5 Simple Dinner Shortcuts You Don’t Need to Feel Guilty About

The kids are piling in the car at after-school pickup, and you don’t even get so much as a “Hi Mom!” before you hear: “What’s for dinner?”

The thing is, you’ve got just a FEW other things to do besides putting food on the table.

So how do you accomplish a wholesome, home-cooked meal on a crunched timeline?

These dinner recipe ideas can help. With some great inspiration and just a little planning (you can do it!) the next kid who asks about dinner will instantly get served up an answer – and a Mom’s-got-this smirk.

1. Breakfast for Dinner

Who said your favorite breakfast recipes have to be reserved for weekend mornings? Switch it up, and serve your hungry family some good ol’ bacon and eggs. Or get fancy with a fast frittata paired with fresh fruit or potato hash. Here’s the basic recipe:

Simple Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • Chopped veggies of your choice (onions, sweet bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, etc.) Diced meat of your choice (breakfast sausage, bacon, ham, turkey breast, cooked chicken, tofu, etc.)
  • Milk
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Sauté some veggies of your choice in a large, oven-safe skillet with a little olive oil just until soft.
2. Add your protein to the skillet and cook until warm.
3. In a separate bowl, whip 6 eggs with a splash of milk, salt and pepper. Then pour the egg mixture over the meat and veggies in the skillet. Swirl the pan to evenly disperse the eggs. Continue to cook over medium heat until eggs set around the corners, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Place the skillet in preheated oven and cook at 375 for 10-15 minutes, until eggs set completely.
5. Top with your favorites like shredded Parmesan cheese, sharp white cheddar, sliced avocado or sour cream.

2. Soup it Up

Ah, soup. Easy, delicious and hearty, it’s perfect for busy weeknights. And—bonus!—it covers all the basic food groups. Blend up a couple batches of your family’s favorite soups on Sunday and serve throughout the week for a quick dinner. Freeze half the batch and re-heat next week (or the week after that, or the week after that).

3. Do a Tofu Twist

Tofu, a great plant-based protein source, cooks quickly and takes on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with or in. Try swapping it in some of your go-to meat-based meals. Tofu spaghetti, grilled tofu steaks, baked tofu primavera, coconut curry tofu—there are tofu recipes galore on the trusty internet.

4. Spicy Time

For a super-speedy, deliciously balanced meal, try adding ground turkey to canned vegetarian chili. Doctor it up by adding in extra veggies, spicy canned chili beans and fixins’ like sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped avocado and green onion. Tasty chili in no time!

5. Let’s go Fishing

Fish is a quick-cooking, often-overlooked protein source that makes a great addition to your dinnertime rotation. If your child is new to fish, try a mild white fish like cod, tilapia or sole. If you have more adventurous eaters, introduce salmon or trout for a tasty dose of heart-healthy fats.

For a fast all-in-one meal with zero cleanup, line a baking dish with aluminum foil and add veggies (zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, etc.), diced potatoes and fish filets. Drizzle everything with some olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt, pepper and other herbs. Bake at 400 until fish flakes and potatoes are tender.

Bonus shortcut:

In love with these simple dinnertime shortcuts? Increase the recipe slightly so you have leftovers for lunches or unconventional breakfast options. Assemble lunches during dinner cleanup for a less stressful morning. It’s pure genius.

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