The truth of the matter is as a working Mom, I probably eat too much fast food. I probably serve fast food (or microwave, frozen, etc) to my family too often. I find that dinners are a struggle. In an effort to share food ideas, here are some tried and true winners we use at our house. They aren’t fancy. I am not a cook by any stretch of the imagination. In fact I don’t particularly enjoy cooking.
Baking – love it!
Cooking – oh bother!
- Mini-pizzas – always a hit because they are easy and fun. The kids can really get into them if they like pizza. I might have the only kid in the world that does not like pizza. You can get mini pizza crusts and then get all the ingredients the family likes ready the night before. When you get home just load them up and they are ready in 10 minutes. Experiment and try different ingredients. We’ve gotten into pesto and olive oil instead of red sauce. You can also plan ahead and cut up enough toppings for a few nights and then freeze or refrigerate them for another time.
- White Trash Breakfast – so really insert any favorite breakfast dish. They can tend to be easy, fast and comfortable. There is one in particular that adds a little special somethin’ somethin’ to breakfast for dinner. Prepare and make French toast. Before taking it out of the pan or griddle, add a layer of peanut butter and cut up banana slices. Smooch one piece on top of this lovely filling. Then serve quickly so the warm and ohey-gooey center is warm and soft. HEAVEN!
- Panini’s – I don’t think you need a panini maker, I don’t have one. I have a press (similar to the one below). Got it on sale one day at Macy’s for $15.00. I am telling you this one simple purchase changed my life. Seriously. In a very good way. You can make fast sandwiches, but they are so much more then a simple sandwich. You can get all creative and turn out a gourmet sandwich in 15 minutes. Its great because you can use up items, like from the pizzas (make a pizza panini) or any veggies or meat you have left over. Sometimes I just make different sandwiches with left overs and every gets a slice of each kind. You can try different sauces, veggies, spreads, etc. But when you set down at the table you feel like you delievered so much more then just a PB&J. We’ll have to do a whole post on yummy panini recipes.
- Chicken – I realize this is a rather large topic. I’ve been scared of chicken most of my life. At least in terms of trying to cook it. I like to eat it – most of the time. Unless I have prepared it. So, here is my secret for weeknights:
Its not cheap, but if you watch for it you can pick up bags on sale and they store for a few weeks in your refridgerator. They are so handy in a pinch. You can use them on salads, tacos, paninis (see above), the list goes on and on. I sometimes add a little pesto or seasoning and add on a pizza. This has definitely saved my bacon a time or two when I haven’t planned ahead and can’t really go out to get something for dinner.
Please share your ideas and secrets of your kitchen and preparation for weeknight dinners! Also here are a couple of blogs that I have found to be very helpful in preparing easy and family friendly food. Later I’ll try to share some ideas about pre-planning and preparations for future meals. Happy Valentine’s Week everyone!