This fall my kids’ activity schedule is putting a strain on the dinner hour. Sometimes that hour is stretching into almost three hours by the time everyone gets home and eats what I’ve cooked.
So I need to make a dinner that is not only quick and easy but one that can be reheated two or three times during the evening as hungry kids arrive home from practice. Most nights, I cook dinner at 5:30 or 6 p.m. but some kids don’t get home to eat it until 8:30 p.m. What dinner can hold up to that? Nothing gourmet, I assure you. But here are three of my simple (though not necessarily healthy) weeknight dinner staples this year.
Lame mom chicken nugget Caesar salad
Romain lettuce – 2-3 heads
Frozen chicken nuggets – 2-3 per person
Parmesan cheese – to taste, I prefer a lot
About equal parts olive oil and lemon juice (two tablespoons of each)
A dollop of dijon mustard
½ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
Garlic, salt and pepper to taste
This takes about 10 minutes to prepare. Rip up romaine lettuce and toss it in a big bowl with croutons and fresh Parmesan cheese. Heat frozen chicken nuggets and quarter them and set aside. (The nuggets can be reheated through the evening for latecomers). Mix up the dressing in a jar with a top. I set the nuggets, lettuce and dressing on the counter so that the kids can help themselves and toss it all together whenever they arrive home.
Pasta and very veggie sauce with frozen meatballs
Jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I use Classico Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic)
Fresh veggies of choice (I used broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and red pepper)
Box of pasta
Empty jar of sauce into a pot and heat on medium with the frozen meatballs. Cut up veggies and add them to the sauce. Heat for 15-20 minutes. At the same time, cook pasta. Serve sauce over pasta with fresh Parmesan. The kids can pick out the veggies if they want.
Aunt Amy’s slow cooker mac & cheese
Box of macaroni noodles
1 can of evaporated milk
1 cup of milk
10 ounces of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
10 ounces of shredded medium cheddar cheese
salt & pepper
Cook and drain pasta. Spray the slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add all ingredients and cook on low for 3-4 hours. (This is a good one for when I am working from home but have a busy evening.)
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 16, Lilly, 14, Adam, 14, and Jonah, 10.