Sharing and Caring Week: Go-To Dinners

Today let's share go-to dinners. By that I mean something that never fails, that you and your kids and anyone else in your house will always eat, and that isn't a major production to make.

You can list things that you cook or buy or take out, or all three.

Please give recipes or somewhat detailed instructions for things you make, and be sure to explain anything that may be a regionalism or local name. (Remember that Ask Moxie readers live all over the world.)

I'll start:

The current go-to in our house is actually made by my children, and is chicken tenders, bistro fries, and a vegetable. Both my kids can make the chicken tenders: boneless skinless chicken (I'll cut it for my little one, but my big one can cut it into strips himself), one egg beaten with a little salt in a bowl, and a plate with Ritz crackers the kids crush into crumbs. Dip a chicken strip in the egg wash, then roll in the crumbs, and bake. The bistro fries are just washed potatoes cut into chunks and rolled in oil and salt and baked. My older son is learning knife skills and likes to make the bistro fries all by himself. I choose the vegetable and make it. (Start to finish: about 30 minutes if the potatoes are cut very chunky.)

Our old go-to take-out was bean burritos from Paquito's, the burrito place in my old neighborhood. I miss those burritos. Our new go-to is the brick oven pizza from the place below my building.

When it gets colder we may go back to one of our standbys, bi bim bap. NOTE: This is not an authentic Korean bi bim bap–it's just the recipe my kids have settled on. Cook white rice. While it's cooking, marinate chicken chunks (my kids like chicken better than beef) in soy sauce and sugar and garlic and toasted sesame oil. Beat together two eggs and fry in some oil into a thin pancake, then take out of the pan and roll on a cutting board and slice into strips. Julienne some carrots. Get some washed baby spinach out of a bag. Get out some mung bean sprouts from a bag. Fry the chicken until cooked. Put it all together: rice in each bowl, then chicken, egg, carrot, bean sprouts, and spinach. Everyone mixes it up together. My kids put more soy sauce on top. I put more sesame oil and plenty of hot Korean red bean paste. (Start to finish: about 22 minutes.)

Now you tell what works in your house, please!

150 thoughts on “Sharing and Caring Week: Go-To Dinners”

  1. Steamed sticky rice, with sauteed shitake mushrooms that are marinated for 15 min in a mixture of rice wine, soy sauce, garlic, and green onions, firm tofu sauteed in a little olive oil, with soy sauce as a dip, and crispy seaweed for wrapping up our rice. On your bibimbap, have you ever tried frying an egg until the white is set, but the yolk is runny, then putting that on top of everything? That’s how we eat it in our house, and the yolk helps get the thick red bean paste get mixed up well.

  2. Steamed sticky rice, with sauteed shitake mushrooms that are marinated for 15 min in a mixture of rice wine, soy sauce, garlic, and green onions, firm tofu sauteed in a little olive oil, with soy sauce as a dip, and crispy seaweed for wrapping up our rice. On your bibimbap, have you ever tried frying an egg until the white is set, but the yolk is runny, then putting that on top of everything? That’s how we eat it in our house, and the yolk helps get the thick red bean paste get mixed up well.

  3. I like fall because it’s so easy to whip up a good soup. We all love the red lentil soup on the back of Bob’s Redmill red lentil package:http://www.bobsredmill.com/red-lentils.htmlAlso, allrecipes.com has an awesome Italian sausage soup recipe that everyone loves: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Italian-Sausage-Soup/Detail.aspx very easy, very yummy.
    Often, I go to allrecipes.com and just search on ingredients that we have “in stock” to see if there is something quick—the user ratings are helpful.

  4. Right now, the only things that are sure to work for my 2.5 year old in a super picky stage are frozen chicken tenders, yogurt and Chef Boyardee cans. I’m not a big fan of those meals, but what can you do.Hmmm, it’s not completely true. She will also always eat pasta with tomato sauce, but it is not quick and easy to make. I don’t have a real recipe, but the key is to simmer the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, onions and italian spices for hours.
    I did learn how to make a really quick and delicious fruit pie from my MIL. I’ll have to look up the recipe to be sure I remember it correctly and post it later.

  5. Our go-to is bean burritos, made with whole wheat tortillas, beans (either vegetarian refried from a can or whole black beans that I cook in big batches and freeze in small portions), cut up tomatoes, cheddar cheese and (for the adults) hot sauce. Takes 10 min at most.We also do pizza takeout about once a week.

  6. Our dead-easy meals include:-Barilla tortellini (get the kind with spinach and it’s got a vegetable!). Our local grocers don’t sell them and I’ve actually resorted to buying them off Amazon by the case (decent price, too!)
    -Black bean quesadillas. Mash black beans in a pan (may add salsa, cumin, chili powder), use flour tortillas sauteed in butter with beans, grated cheese, diced tomato and avocado (but you could throw in whatever vegetable.)
    -Homemade pizza – we use the Boboli shells but I would really like to start making batches of dough and freezing it. If you live in an area with a lot of Italian-Americans your grocery may well have excellent pre-made dough in the refrigerator section (I miss CT.)
    I recently got a crock-pot and am making split pea soup today – hope it works with nobody there! I would love recs for crockpot recipes that are vegetarian or mostly so and don’t involve things from a can (if it’s already in a can, who would it need to be in a crock pot all day?)

  7. Our dead-easy meals include:-Barilla tortellini (get the kind with spinach and it’s got a vegetable!). Our local grocers don’t sell them and I’ve actually resorted to buying them off Amazon by the case (decent price, too!)
    -Black bean quesadillas. Mash black beans in a pan (may add salsa, cumin, chili powder), use flour tortillas sauteed in butter with beans, grated cheese, diced tomato and avocado (but you could throw in whatever vegetable.)
    -Homemade pizza – we use the Boboli shells but I would really like to start making batches of dough and freezing it. If you live in an area with a lot of Italian-Americans your grocery may well have excellent pre-made dough in the refrigerator section (I miss CT.)
    I recently got a crock-pot and am making split pea soup today – hope it works with nobody there! I would love recs for crockpot recipes that are vegetarian or mostly so and don’t involve things from a can (if it’s already in a can, who would it need to be in a crock pot all day?)

  8. Tacos, enchiladas, and the like are always big hits and super-simple to make, especially tacos — just brown some ground meat with some onions, bell peppers and appropriate seasonings, and slap on the table with taco shells, diced raw tomatoes, shredded lettuce, grated cheese and sour cream. My 5-y-o thinks it’s big fun to assemble her own taco, and the whole thing is appealingly messy 🙂

  9. Our son won’t eat meat. So his go-to meal is frozen ravioli (you boil water, then simmer the ravioli for 3 minutes – very, very quick) with butter and parmesan. I add fruit and cut-up tomatoes for vitamins. We’d love to find spinach ravioli, but no dice so far.For me and my husband, the quickie meal is Italian sausages and peppers. I brown the sausages whole in a frying pan, then cut them into slices (they’re still raw inside), then fry the slices for a couple of minutes. Then I toss in two bell peppers cut into strips and when the peppers are brown at the edges it’s done. It takes about 20 minutes. We use 2 large sausages total, for 2 people, but how much really depends on how big the sausages are.

  10. Anything my mom makes for him, he will eat (he’s almost 4). Anything I make for him, he will say he doesn’t like. I’m only half kidding.He will always eat M*Nuggets. I hate that but we have a long car ride home from school often in LA traffic and it saves my sanity and gets his body fed at the same time. I try not to do it any more than once a week and try for even less than that if I can get away with it.
    Also, the cheese pizza from Rosti is a sure thing. Expensive, but worth it. I have yet to find a frozen brand that is similar in taste and texture. He doesn’t like “puffy” pizza.
    At home he will always eat noodles, yogurt, any kind of fruit and spaghetti with meat sauce as long as I don’t push it too hard or too often. Usually he’ll eat eggs, but not always.
    I’m counting on my younger son’s enthusiasm for food to push the older one’s eating habits. But the younger is only 7 months old so we have a ways to go first.

  11. Anything my mom makes for him, he will eat (he’s almost 4). Anything I make for him, he will say he doesn’t like. I’m only half kidding.He will always eat M*Nuggets. I hate that but we have a long car ride home from school often in LA traffic and it saves my sanity and gets his body fed at the same time. I try not to do it any more than once a week and try for even less than that if I can get away with it.
    Also, the cheese pizza from Rosti is a sure thing. Expensive, but worth it. I have yet to find a frozen brand that is similar in taste and texture. He doesn’t like “puffy” pizza.
    At home he will always eat noodles, yogurt, any kind of fruit and spaghetti with meat sauce as long as I don’t push it too hard or too often. Usually he’ll eat eggs, but not always.
    I’m counting on my younger son’s enthusiasm for food to push the older one’s eating habits. But the younger is only 7 months old so we have a ways to go first.

  12. My “recipe” is so unimpressive I wasn’t going to post it, especially after reading about what Moxie called not a major production. But then I thought there were probably other readers like me, so it might make them feel better to know they’re not alone in the unimpressive cooking department.When I want to have a real cooked dinner but have very little in time, energy, or ingredients, I cook some rigatoni and brown some hamburger. To make it feel more like cooking I put in some minced onion (the kind in a spice jar, not actual onion that I take the time to cut up), minced garlic (same deal), oregano and crushed red pepper. Once it’s cooked I pour some Prego over it and let that heat up. When the pasta is done I drain it and add it to the meat and sauce. I stir it up, then sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and cover it until the cheese melts. Done.
    I do occasionally cook more complicated things but this one feels like a step up from chicken fingers and fries but is about the same amount of work.

  13. “Broccoli Noodles” which is actually Spicy Broccoli and Soba Noodle Stir Fry from one of the Moosewood cookbooks is a hit and is ready in under 1/2 hour.Tacos.
    Rice and beans. We’ve recently started to use more dried beans. So I’ll cook a pound on the weekend and serve them throughout the week.
    Pizza is fast and easy if I make the pizza dough in the food processor in the morning and leave it in the refrigerator all day.
    I do wish I had more time to cook. That means planning for dinner, shopping, and actually cooking it. But if I did that, we wouldn’t eat until 8 or 9 PM.

  14. Small shells pasta with store bought spicy marinara sauce is a staple that everyone will eat. Also, romaine lettuce with Marie’s caesar salad dressing.Black beans, yellow rice and grilled chicken. The little one won’t eat the chicken and the big one won’t eat the black beans but it mostly works and is really easy.

  15. My kids will eat quiche, which I can pack a fair amount of veggies into. They will also eat quesadillas, I make them with vegetarian refried beans, cheese and whatever vegetables I can sneak in. We ate this last night! They’ll also eat blended veggie soups, like cream of brocolli, or potato leek. Pizza, sure. Spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, sure. Fast food, sure. That said, I pretty much just cook whatever DH and I want for dinner and if they don’t like it, I do always provide them with a semi-healthy bedtime snack.

  16. My kids will eat quiche, which I can pack a fair amount of veggies into. They will also eat quesadillas, I make them with vegetarian refried beans, cheese and whatever vegetables I can sneak in. We ate this last night! They’ll also eat blended veggie soups, like cream of brocolli, or potato leek. Pizza, sure. Spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, sure. Fast food, sure. That said, I pretty much just cook whatever DH and I want for dinner and if they don’t like it, I do always provide them with a semi-healthy bedtime snack.

  17. I love crock pot meals and make regular and white chicken chili frequently. (yes they involve canned beans and tomatoes)Also one-pot rice/veg/sausage meals. Either jambalaya with celery/tomato/onion/pepper and andouille sausage (I like Grote&Weigel)…or sausage and rice stew with spinach (I use kielbasa) …yummy.
    No boil noodles are a huge time saver and make lasagna super easy.
    Allrecipes.com is a great go-to site also.

  18. I rely on Re@l Simple recipes a lot. They are usually fast, don’t have lots of expensive ingredients, and if you pick and choose well, they can be very healthy. This is one of the ones we make every couple of weeks in the fall/winter: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/cannellini-bean-stew-10000001537588/Their website has lots of good recipes. We also sometimes buy a pre-cut stir fry mix from our grocery store (they package it) and make chicken stir-fry. If you don’t have to chop the veggies yourself it’s pretty darn fast. Of course now that we mostly eat brown rice that takes forever to cook–any tips on speeding up the cooking of brown rice?

  19. Ooh, I love this one!1. Quinoa and cheese. Make the quinoa according to package directions, sprinkle shredded cheddar on top. Yum. I usually serve with a salad for grownups and frozen mix (corns/beans/carrots) for the toddler.
    2. Taco-ish things. Zap flour tortillas with wet paper towel for 30 seconds. Top with jarred salsa, shredded cheddar, Amy’s refried black beans (even my toddler will eat this), yogurt, avocado, and if you’re feeling fancy, some sauteed onions, red peppers, and mushrooms.
    3. Amy’s frozen pizzas. Super yummy, semi-healthy, and hekshered (kosher) for those of us who care.
    4. Spinach quiche. Best made the night before, only because it takes 30-40 min to cook, but it’s about 5 min of prep time, MAYBE. Basically, pour 6-8 beaten eggs, 1/4 cup milk, and a package of frozen, drained/squeezed spinach, into a frozen pie crust. Sprinkle chopped yummy cheese on top. Bake till set.
    5. Veggie chili. Sautee chopped onion and garlic in olive oil. Add a can of black beans, kidney beans, corn, and fake meat if you’re so inclined. Pour in half a beer (drink other half while cooking, natch), chili powder, a bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Simmer till the rice or noodles is done.
    6. Crock pot chicken. Set it up in the morning: chopped potatoes, carrots, and celery, chicken in pieces. Top with whatever spices look good, and the leftover wine in the fridge. 10 hours on low. Ready when you get home.
    I’m sure I have more, I’m sort of obsessed with this question, but I can’t wait to look back and see everyone else’s!

  20. We really, really love this recipe from Cooking Light: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=604814You can make the filling whenever and the chimis themselves take 7 minutes. And there’s always enough for our family of 3 to have it two nights.
    Another go-to for us is spaghetti: a decent jar of sauce (I like the Paul Newman or Classico brands), some whole wheat linguini, ground beef. Boil water, throw in the pasta. Brown the ground beef and then add the sauce to the pan. Toss it all together, top with parmesan and serve salad on the side. My two year old loves spinach salad with ranch and loves slurping noodles. Not fancy, but quick and hot.

  21. Turkey chili, adapted from a recipe I found at Relish:1 lb ground turkey
    1 onion
    1/2 a red pepper
    1 Tbs cumin
    –>brown all of the above in mild olive oil or vegetable oil
    once it’s all brown, add:
    2 cans great northern beans
    1 can diced tomatoes
    1-2 cups chicken broth
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    bring to a simmer and cook for a while
    I serve it with (in the exact order, in the exact bowls, per Mouse)
    =more chopped cilantro
    -scallions
    -grated cheddar
    -chopped avocado
    -lime wedges
    (spicy peppers for the grownups)
    and some plain red leaf lettuce tossed with lime and olive oil on the side.
    Mouse chows, South Beach Mr. C chows, it takes like 1/2 hour to make. Whee. 🙂

  22. Turkey chili, adapted from a recipe I found at Relish:1 lb ground turkey
    1 onion
    1/2 a red pepper
    1 Tbs cumin
    –>brown all of the above in mild olive oil or vegetable oil
    once it’s all brown, add:
    2 cans great northern beans
    1 can diced tomatoes
    1-2 cups chicken broth
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    bring to a simmer and cook for a while
    I serve it with (in the exact order, in the exact bowls, per Mouse)
    =more chopped cilantro
    -scallions
    -grated cheddar
    -chopped avocado
    -lime wedges
    (spicy peppers for the grownups)
    and some plain red leaf lettuce tossed with lime and olive oil on the side.
    Mouse chows, South Beach Mr. C chows, it takes like 1/2 hour to make. Whee. 🙂

  23. Spaghetti carbonara is what we always make when we’re in a hurry. The eggs give it more protein than spaghetti + sauce from a jar. We throw frozen peas into the pasta cooking water when the noodles are almost done and hey presto! — it’s a vegetable.If I have leftover chicken in the fridge, I make tortilla soup: saute onion and garlic, and add cumin seeds and oregano when they’re tender. When the cumin seeds sizzle, add chicken broth, canned diced tomatoes, a truckload of canned beans (whatever varieties float your boat), whatever chicken is available, and something to add a little kick (canned green chiles, maybe a chipotle in adobo, maybe a dried chile). Let it simmer for as much time as you have, then add a 10-oz. bag of frozen corn and heat through. Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheese, sour cream, and Tabasco chipotle hot sauce.

