School starts back tomorrow. As a homeschooling mom, I'm experiencing the opposite of what other mom's are gloating over..."Back to school, back to time for me! Finally, the kids out of the house! Free time!" Yeah, that's not exactly the road ahead for me, but I am thankful to be in a position to homeschool. I know I'm sewing seeds into my children that will hopefully bear much fruit. I'm getting time with them and they're getting more time with their family that can never be taken away. And *gasp*, I'm actually looking forward to sitting around the table, teaching and learning.
However, it means I have to be more intentional with my time. I'll now have to fight to get a workout in. Plan out grocery trips, errands, etc. Plan meals. We end up eating out way more in the summer. Fast food is more frequent and we have no real agenda, which results in less homecooked meals, or meals pieced together by what he happen to have in the freezer. Being at home in the school year allows for me to get back in the kitchen. But the meals need to be simple and easy.
So, I'm assembling some of my favorite weeknight meals. Ones that are simple. Notice I didn't say quick. Being home in the morning/afternoon affords me the opportunity to prepare something ahead of time (say, enchiladas, pasta sauce, ground meat for sloppy joes, crock pot meals, etc.) I can chop veggies while administering a spelling test. Saute onions and garlic for a pasta sauce while helping my son with math. Stuff a chicken w/ lemons, garlic and olive oil while the boys are taking a 15 minute reading break. You get the idea.
When I need inspiration while I'm planning our weekly menu, I'll check here for ideas. I'll continue to add to this when I see something that gets my attention, or if a friend passes along a good recipe, hint hint! I'd love hear your family's favorite simple weeknight meals. These are the basic meals...add to them an easy side of veggies and fresh fruit.
And in case you're wondering...no, I don't cook seven nights a week, or even five for that matter. I typically cook about 3 decent meals, eat leftovers a night or two, eat out a couple nights (sometimes just me and my boys when Davids' on the road), and forage through the pantry or freezer a night or two. We're flexible. My goal this year...get my husband to take over a meal once a week! We'll see how it goes!
Veggie pasta primavera
Easy eggplant parmesan over pasta with broccoli
Stuffed shells (from frozen section) with homemade bolognese or marinara sauce.
Pasta with chicken sausage
Tex Mex bowls with grilled chicken and black beans
Parmesan chicken and rice casserole (using chicken breasts instead of thighs and half and half instead of cream, decrease broth to 1 cup, add a couple slices of bacon for more flavor).
Roasted chicken (save bones for broth)
Roast beef salad with goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette
Crock pot roast with veggies
Crock pot pork tenderloin (save leftovers for bar-b-q sandwiches another night)
Asian style braised short ribs
Almost Thanksgiving: thick sliced cuts of deli turkey (Boar's Head Golden Catering is good), topped w/ gravy, cranberry sauce, side of sweet potatoes and green beans
From the sea
Lemon butter fish
healthier "fried' fish
Things with a bun
Burgers or dogs on the grill
Maple Bar B Q sloppy Joe's
Crock pot Bar-b-q chicken sandwiches, save leftovers for bar-b-q chicken quesadillas with smoked gouda cheese
Casual and fun
Quesadillas - Cheese, Shrimp & cheese, apples & cheese
Chicken fingers and veggies
Family Friendly Soups - make on Sunday to have for the week!
Super easy chicken tortilla soup
Pepper cheese chowder
Fresh vegetable soup
White chicken chili
Cheesy chicken and rice soup
Sauteed green beans
Sugar snap peas
Super simple sweet potatoes
Baked potatoes, regular or sweet
Root vegetable bake - can also be used as a main, or over salad greens
Balsamic brussel sprouts
Turnips - ok, maybe not family friendly, but I LOVE them
sliced tomatoes in season
steamed broccoli w/ cheese
Frozen peas, carrots, green beans and corn, with a bit of butter and cream cheese
braised spinach or greens
angel hair pasta, tossed w/ butter, olive oil, parmesan and spinach
Simple desserts - I'm a fan of letting the kids figure out dessert for themselves. They can get really creative!
Fresh fruit, layered w/ lowfat vanilla yogurt, honey and granola
Mini chocolate pies - 6 pack miniature graham cracker pie crusts, fill w/ instant chocolate pudding, top w/ whipped cream
indoor s'mores (make in toaster oven)
easy banana pudding layering vanilla pudding, vanilla wafers, banana slices and whipped cream
toast with nutella, sliced strawberries or bananas and powdered sugar