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Even the busiest of business-oriented moms can still make great meals every night of the week. What helps is having a pre-prep day on the weekend where you can do most of your cutting and portioning to make the cooking process easier. Here are 20 go-to weeknight meals when it’s been a busy day at the home office.
One Pot Dishes
Stewed Italian Chicken
This is a crockpot favorite. You can use either a whole chicken or cut whole chicken. Include 1 cup chicken stock, your favorite vegetables, fresh herbs, and leave it be. Serve family style with rolls and a salad.
One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
Although this recipe has been shared repeatedly, it is easy and delicious. You can kick it up a little bit by topping each dish with parmesan cheese and pepperoni.
Italian Sausage and Peppers with Fresh Pasta
If you poke holes on each side of your Italian sausage, it will help it cook faster. Add a can of diced tomatoes with herbs and a can of tomato puree. Then, add your fresh pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente.
Skillet Rice with Chicken or Steak and Veggies
Use a simple boxed rice and add in chicken or steak with some fresh vegetables. Let it all cook together in one pan and serve as-is with a salad or fruit.
Worms in the dirt
This is super simple. Boil pasta and drain the pot. In the same pot, brown ground beef, onion, and garlic. Put the pasta back in, with your favorite sauce and a bag of mixed frozen vegetables. Serve with a light salad.
Brinner – Breakfast for Dinner
Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches
Use English muffins or biscuits as your bread. Make over-hard or scrambled eggs (baked scrambled is preferred). Make patties with turkey sausage — you can use whatever your favorite breakfast meat is. Add cheese. Serve with fresh fruit on the side.
Thanksgiving Belgian Waffles with Scrambled Eggs
Take your leftover stuffing, add some chopped turkey and green bean casserole for moisture, and then press it into a greased waffle iron. Heat leftover mashed potatoes and gravy. Top the “waffle” with the mashed potatoes and gravy.
Breakfast Biscuit Bake
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a casserole dish. Crumble in turkey sausage, vegetables, and cheese. Top with beaten eggs and cut up biscuits. Bake until the eggs, biscuits, and sausage are cooked through (about 20 – 25 minutes).
Banana Pancakes or French Toast with Turkey Sausage and Fresh Fruit
Add cinnamon and vanilla to your pancake batter. Toss sliced bananas in flour and add to batter. Make pancakes and turkey sausage. Serve with fresh fruit over cottage cheese or alone.
*If making this with as French toast, caramelize the bananas in a separate pan to top French toast with.
Simple Cheese Omelet with Fruit and a mini muffin
Bake some mini blueberry muffins, with fresh blueberries. Cut fresh fruit, mix, and chill. Use a blend of family favorite cheeses for your omelet. Add fresh herbs to your scrambled egg mixture for color and flavor.
Beef or Chicken
Beef or Chicken Teriyaki Stir-fry over Udon Noodles
Slice your protein and vegetables thin for faster cooking. Use chilled fresh Udon noodles from the produce department. Mix a couple tablespoons teriyaki sauce with a tablespoon of honey to drizzle over the stir-fry before serving.
Lemon Basil Chicken
Butterfly chicken breasts. Make a vinaigrette marinade from fresh lemon zest and juice (not bottled juice), 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons chicken stock, 1 clove fresh garlic, salt/pepper to taste, and ¼ cup each fresh parsley and basil. Toss together and bake. Serve with a green salad and steamed vegetables.
Quick Faux Fredo with Chicken or Steak
Make faux fredo sauce with 2 cups pureed cauliflower, 2 tablespoons real butter, 1-cup cream, salt/pepper to taste and ½-cup parmesan cheese. Sautee thinly sliced chicken or steak. Boil pasta, toss pasta with the sauce and meat in pan, – and serve family style.
Easy Stuffed Chicken Burgers
Mix ground chicken with one egg and ¼-cup parmesan cheese as a binder. Add your preferred seasonings. Divide meat for burgers, split each portion in half. Make a patty and stuff your burger with arugula and fresh mozzarella cheese. Cook your burger and top it with your favorite fixings.
Minute Steaks Hoagies with homemade chips
Break steaks up into small pieces and sauté quickly with mushrooms, onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Top with cheese. Cut fresh potatoes into 1/8-inch to ¼ -inch discs and fry for 3 minutes, let sit for 5 minutes and fry again until crisp. Lightly salt and serve.
Chili Spaghetti Bake
Use leftover chili and combine it with cooked spaghetti noodles, diced onion and top it with cheddar cheese. Bake until cooked through. Serve with snipped green onions and sour cream.
Leftover Roast Beef Hash
Shred leftover roast beef (or any roast) and mix with small diced potatoes, minced onions, fresh garlic, and fresh herbs. Add just ¼-cup beef stock and let this cook in a pan until the liquid is gone. Add small dots of butter, brown the bottom, flip and repeat. When the potatoes are tender, you’re ready to eat.
Chicken and Rice Casserole
Mix leftover chicken and leftover rice into a casserole with fresh or fresh frozen vegetables of your choice. Bind with a cream soup (cream of celery works best for added flavor), cheese, or even scrambled egg.
Turkey Ala King
Chop up leftover turkey; add turkey or chicken stock with root vegetables and fresh herbs. Add a cornstarch and water slurry to thicken. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve over reheated mashed potatoes, biscuits, or rolls.
Baked Broccoli Mac-N-Cheese
Leftover noodles and broccoli make a great second chance meal. Make a simple cheese sauce, toss in any leftover meat that you have, add in the broccoli and noodles – bake. Lightly brown some breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese with some butter to make a crunchy topping for the last 5 minutes of baking.
Last Word on Easy Dinner Ideas for Busy Moms
These meals are all quick and/or easy prep. With some of these, you can just put everything together and walk away, only having to check on them a couple of times. Busy moms like me appreciate these no mess, no fuss meals. Most can be prepped in advance or tossed together with whatever you have leftover in the fridge.
What is your favorite quick fix or go-to busy weeknight meal?