  24. Soup! This is the only way my kids get any veg into them. I have around 4 I rotate and as they have at least 3 vegetables in them, they get a variety of vegetables a week. We are pretty health-conscious in our family so they are low ( if any) fat too. Oh, and to vary a bit, I also add rice/barley/spelt and make a ‘risotto’ with the soup I made the night before, that way they get some legumes in too.Do I have to mention my kids just adore pasta and all toppings imaginable. Carbonara is the most recent favourite which is a super duper way to get in both proteins and carbs. Pasta and Broccoli with parmigiano cheese ditto. And with the right shaped/size pasta, the meal is cooked in 10 minutes.

  25. Our go to meals that we are fairly sure our rather picky daughter will eat are tortellini (with any sauce- Pumpkin will insist it gets washed off anyway) and quesadillas with smoothies. We have a quesadilla maker (a wedding gift that we thought was funny at the time, but has turned out to be incredibly useful), so I just take tortillas, pre-shredded cheese, and some basil from our garden to make the quesadillas. The smoothies are made from whatever frozen fruit I have on had, a little bit of OJ, and a little bit of water. As fruit starts to head past its prime around here, I cut it up and freeze it. I also keep a bag of frozen berries on hand, to ensure that the smoothies don’t turn out an odd brown color.

  26. We just ate it last night –Salmon baked in oiled parchment (475 degrees for 10-13 minutes in the oven), steamed broccoli (in the microwave) and parmesan couscous from the box (boil water, add, cover for 5 minutes off heat). I can get it all on the table 15 minutes after the oven warms up and my 3 year loves it.

  27. We just ate it last night –Salmon baked in oiled parchment (475 degrees for 10-13 minutes in the oven), steamed broccoli (in the microwave) and parmesan couscous from the box (boil water, add, cover for 5 minutes off heat). I can get it all on the table 15 minutes after the oven warms up and my 3 year loves it.

  28. our go-to meal in less then 20 minutes is 1-2-3 Taco’s (as written in Woman’s Day magazine, as close as I can remember)-1 lb ground beef
    -1 package Knorr/Lipton “Fiesta Sides” Taco Rice
    -1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    Brown the beef in a saucepan and drain the fat. Add the rice & 2 cups water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Add in beans and heat through. Serve as filling in taco shells top with your favorite accrutements.
    Now here are my riffs on the theme:
    -Use any protein you want – we’ve done beef, turkey, chicken, buffalo and even meatless protein crumbles.
    -If you don’t want to add the Knorr stuff – use minute rice and your own blend of taco seasonings – just follow the package directions for amount of water and cooking time.
    -Or use precooked rice (leftovers work great) + taco seasoning for an even faster meal.
    -Add 2 or more cans of black beans to stretch the recipe for a crowd.
    -Add in veggies – we almost always add 1/2 bag of frozen corn and diced tomatoes. When they are in season we add 2-3 diced red or yellow bell peppers, too. Maybe some cilantro if we have it around.
    -Make sure to add extra spice if adding a bunch of extras or it will be bland
    -Serve in shells or tortillas, over greens for a taco salad or just scoop some into a bowl and top with some crushed tortilla chips.
    We are NEVER with out the ingredients for this dish. It takes about 15-20 minutes and all three of us like it. It can be pretty healthy if you use ground turkey or chicken breast, add in veggies and are careful with your toppings. This easily feeds all of us for 2 dinners and gives Mark and I 3-4 lunches – more if we add in extra beans and veggies. It’s cheap, too… under $10 for 8-10 servings.

  29. our go-to meal in less then 20 minutes is 1-2-3 Taco’s (as written in Woman’s Day magazine, as close as I can remember)-1 lb ground beef
    -1 package Knorr/Lipton “Fiesta Sides” Taco Rice
    -1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    Brown the beef in a saucepan and drain the fat. Add the rice & 2 cups water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Add in beans and heat through. Serve as filling in taco shells top with your favorite accrutements.
    Now here are my riffs on the theme:
    -Use any protein you want – we’ve done beef, turkey, chicken, buffalo and even meatless protein crumbles.
    -If you don’t want to add the Knorr stuff – use minute rice and your own blend of taco seasonings – just follow the package directions for amount of water and cooking time.
    -Or use precooked rice (leftovers work great) + taco seasoning for an even faster meal.
    -Add 2 or more cans of black beans to stretch the recipe for a crowd.
    -Add in veggies – we almost always add 1/2 bag of frozen corn and diced tomatoes. When they are in season we add 2-3 diced red or yellow bell peppers, too. Maybe some cilantro if we have it around.
    -Make sure to add extra spice if adding a bunch of extras or it will be bland
    -Serve in shells or tortillas, over greens for a taco salad or just scoop some into a bowl and top with some crushed tortilla chips.
    We are NEVER with out the ingredients for this dish. It takes about 15-20 minutes and all three of us like it. It can be pretty healthy if you use ground turkey or chicken breast, add in veggies and are careful with your toppings. This easily feeds all of us for 2 dinners and gives Mark and I 3-4 lunches – more if we add in extra beans and veggies. It’s cheap, too… under $10 for 8-10 servings.

  30. Faster Brown Rice: Success Rice Boil-in-Bag brown rice and Minute Rice brown rice. They’re just pre-cooked, so every bit as healthy just faster and more expensive (still cheaper than take-out). They also come in store brands too to save $$.And faster chopping for stir fry – Buy a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables. Microwave for 5 minutes and then add to the stir fry to get mixed in and coated in sauce for the last little bit.

  31. SO hoping for some inspiration today… feeding my family is currently providing less job satisfaction than normal. Daughter is eating little and at 2 and a half, I am blaming control issues rather than failed parental feeding effort. Nine month old son will eat anything and like reader above, I am hoping over time his enthusiasm will prove catching.Current winners:
    Pre-cooked, pre-marinated ribs (10 – 15 minutes on the grill). T will eat as many as we give her. This has been her sole source of protein for most of the summer. An expensive habit, so her protein is coming in big batches about every 2 weeks.
    Corn on the cob.
    Chicken drumettes (split chicken wings) were working for a while there, then plummetted in popularity. They will be re-introduced again tonight as Chicken Ribs. Marinate as long as you can in mix of fruit juice, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic & maybe some honey (sweet, sour, salt and spice). Place on foiled baking sheet, sprinkle with kosher salt, bake @ 425 for ~20 minutes. Tonight’s version will be with BBQ sauce in case that is the magic bullet.
    Perogies & Kielbasa sausage.
    Mac N Cheese (w/homemade cheese sauce – roux of flour & butter, add milk, stir until thick, add cheese).
    Daddy’s Egg Quesadilla: Scrambled eggs, ham & cheese in a tortilla heated through on a pan til “crunchy”. On good days, served with superduper sauce (plain yogurt + ketchup). On most days, just ketchup although salsa is becoming a desired treat.
    Hoping for LOTS of posts…

  32. I only have to feed my (breastfeeding) self and my husband at the moment, but I suspect this one will last us decades: “chili mac”. My mom used to make it with–1 lb ground beef
    –1 can diced tomatoes
    –1 can corn
    –1 box macaroni noodles
    and I hated it. I add to those
    –chopped onion
    –chopped green bell pepper
    –minced garlic
    –Italian seasoning
    –cheddar cheese on top
    and we eat it all up! The thing that takes the longest is cooking the macaroni!

  33. In the left hand sidebar of my blog there is a link labeled “Jamie’s Favorite Recipes”. Lots of quick and easy recipes there — and many of them are Weight Watchers friendly as well.www.stickyfeet2.net

  34. Our go to meals are:1. Rotisserie chicken picked up from supermarket on the way home, served with microwave baked potato and melted cheese, and microwaved steamed veggies – we can be sitting down at the table within 10 minutes with this one.
    2. Fried Rice – Whenever I cook rice for anything I make a double batch. The next day I make fried rice (with a seasoning package from sunbird). Any leftovers I have on hand can go in (chicken, pork, ham, onions, peas, carrots, peppers, broccoli) and everyone in my house loves this. Provided the rice is already made, this is only about 15 mins start to finish.
    3. Breakfast for dinner (scrambled eggs and sausages and fruit, yum yum yum)
    4. Sometimes when I am really tired and my husband isn’t home, I just make us a cold appetizer plate to eat: crackers, cheese, cherry tomatos, cold garbanzo beans straight out of the can, any cold cuts I happen have. DS LOVES doing this.
    Also, we just bought a pressure cooker which is FANTASTIC. We can make chicken and parmesan risotto in less than 15 minuts (from scratch) with this thing.

  35. With the caveat that I have a freakish child who loves spinach and broccoli, so your mileage may vary…Fastest: Turkey burgers, with sauteed greens (spinach or whatever looked good at the greenmarket that week) or a salad on the side. My husband fancies it up with sauteed mushrooms, bacon, and/or avocado, but if I’m cooking I take the lazy way out and just slap some cheese on the burgers and call it a day. Takes about 15 minutes.
    A little more work: Pasta with garlic, turkey sausage, and either broccoli or spinach. Steam the broccoli over the boiling pasta, or throw spinach in the colander just before you drain the pasta. Cook the sausage and garlic in olive oil while the pasta is cooking, then mix it all together with salt & pepper and more oil (or pasta cooking water) and top with grated Parmesan.
    More time but very little actual work: Chicken, broccoli, and brown rice. I have a programmable rice cooker so if I plan ahead I can start the rice soaking in the morning and it will be done whenever I want. Marinate boneless skinless chicken thighs in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, honey, tiny sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and fresh ground black pepper. A little fresh grated ginger if I have any on hand. Bake the chicken in 350F oven for around 20 mins or until done. When chicken is almost done, steam or boil broccoli.
    Alternative recipe for above: Call for Chinese food delivery. 🙂

  36. I think my definition of “quick” is a LOT quicker than for many here. 99% of all veggies during the week are frozen or salad.1. Re-purpose leftovers from Sunday (I try to make “real food” on the weekends). Good example is heat up leftover roasted ckicken or pot roast and eat it with tortillas, chopped tomato and canned beans. Maybe some cheese or yogurt.
    2. Every week without fail- frozen pizza (whatever is on sale…thin crusts cook faster) and frozen mixed veggies with salad dressing.
    3. “Broccoloni and cheese”…um..NOT the homemade kind. Either Kraft or that organic kind with the bunnies on the box (Annie’s ?). I do make the sauce with yogurt and then add a bag of frozen and nuked broccoli at the end. It tastes best if you season the broccoli before you throw it in.
    4. “Do it yourself” dinners. My 5 year old will eat almost anything if I put it on the table in separate bowls and she gets to assemble it herself.
    5. Frozen veggie (green beans or broccoli, usually) with cubed tofu. Mix with soy sauce and sesame oil. Serve over frozen rice.
    6. Pasta and sauce- sometimes with frozen shrimp in the sauce (our Target has shrimp that are pretty cheap).
    7. Eggs.

  37. I feel SO much better about my (lack of) quick cooking skills after reading and have gotten some great ideas!My 21 month old doesn’t know yet about patience and how it could get her a yummy home-cooked dinner….Last night she ate pretzel sticks with a side of peanut butter for dippin, with some cut up grapes and a few bites of my salad. She LOVES the BeechNut cup/meals and will repeat SOUP!SOUP!SOUP!SOUP!SOUP! if she sees one in the cupboard until she gets one.
    When I do get to cook, my new favorite is to saute minced onions with 3 strips of bacon cut into 1cm strips, then drain the grease and add a few cups of marinara sauce, then heat. Meanwhile, scramble enough eggs for the hungry eaters, plate, douse in sauce and sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top (I prefer to shave a block into curls). Makes a great breakfast or breakfast-as-dinner.
    Ditto on the tacos & bean tostadas.

  38. I feel SO much better about my (lack of) quick cooking skills after reading and have gotten some great ideas!My 21 month old doesn’t know yet about patience and how it could get her a yummy home-cooked dinner….Last night she ate pretzel sticks with a side of peanut butter for dippin, with some cut up grapes and a few bites of my salad. She LOVES the BeechNut cup/meals and will repeat SOUP!SOUP!SOUP!SOUP!SOUP! if she sees one in the cupboard until she gets one.
    When I do get to cook, my new favorite is to saute minced onions with 3 strips of bacon cut into 1cm strips, then drain the grease and add a few cups of marinara sauce, then heat. Meanwhile, scramble enough eggs for the hungry eaters, plate, douse in sauce and sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top (I prefer to shave a block into curls). Makes a great breakfast or breakfast-as-dinner.
    Ditto on the tacos & bean tostadas.

  39. The go-to dinner at my house is bean soup.- Rinse one bag of dried navy beans then soak in clean water overnight
    – Put beans in a stock pot with a meaty ham bone and fill the pot 3/4 up with chicken stock, water, or a mix of the two
    – Cook on the stove for a couple of hours – till beans are tender – adding water as necessary to maintain the desired level of liquid
    – Cut up two carrots (slice thin so they cook fast) and add to broth
    – My family likes ham or kielbasa in the soup, so I dice up whichever I have on hand at the time and put it in the broth with the carrots to add to the flavor of the soup
    – Boil till carrots are tender, then remove ham bone and serve

  40. The go-to dinner at my house is bean soup.- Rinse one bag of dried navy beans then soak in clean water overnight
    – Put beans in a stock pot with a meaty ham bone and fill the pot 3/4 up with chicken stock, water, or a mix of the two
    – Cook on the stove for a couple of hours – till beans are tender – adding water as necessary to maintain the desired level of liquid
    – Cut up two carrots (slice thin so they cook fast) and add to broth
    – My family likes ham or kielbasa in the soup, so I dice up whichever I have on hand at the time and put it in the broth with the carrots to add to the flavor of the soup
    – Boil till carrots are tender, then remove ham bone and serve

  41. My 2.5 year old loves chicken, so I do it three easy ways for three nights of the week:(1) BBQ or pick up rotisseri from grocery store;
    (2) cut into cutlets, moisten with egg, dip in breadcrumbs, cook stove-top for home-made chicken fingers;
    (3) curry: marinade cutlets in 2tbsp olive oil; 2tbs soy sauce; 1 tbsp brown sugar; 2tsp cumin; 2 tsp curry; 1 tsp tumeric. Once marinaded for 30 minutes or more, place on skewers and BBQ or cook in oven (very mild curry; we all love it and the marinade takes about a minute to put together).
    Serve above with any fruit / starch / veges your kids like.
    Once a week we order chinese. DS’ favourites are lo mein and orange chicken and stir fry veges.
    Twice a week I put out a plate of: cold cuts (e.g. sliced roast beef or turkey from organic buther / no nitrates); diced tomatoes & cucumber; cheese & crackers.
    That’s six easy meals! The seventh night of the week I might make a frittata (easier than quich); mac’n’cheese (Amys Organic: 4 minutes in the microwave); BBQ steak or go out to the local restaurant.
    My toddler son strangely eats an amazing variety of meats, fruits & vegetables but very little dairy and carbs (little bread, no rice, no pasta). I wish he would eat pasta! What an easy meal that would be…

  42. My 2.5 year old loves chicken, so I do it three easy ways for three nights of the week:(1) BBQ or pick up rotisseri from grocery store;
    (2) cut into cutlets, moisten with egg, dip in breadcrumbs, cook stove-top for home-made chicken fingers;
    (3) curry: marinade cutlets in 2tbsp olive oil; 2tbs soy sauce; 1 tbsp brown sugar; 2tsp cumin; 2 tsp curry; 1 tsp tumeric. Once marinaded for 30 minutes or more, place on skewers and BBQ or cook in oven (very mild curry; we all love it and the marinade takes about a minute to put together).
    Serve above with any fruit / starch / veges your kids like.
    Once a week we order chinese. DS’ favourites are lo mein and orange chicken and stir fry veges.
    Twice a week I put out a plate of: cold cuts (e.g. sliced roast beef or turkey from organic buther / no nitrates); diced tomatoes & cucumber; cheese & crackers.
    That’s six easy meals! The seventh night of the week I might make a frittata (easier than quich); mac’n’cheese (Amys Organic: 4 minutes in the microwave); BBQ steak or go out to the local restaurant.
    My toddler son strangely eats an amazing variety of meats, fruits & vegetables but very little dairy and carbs (little bread, no rice, no pasta). I wish he would eat pasta! What an easy meal that would be…

  43. I use a scaloppine marsala recipe, but use boneless, skinless, frozen chicken breasts instead of veal. It sounds fancy but it really waaaay easy, everyone likes it (me, husband, 5 year old, 2.5 year old), and it is a total freezer/pantry meal (just making sure to keep a bottle of Marsala wine on hand).Defrost froz. chicken breasts. If forget to do this, put in bowl of cold water and will defrost in 15-20 min.
    Coat chicken breasts with flour, then pan fry in 2 Tb. olive oil, 1 Tb. butter. Take out of pan and stick in oven to keep warm.
    Pour 1/2 cup of Marsala wine in pan, turn up heat and let the alcohol burn off and scrape up the yummy brown bits. Turn off heat, add 1 Tb butter and melt it in. Pour over chicken, voila, dinner.
    Have it with any starch you like (instant couscous is always a favorite and takes about 1 min of cooking time, 5 minutes of waiting).
    For veggies I stock up on the Trader Joe’s frozen french green beans. They are delicious and come already washed and snapped. I boil them a few minutes, then toss with a little olive oil and lemon juice.
    This whole dinner takes at MOST 20 minutes and is totally home cooked and everyone eats it.

