Quick meals… for reals.

Before having a baby, I almost always made dinner for me and Tony during the week.  I’m far from being an amazing cook, and to be honest, I don’t loooove cooking as much as I wish I did, but I do like having a meal prepared for us to eat together, and so this became really challenging when C was born.    In fact, this stressed me out more than I am comfortable to admit (oh wait, I kinda just did) and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I was going to get a cooked meal into my very jam packed 1.5 hours between the time I get home and put baby to bed.

I function best when I have a set routine, and so after a few weeks of trial and error, I finally came up with this dinner schedule that works really well for me and my sanity. I hope it might help some other time pressed readers out there too!  As you can see, I’m a little Type A with this stuff (see previous post on my kitchen menu) so no judgement please! ;)

Sunday:  Tony on grill.  

Whatever the man wants… (this usually means steak) I don’t care because he takes care of it, and there is very little clean up.  And this isn’t limited to summer months.  We own a shovel that can clear a nice path to the grill!   I usually pair this with some sort of roasted veggie and side of baked potato or bread.

Monday:
Option A: Crock pot dish and salad.  
Option B:  Big pan dish (something that can just be thrown in the oven) and salad.   I’ve had success with baked chicken dishes, casseroles, chicken pot pie, mac and cheese, etc…

Everything but the salad can be prepared Sunday night while partner is grilling and make it BIG since it’s also going to be Wednesday leftover night!  Simply heat or remove from crock pot, and we’re ready to go!

Tuesday:  
Option A: Fish, rice and salad (from Monday)
Option B: Pasta with veggies and salad (from Monday) 

For the fish I use Trader Joe’s pre-marinated frozen fish (they have a variety of kinds) and all you need to do defrost it and pop in the oven.  For rice I use the brown rice that takes 90 seconds in the microwave or cous cous which is super quick.  TJs has frozen (organic too!) brown nice, a non-frozen version, and very exciting news… I just saw Stop and Shop started carrying it too!

For the pasta, one of my favorites is pasta with marinara sauce, topped with chicken sausage and roasted peppers.  I throw some chicken sausage in the frying pan for 5 minutes (since it’s already pre-cooked) along with TJ’s frozen variety peppers.  If we’re out of salad from the night before, I throw some spinach in the pan too.

Wednesday:
Leftover night!  

We eat what’s left from Monday and/or Tuesday.  I love this night.

Thursday:
ORDER IN!

We either do sushi, pizza, salad, calzones….  It’s usually pretty cheap and by the end of the week it’s a relief to have a night off from dishes.  I also love this night.

Friday:
Meat stirfry (Chicken, ground turkey or steak) with veggies (fresh or frozen) and easy side (naan bread, baked potato, rice).

Saturday:
Always TBD…

Often we’re out, at a friends house, or make do with what’s still in the refrigerator.

Here’s a quick recap in case you want a print out reminder:

Menu

And BAM – we made it through the week!

So now it’s time to share your EASY recipes.  I’m talking few ingredient and few pots/pans to clean.  
So whatcha got?

3 comments to Quick meals… for reals.

  • I have gotten really bad with meal planning. I need to get back to it. My favorite super easy meal is crockpot sausage and peppers-basically just canned diced tomatoes, chicken sausage, cut red/green peppers, and whatever seasonings you like. We have had it over rice or on a bun. Yum. I read about it on a blog a long time ago and I think Kim @ Newly Woodwards posted about it also. Quick and easy!

  • Lauren

    One of my favorites is bone in chicken thighs with diced tomatoes. We literally buy a big package of the bone in thighs, which is super cheap, and then I pour a big can of Hunt’s diced tomatoes with oregano on it and also use about half a bag of peas. I put in in the oven on 350 for 1.5-2 hrs. The longer the better, there is enough juice that it doesnt dry out and the chicken falls off the bone. I serve over egg noodles or rice. We have no problem eating the same thing for a few days, so I make it on Sunday and we eat for awhile. Try it!

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