Everyone does meal prep a bit differently, but it can always leave you a little bored with some of your staple family dinners. I thought for today’s Thoughts for Thursday, I’d share a little but about my meal planning strategies and 10 new dinner recipes that we’ve tried and loved if you are looking to add something new to your mix!
First, I know it does not work for me to figure out what to cook for dinner that same day. Taking the boys to the grocery store has gotten harder, and they do nap, so we are done with our outings most days by 1:30/2. That means if I did wait to prep for dinner that day, I’d have to squeeze in a grocery run sometime before we headed out. That’s just too stressful for me.
Instead, I spend Sunday nap times for the boys planning both what we are going to do that week and our dinners. I use my Google Calendar and color code dinners different than other events. I pick either 2-3 recipes from cookbooks or my Pinterest page, depending on our week and if we have plans to eat out at all. Then, I put a placeholder on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays that includes links to the actual dinner recipes. That way, when it’s time to cook that day, I don’t have to hunt for the recipe to use. It usually only takes me about 15-20 minutes to plan for each week, and I make my grocery list as I go. I think it’s been both a time-saver and grocery bill saver, plus I know the week is set! Not to mention, I’m not cooking several days of the week, so it’s nice to know dinner is done by having meals the night before already planned out.
I do usually keep some extra salad items and fresh vegetables to roast to put alongside leftover meals to keep it fresh and filling. We love broccoli (aka dinosaur trees), roasted carrots and squash or just a fresh mixed green salad to compliment a classic casserole.
Okay, just kidding about writing anything about my children’s dinner manners. Seriously, help here. Some days they sit for 5-10 minutes but I’m a little perplexed why this is getting harder, not easier. We did ditch the highchair for Beau (way too much food throwing) and now use this OXO tot booster seat which has been much better. Other days the boys sit at their own table, but then it just seems like they feed off one another. The best nights are when they are truly hungry and actually sit and eat undisturbed for awhile. Otherwise, it’s like I have two circus monkeys. No advice here, just giving you a full view of our dinner time 🙂
10 Family-Friendly Recipes You’ll Love
Now I think finding new recipes can be a little challenging for our house, and if yours is anything like mine, we have little boys who have the palette of chicken nuggets and mac & cheese, then I prefer flavorful vegetarian and love trying new dishes, while my husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Over time, I’ve just started eating meat with the family (too much work otherwise) or Clint will deal with meatless Monday, and we’ve found dinners that work for everyone (hallelujah!) Here are some new ones we’ve tried recently. Let me know what you think!
1. Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Ribs via An Affair from the Heart : So while I’d love to have hours to work on dinner, it’s not my reality. I stick with recipes without too many ingredients, and slow cooker dinners are always great. A 3-ingredient slow cooker recipe, yes please!
2. 5 Ingredient Pizza Pie via PaleoOMG is another flavorful, low-carb meal that I promise will surprise you. The flavors are amazing and you’ll want to go back for seconds 🙂 There are tons of great healthy and low-carb dinners on this blog.
3. Hawaiian Meatloafs via HungryGirl: I always love a sweet/salty combo, and the mini meatloafs are totally family-friendly so no need to make multiple meals.
4. Creamy Butternut Squash Macaroni: via Eat Yourself Skinny: I put two of her recipes on this list and for good reason. Her recipes have fresh, seasonal vegetables woven into normal comfort food. And lately I’m loving butternut squash everything!
5. Honey Sriracha Glazed Meatballs via Eat Yourself Skinny: Kelly has some of the best, lighter dinner recipe options I’ve tried. This one is delicious for both lunch and dinner, and I ended up waiting to put the sauce on the meatballs based on whether it was an adult plate or kids plate since the Sriracha adds a little (delicious) spice.
6. Paleo Buffalo Chicken Casserole via Jay’s Baking Me Crazy: My neighbor has shared this recipe with our group of mom friends and I think it quickly became one of everyone’s favorites. It’s a super flavorful low-carb option that saves well.
7. Taco Pizza Recipe via Living Well Mom: I made this one last week and the leftovers over the next couple of days were just as good as the day I made it. It’s super kid-friendly too and easy to prep during nap time.
8. Dump and Bake Chicken Caprese Pasta via The Seasoned Mom: I love everything Caprese, including this easy dinner recipe. Add fresh tomatoes and you’ve got an easy, crowd-pleasing dinner. Pair with fresh greens and your meal is filling and fresh.
9. Sour Cream Noodle Bake via The Pioneer Woman. This recipe is a lot less on the healthy side but definitely a comforting, easy meal that will make the whole family happy. When I was making it I thought it was so simple and then Clint couldn’t stop raving about how great it was. It will be on rotation this winter for us!
10. Quinoa with Buttery Roasted Vegetables from The Pioneer Woman: I recently was watching The Pioneer Woman while working out (motivation!) and she made this with cheesy cauliflower soup and garlic bread. I almost hopped off the treadmill to go make it right then and there. I made this as a side dish to roasted chicken and it was so filling and made the house smell heavenly. It also saved well for lunches that week.
For more dinner inspiration, read my 15 Family Friendly Dinners post!
Now, on to the linkup!