  44. Oh, and @caramama, my 2.5 year old also loves pasta and tomato sauce, so I have taken to freezing it in ice cube trays and sticking it in a ziploc bag so I always have some to give her. Especially because the 5 year old HATES tomato sauce on her pasta, so if I am doing a “kids dinner” I make pasta and defrost a cube or two of sauce for the little one, plain cheese or Trade Joe’s pesto-sauce-in-a-jar for the big one.

  45. Ooh, good post! Can’t wait to read all the responses for new ideas! My go-to is a Red Beans & Rice dish. I have a 13-mo daughter but she won’t eat it (yet).Everything is approximate, even the cooking times. And I add or delete veggies based on what’s in the pantry. But it generally takes me about 30-35 min total and makes plenty for at least one, sometimes two nights of leftovers!
    -In a large saute pan, heat some olive oil
    -Add 1 medium onion, chopped and cook for about 5 min
    -Add 1 green pepper, chopped and cook another 5-8 min until desired “crunchiness”
    -Press 2-3 garlic cloves into pan and stir around
    -Add about 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, a dash of tobasco or other hot sauce, and a dash of cayanne pepper
    -Add 2 16-oz cans of rinsed red beans
    -Add 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
    -Add 1 6-oz can of tomato paste
    -Mix it all up, cover and simmer for at least 5 min or longer if you need to, stirring every once in a while
    I sometimes serve with rice in a bowl, sprinkled with shredded cheese
    I also sometimes put it in tortilla wraps with salsa, chopped lettuce, cheese, etc.
    Right now, tomatoes are in season so I replace the canned diced tomatoes with fresh diced. And sometimes I make a big batch of kidney beans and freeze them. WAY cheaper than canned, but requires some forethought.

  46. Ooh, good post! Can’t wait to read all the responses for new ideas! My go-to is a Red Beans & Rice dish. I have a 13-mo daughter but she won’t eat it (yet).Everything is approximate, even the cooking times. And I add or delete veggies based on what’s in the pantry. But it generally takes me about 30-35 min total and makes plenty for at least one, sometimes two nights of leftovers!
    -In a large saute pan, heat some olive oil
    -Add 1 medium onion, chopped and cook for about 5 min
    -Add 1 green pepper, chopped and cook another 5-8 min until desired “crunchiness”
    -Press 2-3 garlic cloves into pan and stir around
    -Add about 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, a dash of tobasco or other hot sauce, and a dash of cayanne pepper
    -Add 2 16-oz cans of rinsed red beans
    -Add 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
    -Add 1 6-oz can of tomato paste
    -Mix it all up, cover and simmer for at least 5 min or longer if you need to, stirring every once in a while
    I sometimes serve with rice in a bowl, sprinkled with shredded cheese
    I also sometimes put it in tortilla wraps with salsa, chopped lettuce, cheese, etc.
    Right now, tomatoes are in season so I replace the canned diced tomatoes with fresh diced. And sometimes I make a big batch of kidney beans and freeze them. WAY cheaper than canned, but requires some forethought.

  47. Our 3 month old has a cow’s milk protein allergy, which means that all of our meals for the time being are dairy free.To Michaela: The Healthy Slow Cooker by Judith Finlayson has FANTASTIC vegetarian and vegan recipes for the crock pot. We do at least one crock pot meal a week, which I prep on Sunday and then cook all day Monday while I am at work. Usually these meals provide tons of leftovers, which I then take to work with me for the rest of the week.
    Our go-to easy meal is Rotisserie Chicken Salad: Buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it. Add sliced red onions (none on the 3-year-old’s plate) sliced pears, almonds, and crumbled blue cheese (none for me, unfortunately). Serve over greens (sometimes I add extra veggies like a diced red pepper or shredded carrots) with a vineagrette and a loaf of (store-bought) whole grain bread. Tons of variations based on what’s in season. Barely takes any time, and although many of the ingredients are store-bought, there are no processed foods in it (no trans fats, HFCS, etc.)

  48. My 2.5 year old (go figure) will not eat any “combo” foods – that is, with more than 1 ingredient , including spices. That said, she does eat lots of different single foods. My main dishes that she’ll eat are:Baked chicken: SUPER easy, as long as I remember to put it in at 4ish. great leftovers.
    Grilled Tri-tip: 25 min on the grill, turn twice.
    Otherwise, she just eats sides like rice, corn, cheese, tortillas, fruit, carrots, bread, hard-boiled egg (white only), pasta, etc. All plain.
    I can’t wait until she’ll share our ‘saucy’ food, but I’m not pushing too hard.

  49. I am a WOHM with a nice husband and a particular but not exactly picky 22-month old, which is to say that he eats a lot of different things but there are things that he just totally disdains no matter how many times I serve them (all beans are included in this category, except for the garbanzos ground up into hummus). So here are some of our go-to-meals:1. fritatta with salad and toast or some other side veggie, so easy and quick.
    2. whole wheat pasta with homemade pesto — I grind up the pesto in the food processor while the pasta water boils, and throw some broccoli or kale into the pasta pot at the end and blanch it with the pasta for a couple of minutes, and also throw in a can of cannelini beans, and then I’ve got a complete meal in one pot: carbs, protein, and veg. The toddler doesn’t eat the beans, but he eats all the other stuff.
    3. homemade veggie burgers, frozen sweet potato fries, and some sort of vegetable side — either a salad or some hard veg tossed with oil, salt, and pepper and roasted in the oven at the same time as the sweet potato fries. I get the sweet potato fries in bags in the freezer section and figure they’re packing more nutritional punch than regular fries. The homemade veggie burgers are so, so, so easy to make and are so, so, so much better than store bought. When I’m cooking them on the weekends I double the batch and freeze half for later use. They are: one onion, one cup nuts (I usually use walnuts or cashews), one cup raw oats, 1-2 TBSP tahini, salt and pepper to taste, some other spice mixture to taste (such as chili powder or curry powder, one egg. Grind it all up in the food processor, shape into patties, fry in a frying pan over medium heat. I often grate a zuchinni into the mix as well and melt cheese on top. This yields 4-6 patties depending on how big or small you make them. They make good leftovers for lunch the next day too. The recipe is from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, which I love.
    4. Grill: hamburgers (for the toddler and husband, I’m vegetarian), seitan sausages, veggies, corn, etc. Easy peasy, quick, few dishes to clean up.
    5. Pizza: make dough in the morning and let is rise while you’re gone. Roll out and put on toppings when you get home, pop in oven. Make a salad while it’s in the oven. Make a double batch of dough and freeze the other half.
    6. Quesadillas. I grate cheddar cheese and zuchinni together in equal portions in a big bowl, toss with a little chili powder and melt between whole wheat tortillas. Serve with a side of black beans.
    7. Split pea or lentil soup. I make it the night before. I just chop up some onions, garlic, carrots, and celery and saute these with salt and pepper and a couple of bay leaves for a good 15 minutes or so, then just throw in a couple of cups of peas/lentils and a bunch of water and some veggie buillion cubes and let it simmer away, stirring occasionally and checking to see if more water is needed. Serve with salad and bread. Oh yeah, sometimes I throw in a cup of barley or other grain to make it a more complete dish.
    8. Some version of a bi-bim-bap type thing. It’s highly variable — the basic idea is I cook up some grain (often quinoa because it cooks fast), some protein (at our house, this is tofu or tempeh, pan fried in oil until crispy), and some veggies, could be steamed broccoli or cauliflower, could be grated beets and carrots, julienned turnips, whatever. Put it all out separately on the table along with nuts to garnish and some sort of sauce to go on it all, and let everyone make up their own bowl.

  50. I cook 3 times/week, we eat leftovers 3 nights/week, and get take-out on the remaining night.I almost exclusively cook from “The Six O’Clock Scramble”: http://www.amazon.com/Six-OClock-Scramble-Delicious-Families/dp/031233642X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253722265&sr=8-1 (The cookbook, not the weekly email subscription service).
    It is the best cookbook I’ve owned – well worth the $12 I spent on it. Every recipe is simple and quick to prepare. Very few ingredients in each recipe. The ingredients are fresh (not pre-cooked, processed foods), inexpensive, and easy to find in the grocery store. Everything is delicious for BOTH kids and adults (my very picky husband has loved *almost* every recipe). Lots of vegetarian/meatless recipes. Healthy recipes. I cannot say enough good things about it!

  51. @Flea – http://www.amazon.com/Delicious-Dependable-Slow-Cooker-Recipes/dp/0778800539 This is out favorite Crock Pot cookbook. The white bean and cauliflower soup is soooo good. If you email me I’ll scan a copy of the recipe and send it to you.@Fiona – Do you want your son to eat meat? If so, have you tried crispy bacon? It was the gateway meat for our son, who then moved to crock pot meat and now eats all different kinds of meat, including pepperoni.

  52. @Flea – http://www.amazon.com/Delicious-Dependable-Slow-Cooker-Recipes/dp/0778800539 This is out favorite Crock Pot cookbook. The white bean and cauliflower soup is soooo good. If you email me I’ll scan a copy of the recipe and send it to you.@Fiona – Do you want your son to eat meat? If so, have you tried crispy bacon? It was the gateway meat for our son, who then moved to crock pot meat and now eats all different kinds of meat, including pepperoni.

  53. It used to be “Tofu Block” an inventive dish my younger daughter brought back from her immersion Japanese program; A cold block of tofu, cut into 6 pieces, drizzled with a bit of soy sauce.Now…. spouse will eat anything as long as he’s not allergic to it, it’s not egregiously treyf, and it’s not eggplant. So I cook whatever the hell I want to, but if it’s shrimp (or eggplant) I don’t share…

  54. It used to be “Tofu Block” an inventive dish my younger daughter brought back from her immersion Japanese program; A cold block of tofu, cut into 6 pieces, drizzled with a bit of soy sauce.Now…. spouse will eat anything as long as he’s not allergic to it, it’s not egregiously treyf, and it’s not eggplant. So I cook whatever the hell I want to, but if it’s shrimp (or eggplant) I don’t share…

  55. I love this meal sharing idea! Can’t wait to try that chicken marsala recipe, especially.Our favorite meal is Moroccan Chicken that I got from Parents magazine. Sprinkle both sides of chicken tenderloins with cumin, kosher salt, and cinnamon (use as much or as little as you want–I used to measure it out according to the recipe, but now just put on a whole bunch). Cook in skillet with oil until done. Serve with rice. We like coconut milk rice –rice cooked with half water and half coconut milk (from a can). Side of green beans from the freezer, usually.
    Another easy favorite is ham steak cooked in the broiler with sweet potatoes cooked in microwave or Annie’s mac and cheese. Side of frozen peas. Quick and really easy!

  56. Alfredo chicken in the slow cooker:Put a chicken breast (boneless/skinnless…can be frozen) and
    1 jar alfredo sauce (I like newman’s) in slow cooker and
    cook on low for 6 hours.
    Boil up some Barilla Protien Plus Pasta and add a handful of frozen peas in the cooking water for 3 minutes.
    Right in the slow cooker, shred the chicken with 2 forks, add a handful of grated parm cheese and a splash of milk and stir in your pasta and peas. Absolutley yummy!
    Slow cooker chicken burritos:
    Skinless boneless chicken breast
    1 jar salsa
    1 can black beans
    1/2 a bag of frozen corn
    drain the beans and the salsa or the burritos are too watery. Put it all in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours, throw a brick of cream cheese on top for the last 15 minutes. Shred the chicken and stir in the melted cream cheese before serving in tortillas with sliced avacado. It is also really good over brown rice.
    I also buy frozen spinach, cook it and puree and freeze in 1/2 cup containers. I add a spinach cube to everything. My kids are on a veggie strike right now so at least they are getting a little something green! (I think they really believe that tomato sauce is brown and not red!)

  57. Alfredo chicken in the slow cooker:Put a chicken breast (boneless/skinnless…can be frozen) and
    1 jar alfredo sauce (I like newman’s) in slow cooker and
    cook on low for 6 hours.
    Boil up some Barilla Protien Plus Pasta and add a handful of frozen peas in the cooking water for 3 minutes.
    Right in the slow cooker, shred the chicken with 2 forks, add a handful of grated parm cheese and a splash of milk and stir in your pasta and peas. Absolutley yummy!
    Slow cooker chicken burritos:
    Skinless boneless chicken breast
    1 jar salsa
    1 can black beans
    1/2 a bag of frozen corn
    drain the beans and the salsa or the burritos are too watery. Put it all in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours, throw a brick of cream cheese on top for the last 15 minutes. Shred the chicken and stir in the melted cream cheese before serving in tortillas with sliced avacado. It is also really good over brown rice.
    I also buy frozen spinach, cook it and puree and freeze in 1/2 cup containers. I add a spinach cube to everything. My kids are on a veggie strike right now so at least they are getting a little something green! (I think they really believe that tomato sauce is brown and not red!)

  58. We tend to cook up a lot of food on the weekend and freeze family-sized portions for nights we can’t be bothered to think about dinner (eg: bolognese sauce or veg lasagne).I own “The Six O’Clock Scramble” but the husband is picky and regards those recipes as shortcuts that produce results not worth eating. (Sigh. He grew up in a house where processed food was verboten.) Luckily, he likes to cook, but unluckily, he is much slower (he likes to sip a glass of wine or have a beer and read The New Yorker (!) while cooking PLUS he doesn’t wash as he cooks, leaving mounds of dirty pots and dishes in the sink afterwards. If my husband cooks, we don’t have a meal until 7:30pm-8pm, which is way too late, especially for the 2.5yo. Because I am faster at prep, I usually have dinner on the table by 6:30pm/7pm and these are our go-to meals:
    -Broccoli and pasta. (Parcook Broc. Cook pasta. Saute garlic, chili flakes, and anchovy in some olive oil. Toss broc in with garlic mixture til heated. Toss w/ pasta, serve w/ cheese.) The 2.5yo loves it with Rotelli, which we call wagon wheels. We find and easy way to get him to eat veg is to serve with pasta. (Other variations on theme: zucchini in matchstick form, sauteed w/ chili flakes, garlic, olive oil with spaghetti; tomato sauce with minced carrots and celery plus pasta, etc.)
    -Chicken curry and rice. Also a good way to get kid to eat veg. The quickest way is Thai for me–I use the jarred spice pastes and add a couple of extra lime leaves (I have a plant), fish sauce and basil, if I have any on hand. Recipe: Cook rice. Heat the thick portion of can of coconut milk until the oil separates. Fry 1/4 c. spice paste til fragrant. Toss in chopped chicken thighs and stir for a minute. Pour in the rest of the can of coconut milk plus another (I use a reduced fat coco milk for the 2nd). Toss vegs in (eg: green beans, eggplant, froz peas, sweet/reg potato, all in bite-sized pieces). Simmer til chicken is done, about 15-20 min. Eat.
    -Scrambled eggs and toast.
    Other resources: The Serious Eats website, especially their “Dinner Tonight” series (http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/dinner_tonight/). We love the Curried Pork Noodles.
    I wish my husband would eat tofu and my son would eat beans (I also wish he was not allergic to peanuts and tree nuts), but my son is a really good eater in general, so I shouldn’t complain.

