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Weeknight dinner ideas for working moms

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Get cookin', mama!

Hey mama, we know you’re busy! But that doesn’t mean you can’t feed your family a nutritious meal, even on weeknights.

woman preparing dinner in crockpot

Working moms are crazy busy, but your family still has to eat. Try these weeknight dinner ideas to put a delicious and nutritious meal in front of your family, without much hassle.

Freezer burritos

Freezer burritos are easy to make and don't take up too much room in your freezer. To put them together, lay out two or three packages of tortillas, and layer on shredded chicken and your favorite type of beans. Add rice to bulk them up, and then add any other toppings you like. We like corn, salsa and cheese, but just about anything works. Once you're done loading them up, fold each burrito and then wrap it in foil. Pull them out as you need them, and bake them in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes or pop them in the microwave for a couple of minutes.

Check out this Fill your freezer recipe — burritos >>

Serve them alone or with a Mexican-themed side dish, and provide sour cream and more cheese and salsa for toppings. You'll have a homemade dinner in about half an hour, and your family will love how great they taste. Do the assembling on the weekend, and put together different flavor combinations for each family member so you all have a dinner customized to your tastes.

Breakfast for dinner

Breakfast offers some of the tastiest dishes, but there's no rule that says you have to eat it in the morning. In fact, most families' busy schedules don't leave room for feasts at breakfast, so dinner may be your only chance to sample some of these great meals.

Try The best blueberry pancakes >>

Most breakfast casseroles require that they sit in the refrigerator overnight before you bake them. Use this to your advantage by getting up 30 minutes early and assembling the dish in the morning, then baking it when you get home from work.

Pancakes are also pretty quick to throw together, but you can make it even easier by making a huge batch on the weekend and freezing what you don't eat. A minute in the microwave is all you'll need to have hot and ready homemade pancakes. Spice things up by adding fresh fruit, chocolate chips, nuts or whatever else you have on hand to the batter. Add scrambled eggs and you have a breakfast that's perfect for a family dinner.

Get crockin'

If you're a busy working mom, your slow cooker should be your best friend. Just about any recipe you use already can be converted to work in the slow cooker. Throw it all together in the morning, and you'll have a hot meal ready for you when you get home.

Find out The safe way to use your slow cooker >>

For a basic slow cooker dish, start with any meat, and then add potatoes and whatever vegetables you have on hand. Add liquid, such as broth or water, and salt and pepper to taste. Add more spices if you like, or onion soup mix, ranch seasoning or taco seasoning. If you like, omit the potatoes and serve it over rice or pasta.

Once you get that down, start experimenting with different liquids (dressings, barbeque sauce and teriyaki sauce are fun to work with). You can also try adapting your favorite recipes to your slow cooker — just make sure there's enough liquid so it doesn't get dried out.

Cooking tip

When you cook large meals on the weekends, double your recipe and freeze half for a busy night.

More weeknight cooking tips from SheKnows

Make-ahead recipes for busy back-to-school schedules
Make-ahead meals
The benefits of crockpot cooking

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