I’m getting set in my dinner ways and am feeling the need to mix things up. Every week, I make my go-to-dinners, which are peanut butter chicken and pesto pasta, because they are easy-to-prepare, tasty and I can’t be bothered to think about trying something new.
Before you ask, here are the recipes:
Peanut butter chicken, made with about a tablespoon of Better than Bouillon and a tablespoon of peanut butter, sautéed with any veggies you have in your fridge. I can never stick to measurements either, so feel your way through these quantities.
The pesto pasta is made from Costco’s pesto sauce, which has pretty much changed our lives. The sauce is delicious and we put it on our pasta and veggies a few times a week. When I’m not around, my husband whips together a satisfying meal with it too. It’s perfect for dads who aren’t big cooks! Our toddler loves the sauce on his pasta too. It’s a little addictive, actually.
But the other day when cooking up chicken for my boys, before I had to run out to meet a friend for a drink, I wondered about all the other moms out there and their go-to-meals. What do other moms make with out much thought? And would their no-brainer meals be as easy and natural for me to make?
I wasn’t so sure if I could I get out of my rut and adopt a new dinner habit. It could be a little bit like learning a new language, not my best skill.
Still, I polled some moms in my area to find out what they make regularly and they had some great suggestions. Here were their can’t-be-bothered-to-think recipes:
Ground turkey and sauté onions and garlic, then add the turkey along with salt and pepper and a little taco seasoning (the one from Fresh Direct is really good and not spicy!). Brown it, then add a can of tomato sauce and simmer for about 20 minutes. Put some olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan on the spaghetti when it’s still warm and then add the bolognese. If this gets too messy for your child, you might want to substitute in another type of pasta that’s easier for little hands to hold.
Mac and Cheese with Pees
Use some kind of spiral-y noodle, then when cooked and warm, add butter, sharp cheddar and mozzarella to the pan along with some milk, pepper and peas. This is great for the little ones, but you might need make a more adult-friendly meal for you!? Unless you’re a secret mac and cheese-lover/addict like my husband and I.
Throw kidney and black beans, onions and carrots, zucchini and tomato into a pot along with various spices you love. Add some liquid so it doesn’t burn and make brown rice on the side. This Mediterranean Kale, Cannelli and Farro Stew is a nice version of this dish too.
Roast vegetables and any protein in a pan in the oven, and you’ll never go wrong. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and give your dish at least an hour to cook at 350 degrees. This dish is easy to throw together, as long as you give yourself enough time for it to bake.
Buy an already-made, frozen pie dish at the market. Note: ready made, not from scratch! Add feta cheese to the bottom of the dish, then mix in eggs and broccoli, or any other veggie you like. Cook up for a good 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with a nice salad or rice and beans.
Glazed Salmon With Broccoli Rice
Who doesn’t love salmon, but this recipe with a tasty glazed sauce looks incredible. Another mom, who runs a local catering business with her husband called No Place Like Home, also suggested cooking salmon in orange juice. She says to bake or broil salmon with olive oil, salt and pepper. During last 3-4 minutes, squeeze the juice of one orange (or two depending on how much salmon you make) on top. Then squeeze the juice of another orange over salmon right when you take it out of the oven, too, since much of the juice of the first oranges evaporates in those last couple minutes of cooking.
Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella
This dish looks a little fancy to me, but this mom swears it’s easy to put together and a major crowd-pleaser. Find the full recipe here.
Vegetable Chinese Rice
Sauté onions in a little oil, ginger, garlic (buy the jarred kind for convenience) soy sauce, and Chinese five spice powder. Then throw in whatever veggies you have around and stir fry. Add some chicken stock if it needs more cooking time. Also add a chopped up fried egg at the end, for that special touch.
Sometimes I wish I can be a fly on the wall when other moms (and dads!) cook dinner, and now I don’t have to. Thanks for all the great suggestions, mamas! All these great recipes are making me hungry, and I just had dinner. I roasted chicken thighs, chick peas, eggplant and sweet potatoes in a big pan with onions, garlic and lemon. It was delish! Though actually, in the end, my toddler only wanted to eat pickles. We try! Good luck quickly throwing these new recipes together for your family, and may they feel like second nature to you in your kitchen!