  59. We tend to cook up a lot of food on the weekend and freeze family-sized portions for nights we can’t be bothered to think about dinner (eg: bolognese sauce or veg lasagne).I own “The Six O’Clock Scramble” but the husband is picky and regards those recipes as shortcuts that produce results not worth eating. (Sigh. He grew up in a house where processed food was verboten.) Luckily, he likes to cook, but unluckily, he is much slower (he likes to sip a glass of wine or have a beer and read The New Yorker (!) while cooking PLUS he doesn’t wash as he cooks, leaving mounds of dirty pots and dishes in the sink afterwards. If my husband cooks, we don’t have a meal until 7:30pm-8pm, which is way too late, especially for the 2.5yo. Because I am faster at prep, I usually have dinner on the table by 6:30pm/7pm and these are our go-to meals:
    -Broccoli and pasta. (Parcook Broc. Cook pasta. Saute garlic, chili flakes, and anchovy in some olive oil. Toss broc in with garlic mixture til heated. Toss w/ pasta, serve w/ cheese.) The 2.5yo loves it with Rotelli, which we call wagon wheels. We find and easy way to get him to eat veg is to serve with pasta. (Other variations on theme: zucchini in matchstick form, sauteed w/ chili flakes, garlic, olive oil with spaghetti; tomato sauce with minced carrots and celery plus pasta, etc.)
    -Chicken curry and rice. Also a good way to get kid to eat veg. The quickest way is Thai for me–I use the jarred spice pastes and add a couple of extra lime leaves (I have a plant), fish sauce and basil, if I have any on hand. Recipe: Cook rice. Heat the thick portion of can of coconut milk until the oil separates. Fry 1/4 c. spice paste til fragrant. Toss in chopped chicken thighs and stir for a minute. Pour in the rest of the can of coconut milk plus another (I use a reduced fat coco milk for the 2nd). Toss vegs in (eg: green beans, eggplant, froz peas, sweet/reg potato, all in bite-sized pieces). Simmer til chicken is done, about 15-20 min. Eat.
    -Scrambled eggs and toast.
    Other resources: The Serious Eats website, especially their “Dinner Tonight” series (http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/dinner_tonight/). We love the Curried Pork Noodles.
    I wish my husband would eat tofu and my son would eat beans (I also wish he was not allergic to peanuts and tree nuts), but my son is a really good eater in general, so I shouldn’t complain.

  60. This is an awesome thread. I feel like I am not the only mom in the world taking shortcuts! We do mac and cheese and beans alot…can be Kraft but I usually make scratch macaroni by boiling the elbow noodles, adding a little butter, milk and American cheese slices (or smoked cheddar slices) from the deli. Stir till it melts. Open a can of boston baked beans and voila- more protein with your dairy and starch. My picky 3 yo loves this.Lately the hubby and I like “baked ravioli”- boil your frozen ravioli/tortellini, put in a casserole dish, top with leftover pasta sauce (mixing alfredo and tomato is good), add leftover mozarella balls (I use some in salad and then forget to finish the package), sprinkle w/parmesan and bake at 350 till bubbly.
    In a pinch? Heart-healthy bisquick pancakes. The bonus is that the 3yo will eat leftover pancakes for lunch the next day.
    I am not proud of the amount of frozen chicken nuggets my son consumes. I MUST try these baked chicken nugget recipes I see *everywhere*.

  61. This is an awesome thread. I feel like I am not the only mom in the world taking shortcuts! We do mac and cheese and beans alot…can be Kraft but I usually make scratch macaroni by boiling the elbow noodles, adding a little butter, milk and American cheese slices (or smoked cheddar slices) from the deli. Stir till it melts. Open a can of boston baked beans and voila- more protein with your dairy and starch. My picky 3 yo loves this.Lately the hubby and I like “baked ravioli”- boil your frozen ravioli/tortellini, put in a casserole dish, top with leftover pasta sauce (mixing alfredo and tomato is good), add leftover mozarella balls (I use some in salad and then forget to finish the package), sprinkle w/parmesan and bake at 350 till bubbly.
    In a pinch? Heart-healthy bisquick pancakes. The bonus is that the 3yo will eat leftover pancakes for lunch the next day.
    I am not proud of the amount of frozen chicken nuggets my son consumes. I MUST try these baked chicken nugget recipes I see *everywhere*.

  62. I rarely eat gluten now, so I serve us all mainly gluten-free meals (so long lasagna and spaghetti, so sad!), with some modifications for DH and DS.- rotisserie chicken (we always have one on hand). Great for quesadillas, over spinach salad, etc. DS takes it chopped up with dip for preschool.
    – baked salmon (put in glass baking dish over foil, add spices and lemon juice, bake at 375 F for about 25 min or until flaky) with microwaved fresh veggies (potato, broccoli, green beans, snap peas) or baked french fries (Trader Joe’s has excellent frozen, healthy fries).
    – baked or pan-fried tilapia (if it’s crispy, my DS will eat it). Dip Tilapia pieces into egg wash and breadcrumbs, or Zataran’s mix, then pan fry or bake. Serve with veggies and fruit of choice.
    – turkey keilbasa, cut up and stir-fried with cut-up bell peppers and onions, served over sticky rice. Big hit around here.
    – cashew chicken. (Stir-fry each ingredient for a few minutes before adding the next) Stir-fry diced chicken with garlic and ginger if you have them, add cashews, and whatever veggies you like. We usually put in diced carrots, bell peppers, onions. Sauce: 1/4 c. water, 1/4 c. soy sauce, 1/4 c. sherry, 2 T. dark corn syrup, 1 T. white vinegar, 4t. cornstarch. Add sauce at end and let bubble and thicken. Serve over sticky rice.
    – breakfast for dinner. pancakes, french toast for DH and DS, eggs, turkey bacon for all of us. yum.
    – Friday night is take-out pizza night!

  63. I rarely eat gluten now, so I serve us all mainly gluten-free meals (so long lasagna and spaghetti, so sad!), with some modifications for DH and DS.- rotisserie chicken (we always have one on hand). Great for quesadillas, over spinach salad, etc. DS takes it chopped up with dip for preschool.
    – baked salmon (put in glass baking dish over foil, add spices and lemon juice, bake at 375 F for about 25 min or until flaky) with microwaved fresh veggies (potato, broccoli, green beans, snap peas) or baked french fries (Trader Joe’s has excellent frozen, healthy fries).
    – baked or pan-fried tilapia (if it’s crispy, my DS will eat it). Dip Tilapia pieces into egg wash and breadcrumbs, or Zataran’s mix, then pan fry or bake. Serve with veggies and fruit of choice.
    – turkey keilbasa, cut up and stir-fried with cut-up bell peppers and onions, served over sticky rice. Big hit around here.
    – cashew chicken. (Stir-fry each ingredient for a few minutes before adding the next) Stir-fry diced chicken with garlic and ginger if you have them, add cashews, and whatever veggies you like. We usually put in diced carrots, bell peppers, onions. Sauce: 1/4 c. water, 1/4 c. soy sauce, 1/4 c. sherry, 2 T. dark corn syrup, 1 T. white vinegar, 4t. cornstarch. Add sauce at end and let bubble and thicken. Serve over sticky rice.
    – breakfast for dinner. pancakes, french toast for DH and DS, eggs, turkey bacon for all of us. yum.
    – Friday night is take-out pizza night!

  64. We mostly use Relish Relish for recipes (I highly highly recommend it – quick, healthy, tasty and gives you a shopping list) but for the weeks when even that is too complicated:Cook: rice and beans, with either spicy Italian sausage (if my husband is making it) or chicken (if I’m making it). Easy in either case and everyone likes it. I just heat up a can of beans, cook some white rice, and then season and cook chicken breasts that I’ve cut into bite sized pieces in a little olive oil. I couldn’t tell you how my husband cooks the sausage, but probably just throws it on a skillet. Either way, mix it all together in a big bowl and serve. It’s super easy and not terrible for you, especially if you find some vegetables to serve with it, which I generally don’t.
    Buy: rotisserie chicken with some steamed veggies (either the frozen steam bags or fresh) and maybe a starch (either frozen or from the deli counter).
    Take out: Pizza from the very good, very fast pizza place a couple blocks away.

  65. We mostly use Relish Relish for recipes (I highly highly recommend it – quick, healthy, tasty and gives you a shopping list) but for the weeks when even that is too complicated:Cook: rice and beans, with either spicy Italian sausage (if my husband is making it) or chicken (if I’m making it). Easy in either case and everyone likes it. I just heat up a can of beans, cook some white rice, and then season and cook chicken breasts that I’ve cut into bite sized pieces in a little olive oil. I couldn’t tell you how my husband cooks the sausage, but probably just throws it on a skillet. Either way, mix it all together in a big bowl and serve. It’s super easy and not terrible for you, especially if you find some vegetables to serve with it, which I generally don’t.
    Buy: rotisserie chicken with some steamed veggies (either the frozen steam bags or fresh) and maybe a starch (either frozen or from the deli counter).
    Take out: Pizza from the very good, very fast pizza place a couple blocks away.

  66. These are the meals that will feed everyone. Kids aged 7, 5, 2. The super-fast ones are only when Daddy’s on night shift.1. Orzo – Chicken – Broccoli
    Boil 1 or 1.5 cups orzo in a large pot, steam broccoli overtop. Combine cooked orzo, steamed broccoli and leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken. Sprinkle with lots of parmesan.
    2. Chicken with BBQ Sauce (from Canadian Looneyspoons series, it has another name)
    3/4 cup ketchup
    1/2 cup salsa
    1/4 cup honey
    1 tbsp dijon
    chili powder
    cumin
    1 tsp. cornstarch
    Mix all sauce ingredients together, pour over 1-2 lbs boneless chicken breast pieces or thighs. bake 30 min for breasts, 45 for thighs. Serve with baked potatoes or mashed or noodles or bread. Good with corn from the can or a green veg. We had it with corn on the cob last week.
    3. Oven Eggs
    6 eggs
    1/2 cup sour cream
    salt, pepper
    grated cheese
    other add-ins: green onions, roasted peppers, cooked mushrooms.
    Beat eggs, add other ingredients, pour into a glass pie plate coated with cooking spray . Bake 30 min or until puffy.
    4. Fast Macaroni and cheese that’s not Kraft Dinner.
    equal parts whole wheat macaroni, milk and water. (I use 1.5 cups). Put all in a pot together. Cook until the macaroni is done, adding more water if necessary. When it is done, you should have milkiness left over. Grate in a big handful of cheese and a squirt of mustard. Done!

  67. These are the meals that will feed everyone. Kids aged 7, 5, 2. The super-fast ones are only when Daddy’s on night shift.1. Orzo – Chicken – Broccoli
    Boil 1 or 1.5 cups orzo in a large pot, steam broccoli overtop. Combine cooked orzo, steamed broccoli and leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken. Sprinkle with lots of parmesan.
    2. Chicken with BBQ Sauce (from Canadian Looneyspoons series, it has another name)
    3/4 cup ketchup
    1/2 cup salsa
    1/4 cup honey
    1 tbsp dijon
    chili powder
    cumin
    1 tsp. cornstarch
    Mix all sauce ingredients together, pour over 1-2 lbs boneless chicken breast pieces or thighs. bake 30 min for breasts, 45 for thighs. Serve with baked potatoes or mashed or noodles or bread. Good with corn from the can or a green veg. We had it with corn on the cob last week.
    3. Oven Eggs
    6 eggs
    1/2 cup sour cream
    salt, pepper
    grated cheese
    other add-ins: green onions, roasted peppers, cooked mushrooms.
    Beat eggs, add other ingredients, pour into a glass pie plate coated with cooking spray . Bake 30 min or until puffy.
    4. Fast Macaroni and cheese that’s not Kraft Dinner.
    equal parts whole wheat macaroni, milk and water. (I use 1.5 cups). Put all in a pot together. Cook until the macaroni is done, adding more water if necessary. When it is done, you should have milkiness left over. Grate in a big handful of cheese and a squirt of mustard. Done!

  68. We love breakfast for dinner! DH is the egg expert — omlettes with mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and leftover steak or ham are his specialty. We also like to cook whole wheat pancakes or waffles and top them with fruit, fresh or defrosted.The easiest crock pot recipe I know is this: Take some chicken or pork, dump in a bottle of barbecue sauce, simmer for 6+ hours. The fancy version: add apples and/or onions for a little more flavor.
    Some family favorites that take a little more work/planning: tacos; tortellini with sausage or chicken and pesto sauce; and chicken tikka masala (chicken marinated in yogurt and curry paste, simmered in diced tomatoes with juice, served with rice — yummy).
    Thanks to everyone for some great ideas!

  69. We love breakfast for dinner! DH is the egg expert — omlettes with mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and leftover steak or ham are his specialty. We also like to cook whole wheat pancakes or waffles and top them with fruit, fresh or defrosted.The easiest crock pot recipe I know is this: Take some chicken or pork, dump in a bottle of barbecue sauce, simmer for 6+ hours. The fancy version: add apples and/or onions for a little more flavor.
    Some family favorites that take a little more work/planning: tacos; tortellini with sausage or chicken and pesto sauce; and chicken tikka masala (chicken marinated in yogurt and curry paste, simmered in diced tomatoes with juice, served with rice — yummy).
    Thanks to everyone for some great ideas!

  70. My husband is very picky so my cooking repertoire is kind of limited … I make a “Monthly Dinner Menu” at the end of each month for the next month so our dinners are planned well beforehand. He likes to “Get his mouth ready.” Whaaaaatever. We rotate about 14 dishes throughout the month and they are all pretty simple.My favorite night is Baked Ravioli night since it’s definitely the easiest and similar to @rebecca’s:
    1 box/bag frozen cheese ravioli
    1 box/bag frozen Italian meatballs
    1 jar red sauce (we use Prego)
    1 2-cup bag of shredded mozzarella
    Dump the ravioli & meatballs into a 9×12 baking dish. Cover with sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for an hour or so – -take off the foil for 10-15 min. at the end if you want the cheese to brown

  71. My husband is very picky so my cooking repertoire is kind of limited … I make a “Monthly Dinner Menu” at the end of each month for the next month so our dinners are planned well beforehand. He likes to “Get his mouth ready.” Whaaaaatever. We rotate about 14 dishes throughout the month and they are all pretty simple.My favorite night is Baked Ravioli night since it’s definitely the easiest and similar to @rebecca’s:
    1 box/bag frozen cheese ravioli
    1 box/bag frozen Italian meatballs
    1 jar red sauce (we use Prego)
    1 2-cup bag of shredded mozzarella
    Dump the ravioli & meatballs into a 9×12 baking dish. Cover with sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for an hour or so – -take off the foil for 10-15 min. at the end if you want the cheese to brown

  72. These are great ideas! Here are a few of the regulars at our house:1. Baked salmon with either terriyaki sauce (store-bought), lemon, olive oil, dill, salt & pepper, or dijon mustard, honey & lemon. Steam some broccoli, carrots, usually some cucs and baked sweet potato fries (frozen, store-bought).
    2. Schnizel: basically like chicken fingers, but with pork strips. I use panko (light Japanese bread crumbs) mixed with shredded parmesan cheese and some dried herbs. Dip pork strip in flour, then beaten egg and then the panko/bread crumbs. Fry in olive oil (takes 4 min or so). Serve with either rice, mashed potatoes, some mixture of veggies (last night was snow peas, carrots and cucumbers).
    3. Pesto pasta. This is 10 min from start of boiling water to plate on table. If it’s not summer, pre-bought pesto is mixed with spaghetti, tortellini, spinach-filled ravioli (only way they’ll eat spinach), etc.
    4. Garlic pork or chicken sausages (we get these awesomely cheap organic ones that seem a whole lot healthier than hot dogs and loved as much) with rice or sweet potato fries or potatoes and some variation of veggies again.
    5. Stir-fried shrimp and veggies and rice. I use store-bought frozen ginger and garlic cubes, olive oil, and sometimes soy sauce, then throw whatever veggies I have and previously made rice.

  73. These are great ideas! Here are a few of the regulars at our house:1. Baked salmon with either terriyaki sauce (store-bought), lemon, olive oil, dill, salt & pepper, or dijon mustard, honey & lemon. Steam some broccoli, carrots, usually some cucs and baked sweet potato fries (frozen, store-bought).
    2. Schnizel: basically like chicken fingers, but with pork strips. I use panko (light Japanese bread crumbs) mixed with shredded parmesan cheese and some dried herbs. Dip pork strip in flour, then beaten egg and then the panko/bread crumbs. Fry in olive oil (takes 4 min or so). Serve with either rice, mashed potatoes, some mixture of veggies (last night was snow peas, carrots and cucumbers).
    3. Pesto pasta. This is 10 min from start of boiling water to plate on table. If it’s not summer, pre-bought pesto is mixed with spaghetti, tortellini, spinach-filled ravioli (only way they’ll eat spinach), etc.
    4. Garlic pork or chicken sausages (we get these awesomely cheap organic ones that seem a whole lot healthier than hot dogs and loved as much) with rice or sweet potato fries or potatoes and some variation of veggies again.
    5. Stir-fried shrimp and veggies and rice. I use store-bought frozen ginger and garlic cubes, olive oil, and sometimes soy sauce, then throw whatever veggies I have and previously made rice.

