I’ve never really felt comfortable giving advice. I’m not an expert in anything, although I do think of myself as an excellent Googler (one who performs Google searches extremely well). But, I thought it would be fun to share a weeks worth of weeknight meals in the hopes it might inspire some ideas for your own meal planning endeavours.
For the past week I’ve been documenting what I made for dinner every night. Being a working mom, I don’t have much time to waste between getting off work, picking up the kids and getting dinner started. The most important thing I’ve learned is that organization is key and a big part of that is meal planning. Weeknight meals in our house typically need to be made in 30 minutes, contain at least 2 foods I know my kids will eat and be as well balanced as possible. It sounds easy, but sometimes it can be a challenge.
Pasta with Peas and Meatballs
Pasta is always a hit in our house and more recently so are meatballs. The ones in this meal were frozen chicken meatballs, but I often make my own and freeze them as well. The biggest surprise here was that my 4 year old requested peas so I happily obliged! I make my own sauce and the batch is large enough to freeze some, so I typically always have sauce on hand. But whether use use sauce from the freezer or from the jar this meal can easily come together in less than 30 minutes.
Pulled Pork with Pasta Salad
OK, so I got overly excited about the new found pea love and decided to try out this pasta salad recipe I found online, in hopes that it could also be added to our lunch time repertoire but this meal ended up being a big fail. The pasta did get eaten but only after I said they didn’t have to eat all the peas (just a few). On the other hand, the pulled pork went over like gangbusters! I did tell them it was chicken, it’s just easier that way. The pulled pork was slow cooked so the only work that really went into it was shredding it and adding BBQ sauce (mixed with a little brown sugar). I like to use tenderloins for my pulled pork as it’s a leaner cut of meat. Altogether this meal was on the longer end of prep time at around 40 minutes.
This is the #1 meal in our house. I introduced it very hesitantly several months ago and now every time we ask the girls what they want to eat, tacos is the answer!!!!!!! It’s also the only time I ever see them eat tomatoes or lettuce so I’ll take that win. I like using turkey over beef as I find it’s not as greasy or heavy, but just as flavourful. Start to finish, this meal takes about 3o minutes.
Grilled Chicken with Rice and Broccoli
In the winter I usually roast our chicken breast, but now that the warmer weather has finally arrived grilling is definitely the way to go. For a quick grill, I prefer grilling frozen tenders as they are smaller so cook time is minimal, but a standard chicken boneless chicken breast usually takes no more than 20 minutes from frozen. We also really like Basmati rice which also cooks in around 20 minutes. I like to cook mine in chicken broth for added flavour. Broccoli can be cooked quickly in under 10 minutes from fresh or frozen.
Pizza and Salad
Friday night is grocery night in our house. We could get takeout but we’ve actually gotten into a really fun habit of making our own pizza. I buy a thin crust pizza shell and we put together our own pizza in under 10 minutes. If you’ve seen this salad before you know it’s the best salad in the world! I could seriously eat the entire bag on my own.
So there it is, our weekly menu. In our house, this menu doesn’t vary much week to week. We stick to what we like and know works for everyone and it takes the stress out of figuring out meals for every night as you go. I’m a strong believer in eating as much real food as possible and meals don’t have to be fancy. Sometimes the most simple meals deliver the biggest flavours.
As always, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Stop by and say Hi! I’d love to hear what you’re making for weeknight meals.