What’s For Dinner?
Can’t find time to read all of those parenting books and magazines? Don’t have a lot of mommy friends to bounce ideas off of? Kids go crazy every time you get on the phone to ask a friend their advice? No problem; I’ll do the work for you! Every Thursday I bring you kid-tested parenting tips for a specific parenting challenge “from the mouths of moms.” Now that my oldest kids are in school, I know all too well how crazy busy weeknights are for families. Making dinner is always a challenge. So I thought I’d turn to my mama friends for easy dinner ideas…
What’s for Dinner, Mamas?
- Make Ahead Tamale Pie or Chicken Tortilla Soup – “We are huge fans of prep-ahead dinners. My two favorite meal ‘kits’ that I make myself are Chicken Tortilla Soup and Tamale Pie. And I normally make 3 or 4 at a time and just keep them on hand. The Tamale Pie is a ziploc with a can of chili, a can of el paso salsa [8oz], a can of corn, and a box of jiffy cornbread mix. Pour all the cans in the bottom of a 9×9 dish, stir together, make the cornbread mix and spread on top. Bake at 400 until the cornbread is cooked through. [20-30 minutes].” Kristin from Call Me Kristin
- Easy Enchiladas – “We love enchiladas and they are so simple to make. They can also be frozen for later. Just 18 corn tortillas, 2 cans of green chile sauce, cheese, spinach and mushrooms. I heat the sauce with spin/mushrooms on the stove, layer 6 tortillas in a 9×13 pan, pour 1/3 the sauce mixture over the top, sprinkle cheese and repeat 3 layers worth. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Quick and easy! They are also great for taking a dish to a friend who is sick or has a new baby.” Adrienne from The Iowa Farmer’s Wife
- Breakfast for Dinner – “[We do] breakfast for dinner (usually omelets with some veggies thrown in).” Carolyn from The Pleasantest Thing
- Stuffed Muffins – “We love Stuffed Muffins, or at least we did before I went gluten free! 5 minute to throw together and 20 minutes to cook.” Leann from Montessori Tidbits
- Vegetable Soup Rice – “So far Nico (now 3 years old) never said no [to Vegetable Soup Rice], and he even asks for seconds most times. It’s simple and has so many potential options, depending of what you have on hand, we all love it!” Valerie from Glittering Muffins
- Silly Spaghetti – “One of my go-to’s is ‘Silly Spaghetti’ and Meatballs. I just throw some pre-made frozen meatballs in the crock pot with a can of spaghetti sauce, a can of diced tomatoes, a few shakes of our favorite Italian seasoning, and a few tablespoons of sweetener (to cut the acidity). Let that cook all day. Then in the busy evening, all I have to do is boil some pasta (we use spiral and call it ‘silly’) and throw some pre-made frozen garlic bread in the oven. Not only is it easy, but it’s probably the only meal my picky eaters are guaranteed to love.” Krissy from B-Inspired Mama
- Raviolis – “Raviolis— the ones at Costco only have to boil for 3-5 minutes!” Danielle from 52 Brand New
- Pesto Pasta – “Our easy go-to dinners would be pesto pasta. We make pesto with either the traditional basil or we substitute spinach…whichever one we have on hand. We can also use any type of nut or seed in the pesto. Pesto is packed with so many great ingredients that it feels like a healthy go-to dinner option.” Jennifer from Kitchen Counter Chronicles
- Quesadillas – “I also make quesadillas — spread canned refried beans on one tortilla, top with salsa, and shredded cheese. Put another tortilla on top. Place on skillet (use some cooking spray). 3 minutes each side.” Danielle from 52 Brand New
- BBQ Chicken & Black Bean Burrito – “[We make] BBQ chicken and black bean burritos: cook a pound of cubed chicken with onions then add in a can of of black beans, about 1/3 cup BBQ sauce, and cheddar cheese. Serve in a tortilla with a spoonful of Greek yogurt.” Amy from Z is for Zel
- Anything Goes Tacos – “My kids also always love tacos and they’re pretty easy on a busy night. Sometimes I throw some chicken breasts in the crock pot with a cup of salsa and some taco seasoning for the day. By dinner the chicken shreds right up and I just have to serve it with the toppings and taco shells or tortillas.” Krissy from B-Inspired Mama
- Tuna Rice & Veggie Salad – “Our all time favorite: white rice, tuna from can (tuna chunks with olive oil) and simple fresh vegetable salad (chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicum, cabbage, lettuce, shredded carrot, salt, herbs and tiny bit of olive oil) – this is when I have a 24/7 boobaholic stuck to me.” Varya from Little Artists
- Chili – “We love chili! I always try to make a large batch of it to use for later meals too!” Kristen from Busy Kids = Happy Mom
- Classic Grilled Cheese – “We love a simple grilled cheese sandwich with fruit & chips on a busy night.” Jaime from Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails
- Good Old PB & J – “Right now, my little man is on a peanut butter sandwich kick.” Jennifer from The Good Long Road
- Microwave Meals – “We use microwave ready meals. You can buy great ones for kids these days, organic, fresh or frozen. They have a really good vegetable count in them and the kids ones are particularly low in salt and preservatives. Makes life easier and you can concentrate on having fun.” The Monko from Taming the Goblin
- Slow Cooker Meals – “I love my slow cooker. I follow A Year of Slow Cooking blog and try out many of her recipes. To be honest only one if my kids eats whatever I make. I want to try a pizza in the slow cooker to see if the other one will eat it.” Evelyn from Playaway Online
- Freezer Crock Pot Meals – “My most ‘famous’ post (set of posts) is about my freezer crock pot cooking… I love to do batch meal prep – as in 20-30 meals at a time. It’s a lot of work up front, but saves a ton of time overall. You only make and clean up a mess once. I have recipes and shopping lists for 10 crock pot recipes.” Jessica from Loving My Nest
What are you having for dinner tonight? What’s your go-to meal for busy nights?
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Valerie @ Glittering Muffins says
Thanks for including us, great list!
Krissy @ B-InspiredMama says
No, thank you, Valerie!
This is a great list of ideas! Making me hungry;-) jaime
Jen Fischer says
As always, love this series! Thanks for including PB&J. It is such a classic. Right now, in my crockpot is one of my Fall/Winter staples – taco soup. You can make it so easily. Dump canned beans (with juice) into the crockpot (usually black beans, red/kidney beans and whatever other types you like – I usually use white beans and, sometimes, pinto beans, 1 packet of taco seasoning, 1 can of rotel tomatoes with diced green chiles, frozen corn-or canned corn). It is so easy and so great. You can keep it vegetarian or brown up some ground beef or ground turkey with taco seasoning to add in as well. I have a batch in my crock pot right now that I made with dried black beans that I soaked all night and put in the crock pot ahead of the other ingredients. Plus, this time I used fresh tomatoes and green chiles – so you do not have to use canned if you prefer not to. Either way, simple and delicious.
Krissy @ B-InspiredMama says
Thanks for contributing, Jen! And that soup sounds great. I’m not sure why I didn’t include soup, either. It’s always easy to throw together in the crock pot.