Five Easy Meals for the Foster Parent On the Go

Five Easy Meals for the Foster Parent On the Go

As any foster parent can attest, there’s just not enough time in a day. Mornings go by in a flash. First you have to wake the troops up –which is no easy task—and then you have to get them ready for school and pack their lunches. After school, there’s soccer practices, dance lessons and doctor’s appointments, and the kids aren’t going to get there on their own. You wouldn’t change any of it for the world – being a foster parent is a calling and you love it – but dinner still needs to be made. Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here are five easy meals for the foster parent on the go.


Spaghetti and “Meat”Balls

A meatless meal with a healthy dose of protein and vegetable meatballs that taste like the real thing!
Serving Size: Two
Time: 25 minutes
• 1 package spaghetti
• 1 package NEAT Italian Style Meat Replacement (available online or at Wegmans)
• 1 egg
• 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1 jar spaghetti sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil water and prepare the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.

In a mixing bowl, combine the NEAT “meat” replacement, egg, water and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, mixing until well combined.

Have your foster child help you form the NEAT “meat” replacement into 8 balls and place on a well-greased baking sheet. Bake for 18 minutes, turning once halfway through.

Place the “meat”balls into a pot with the sauce and stir to cover the meatballs in sauce.

Pour sauce and “meat” balls into the drained cooked spaghetti and mix well.

Serve with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Credit to NEAT for the “Meat”balls recipe.

Five Easy Meals for the Foster Parent On the Go

Creamy Caprese Risotto

Creamy and delicious tomato-based risotto with all the flavors of a caprese salad.

Serving Size: Two

Time: 30 minutes

• 1 cup Arborio rice
• 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
• 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for garnish
• 1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• Handful of basil leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
• Handful halved cherry tomatoes, for garnish
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Dash of olive oil


Pour the vegetable stock into a saucepan and begin to head on low heat. You want the liquid to be warm – not boiling.

Add dash of olive oil and chopped garlic to a pan over medium heat. Stir until fragrant – only a minute or so. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the can of chopped tomatoes and the chopped basil leaves. Lower the heat to low and allow to bubble while you prepare the rice.

Add the butter to a large pan and allow to melt, then add the rice. Stir the butter and rice for a few minutes until the rice begins to “toast” slightly.

Add a half cup of the tomato mixture and a half cup of the warm stock to the pan with the rice. Stir constantly until the rice absorbs the liquid. It’s important to constantly stir – the stirring activates the starches in the rice which allows it to have its creamy consistency when done. This might be the perfect time to include your child in the cooking process – have him or her stir!

Continue adding the tomato mixture and stock until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid from both pans, still stirring constantly, until the rice has become thick and creamy. Add the mozzarella in small portions and stir until melted.

Serve immediately with additional mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and extra basil leaves, if desired.

Thank you to for this recipe!

Five Easy Meals for the Foster Parent On the Go

Cajun Shrimp and Rice

Delicious and healthy weeknight meal with all the flavors of the bayou!

Serving Size: Two
Time: 20 minutes
• 1-pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons McCormick Cajun seasoning
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped
• 1 tomato, chopped
• 1 cup white rice
• 1/4 cup water
• 1 teaspoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Prepare the white rice according to package directions. Leave on warm.

In a large skillet, add the butter, olive oil and garlic over medium high heat. Once butter is melted, stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the shrimp and Cajun seasoning. Cook for 2 minutes, or until shrimp begins to curl and change color.

Add the scallions and tomato and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.

Add the cooked rice and water and stir another 5 minutes.

Mix in the parsley and serve immediately, with Old Bay or lemon wedges.

Credit Food Network for this recipe

Five Easy Meals for the Foster Parent On the Go

Chicken Parmigiana

An Italian classic the whole family will love!
Serving Size: Two
Time: 1 hour
• 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved
• 1/2 cup Italian-style dry breadcrumbs
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 jar spaghetti sauce
• 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
• 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking sheet.

Dip chicken breast halves in the beaten eggs and then in the dry breadcrumbs to coat.

Place coated chicken onto baking sheet and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken’s internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.
Remove the chicken from the oven.

In a medium casserole dish, pour half the jar of spaghetti sauce and place the chicken on top. Cover the chicken with the rest of the sauce, the mozzarella, and the parmesan cheese.

Place casserole dish into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

Serve with extra grated parmesan.

Crock Pot BBQ Pork Sandwiches

This simple, budget-and-weeknight-friendly pork, slow-cooked for sandwiches will bring the flavors of southern barbecue to your kitchen!

Serving Size: Three to Five
Time: 7 hours
• 2 pounds pork tenderloin
• 1 can root beer
• Bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
• Kaiser rolls
Place the pork tenderloin and root beer into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or until the pork easily shreds with a fork.

Drain if extra liquid. Shred tenderloin with a fork and mix in as much barbecue sauce as you’d like.

Serve on Kaiser rolls and top with pickles or coleslaw for extra crunch!

Author: Lloyd Nelson, FAFS Digital Media Manager

Lloyd Nelson is the Digital Media Manager of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. He can be reached at

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