5 Fast & Easy Weeknight Meals
We spent last night at the Minnesota State Fair and it was a total blast. We ate, we played games, we laughed and walked what felt like 10 miles. At 11pm, we carried two tired boys into the house and somehow got them to brush their teeth before they crashed into their beds and almost immediately fell asleep. It was the most perfect way to end what has been a wonderful, crazy, all over the place summer. Today, we are recovering. Taking it slow and feeding our bodies lots of water and nourishing food. The boys both got fresh hair cuts (always best to do at least a week before school so they can grow out and look a tad less rigid). And I’m sitting here putting together a list of the meals I’ll be making as we get back into the swing of the school year. I thought: I’m surely not the only person doing this, right? So I’m sharing a few of my favorite, go-to FAST and EASY recipes to ease us back into things.
Here we go! To grab the recipes, just click on the recipe names in the large font.
This is on heavy rotation at our house. Three out of four of us love it. The 4 year old is not a fan but that just means I cook up a separate small batch of plain noodles for him. I’ve started at least spooning a tiny bit (like 2 teaspoons) of sauce over his noodles and he has started eating that. So I’m hopeful that someday he will join us in eating this tasty pasta dinner! It comes together super fast, uses ingredients you can easily keep stocked in your pantry, and is the perfect comfort food after a busy day of school.
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, a new school year also means a new round of viruses. I know. It’s just the worst when our kids get sick, right? I’ve been very happy lately because my oldest has started eating soup! He loves this Lemon Herb Chicken Soup (I leave our most of the herbs for him and since those are added on last it is super easy) and sometimes will add rice or noodles for the kids. For my youngest, he will eat most components of the soup just not all in one bowl. SO, I take some uncooked carrots and cut them into sticks for him, alone with some shredded chicken from the soup and some plain noodles. It works because I’m not making an entirely separate meal for him and he is still getting some of the nourishment from the soup! Also: this recipe is Whole 30 friendly as written, which is a total win for any of you doing that in September!
Chicken thighs are one of those things I buy at the store whether they’re on my list or not. I ALWAYS find a time to use them and appreciate their flavor and forgiveness in cooking. Skin-on, bone-in is essential! The crispy skin holds all the cinnamon flavor and is what makes these ‘crispy’ and delightful. Plus, the extra fat from the skin adds extra flavor to the meat and the bone in keeps it from drying out. I kid you not: you can have this meal done and on the table in 20 minutes! Not peach season? Use diced apples and fresh thyme or rosemary instead!
This savory Japanese pancake is the PERFECT way to get your kids involved in making dinner with you. They can help cut veggies (great time to teach knife safety) or help mix up the batter. I love making these with veggies from the fridge that need to be used up. You can add anything you like, but this recipes goes with basic potatoes. You can also add meat or fish if you like!
This, or some variation of this, has been a go-to at our house since before we had kids. When we lived in Japan, we would make this with salmon sashimi. Once we moved back to the states and had little mouths to feed, we switched to roasted or poached salmon and started mixing up the elements of the bowl based on what we had/what the kids were willing to eat. So use this as a place to start so you can turn it into whatever you want it to be! PS: The key to keeping this meal fast and easy is having a rice cooker. If you don’t have one, don’t despair! Just know that it may take a little longer.
There is something about cheese and bread that screams childhood, am I right? These sliders are a delicious way to add a little nostalgia to dinner. They are pretty straight forward to make and easy to throw together for a crowd (anyone out there in sleepover season with their kiddos yet?) and if you are looking for a little more to add to this meal, it is perfect with my homemade tomato soup!