  74. We love to cook, so we do have a lot of go to meals. I will note though, that for us ‘not being a major production’ means we can cook dinner in an hour. That being said, we are trying to find new favorites that take only 20-30 minutes start to finish.One of these is homemade pizza. We usually have it once a week or so. Our pizza dough recipe comes from this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Dough-Simple-Contemporary-Richard-Bertinet/dp/1904920209/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253728337&sr=1-1
    and it’s awesome. It can be made in about 10 mins in a stand mixer in the AM before going to work, and then can rise all day in the fridge. My tomato sauce recipe comes from a friend
    http://www.blork.org/blorkblog/2008/10/26/saturday-pizza-night/
    and is no-cook & takes 5 minutes. Great on pasta too.
    Tomato Sauce:
    1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
    2-3 tbsp olive oil
    salt & pepper
    oregano (fresh if you’ve got it, but dried works too).
    Drain the liquid out of the tomatoes (ie. using a colander) for 5-15 mins. Whiz it all up with a hand blender and you’re done!
    Then it’s all about the toppings, so you can customize as you please. Just takes a little chopping and grating, and you’re done.
    Our favorites: mushrooms, kalamata olives, prosciutto (when we’re feeling decadent), arugula & mozza.
    So, just stretch out your pizza by hand, add the sauce & all toppings except arugula. Bake in a 450F or 500F oven (ideally on a pizza stone, but a cookie sheet works too) for 8-10 mins. Add on washed, uncooked arugula after the pizza comes out of the oven.
    Yum. We all (DS, 15 month old DS & I) love it. The crusts make good teething ‘biscuits’.

  75. We love to cook, so we do have a lot of go to meals. I will note though, that for us ‘not being a major production’ means we can cook dinner in an hour. That being said, we are trying to find new favorites that take only 20-30 minutes start to finish.One of these is homemade pizza. We usually have it once a week or so. Our pizza dough recipe comes from this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Dough-Simple-Contemporary-Richard-Bertinet/dp/1904920209/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253728337&sr=1-1
    and it’s awesome. It can be made in about 10 mins in a stand mixer in the AM before going to work, and then can rise all day in the fridge. My tomato sauce recipe comes from a friend
    http://www.blork.org/blorkblog/2008/10/26/saturday-pizza-night/
    and is no-cook & takes 5 minutes. Great on pasta too.
    Tomato Sauce:
    1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
    2-3 tbsp olive oil
    salt & pepper
    oregano (fresh if you’ve got it, but dried works too).
    Drain the liquid out of the tomatoes (ie. using a colander) for 5-15 mins. Whiz it all up with a hand blender and you’re done!
    Then it’s all about the toppings, so you can customize as you please. Just takes a little chopping and grating, and you’re done.
    Our favorites: mushrooms, kalamata olives, prosciutto (when we’re feeling decadent), arugula & mozza.
    So, just stretch out your pizza by hand, add the sauce & all toppings except arugula. Bake in a 450F or 500F oven (ideally on a pizza stone, but a cookie sheet works too) for 8-10 mins. Add on washed, uncooked arugula after the pizza comes out of the oven.
    Yum. We all (DS, 15 month old DS & I) love it. The crusts make good teething ‘biscuits’.

  76. Reference: WOHM but with very early hours, 4 1/2 yr old boy twins, plus husband. Boys are not very picky on the most part. I like to cook.Our go to’s:
    1. Roasted Chicken (whole), roasted butternut squash (one of my boy’s favorite things to eat), a steamed grean veggie (typically either green beans or broccoli). My boys like cold cooked veggies so I always make extras for other evenings. This meal takes awhile to cook but does not entail a lot of work. I just put it together as soon as I get home, pop it in the oven, and then go play with the boys. About an hour in, the BN squash is done. About an hour and half the chicken is done.
    2. Tacos. Found a homemade recipe from Cook’s Magazine (I think) that is so much better than the packet and practically just as easy. The boys LOVE having all the bowls of add-ins at the table and assembling their tacos themselves.
    3. Pancakes and scrambled eggs. This is my go-to when I don’t have any meat in the fridge. Boys love these.
    4. Grilled salmon. Super fast, easy and healthy. I’ll add a steamed green veggie and either brown rice (if I plan ahead and give myself enough time to let it cook) or roasted cut up potatoes (using mandoline, thinly slice fingerling potatoes, toss in some olive oil, add some salt, some fresh rosemary and roast in oven for about 30-45 minutes)
    5. BN squash soup – I have this amazing BN squash, tangerine (or orange) soup recipe that only takes about 30-45 minutes but all of that is not hands-on. Makes for a good vegetarian night.

  77. Reference: WOHM but with very early hours, 4 1/2 yr old boy twins, plus husband. Boys are not very picky on the most part. I like to cook.Our go to’s:
    1. Roasted Chicken (whole), roasted butternut squash (one of my boy’s favorite things to eat), a steamed grean veggie (typically either green beans or broccoli). My boys like cold cooked veggies so I always make extras for other evenings. This meal takes awhile to cook but does not entail a lot of work. I just put it together as soon as I get home, pop it in the oven, and then go play with the boys. About an hour in, the BN squash is done. About an hour and half the chicken is done.
    2. Tacos. Found a homemade recipe from Cook’s Magazine (I think) that is so much better than the packet and practically just as easy. The boys LOVE having all the bowls of add-ins at the table and assembling their tacos themselves.
    3. Pancakes and scrambled eggs. This is my go-to when I don’t have any meat in the fridge. Boys love these.
    4. Grilled salmon. Super fast, easy and healthy. I’ll add a steamed green veggie and either brown rice (if I plan ahead and give myself enough time to let it cook) or roasted cut up potatoes (using mandoline, thinly slice fingerling potatoes, toss in some olive oil, add some salt, some fresh rosemary and roast in oven for about 30-45 minutes)
    5. BN squash soup – I have this amazing BN squash, tangerine (or orange) soup recipe that only takes about 30-45 minutes but all of that is not hands-on. Makes for a good vegetarian night.

  78. The roast chicken chimis that Birdie linked to up there are a regular go-to meal for us.I always have boxed jambalaya and turkey sausages in the freezer. I add whatever veggies are lying around (or a bag of frozen mixed veggies), sprinkle with cheese, and serve with refrigerator biscuits.
    Pasta bake is a regular winter meal for us. Brown ground turkey, add jarred sauce and extras if desired (spices, veggies). Cook pasta. Mix it all together with a bag of preshredded moz cheese. Pour into a 9×13 pan and bake till bubbly. Serve with garlic bread and salad.
    Also in winter, I like to make this bean soup:
    http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/ethnic-recipes/italian/tuscan-bean-soup.htm
    I just throw everything except the pasta into a crockpot at the beginning of the day. I’ve made it on the stovetop, too, and that’s good. I always have a loaf of fresh baked Costco bread in the freezer and I slice it, add some cheese, and stick the pan under the broiler to make cheesy toast.
    Here is my alternate soup recipe:
    http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/10/day-305.html
    Breakfast is always popular with us, too: pancakes, sausages, and home fries if I’ve got some extra time.

  79. The roast chicken chimis that Birdie linked to up there are a regular go-to meal for us.I always have boxed jambalaya and turkey sausages in the freezer. I add whatever veggies are lying around (or a bag of frozen mixed veggies), sprinkle with cheese, and serve with refrigerator biscuits.
    Pasta bake is a regular winter meal for us. Brown ground turkey, add jarred sauce and extras if desired (spices, veggies). Cook pasta. Mix it all together with a bag of preshredded moz cheese. Pour into a 9×13 pan and bake till bubbly. Serve with garlic bread and salad.
    Also in winter, I like to make this bean soup:
    http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/ethnic-recipes/italian/tuscan-bean-soup.htm
    I just throw everything except the pasta into a crockpot at the beginning of the day. I’ve made it on the stovetop, too, and that’s good. I always have a loaf of fresh baked Costco bread in the freezer and I slice it, add some cheese, and stick the pan under the broiler to make cheesy toast.
    Here is my alternate soup recipe:
    http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/10/day-305.html
    Breakfast is always popular with us, too: pancakes, sausages, and home fries if I’ve got some extra time.

  80. @meggiemooHow do you manage with pizza and the gluten thing? Curious, cos I’m actually allergic to wheat( and corn and buck wheat) but you wouldn’t know it from what I eat.

  81. @meggiemooHow do you manage with pizza and the gluten thing? Curious, cos I’m actually allergic to wheat( and corn and buck wheat) but you wouldn’t know it from what I eat.

  82. I know a number of other moms on here are doing Gluten-Free, so I thought I’d join in the fun. I am also all about only dirtying one pan whenever possible.1) Omelets: I do a bunch of vegetable bits (whatever is in the fridge) in olive oil while I grate the cheese, beat the eggs, and dice any leftover meat or deli meat we have. Pour the veggies onto a place, do the eggs until semi-firm, fill, fold and brown. Easiest thing I make and everyone loves it.
    2)Gluten free pasta–I add frozen chicken tenders with the water, bring to boil, add gluten free pasta, then as pasta approaches al dente, I add vegetables either frozen or fresh, and as soon as they are al dente, drain everything and toss with jarred pesto or jarred tomato sauce. If you want to get fancy, you can sprinkle grated cheese on top and broil to make a faux casserole.
    3)The curry sauce from Cost Co is gluten free (in the fridge section) and we can usually get four meals out of it. DH makes this on his nights–brown chicken, add vegetables when prodded, add sauce, water down sauce with equal quantity of yogurt. Serve with corn tortillas or instant brown rice or oven fries (his favorite combo)
    4)Garlic Chicken. I love this because it is absolutely no work at all. Take frozen or fresh chicken–whatever you have, breasts, thighs, tenders. About 1.5 pounds or so. Put it in a rectangular baking dish, add olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and about a head of garlic, peeled but not diced (it is going to get all tender and mild, trust me). Cover with foil. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes for fresh chicken, or about 40 minutes for frozen. Check to make sure it’s done. Serve. If you roast vegetables in the oven for your side dish, you can leave the kichen while everything cooks. WIN.
    4)The salmon burgers from cost co are hugely popular here. No need for buns–just serve with tons of veggies and a salad.

  83. I know a number of other moms on here are doing Gluten-Free, so I thought I’d join in the fun. I am also all about only dirtying one pan whenever possible.1) Omelets: I do a bunch of vegetable bits (whatever is in the fridge) in olive oil while I grate the cheese, beat the eggs, and dice any leftover meat or deli meat we have. Pour the veggies onto a place, do the eggs until semi-firm, fill, fold and brown. Easiest thing I make and everyone loves it.
    2)Gluten free pasta–I add frozen chicken tenders with the water, bring to boil, add gluten free pasta, then as pasta approaches al dente, I add vegetables either frozen or fresh, and as soon as they are al dente, drain everything and toss with jarred pesto or jarred tomato sauce. If you want to get fancy, you can sprinkle grated cheese on top and broil to make a faux casserole.
    3)The curry sauce from Cost Co is gluten free (in the fridge section) and we can usually get four meals out of it. DH makes this on his nights–brown chicken, add vegetables when prodded, add sauce, water down sauce with equal quantity of yogurt. Serve with corn tortillas or instant brown rice or oven fries (his favorite combo)
    4)Garlic Chicken. I love this because it is absolutely no work at all. Take frozen or fresh chicken–whatever you have, breasts, thighs, tenders. About 1.5 pounds or so. Put it in a rectangular baking dish, add olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and about a head of garlic, peeled but not diced (it is going to get all tender and mild, trust me). Cover with foil. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes for fresh chicken, or about 40 minutes for frozen. Check to make sure it’s done. Serve. If you roast vegetables in the oven for your side dish, you can leave the kichen while everything cooks. WIN.
    4)The salmon burgers from cost co are hugely popular here. No need for buns–just serve with tons of veggies and a salad.

  84. Brown Basmati rice & on the side edamame soy beans (shelled). I’ll often add cucumer wheels and other raw veggies. Top it all off with yogurt, fruit and some sha sha cookies (Canadian organice cookies – very yummy)Other favourites include Chinese style chicken corn soup:
    Boil chicken broth, cream style corn, some frozen corn niblets, and leftover chicken meat shredded. When done, crack an egg in and stir. Add salt and garlic powder to taste. I serve this with brown basmati rice.
    “Breakfast for supper” –
    My kids love oatmeal so if I’m in a real crunch I’ll cook some oatmeal, scrambled eggs, fresh fruits, yogurt.

  85. Brown Basmati rice & on the side edamame soy beans (shelled). I’ll often add cucumer wheels and other raw veggies. Top it all off with yogurt, fruit and some sha sha cookies (Canadian organice cookies – very yummy)Other favourites include Chinese style chicken corn soup:
    Boil chicken broth, cream style corn, some frozen corn niblets, and leftover chicken meat shredded. When done, crack an egg in and stir. Add salt and garlic powder to taste. I serve this with brown basmati rice.
    “Breakfast for supper” –
    My kids love oatmeal so if I’m in a real crunch I’ll cook some oatmeal, scrambled eggs, fresh fruits, yogurt.

  86. @paola…haha, yes, the pizza issue. The problem with pizza (I mean, the problem other than “that I love it”) is that it’s especially high in gluten, to make the dough stretchy.I’m not a fan of gluten-free products (gluten-free pizza dough and pancakes, bleh), so I’ll either a) go all gluteny, enjoy the pizza and pay for it the next day (I don’t have celiacs, obviously, or I wouldn’t even do that) or b) order chicken fingers with the pizza and have those instead.
    But I do love pizza, so once in a while, I’ll eat it. And pay the next day. :o)

  87. @paola…haha, yes, the pizza issue. The problem with pizza (I mean, the problem other than “that I love it”) is that it’s especially high in gluten, to make the dough stretchy.I’m not a fan of gluten-free products (gluten-free pizza dough and pancakes, bleh), so I’ll either a) go all gluteny, enjoy the pizza and pay for it the next day (I don’t have celiacs, obviously, or I wouldn’t even do that) or b) order chicken fingers with the pizza and have those instead.
    But I do love pizza, so once in a while, I’ll eat it. And pay the next day. :o)

  88. @meggiemooyeah, I know what you mean. I’m also allergic ( the list really is endless)to the sulphides in wine, but can not resist a glass( or three!) when I go out. The next day I’m a wreck, even if I’ve taken a anti-histamine as a buffer.

  89. @meggiemooyeah, I know what you mean. I’m also allergic ( the list really is endless)to the sulphides in wine, but can not resist a glass( or three!) when I go out. The next day I’m a wreck, even if I’ve taken a anti-histamine as a buffer.

  90. @paola…my DH has issues with gluten as well…the last time we had pizza, his allergies were horrible the next day. BUT we all sort of agreed the pizza had been worth it. :o)

  91. @paola…my DH has issues with gluten as well…the last time we had pizza, his allergies were horrible the next day. BUT we all sort of agreed the pizza had been worth it. :o)

  92. Awesome ideas for quick ‘n dirty meals, everyone. Thanks!My husband and I both work two part-time jobs (thank you, economy) so by dinner time we are fried. We have a 14mo son who is in daycare all day and when we all get home we just want to spend time together. This dinner is perfect, because while it takes time to bake, the prep time is only about 5 minutes. And I can even prep while holding my son 😉
    We get boneless, skinless chicken thighs from our local grocer, put them into a casserole dish and cover with an oil-based salad dressing (my current favorite is Annie’s Woodstock dressing). Bake at 350* for about 45. This then gives us time to play with Little Man and hang out. We steam some broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots for a side dish. Easy. And my son will eat it all, too.

  93. Awesome ideas for quick ‘n dirty meals, everyone. Thanks!My husband and I both work two part-time jobs (thank you, economy) so by dinner time we are fried. We have a 14mo son who is in daycare all day and when we all get home we just want to spend time together. This dinner is perfect, because while it takes time to bake, the prep time is only about 5 minutes. And I can even prep while holding my son 😉
    We get boneless, skinless chicken thighs from our local grocer, put them into a casserole dish and cover with an oil-based salad dressing (my current favorite is Annie’s Woodstock dressing). Bake at 350* for about 45. This then gives us time to play with Little Man and hang out. We steam some broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots for a side dish. Easy. And my son will eat it all, too.

