I was recently having a chat with a friend when she asked about how we menu planned. After initialing laughing because we NEVER menu plan, I did note that I do keep some basic easy dinners to make. I mean we all do, right? The things you get bored with making all the time. But that is the glory of the internets! Sharing our easy go to foods might be an eye opener for others.
For those of you that don’t know, I run a weekly segment on my personal blog called Toddler Dinners. Each Monday I post on a topic related to feeding kidlets and then a few shots from our week. I started this as just a one time “week in the life of dinner” post and found people LOVED it. What I threw together as the “go to foods” were revolutionary to others. To me, they were nothing special but I have now done this for over 25 weeks and still have people finding use out of them. So lets try this adult style!
There are a few rules for dinner in our house:
- Quick (30 minutes or less)
- Mostly healthy (ok mac and cheese is thrown in sometimes)
- Something for the kid or something I can modify
So without further ado, the top 10 meal options in the Mann house:
- Grilled chicken/pork/steak, veggie and rice:
I take out frozen meat in the morning* and grill that evening with either a marinade or just an easy rub.
Steam or sauté a veggie (usually frozen).
Cook up rice or couscous depending on time. (note couscous is the fastest grain to cook EVER).
We always have eggs and milk in the house. This equals omelets, pancakes, waffles, etc.
I try to keep a pack of bacon in the fridge.
- Tacos, burritos, mexican pizzas, nachos, quesadillas:
All you need is the meat (or beans if you are vegetarian), cheese and seasoning.
Keep a pack of tortillas/chips or grab on the way home.
For added veggies, throw it on some salad mix with carrots, cucumbers and peppers. BOOM
For a mexican option that takes a bit more time but lasts for days, check out my mexican lasagna .
This is Kevin’s signature dish. Grab some hot italian sausage on the way home.
Keep sauce and spices on hand.
We always have different kinds of pastas on hand.
- Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup:
Quite possibly the easiest meal of all time. I can keep it all on hand.
Add pasta to soup for more substance and make it easier on the kidlet. (see more ideas for toddlers and soup)
Often pair with a small spinach side salad. Note spinach keeps better than salad mix.
- Trader Joe’s Frozen Meals:
Mandarin Orange Chicken & Broccoli
Sweet and Sour Chicken & Broccoli
Fish sticks with veggies
Here is a post on all my Trader Joe loves
- Homemade Pizza:
Keep frozen dough or stop by any italian place and ask for dough. (thaw frozen dough night before*)
Keep a jar of marinara or pizza sauce in the fridge
Turkey pepperoni and cheese
Veggies and/or pineapple
- Chicken and Broccoli Ring
- Grilled Kabobs, grilled potatoes and fruit:
Steak or chicken, peppers, onions
Quarter potatoes in foil pouch with olive oil and spices for grill.
- Take out -What? I’m not super mom. We usually frequent a local greek place with fresh food for a great price. Supporting the local economy and eating healthy on the cheap, can’t see how that is wrong.
So there are my ten. Please share your easy go-tos in a comment. We are all looking for new ideas and just something to slap together at the end of a stessful work day. Working moms ACTIVATE!
*Pro tip: set a reoccurring alarm on your phone to go off when in the kitchen in the morning to take something from the freezer.