As working moms with busy kids, we struggle to find meals that are quick and easy, throw in you want it to be healthy and something everyone eats and you’re asking for a lot. To be honest, we don’t really cook much and we do not have Instant Pots, so when all else fails, there is take out. But here are a few meals we got from Pinterest, cookbooks, and cooking blogs to come up with meals to fit our criteria and the bubbles we drink with them.
Hi, my name is Jen and I hate cooking. As in I do not enjoy it in any way. Maybe if I was just cooking for myself and had all the time in the world and a glass of wine in my hand I would like it but when nights are busy and I am tired and the kids are hungry cereal sounds like a great meal. My kids are super picky and of course like different things and I try very hard to not be a short order cook (heck I am barely a “cook”) so here are some tried and true common dinner staples that are not longer than 30 minutes. And don’t require complex recipe following!
- Fish, veggies and pasta: My kids loved the baked tilapia from Costco (all praise Costco!) and it is a great way for them to get introduced to seafood because it doesn’t have a “seafood” taste. I always pair it with a veggie (my daughter LOVES steamed broccoli, corn for my son) and then a light alfredo type pasta.
- Bubbles: Pinot Grigio
- Spaghetti with meat sauce: Again, thanks to Costco I always have ground beef or ground turkey on hand. I brown that up and add can pasta sauce to let it simmer. Then I cook up the noodles and usually garlic bread and veggie sides. While my kids eat it in different ways (one doesn’t want the sauce on top of the noodles…) they at least all agree it is yummy.
- Bubbles: Red Blend or Cab
- Taco night! I buy the little taco boat shells and all of the sudden my kids think dinner is fun. My daughter also is obsessed with guac and salsa (who could blame her) so I have that as fun toppings and sides and the kids can make their own.
- Bubbles: Margaritas or Prosecco
- Breakfast for Dinner: There are two things that my husband is in charge of when it comes to cooking grill and breakfast. The kids love eating eggs, bacon, sausage and bagels. So when we are in a real hurry we scramble (pun intended, hehe) up some dinner.
- Bubbles: Mimosa’s
- Crockpot Meals: My favorites are chili and beef stew, they are super easy, just require me to dump a bunch of stuff in and turn on.
- Bubbles: Whatever you want, you aren’t cooking!!
My other secret, I don’t even have time to look on Pinterest for recipes. I head to one place: Mix and Match Mama’s website. I have one of her cookbooks and if you want no stress or effort, she does it all for you with weekly meal planning.
A few years ago we started to cook more and eat out less (can we stop for a minute and talk about how expensive eating out has become?). I have tried Blue Apron, Home Chef, and Hello Fresh – all had pros and cons, but they’re subscriptions and on the weeks that we were unable to use, I would forget to skip the week, so I was spending the money, and in the end cancelled.
Now, on the weekdays we cook Monday-Thursday, Friday’s are moms night off, which tends to be our pizza night. I too, am not a good cook by any means, but meal planning is one thing that I do and try to incorporate something new or different every once in a while.
- Skillet lasagna: this is my go-to meal since it’s quick, low mess, and we all enjoy it. I make a variation of this recipe from Damn Delicious and serve with salad and garlic bread.
- Bubbles: Meiomi Pinot Noir
- Italian Pork Chops: I LOVE one pan meals – easy clean up and boneless pork chops cook up quickly. Sear the pork chops, remove for a few minutes, add garlic, cherry tomatoes (canned work too), and some spices – oregano, basil, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook that for a few minutes, then add the chops back in along with fresh spinach and a splash of the white wine you’re drinking. Cook it all up until the spinach gets a little wilted, add a touch of fresh parmesan cheese and you’re done. Plate the spinach, add the pork chop, top with the tomato mixture, and garnish with Trader Joe’s balsamic glaze.
- Bubbles: Any white wine will do, but I prefer Pinot Grigio with pork chops
- Chicken Parm Meatballs: these are so easy and freeze well too, so I tend to have them on hand for easy nights. The recipe is from Dinner: A Love Story and once mixed up, take about 20 minutes to bake. I’ve served with a side of green veggies or pasta.
- Bubbles: Red Blend
- Pasta e Fagioli soup: this pasta and bean soup is a fall/winter favorite that can be made with or without meat. I like to cook this up on a Sunday, enjoy for leftovers, and freeze to have on hand.
- Bubbles: Cab or Merlot
- Teriyaki Chicken with Vegetables: sheet pan dinners are the rage right now – quick, easy, healthy, and almost no clean up – winning! I do make my own teriyaki glaze, but you can buy one to make this meal even easier. We use broccoli, carrots, edamame, and I’ll cook up some rice for this one. Pinterest has a lot of sheet pan ideas – I make one a week they’re that easy.
- Bubbles: Sauvignon Blanc
Happy Cooking, Eating, and Drinking!