  94. Boxed vegetable soups from Trader Joe’s are fantastic and we all love them. Tomato, vegetable bisque, butternut squash, roasted red pepper. I do all sorts of things–add rice, or pasta and/or cooked meat like chicken or hamburger, and you’ve got an entree. Make quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches in the panini press and serve with the soup, carrot sticks, and/or a salad.I also try to keep cooked chicken breasts on hand, because I can make tons of things with them. Sandwiches, quesadillas, add sliced chicken to salads, add it to macaroni and cheese, drop it into Trader Joe’s Masala simmer sauce and ladle over rice.
    My go-to pasta dish is fast and super easy: Boil 1/2 box pasta of your choice (8 oz. dry). While the pasta is boiling, open 2 cans of tuna packed in olive oil, and one bag of baby spinach. Get a lemon ready to squeeze. Drain the pasta, and save 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the noodles back to the hot pasta pot, dump in all the spinach, flake in the tuna and the oil, and pour about 1/2 cup of the pasta water in, and start stirring so the spinach will wilt. Squeeze the whole lemon into the pot, then add salt and pepper to your taste. Add a little more olive oil and/or pasta water if you want to moisten it a bit more. Grate some Parmesan over the top if you like. DONE. Start to finish maybe 20 minutes.

  95. Boxed vegetable soups from Trader Joe’s are fantastic and we all love them. Tomato, vegetable bisque, butternut squash, roasted red pepper. I do all sorts of things–add rice, or pasta and/or cooked meat like chicken or hamburger, and you’ve got an entree. Make quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches in the panini press and serve with the soup, carrot sticks, and/or a salad.I also try to keep cooked chicken breasts on hand, because I can make tons of things with them. Sandwiches, quesadillas, add sliced chicken to salads, add it to macaroni and cheese, drop it into Trader Joe’s Masala simmer sauce and ladle over rice.
    My go-to pasta dish is fast and super easy: Boil 1/2 box pasta of your choice (8 oz. dry). While the pasta is boiling, open 2 cans of tuna packed in olive oil, and one bag of baby spinach. Get a lemon ready to squeeze. Drain the pasta, and save 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the noodles back to the hot pasta pot, dump in all the spinach, flake in the tuna and the oil, and pour about 1/2 cup of the pasta water in, and start stirring so the spinach will wilt. Squeeze the whole lemon into the pot, then add salt and pepper to your taste. Add a little more olive oil and/or pasta water if you want to moisten it a bit more. Grate some Parmesan over the top if you like. DONE. Start to finish maybe 20 minutes.

  96. Our go-to meals are homemade mac/cheese and chicken and yellow rice.mac-n-cheese sauce is:
    1/2 cup flour
    1/2 stick butter
    2 cups milk
    2 cups extra sharp cheddar
    mix/microwave 5 min at a time stirring in between while the noodles cook. Serve with applesauce.
    Chicken and Yellow rice is just as easy!
    1 bag Vigo Yellow Rice (saffron) cooked as directed
    1 lb chicken cut into pieces and browned – add to rice when meat is cooked to infuse meat with spices
    Serve with green olives and avocado slices!

  97. Our go-to meals are homemade mac/cheese and chicken and yellow rice.mac-n-cheese sauce is:
    1/2 cup flour
    1/2 stick butter
    2 cups milk
    2 cups extra sharp cheddar
    mix/microwave 5 min at a time stirring in between while the noodles cook. Serve with applesauce.
    Chicken and Yellow rice is just as easy!
    1 bag Vigo Yellow Rice (saffron) cooked as directed
    1 lb chicken cut into pieces and browned – add to rice when meat is cooked to infuse meat with spices
    Serve with green olives and avocado slices!

  98. Everyone in my family loves what we call “roni soup.” It is pretty quick and easy, fairly healthy and hearty and it makes a lot and can be frozen. I will make triple batches of this without the pasta and freeze and defrost to serve with fresh bread and a salad. You can freeze it with the pasta in, but I like adding it fresh. It is good leftover, although you might need to add liquid bc the pasta absorbs the waster and it goes in a thermos to lunch a lot with my daughter.Take 1 package of round steak (about 3/4 lb but this recipe is flexible if you have more/less) cut up into bite size pieces which is easier to do when only semi drfrosted.
    Heat a soup pot, add some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and then sizzle the meat until browned (2-3) mins.
    Add three cans of low sodium beef broth and three cans of water, one can of petite dixed tomatoes (the soup sized can 12 oz?) with the juice (can be fresh cut up roma tomatoes if you have them)
    Add in one medium sized onion decided and then whatever other veggies your family likes. We use a large handful of sliced baby carrots and usually a zucchini or yellow squash or both but you can really add anything. The onion and tomatoes as the only key veggies.
    Add salt, pepper, garlic (i usually use 3 trader joes frozen garlic cubes/cloves but we like spicy and thekey ingredient–several good shakes of tobasco or red pepper flakes. It needs this even if you think you don’t like spicy. You can adjust to taste but at least add a little–trust me.
    Simmer for 1/2 hour or more. The moreyou simmer, the more the beef is melt in your mouth.
    10 mins before serving, add 1/2 box of small pasta (I use barilla elbows).
    Serve with romano or parmesan cheese sprinkled on top of the bowls.
    I also do a lot of crockpot recipes, like pork and sauerkraut, beef and noodles, bbq chicken or pot roast, breakfast for dinner, roasted chicken, pork chops, tacos, etc. I make my own pasta sauce on the weekends and freeze it. I will make lasagnas or stufed shells, meatballs, etc. atthe same time and freeze them too. We have some pasta option with that at least once a week. My kids also really like the mystic frozen pizza from costco, which is very likely to make an apppearence if one of the grown-ups is out of town and the other does not feel like cooking. I am lucky because I work out of the house, so I have a little more time than most to make dinner.

  99. Spaghetti & meatballs (or sausage) is a favorite of my kids. I try to always have a package of Jennie-o turkey Italian sausage in the freezer. I also make up huge batches of meatballs to have in the freezer. So I grab one of those meat options, boil the pasta, heat up some jarred sauce and dinner is ready. I am not a big fan of pasta so I usually just eat the sausage/meatballs in sauce with a salad.FYI – Costco has a pretty good frozen spinach ravioli that we like as well.
    Tacos are another go-to for our family. As are fajitas. In the summer, I’ll marinate skirt steak and grill but in the winter I just saute chicken tenders with bell peppers and onions in a skillet. Plus you can use the extra fajita fixings diced in quesadillas for lunch the next day.
    My kids also love this version of shepherd’s pie that I make although they call it hamburger pie. It requires a little more advance prep for a weeknight dinner but everyone loves it and leftovers reheat great!
    Brown 1 pound of ground beef (sometimes I used ground bison as its leaner) with 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped carrot. I usually get the meat mostly browned before throwing in the veggies. Drain the meat. Then sprinkle a couple tablespoons over the meat and stir until everything is well combined before adding 1 cup of beef broth (I used the kind in the cardboard carton but canned low-sodium is fine). Cook over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes until thickened. Add 2-3 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce. Turn off heat and stir in 1/2 cup frozen peas. Pour meat mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes (potatoes, sour cream, butter) covering the meat completely. Then grate some cheddar cheese on top to taste. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
    Sounds like a lot of work but you can assemble it ahead of time and just pop in the oven. Or sometimes on the weekend, I’ll make the meat mixture and a batch of mashed potatoes then freeze each separated to make for a quick weeknight dinner.

  100. Great idea! We have many but here is a current fave.Cut up and throw into a bowl in whatever proportions you want:
    -cooked chicken breast (I buy a cooked bbq chicken and use that)
    -red pepper
    -avocado
    -corn
    -cilantro
    -green onion
    Drizzle with some olive oil, fresh lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh bread, if you are a carb addict like me. So easy and so good!

  101. Easy meals that everyone will eat are hard to come by, but there are a few:– baked potatoes (with steamed broccoli, beans, bacon, or other toppings.) If you microwave them for 10 minutes and bake them for 20 they are crispy and done all the way through.
    — waffles or pancakes with fruit
    — “snack food night” (salami, cheese, crackers, veggies, etc)
    — quesadillas with chicken, shrimp, or beans
    That’s it. Other than that, I have tons of meals I love to cook and that are 30 minutes or less, but nothing that everyone is guaranteed to eat. Come on, I have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, it’s Control Central around here. 🙂
    Also, I was just diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance, so I have to cut way back on carbs. Any ideas?

  102. This is a great post! I can’t wait to finish reading all the recipes. I tried making rice balls last night, and both of my kids (who are not big meat fans, ages 11 months & 2.5) gobbled them up. Not the easiest thing, but not complicated either.Cook 1/2 C. short grain brown rice (I cooked mine in chicken broth for extra flavor). Toss 1 cooked, chopped chicken breast in the food processor. Put into bowl. Add 1/4 C. Shredded cheese. You can “hide” chopped spinach, broccoli, or other veggie in here too. I added a little finely diced onion for flavor.
    When the rice is done, mix it into the cheese/chicken/veggie mixture and form into balls. Then dip the balls into beaten egg & bread crumbs. Heat small amt of oil in a pan and cook for about 6-8 minutes, turning to cook each side.
    A little labor intensive, but not if you have the ingredients (cooked rice, cooked chicken) premade in your fridge. My kids loved them, and it was so nice to have them eating rice/cheese/veggies/chicken in a single, tasty dish.

  103. Lamb Meatloaf is very popular in my house. The prep time takes five minutes and I will often have enough leftovers so that lunch is taken care of for the next couple of days.1 Lb of ground lamb
    1.5 Tbs ground cumin
    1 tsp oregano
    1 tsp sage
    1/2 tsp sweet paprika
    dash of salt & pepper
    3 cloves of garlic crushed (sometimes more)
    1 Tbs worstershire sauce
    1 egg
    ketchup
    bread crumbs/uncooked oatmeal
    I am not exact about the ketchup or the bread crumbs. It is a matter of going with what looks right at a given time. Pretty much mash up the dry ingredients with the meat. Add the wet ingredients and mix well. Add enough bread crumbs/oats until it binds together nicely. Sometimes I will take a quarter of the meatloaf mixture and make some meatballs and cook them up in the oven, cool them and freeze them. I end up with a nice collection of meatballs over time so I can toss them into soup or pasta another day. One thing I do sometimes with leftover meatloaf is chop it up and use it for a spaghetti sauce. (kind of a haphazard bolognese that turns out really really well.) One pound of meat stretched into possibly four meals for three people. I usually pair this baked potatoes and sliced up veggies or a salad.
    Another favorite quick dinner is lemon chicken with pasta. Saute garlic and a cut up chicken breast (I am fond of stretching meat rather thin because no one needs to eat a great deal of meat) You do this while you have some rotini cooking. Add lemon juice (maybe a splash of pinot grigio) a bit of salt/pepper and finish it up with a a pat of butter. It should be a creamy thin sauce. I will sometimes add capers or toss in some frozen blanched green beans. (that way they don’t need to cook long) Combine with the pasta and then grate parmesan on top. And then a quick spinach salad (with chevre, dried fruit and walnuts) and maybe some fresh sliced veggies (like red bell pepper which are popular)

  104. Our go to meal is packet risotto – the kind with the nasty powder the makes the cheesy sauce. Takes 15mins to cook once water has boiled. Add some powdered garlic & black pepper when cooking and a bit of grated cheese at the end to make it taste less fake. Serve with cooked froz veges (microwave steamed so it doesn’t make washing up) and protein grilled while the risotto was cooking – salmon, chook, meatballs, pork sausages – whatever the toddler is tolerating lately. If really lazy then a can of tuna or salmon get thrown in instead, or leftover bbq chook.Risotto is one of the few meals our fussy (and skinny) toddler will eat, so we have variations of it several times a week. Other days we have rice in the ricecooker (rice must be sticking together, not separate, for him to eat it) instead of the risotto. But that takes longer from start-to-finish even tho no more effort. Sometimes use V8 vege juice instead of water in the ricecooker to make “red rice” (and sneak in some more vege serves).
    On days that we have had sushi for lunch then I prefer not to have rice again for dinner. Then we usually have pasta instead – toddler will eat it plain with no sauce, and we add a jar of pasta sauce (and a dash of worcestershire & soy sauces) to ours. (plus vege and grilled protein)
    Fussy toddler won’t eat most of the other quick ideas here – anything with eggs, mac&cheese, mexican, beans, pasta with sauce, chicken nuggets, salad, etc, are all big no-nos. But I am fussy too, so I sympathise (and my fussy meal quirks make things just as difficult as his do).

  105. Here are my quick fix recipes:CRANBERRY CHICKEN (SLOW COOKER):
    1 cup of Kraft Catalina dressing
    1 package of onion soup mix
    1 cup of cranberry sauce
    Add 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This week I made the recipe using a pork roast which I cut into thick slices.
    Cook on low for 6-8 hours. We serve this with Stovetop stuffing or mashed potatoes, other veggies, and more cranberry sauce on the side.
    CRISPY CALAMARI LINGUINE (For the adults)
    Cook linguine as per package instructions. Make a mixture of crushed garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, a touch of salt (I use garlic salt), grated lemon rind (if you have it) and a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
    Meanwhile, put some store-bought breaded frozen calamari in the oven. The ones I buy usually take around 10 minutes to bake, which is about the same time it takes to make the pasta.
    Top the linguine with the calamari, spritz with lemon juice and parmesan cheese. This is good with a side salad.

  106. Easy beef stroganoff.I have a 21 month old who is hit or miss with food, at least she will eat the noodles!
    Brown a sliced onion, clove of garlic with butter or oil with 1 lb cubed beef (left overs work great too, I just get a cut of whatever is on sale or use ground beef).
    Add a couple tbsp of flour and mushrooms (canned is easy – I don’t like mushrooms, so I don’t use them).
    Add one can of cream of mushroom soup, and 1 cup chicken broth until a creamy consistency.
    Simmer for a few minutes, add salt and pepper to taste
    1 cup sour cream to the mix before serving.
    Serve over egg noodles.
    Takes about 20 minutes.
    Thanks for all the great ideas, I have been in a rut, so anything new and easy is appreciated!!

  107. I have to admit – I don’t cook. I can prepare a salad, but otherwise… DH’s go-to meal, however, is eggs. Egg burritos, frittata, tortilla de patatas, scrambles, omelettes, etc. It also allows us to fill up with veggies that are included in the dish, which provides less of a nix factor from our 2 yo than if they are a side dish.He also uses our rice cooker to make quinoa at least once a week, and adds leftover proteins & random veggies to make “happy family superprotein stirfry.” We usually have roast chicken once a week, and pernil or pork from the slowcooker. And Friday night is pizza night!

  108. Loved reading all the posts!!1. Sausage Pasta. Sausage in casing push out and crumble in pan of olive oil, garlic till brown add Contadina crushed tomato’s with puree simmer and add a little cream at the end toss with pasta. We add crushed pepper but its just us eating it. This is super easy and always get rave reviews.
    2. Mint Omelets. Saute mint in butter add eggs and crumble goat cheese on top till melted a bit, serve with salad or greens.
    3. Rotisserie Chicken either on top of salad again for adults my 12 month old DS is just starting solids. We also are a recent fan of enchilada’s: shred the chicken, dip corn tortillas in enchilada sauce layer with beans, tomato’s, cheese, chicken bake till bubbly. I serve it with cilantro rice: chopped cilantro in basmati rice with a squeeze of lime.
    4. Cooking light has a no chop chili that I usually make with turkey but its cheap, fast and tasty.
    This might all change next year when I have a kid who eats with us and in anticipation I just got the book feeding the whole family! Enjoying it thus far.

