There are many things that make me feel like I really won at this being a wife and a mother thing. I feel like a champion if I can get most of the laundry done, folded and put away. If I get dressed in real clothes most days, If I get out of the house with all four kids and on time for something. And, if I get my grocery shopping done, stayed within budget and meal planned. I also feel like I’ve conquered something if the meals I planned are ones that my family loves and asks for seconds of!
So, I am going to share my top five family friendly meals that are EASY and will have you looking like a rock star in front of your family.
All of these meals can be changed in anyway you see fit. In fact, I have changed most of these recipes from their original because either we can’t handle the spiciness, or because I have found a way that my family likes it better. If an ingredient has a link connected to it, you can click on it to see what type I usually buy.
- Baked Tacos. Here is the link to the original recipe, Spicy Chicken Tacos. But the way we make them changes depending on what I have in our cupboard and freezer. The original recipe calls for shredded chicken, but sometimes I just use ground beef. I also omit the canned tomatoes because it did make our hard shell tacos a bit soggy. Basically, the things I add to the meat are rice, black beans and sometimes a small can of diced tomatoes and green chilies that I have drained really well. My husband and kids LOVE this meal and we make it once a week. I also fill a few soft tortillas with the mixture at the end so that my little ones can eat these easier.
- Pad Thai. We like all types of food in this house and I truly try to make dinners fun and yummy. This meal is also on repeat and is delicious the next day for a quick lunch. Grab a bag of straight cut rice noodles and boil them just to the point of them being al dente and then, set aside. Saute your choice of meat (chicken, shrimp, beef, we have even used cubed tofu and it was delicious) along with chopped onions in some sesame oil. In a medium size bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, sugar, fish sauce, hoisin sauce and some hot sauce. All of these ingredients I eyeball measure, because it all depends on what you want your sauce to be. The main ingredients of this sauce are peanut butter and soy sauce, the rest of the additions are very small until you are happy with the taste. Once the meat is done cooking, I add the noodles and the sauce in the pan and mix together until well combined. I like to make a lot of sauce for this dish because some of it does cook up once in the pan. You can top with some crushed peanuts, green onions and bean sprouts. We serve this with edamame beans and spring rolls. Fish sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and hoisin sauce can all be found in your local grocery story in the Asian food section.
- Breakfast! We love breakfast for dinner. Our go to is bacon (baked in the oven at 350 degrees, for about 15-20 minutes depending on thickness), pancakes and some hash browns. For hash browns, I buy a bag of frozen tater tots and add them to a few tablespoons of hot oil in a big frying pan. When they start to defrost, I start breaking them up with my spatula until all the tater tots are completely smashed. Sometimes I will add a little seasoned salt but for the most part these are already seasoned. Fry those up until crispy! Another option for breakfast that we all love is biscuits and gravy, with a side of scrambled eggs!
- Spinach, Potato and Sausage Soup. This is by far my favorite soup and my family loves it too. It can get on the spicy side but I try to dial down the red pepper flakes. If it’s too spicy even then, you can use regular sausage instead of the hot. I make this recipe using kale instead of spinach (I love the taste and heartiness) and I also put in way more kale than what is recommended. I also put in about 8 cups of chicken broth instead of the recommended amount; this doesn’t affect the amazing flavor and just makes it so you have more leftovers! I bake this easy peasy bread for dipping or the kids like it on the side with butter and jelly. (Bread takes only 30 minutes to bake but does need to rise for about 1.5 hrs ahead of time).
- Fish Tacos. Here’s an easy one. Real easy. Buy some frozen crispy fish fillets, some small soft tortillas, and a bag of pre-shredded cabbage or coleslaw (without the dressing). I then mix together mayo and relish to put on top! SO YUM! Sometimes I will heat up some New England Clam Chowder to have on the side.
I sincerely hope you try some of these and make them your own. The point of these dinners is to get something tasty and fast on the table so that everyone is happy and then you have more time to sit and fellowship together!