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Busy Days, Easy Dinners

ORGANIZED UNDER: Plan

When I stop to consider the amount of time it takes to feed the family, I’m convinced that meal planning is just as vital, if not more (according to my teen sons), as scheduling and lesson planning. I thoroughly enjoy scouring Pinterest and my cookbook collection to daydream about different dishes I can prepare, but then the real work begins.

The organization and tackling jobs of making the list, finding the deals, shopping, dragging groceries home, unloading, prepping, and then cooking can be exhausting. With the busyness of school starting, I try to keep my weekly dinner menu plans as quick and simple as possible.

I typically plan a weekly menu after I review the week’s plans and determine how many evenings of meals are required and how busy our week will be. If we have homeschool co-op or sports practice on a specific day or evening, I’m planning for limited time in the kitchen. If we have company, I plan to make a dessert. Or if I know that by Friday we will be exhausted, I might just plan to pick up take-out.

Dinner Made Easy

Whatever your week looks like, take a few moments to plan out the week and try to make life a bit less stressful by finding ways to incorporate fun and good food. Here are a few quick tips and recipes that help me get through the adjustment of the start of school.

Breakfast

One of my favorite dinners is taking breakfast foods and making them for dinner. My new favorite is a delicious sweet potato hash with mushrooms, onions, zucchini, and red pepper, topped with eggs and goat cheese. YUM.

Requests

Ask the kids what they want. I try to make at least one meal a week that a child requested. This not only helps with my planning, but it also makes the kids feel special.

Something New

If you have a slow week and you want to introduce a new dinner to the family, take some time on Pinterest or allerecipes.com and try something new.

Surprise!

Surprise the family with dessert on a night they wouldn’t expect it. I always have the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies on hand. After a simple dinner I will announce to the boys, “I’m gonna make cookies.” They always want to join in, if nothing else, just for the beaters!

Fast But Delicious

I have several go-to dinners that take under 20 minutes to make. I try to keep the items for at least one of these meals on hand at all times. If something pops up during the day unexpectedly, I can adjust my menu and make one of these quick meals.

Chicken Tacos

{ feeds 4-6 }
We love Mexican food, and this quick dinner is served often. You can make this simple or dress it up with guacamole, chips and salsa, or rice and beans.

Ingredients

2 lb of chicken tenders
3 tbsp. olive oil
sprinkle of garlic salt
1 onion, peeled and chopped
16 count taco size tortillas (flour or corn)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup salsa
1 cup sour cream

Directions

Sprinkle chicken tenders with garlic salt on both sides. Add olive oil to a skillet on medium high heat and saute chicken for 10-12 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat. While chicken is cooking, place the taco ingredients on the counter for kids to assemble tacos.

Skyline Chili

{ feeds 4-6 }
This is our family’s favorite quick meal. We discovered our love for Skyline chili while visiting Cincinnati, OH. The chili can be found in many Krogers and Wal-Mart food stores.

Ingredients

1lb angel hair pasta
3 15oz. cans of Skyline Chili
1 onion chopped fine
4 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 box oyster crackers

Directions

Cook pasta according to package. Heat chili over the stovetop while pasta is cooking. Assemble the ingredients in the following order: Pasta, chili, onions, cheddar cheese, and oyster crackers.

Buddy Boys

{ feeds 4-6 }
This is a quick sandwich meal, which pairs well with fresh fruit, veggies, and chips.

Ingredients

1 large French loaf bread, cut in half lengthwise
2 tbsp butter
1lb sliced ham
½ lb sliced Swiss cheese
½ head iceberg lettuce sliced thin
¼ cup mayonaise
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread butter over both insides of French bread and layer ham on one side and cheese on the other. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Combine lettuce, mayonnaise, and salt and pepper. Add lettuce mixture to hot sandwich. Slice and enjoy.

Do you have a personality that enjoys menu planning, or do you prefer to take each day as it comes? Take our Planner Personality Quiz to discover ways to make the most of your personality.

With five kids in their teen and early adult years, Rebecca shares the many ups and downs of parenting, homeschooling, and keeping it all together. As the Well Planned Gal she mentors women towards the goal of discovering the uniqueness Christ has created in them and their family and how to best organize and plan for the journey they will travel.

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