  109. This is great – I’ve copy-and-pasted a ton of recipes/meal ideas for later use!Our bottom-line go to meal is (drum roll please):
    Annie’s mac-n-cheese with frozen peas. I made real homemade m-n-c once and it was delicious and P HATED it. A lot. I’m sad about that. We don’t have a microwave but even on the stove it’s only 5-10 minutes, and she can almost make it herself now.
    Other quick-n-dirty standards include:
    • frozen pierogies with frozen peas (again)
    • spaghetti and sauce w/cut up sausage (I usually try to get sausage with spinach in it so I can rationalize not making her eat all her broccoli or whatever)
    • soup (she loves Progresso Italian Wedding Soup, I think blech. I love my own homemade chicken soup, she thinks bleck. On lucky days we both get to have the kind we like)
    • quesadillas. You guys are all fancy with your quesadillas! Wow… I just stick a tortilla in a pan, cover it with shredded cheese and another tortilla, heat for a couple of minutes and call it a day. Serve with salsa/sour cream, carrot and/or celery sticks, and we’re done.
    • stir fried rice noodles with veggies and chicken and peanut or curry sauce. This was IT for a while but I’m kind of sick of it now, so it’s been out of the rotation lately.
    • tortellini with alfredo. If you throw in a package of frozen spinach while you cook the pasta you’re done.
    All of these get served with a rotating round of veggies: Frozen peas (have I mentioned those? I also love throwing a handful into hot soup – cools the soup down, and you get to have peas in your soup!), blanched broccoli, green beans (P loves green beans – I have to remember to make them more often), asparagus with a lemon vinaigrette that is way popular, carrots and ranch, sauteed zucchini/yellow squash.
    I wish we had more salad, but the sad truth is it’s impossible to buy ingredients for only one and a half people, and it just doesn’t last long enough. I shouldn’t be so picky about leftovers but slimy lettuce is anathema to me so it never seems worth it to buy, prep, and assemble multiple salad ingredients. Too much is wasted. Sometimes I get the caesar in a bag salads but those are prone to slimy/brown lettuce too, gag.
    I like cooking more exotic/complicated meals, but when my stress goes up the ability to plan and make a meal goes way down, as well as the fact that it takes too long, so mostly the above is how we go. Once in a while (more in the winter of course) I roast a chicken, make mashed potatoes, etc., then we eat leftovers for a while, then I make soup, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. I also crockpot occasionally but the meat always ends up dry and unpalatable so I’m down on that now too, need to start doing beans in it.

  110. Wow, love these ideas! Some of our favorites around here:*Crockpot BBQ chicken wraps: In the morning, put 2 boneless chicken breasts and a jar of BBQ sauce (we especially like Annie’s maple) in the crockpot, on low. 5 minutes before you want to eat, grate some jack cheese, slice an avocado, and shred the chicken/BBQ sauce mixture. Wrap it all up in a flour tortilla. Messy, but yum. (Haven’t tried this one on the toddler, since we mostly don’t do the crock pot in the summer.)
    *Honolulu Skillet Beans — based on a recipe in Moosewood Cooks at Home (love that cookbook, btw!) Chop a bit of onion, saute in olive oil. Add a can of crushed pineapple (including its juice) and 2 cans (drained & rinsed) of beans — we especially like black or aduki. Slice up some pre-cooked sausage (kielbasa is especially yummy) and add that. Finally mix 1-2 T each of catsup, mustard, hoisin sauce, sesame seeds, plus some cumin and crated orange peel and add it to the pot. Simmer a bit to let it get acquainted, slice some nice sharp cheddar cheese, some bread, and have some applesauce and/or the rest of the orange whose peel you used to have alongside. For this one, we save out some sausage and beans (as well as bread, cheese, and applesauce) to feed the anti-sauce toddler. Takes about 20-30 minutes.
    *Lemon chicken with rosemary orzo. (From the Colorado Colore cookbook.) Slice up a zucchini or two, a couple of smallish tomatoes, and maybe a bit of onion, some green or red pepper, and any other veggie that inspires you. Slice up a couple of (raw) boneless chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Saute the chicken in some olive oil with some paprika. Add orzo and chicken broth (the recipe says 1 1/3 cup orzo and a 14 oz can of broth), and simmer until the orzo is mostly cooked and the liquid is mostly absorbed — maybe 10 minutes. Add the veggies. Simmer another 5 minutes or so. Add some capers, rosemary (fresh is especially yummy), and a bit of lemon juice.
    This one is toddler-approved in our house, so long as the component parts are separated from one another — no orzo touching the chicken, please! We also sometimes make this with quinoa instead of orzo — it takes a bit longer (maybe 15-20 minutes of simmering in the first step) but it’s a nice change of pace and is gluten-free so we can feed it to my MIL. Total time: about 30 minutes, or 40 with quinoa. Less if 1 parent can start the chicken while the other chops veggies.

  111. Lately, the only thing my entire family can agree on sometimes is “Brinner” or Breakfast For Dinner. Our other favorite go-to meal is black beans and rice. I steam white rice, brown smoked sausage with onions and peppers, mix it all together and add a can of black beans and some Cajun seasoning. It’s ready in about 20 minutes and we always have enough leftovers for lunch the next day.My son would eat nothing but bowtie pasta and marinara sauce for every single meal if we’d let him. Then again, so would I…

  112. I try to cook things from scratch if/when I can (meaning weekends only) but on weekdays at least part of our meal comes from a jar or is pre-made in some way. I use a lot of storebought sauces to keep meals interesting. Not the best for you I know but not that bad either.One thing I always keep on hand is frozen pre-cooked meatballs. Pre-cooked meats are usually pretty gross but the meatballs are actually quite good, and you can do them up in so many ways in 15 min or less. For example:
    1. Spagetti & meatballs with storebought pasta sauce. Serve with salad.
    2. Sweet & Sour meatballs, with sauteed bell peppers, canned pineapple chunks, served over rice or noodles. Again I use a storebought sauce.
    3. Meatball subs. Toss the meatballs in pizza sauce (can you say storebought sauce?), slap on some hot dog buns (or hamburger buns, or any bun or bread) sprinkle with mozza cheeze and broil. Serve with carrot sticks.
    To re-heat the meatballs, I pop them from frozen into a frying pan with a splash of water, put on a lid, and kind of steam-fry them until hot all the way through.
    I have lots of other quick meals but can’t post absolutely everying… one tip for quick meals is to pick a meat that cooks quickly. On weekends I’ll cook a full ham, but on weekdays its ham steaks in the frying pan (5 mins).
    Fish cooks incredibly fast even from frozen. Take any piece of fish (salmon, sole, whatever), put it on a piece of aluminum foil, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper, squirt with lemon juice, wrap up in foil and bake or bbq on high heat (450F). 20 mins if frozen, 10 if thawed. Yummy!

  113. The three go-to dinners here that are my 7-y-o DD’s faves are:(1) Pasta with Salmon, Peas and Cream: boil pasta, meanwhile, saute some garlic, pour in some cream, add salt & pepper and simmer a bit; add frozen peas to pasta for last couple of minutes, drain & toss with cream and sliced smoked salmon
    (2) MYO burritos: I usually saute sliced chicken or shrimp with peppers and onions in fajita seasoning, then we put together our own burriots with that + beans (heated up canned veg refried), salsa, cheese, lettuce, etc. … (MYO is great for kids I think – let’s them have some control.)
    (3) Asian-ey chicken tofu noodle soup: boil fresh chinese egg noodles in a broth made from veg soup base + soy, fish sauce, rice vinegar, add cubed firm tofu (we can get a delish spicy baked tofu @ an Asian grocery here), scallions and sliced bok choy.

  114. Assemble yourself vietnamese spring rolls. If your kids are too young, you can assemble yourself beforehand, of course.Fillings can be whatever your crew like. I do a shredded rotisserie chicken, some shredded carrot, green onion, snow peas, avocado, lettuce, corriander/cilantro/mint. But anything will work.
    Soak some rice stick/rice noodles in boiling water until soft, drain and include with filling choices.
    Large round rice paper sheets.
    To assemble:
    Dip the rice paper rounds in tepid water (a wide, shallow bowl works well). If your bowl is smaller than the paper, just dip the edges and keep rotating around until the entire sheet has been moistened. Just a quick dip will do. The sheet won’t be soft. It should still feel stiff. It will soften by the time you roll, so don’t worry.
    Lay the sheet flat. Place filling in upper third of the round. Fold like a burrito (top of round over filling, sides in, then continue rolling down until you run out of rice paper.
    Eat!
    Dipping sauce can be a peanut sauce (bottled) or, if you avoid nuts like we do, try soy or, my favorite, a rice wine vinegar-chili-garlic combo.
    It’s so fresh tasting and easy you’ll wonder why you don’t do this every day. Love love love.

  115. I use a monthly planner which I got from here:http://www.vertex42.com/
    And between family favourites and http://www.taste.com.au/ I make a monthly planner which we mostly stick to.
    Possum (nearly 5 yrs) is extra fussy and wheat intollerant but will almost always eat:
    wheat-free past with either bolognaise sauce (i blend in extra veg) or carbonara sauce (less veg but faster). i try to have some bolognaise sauce in the freezer.
    pizza with any combination of ham, cheese ad pineapple. I try to have wheat-free bases in the freezer (homemade).
    poached eggs.
    beef or chicken stir-fry, provided there are no veg. I put the rice on in the rice cooker, and then throw together meat, onion, garlic, ginger and whatever sauces i have in the cupboard. atm that is black been sauce, soy sauce, sugar. i do veg separate for DH and i. stir-fry is done by the time rice is cooked.
    when all else fails, Possum will always eat toast with vegemite or peanut paste. Bug (9 months) is much easier to feed and will usually have a version of whatever I am eating.

  116. CG — Quick brown rice in our house comes from the freezer. Trader Joes and other stores sell it in bags in the frozen section. Or, we do it more cheaply by making up a huge batch on the stove and freezing it on cookie sheets. (Dont freeze the pot of rice as-is, or you just get a huge glob of it and it is more difficult to parse out the portion you want for one meal). Then, just a minute or so in the microwave to go along with dinner.

  117. OK, I only had time to browse, but some of our go-tos that I didn’t see (and i am right now sahm, so these are things that might take a bit to cook, but not much work):Very little is eaten by EVERYBODY, (kid 1-super picky, kid 2-allergic to all meat other than chicken, and eggs and nuts husband-hates fish and cheese) but these are, or by most….
    1)Chicken Soup with pasta…the soup is just a few pieces of chicken, i use 3 pieces of dark meat, a bunch of celery and carrots, which can be just trimmed and fork cut as serving, or cut in advance, one onion, salt, pepper, dill, bring to a boil, simmer for a while….it tastes even better reheated, and can simmer for hours on the stove….I add whatever little shape of pasta (stars, abcs, eggless egg noodles (walmart has these in the reg. pasta section), or if the kids have had chicken soup a couple of times and are starting to get bored, I will give them ramen noodles in the chicken soup, for some real excitement in their young lives. They usually will eat at least some of the vegetables and chicken, and a lot of broth, so it’s a winner
    2)chicken pieces- i put them in a baking pan, sprinkle with whatever seasoning (seasoned salt, or onion powder, garlic powder, salt,bbq spices, whatever), if i am in the mood pour a little duck sauce on, and bake in the oven..1t 375 if i am in a rush, but if i have my act together i stick it in the oven before the oldest gets home from school, and put it in on 350, or even a little lower, and let it cook for a long time, till the chicken is basically falling off the bone..one of the few things everybody in the family will eat (watch, now the picky one will reject it)…serve chicken with cut up veggies, and a side
    3)didn’t see anybody mention some of my favorite sides, polenta..from tjs, slice it up, put it on a sprayed baking sheet, sprinkle with some spices (just salt and pepper works, sometimes we like za’atar)and either spray the tops or sprinkle a little olive oil, roast at 450, takes almost no time because it is already cooked, just needs to crisp up…my kids alone can finish a package of polenta and want more…also from tjs, they have a harvest blend grain mix, which is israeli cous cous, quinoa, and some other stuff…it’s done in ten minutes, and has 6 grams of protein, so i feel like if that is all they eat some days, it’s still ok
    4)lasagna-layer in a pan-sauce, raw (whole wheat if you want) lasagna noodles, marinara sauce (store bought works!), ricotta cheese, grated cheese (i use mozched mix), usually i do 3 noodle layers, end up with sauce and grated cheese on top noodle, pour one sippy cup of water around the outside, cover well, bake at 350 for about 1 hour, then open if the noodles are tender to get the top a little crisp if desired…I love doing this, it takes no time, and the kids get a little of everything..whole wheat, tomato, cheese,
    5)homemade pizza or “homemade”..either make my own dough, with whole wheat, or, if out of time, i use costco pocketless pitas..they are delicious as pizza crust…kids pick toppings, husband gets cheeseless, i put a bunch of spinach on with my sauce and cheese..something for everyone..that’s what we have most thursday nights
    6)crock pot veggie chili-put a little tiny bit of oil on the bottom of the crock pot, then put cut onions, carrots, celery, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash..this deludes me into thinking that it is like sauteeing, which would probably be best..but if it’s going in the crockpot, i am not dirtying a saute pan first..no way. Then i put on top-1 can black beans, 1 can red, 1 cwan chickpeas, 1 can tomato sauce, 1 can diced tomatoes, and sprinkle tons of cumin, a little bit of chili pepper, etc. Then I stick 1 package of yves veggie ground meat, sprinkle it with taco seasoning, and cook the whole thing on either high or low, depending on when i am making it. this lasts for days…mbe bc only one kid really eats it…
    ok, thanks for all the great ideas everyone..must wake kids up for school

  118. OK, I’ll share with you my MIL’s (NOrthern Italian)tomato sauce recipe which is so freakin easy and delicious that you have no excuses!! ( oh, hope that doesn’t sound arrogant, it’s not meant to be). Before I met my hubby my tomato sauce was complicated and not very authentic. Now it’s easy and peasy and what the Itlalains eat.Caveat: you just need some time ( 2 hours minumum) up your sleave so if you aint got none, it won’t be the same.
    Bottled tomato sauce (or fresh cooking tomatoes which will need to be finally chopped)
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( now this is where mine differs from my MIL who goes a bit overboard with the oil, but hers is sooo much nicer than mine)
    teaspoon of suger ( reduces acidity)
    Bay leaves/rosemary/sage or all three.
    Put everything in a pan ( preferably aluminium) and cook covered on a low flame till the oil comes to the surface. Around 1/2 hour before it’s ready, let it reduce a bit with lid off.
    Note: this is a typical Milanese recipe. Other regions add other ingredients like garlic and onion or use butter.

  119. I am loving reading all these ideas!Tuna noodle casserole:
    Cook shells or macaroni; in last few minutes, add a few handfuls of frozen peas (or corn). While draining, pour 1 can cream of mushroom soup into the pasta pot and heat w/ 1 canful of milk. Stir. Add pasta and peas/corn back into pot. Add a few handfuls of shredded cheese and two cans of tuna and mix. Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste. Sometimes I serve it as is, but if I have a few more minutes, I’ll mix breadcrumbs and butter and top it, bake in oven til brown and crunchy on top.
    Rice and beans (or on nights when I need something even faster, couscous and beans, b/c couscous takes only 5 minutes) with choose-your-toppings: sliced scallions, shredded cheese, salsa, sliced black olives, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips. My 4 y.o. loves this.
    Pizza using Trader Joes’s pizza dough w/ whatever veggies I can sneak in there (diced bell peppers, fresh spinach leaves, tomatoes)
    Broiled salmon with garlic soy or hoisin marinade (jarred) and scallions. Serve w/ starch of choice.
    Or, if I have fresh herbs, I do a quick topping of minced parsley and dill, scallions, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Broil. (Even better if you have time to marinate in advance. I never do.)
    Moroccan stew in the crockpot (vegan, amounts are approximate):
    Chunks of butternut squash (I buy pre-cut, for ease) or 3-4 sweet potatoes
    1 Onion, diced
    1/2 bag of baby carrots
    clove of garlic
    lg can of diced tomatoes (I like the kind w/ onion mixed in)
    tsp cumin
    couple of shakes of cinnamon
    can of chickpeas
    Put all ingredients EXCEPT chickpeas into crockpot on low for 6 hours. Add chickpeas, stir, add salt to taste.

  120. I saw someone already mentioned the salmon patties from Costco – my kids love these! They are ready in a frying pan in 6-8 minutes. With some veggies and whole wheat toast, we have a healthy dinner in no time.We eat alot of spaghetti type pastas with tomato sauce – my husband cans tomatoes every year from my parents garden, so this is a very cheap meal for us. We make a big batch and eat the “traditional” way – sauce over the noodles. Then I cut up the remaining spaghetti noodles (or cook up any kind of other pasta), mix up with the sauce in a casserole dish and store in the fridge for a quick meal later in the week. I just top with cheese and throw in the oven.

