The few hours with the family after work and before bedtime are precious. With little time to catch up on the day’s events, review homework, play and relax, there’s no need to spend the majority of it in the kitchen preparing dinner. Try these tips and ideas for quick and simple suppers that will impress your most precious dinner guests.
Opt for one pot
One-pot recipes are easy to make and are often versatile, allowing you to switch up ingredients and work with what you’ve got on hand. This saves time and money spent making an extra trip to the supermarket. Prep your ingredients the night before after the kids have gone to bed and spend only moments assembling the next day. Favorite family one-pot meals include chili and chicken and noodles.
Reacquaint yourself with the casserole
Put together a casserole that will serve as the foundation for your child’s nostalgic years down the road. Comforting and full of family history, make a quick savory casserole for dinner. Recipes typically call for enough ingredients to fill a large pan, so you’ll likely have leftovers for lunch the next day. These dishes are also easy-travelers, which makes them perfect for pot-lucks and get-togethers with the grandparents.
Try a rice dish
Fried rice is a popular take-out item among many families, but it’s also a quick and easy dinner that you can prepare at home. Make it with frozen vegetables and leftover chicken for a fun meal that doesn’t allow any food in the fridge to go to waste. Chicken and rice can be cooked together in a variety of ways, so there’s plenty of room to experiment and discover what variation your family prefers.
Hamburgers made to order
What family doesn’t love hamburgers from the grill? Easy to prep, the best part about burgers is that you can often get dad to do the cooking. To spice up the average patty, try stuffing your burgers with cheese and other fixins, rather than spreading them on top. My family is a fan of turkey burgers stuffed with cheddar and hot peppers or spinach and feta. Make dinner together and have the kids assemble and stuff the patties. Serve with sweet potato or butternut squash fries for a meal that will make your kids happy without the free prize inside.
Change up the old standbys
When you just can’t eat another bowl of chili, try serving it over lettuce with sour cream and cheese for a quick and easy taco salad. Or if you have lots of marinara, but you are not in the mood to serve another bowl of pasta, try making pita pizzas. Never underestimate the power of a simple baked potato as a way to mix-up the usual dinner suspects. Let’s face it — potatoes taste good topped with almost anything.
Try these easy family recipes for your Monday through Friday meals:
- Pasta Fagiole is an easy and healthy one-pot supper. It cooks in less than 30 minutes. Serve with slices of crusty bread and a salad for a complete meal.
- Chili Chip Bake is one of my family’s favorite casseroles. It is the go-to dish when we are in need of a crowd pleaser.
- Chicken Fried Rice is an easy meal that can be made in minutes with leftover chicken and frozen vegetables. Making it at home is much more fun than ordering greasy take-out any day.
- Cheesy Stuffed Burgers are packed with cream cheese, feta, red peppers and caramelized red onions for a savory burger with a hint of sweetness.
- Sloppy Spuds are a cross between a sloppy joe and a loaded baked potato. Blow your family’s mind with this creative take on two usual meals.