It’s early evening and you just got home from work/ the kids’ soccer or ballet/ a play date (you fill in the blanks). Your toddler is having a meltdown because, well because toddler. The baby is hungry, because babies eat a LOT – and come to think of it, the rest of your family would probably enjoy some food too. Dinner time, that pesky time of day when everyone is tired (including you) and your family needs you the most.
For me, dinner used to be an afterthought. I have never been one who lived to eat, I rather eat to live. I used to dread cooking, as a matter of fact, I told my husband for the first 5 years of our marriage that I couldn’t cook. Now with four boys who eventually will grow into big boys and then little men, food is a necessity, health is a priority and therefore I am learning to embrace dinner time. Time is of the essence though, I don’t have enough hours in the day to make everything from scratch and some times (most days) we need food STAT! – and I have a feeling that your family is much the same.
I have put together a list of dinner shortcuts. Solutions for busy moms with hungry kids! My favorite meal goes from ingredients to finished meal in 30 minutes or less. These dinner ideas are easy to customize so they match your family’s tastebuds. We love dinners that offer a lot of options, so there is something for everyone, and the kids can pick their own toppings/ ingredients – and hopefully over time try something new. (yeah – that’s wishful thinking on my part, I know!)
Dinner shortcuts with variety:
Breakfast for dinner:
- cereal/ oatmeal with fresh or dried fruit/ berries
- omelets with peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach, cheese
- bacon/ sausage/ ham
- pancakes/ waffles
- toast/ wraps/ English muffins/ bagels
- ground beef/ ground turkey/ chicken
- beans and rice
- lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, onions, peppers, mushrooms
Pizza – Make your own:
- Get the dough in your grocer’s bakery section, or buy an already baked crust.
- We love to make little individual pizzas, so the kids can add their own toppings – our rule is they have to add two toppings in addition to cheese!
- pizza tomato sauce
- bacon/ ham/ pepperoni/ ground beef/ ground turkey
- tomatoes/ pineapple/ avocado/ onions/ peppers/ mushrooms/ asparagus/ garlic
Homemade Mac & Cheese:
- I use this recipe as my base: Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake
- we then play around with various added ingredients:
- bacon/ hotdogs/ meatballs
- mushrooms/ onions/ cauliflower
Easy and healthy dinner shortcut recipes:
These are some of my favorite dinner shortcut recipes from my food blogging friends. I love that these can all be spiced up or down with different ingredients to your family’s temperament – go ahead and add your own personal touch – that’s the fun part!
The American Mama:
Real Food Simple:
The Vanilla Housewife:
I am always adding new and exciting pins to my “Dinner Shortcuts” board on Pinterest. “Follow” the board to be inspired with new ideas every day!
This is a great cook book full of way for you to save time and money:
How do you overcome the dinner doldrums? Do you dread, fear or enjoy cooking dinner? (Some days I walk a fine line between all three).
Don’t miss the rest of my Parenting Shortcuts! They are the secret to my sanity!