  121. I forgot this until dinner last night! My total go-to, easy cook, she will almost always eat meal is pancakes! I use this recipe, using butter instead of shortening: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fluffy-Pancakes/Detail.aspx. I freeze any leftovers, which means that they are even quicker to make on other days.We also do the rotisserie chickens from the grocery store.
    I keep forgetting the fruit pie recipe. I’ll try to remember to post it when I get home tonight.
    @Carla Hinkle – I usually freeze a medium sized tupperware, but when I defrost it there is too much for just her and me (my husband doesn’t eat tomato sauce–not sure why he married me!). The ice cube idea is fantastic! I’m going to do that with the next sauce I make.

  122. I have a great tomato sauce recipe that I use, and I have to share it: it’s quick, easy, and tastes wonderful.1 28 oz. can tomatoes (whole, diced, crushed, whatever)
    4 TBSP butter
    Salt
    Pepper
    1/2 onion
    Dump tomatoes, butter and onion (no need to chop the onion, it is just used for flavor and will be removed at the end) into a fry pan, and simmer about 20 minutes. If you used whole tomatoes, mash the tomatoes as they heat. Stir until the tomatoes have absorbed the butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard onion and toss sauce with pasta. Top with grated parmesan. You can heat meatballs and add them. When I first heard of this, I never thought it would be good, but it really is, and tastes fresh.
    Unfortunately, there aren’t many things my son will eat. He will eat the above pasta sauce, if he has no chunks of tomato.
    I have real trouble getting him to eat vegetables (read that: he doesn’t eat any vegetables). He won’t eat mixed things (casseroles, soups, stir fry, etc.) He subsists on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Mac & Cheese, and cereal. He’s 4 years old, and has always been a picky eater.
    Maybe I’ll try some of the ideas posted here, but I have gotten to the point that I feed him chocolate zucchini cake, and thank my lucky stars that he’ll eat it because at least he’s getting a few scraps of vegetable…

  123. Thanks for all the great ideas!! We love fish tacos:Fresh scrod (Top with olive oil, salt, pepper, and broil for 10-12 minutes) or bake frozen breaded scrod accd to pkg directions
    Shredded cheddar
    Salsa
    Avocado (chop and mix w/ lime juice and hot sauce)
    Assemble on warmed corn or flour tortillas.

  124. For our laziest meal:1. pasta (penne or macaroni) with sauce.
    2. But if we have a few minutes, it’s macaroni, canned clam chowder, frozen vegetables and a can of tuna cooked and mixed together.
    3. we keep frozen parathas (S asian bread) in the fridge. an omelette with onions and spinach makes a good accompaniment

  125. Tara – the rice balls sound like something fun to add to my rotation. Could I bake them instead of fry/saute them in the pan? Thanks…

  126. Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Soup – yum!3 tablespoons olive oil
    3 small onions, diced
    6- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    3 cans (15 to 19 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    4 cups vegetable broth
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more – to taste)
    salt (to taste)
    In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion.(To save time during the week, I often buy pre-chopped onions – you can get fresh ones at Trader Joe’s in the produce section or frozen ones at any grocery store.)
    Once the onions are browned, add the garlic (I used the minced stuff in a jar), rosemary and red pepper flakes.
    Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic starts to brown, about 1 minute.
    Add the rinsed/drained chickpeas and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add veggie broth (I just use bullion cubes and water, not homemade or pre-packaged broth) and bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes or so until the beans are soft.
    If you have one of those submersible blender thingies you can blend it smooth right in the pan. Otherwise, let it cool slightly before transferring to a blender. Puree until smooth. Return to saucepan and stir in lemon juice and salt to taste.
    I can’t tell you how yummy this is and EASY!
    If I make this on the weekends when I have more time to be cooking, I’ll use the 25 minutes of simmering to make cornbread and a big salad to go with this. If it’s during the week, I’ll have my husband toss some greens with bottled vinagrette and slice some store bought crusty bread while I give our girls a bath. Twenty-five minutes is plenty of time to get them washed and into their jammies before dinner. Then we eat, brush teeth, quick story and off to bed. 🙂
    My family loves this soup so much I often make a double batch so I can pack it in lunches the following day.

  127. Here’s a really easy, colorful and yummy one:Orzo Pasta Salad
    1 package orzo (rice shaped pasta)
    1 purple onion
    1 yellow pepper
    1 red pepper
    1 green pepper
    6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1 package sundried tomatoes (dry/not in oil)
    1 package crumbled feta (plain or flavored)
    cracked black pepper to taste
    Start by putting the sundried tomatoes in a bowl of boiling water to soften and set aside.
    Chop onion and bell peppers into bite-sized chunks and put them in a large mixing bowl.
    Prepare orzo according to directions on package (boil water, cook until al dente – about 10 minutes) and drain.
    Drain/rinse sundried tomatoes.
    Add drained pasta and drained sundried tomatoes to the bowlof chopped peppers and onions and stir. Add vinegar and stir. Add feta and stir.
    Because the pasta will be warm, the feta will melt a bit and sort of coat the pasta with creamy, cheesy goodness.
    You can use plain, reduced fat, garlic and herb or whatever sort of feta floats your boat.
    A few cracks of pepper and you’re done.
    It’s delicious warm, it’s also yummy the next day as a cold pasta salad. I know this is weird, but my daughter likes to eat it in a pita pocket as a sandwich.
    If you wanted to get fancy, you could add more veggies or fresh herbs – cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, parsley – whatever sounds good.
    It’s super easy – the only thing that has to be cooked is the pasta – the veggies go in raw. It only takes about 10 minutes because you can chop the veggies while the past is cooking. It’s a great easy dish to bring to a potluck. It’s filling as a main course and makes a great side dish too. 🙂

  128. Since everyone already submitted wonderful recipes that far surpass mine, I’ll just mention that my 2.5 year old that used to be a dream to feed is now a picky monster. Almost every fresh fruit or veggie he used to love he now barely touches.Only guaranteed homemade winners for everyone are cheese quesadillas, cheese enchiladas or thin spaghetti with marinara sauce. For some reason Mr Picky won’t eat any other texture of pasta.
    Of course he’ll always go for pizza, fish sticks, kraft mac ‘n cheese (NOT homemade), and most any sandwich (turkey, PB&J, grilled cheese, ect). I wish I were a SAHM so I could have kept him from enjoying those convenience foods so much, but that’s what daycare eats everyday.

  129. Okay, here is the recipe for Quick Fruit Pie:-Melt 1/2 stick butter in baking dish.
    -Mix: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk. Stir well and pour into butter.
    -Add 1 cup (or more) of fruit. Any kind of fruit, fresh or frozen, works well.
    -Bake at 325 degrees until brown–about 30 minutes.
    It’s quick, easy and oh so delicious. Toddler loves it, and at least she’s getting some fruit!

  130. Salsa Chicken:Chicken breast, cut into chunks and cooked on a skillet
    Sauce:
    1 cup salsa
    1/2 cup orange marmalade
    1 T lime juice
    1/4 t allspice
    1 T brown sugar
    Cook that on the stovetop until it boils, pour the sauce over chicken and rice. It takes maybe 20 minutes and our kids love it.

  131. We love Tuna Tomato Pasta, which is mostly taken from my favourite cookbook, “Clueless In The Kitchen” by Evelyn Raab, which has recently been retitled “Basic Cooking.” This cookbook was written as an intro to cooking for teens and students going away from home for the first time (which is when I got my copy, now dog-eared and worn.) It has all the “basics” and focuses on cheap, nutritious, QUICK recipes. I’ve made almost every recipe in there, many of them dozens of times, and they’re all tasty.Anyways, here’s the gist of Tuna Tomato Pasta, particularly great because it’s easy to keep all the components in the cupboard.
    Throw a few Tbsps of olive oil in a skillet.
    Saute a couple of cloves of garlic.
    Add a can of diced tomatoes (we like the Italian Seasoned kind, but if you’re trying to go inexpensive, buy the plain ones and toss in some Italian-ish spices.) Then throw in a can of tuna (I like flake tuna packed in water because it comes apart easily in the sauce.) Simmer over medium-low while you cook a box of pasta – we like rotini.
    Toss it all together and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if you like.
    Voila! Dinner in 15 minutes. I take the leftovers for lunch the next day.

  132. We like the frozen buffalo burgers at Trader Joes. Fish is also quick – i put the filets in parchment or aluminum foil with some spices and lemon and a couple tbsp of water seal it up and bake it in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile I make the carb -nuke potatoes or pasta, etc and nuke some veggies.

  133. For those looking for a quick way to have brown rice, Trader Joe’s sells boxes of frozen “Organic Brown Rice” (3 packages per box) that you throw in the microwave for 3 minutes. Super fast, and I think it even tastes better than when I make “real” brown rice in the rice cooker. My local TJ’s is often sold-out, so when I see it in stock, I buy as many boxes as my freezer will hold! A great side to any meal, plus any leftovers can be thrown into a cheese-n-bean quesadilla for our 2-year old. Caution: I have also tried TJ’s shelf-stable bag of pre-cooked brown rice and was not impressed. YMMV.

  134. Throw the following together in roasting pan while oven is preheating to 400F:A few pints of grape tomatoes
    A few cloves of garlic, crushed/minced
    One eggplant, cubed (peeled if you like)
    One onion roughly chopped
    Any other assorted veggies (bell pepper, zucchini, etc) roughly chopped
    Generous amount of dried or fresh rosemary
    Generous amount of dried oregano and/or basil
    Add olive oil, salt & pepper to taste, hot pepper flakes if you like, red or white wine if you like, olives if you like
    Mix all together with your hands
    Throw in oven and roast till you it smells really good and looks really mushy – good idea to mix at some point too
    While veggies are roasting, cook pasta
    Throw veggies together with pasta, add cheese of choice if desired.
    For texture-phobes: process roasted veggies in food processor or blender till smooth before combining w/ pasta

  135. Our family of 3 (including a 4yo daughter) eats vegetarian most nights. These dinners make everyone happy.Our fastest go-to meal: Trader Joes frozen cheese pizza served with raw veggies (usually carrot, red pepper, cucumber) & apple slices on the side.
    The others take 20-30 minutes to get on the table:
    Soba noodle salad – put thinly sliced carrot, finely chopped broccoli, thinly sliced red cabbage, green onion, and diced tofu in a colander. Cook buckwheat soba noodles and drain in the colander on top of all the veggies & tofu. Mix sauce (equal parts lime juice, sesame oil, and sugar with two parts soy sauce, a dash of powdered garlic and two dashes of powdered ginger) in a large bowl, add noodles & toss to mix. Top with peanuts & cilantro. This is a very colorful dish, which is part of the appeal for our daughter.
    “Bowls” – cooked rice in a bowl topped with black beans, grated cheddar, canned corn, cooked broccoli, avocado, cherry tomatoes, green onion, cilantro, & sour cream (mixed with chipotle pepper for the adults).
    Pretend pad thai – boil rice noodles in a pot with veggies & tofu, drain off all but about 1/3 cup water. Turn heat down and add a big spoonful of peanut butter, a splash of soy sauce, a squirt of sriracha, a squirt of honey, and the juice of half a lime. Mix til the sauce is smooth and add raw spinach and/or bean sprouts at the last minute.
    “Euro pasta” – cooked & drained pasta, tossed while hot with olive oil, chopped kalamata olives, walnuts or pinenuts, feta or chevre, and raw spinach or arugula.

  136. @Sheila, for “the kind in a spice jar, not actual onion that I take the time to cut up,” I love you. My garlic lives in a jar (the one it came in) in my fridge, diced (by the seller) and ready to go.Our real go-to meals basically have to involve stuff that can be stored until it’s needed and then cooked, fast. For me this includes ground meats (basically beef and/or turkey as a cheap and less fatty substitute for same), boneless chicken (can be sliced while frozen), and, of all things, shrimp. All those can go straight from freezer to pan on medium heat (or boiling water in the case of the shrimp) and once cooked, I can’t tell the difference between not-frozen and frozen.
    So — for the meat/main course, spaghetti made from store bought noodles, ground beef or turkey, store bought sauce, and ready-ground parm. cheese. No greens, but oh well. Or the frozen raviolis someone mentioned plus the above but not (usually) the meat. Or shrimp, boiled (peel at the table, but our LO will only eat a few at most at age 2, so not a big deal — this may change when he’s older if there’s a stage where he wants lots but can’t peel them yet).
    Then, as sides, 2 frozen veggies thawed and warmed in the microwave (e.g. broccoli spears, spinach + balsamic vinegar for the grownups, cauliflower, corn).
    Julia’s recently reminded me of the joys of couscous as a quick starch; faster and harder to mess up than rice, and stores well.
    Ground meat can be frozen, as can spaghetti sauce, so I’ll make a double batch of meat, freeze half the sauce with it in a quart bag, and next time we eat spaghetti all I have to do is cook noodles + thaw sauce.
    Or we have breakfast (e.g. bacon, eggs, oatmeal) for dinner.

  137. * Joe’s Special (anyone from SF?): 1 lb. ground beef browned with a little chopped onion…add in a thawed & drained package of chopped frozen spinach and a little dash of nutmeg and then pour over top about 8 eggs beaten and let it all firm up. Salt and pepper to taste. Makes enough for my husband, myself, my toddler (who always has two helpings) and leftovers for lunch the next day.*Whole wheat rotini boiled. Add one jar of organic tomato sauce, one can of chopped organic tomatoes and lefotver or freshly steamed zuchinni and carrots chopped up finely into the sauce. Again…really filling, healthy and leftover friendly.
    Those are our top two easy peasy go-to, one pot/pan meal.

  138. If we have a loaf of decent bread, Fake Cheese Fondue. Make a big pot of white sauce (saute equal amounts of butter and flour together, add milk, cook until it thickens and dump in lots of shredded cheese. Actually, I don’t shred the cheese, I just cut it up. Put the pot on the table with bread, whatever crunchy veg I’ve got around, and ham and roasted peppers if we’ve got them.Black bean tacos. I do big batches in the crockpot and then freeze them. Tortillas, salsa, cheese, and lettuce if I’ve got any.
    Haven’t done this for a bit, but Eggs Poached on Top of Veg (stolen from Laurie Colwin). Cut up some vegetables (we tend to have zuchinni and potatoes), and saute them gently in butter until they’re soft and have given up some juice. Crack some eggs on top, and cover the pan so they sort of steam. Serve with toast.
    Pasta with Tomatoes. Start boiling the water for pasta. In another pan, fry some chopped garlic in olive oil. Add cut up fresh tomatoes, and a couple cans of diced tomatoes. Drain pasta and top with simple sauce. Put lots of parmesan on top- also strangely good with lots of cheddar melted into the tomatoes.
    We just moved from a place with a Vietnamese place three blocks away, and a Korean place two blocks in the other direction. I am still working on local takeout around here.

  139. Three of my favorite quick meals:The quickest
    Baked Potato with Chili and Cheese
    Bake potatoes (microwave or make extra the night before to use for this meal)
    Cut them open in a pyrex dish.
    Pour a few cans of chili over them, sprinkle with cheese and bake (or microwave) until heated.
    Crockpot (Hubby’s favorite)
    3-4 Chicken breasts
    1 large jar of Salsa Verde
    2 Cans of black beans
    Put chicken in bottom of crockpot, pour jar of salsa over and cook on low 8 hrs (6 is probably plenty too)
    Shred chicken.
    Drain and rinse beans and pour in crockpot. Add lid and let warm for 30 min or so.
    Serve on tortillas with shredded lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, cheese, etc
    This makes 2 meals for our family of 3
    My favorite
    Spicy Tilapia
    Sprinkle some taco seasoning on fillets of tilapia
    Pan fry.
    Spoon some Peach Mango salsa (Trader Joe’s is great as is Costco’s) on top and serve with some couscous and avocado slices.

  140. By that I mean something that never fails, that you and your kids and anyone else in your house will always eat, and that isnt a major production to make.You can list things that you cook or buy or take out, or all three.Please give recipes or somewhat detail

  141. Thank you for taking this prospect to talk about this, I truly truly sense strongly about it and I reap the benefits of studying about this subject. If feasible, as you get data, make sure you update this weblog with new specifics. We’ve learned it somewhat valuable!

  142. Rob, it’s on! The picture of Serge with the old analog camera is worth more than gold….time to consider planting those covers again since the soil temps are coming back up. Thanks for including me in the “reel of fame” Dude, don’t spray your bees with 501….that crap is for the flies! Quote me “give flowers to the bees not your honey.”

  143. That looks amazing, think I may have to give it a try this weekend…starting to get a bit more confidentwith the cooking after following so many recipes online You should add them to fishmongers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *