When you have tired, hungry kids to feed, dinner time can start to feel like a real drag. Especially since it typically coincides with the “witching hour” — that hour (or two), when your kids whine, you long for wine and the notion of #winning is replaced by a dreaded sense of #fail. Well, fail no more my friends. Dinnertime, like most things that involve the kids, is always better when you have a plan. Since coming up with the plan is the hard part, I thought I’d share a few of our go-to weeknight dinners. I’m even throwing in a few bonus Sunday Suppers for good measure because if you start planning on Sunday, you’ll have some leftovers to power you through Manic Monday and all the days that follow. Without further ado, here’s what we’re serving on any given night in the Lyons Den:
Sunday Supper: Sundays are ideal for roasts. This “fix it and forget it” approach lets you pop dinner in the oven early in the afternoon so you can go enjoy the day/watch the game/carpool to the birthday party/cheer from the sidelines/take care of the kids while dinner takes care of itself. The best part is how easy this is. I’m not including or linking to recipes here because you really don’t need them. Rub your pork loin with olive oil and put some sliced garlic and herbs on top. Treat the chicken the same way. Or maybe add some rosemary and pop a few lemons or onions inside. You really can’t go wrong. And that’s what makes these two choices sinfully easy:
- Roast pork loin with roasted potatoes and kale
- Roast chicken with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts
Meatless Monday: Mondays are tough. It’s not easy to drag the kids out of bed and your butt back to work. Or wherever your day takes you. Knowing the day will be hard, dinner should be easy. Our picks are yummy, speedy and crowed pleasing. After all, after a long day back at the grind, the last thing you need is that annoying chorus of “I don’t like it!” Try these — they’ll like it!
- Veggie quiche (make or buy over the weekend — store bought is a.ok!) with roasted (or grilled, if you prefer) asparagus
- Cheese Tortellini with pesto sauce (also ideally made or purchased over the weekend) & spinach sauteed with garlic and oil
Tuesday Taco Night: It’s Tuesday. Two days down, three to go. Why not celebrate with a hands-on meal that makes mouths happy? You’ll be happy too given that tacos are super fast, super fun, super easy and can incorporate your leftovers from that Sunday Supper.
- Chicken tacos: toss in some frozen corn when you heat up the meat and serve with avocado for extra nutritional punch
- Pork tacos (or fajitas) served with peppers (roasted or raw — whichever meets the least resistance!) and a side salad
Wacky Wednesday: They call it “hump day” for a reason and the good news is that you’re almost over the hump! Mix things up with a perennial kid favorite: Breakfast for dinner. And I’ll be darned if the notion of pancakes at 6:00 pm doesn’t put a smile on your face too.
- The Egg-cellent Option – Whip up an omelet, scramble them or serve them over easy. Add some whole wheat toast, fruit and milk and there you have it — a dinner of champions that will make Mom a big winner. a
- The Sweet Option — Pancakes, waffles, or french toast served up with some yogurt and fruit. Syrup mandatory, whipped cream optional.
Pasta Thursday: Now you’re in the homestretch, just a hop, skip and dinner left before Friday arrives and the weekend begins. Why not plan a pasta night to carbo load you and the kids through the remainder of the week? Again, it’s quick, easy and almost objection-free when it comes to the junior set. Our top picks:
- Spaghetti and meatballs; make them yourself or let Trader Joe/Giotto do the trick; with both beef and turkey varieties in the frozen section, it makes this weekend dinner a snap!
- Penne with sausage and broccoli. Enough said, right? Yum!
As for the weekends, Friday night is almost always pizza night in our house. It gives us all something to look forward to — especially when accompanied by Family Movie night, which gives us the much-needed opportunity to cuddle, snuggle and unwind after a long week. Saturday night is really a free for all – maybe we go out, maybe it’s take out, maybe it’s time to empty out the fridge for what we (rather unfortunately) call “Garbage night” — a great way to use up any remaining leftovers so you can start anew again on Sunday… bon appetit!