2013 11:19 AM

    I’ll poach chicken breasts while I get ready in the morning – stick in the fridge – then shred w/BBQ sauce or throw in some pasta sauce for dinner when I get home!

  95. postedMar 4, 2013 11:19 AM

    I let my 7yo pull a chair and sit in the kitchen and we talk as I cook. beautiful time (mostly)!!!

  96. postedMar 4, 2013 11:21 AM

    Grocery shop for the entire week on Sunday!

  97. postedMar 4, 2013 11:33 AM

    I use the crock pot to cook meat during the day. When I get home from work, I throw veggies into the oven to roast. Twenty minutes later, we have a balanced meal I feel good about eating!

  98. postedMar 4, 2013 11:36 AM

    Me and my mom plan ahead!

  99. postedMar 4, 2013 11:39 AM

    I try to plan ahead like preparing things earlier in the day to just heat up, crockpot, planning menus, making sure I have lots of staples on hand, etc.

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