Every parent wants to make sure their families eat well, but occasionally time constraints make it feel simpler to just hit the drive-thru on the way home from work. But even the busiest moms can quickly and easily put together a filling family dinner for far less than the price of a bucket of chicken or a taco Tuesday takeout box.
Keep these easy recipes in mind when you head out to do your weekly grocery shopping. With a little creativity, you’ll soon find it simple to pull together delicious and healthy family meals without breaking the bank!
Avocado Toast With a Twist
Put a new twist on the breakfast-for-dinner theme by whipping up this super quick and easy California favorite. The only ingredients you need are toast, avocado spread, your favorite spices and eggs. Spice up your spread, toast your bread and top the entire delicious creation with a sunny-side-up egg for a protein-packed treat that takes mere minutes to prepare!
Chicken Teriyaki Bowls
Busy moms make slow cookers their best friends. For a filling, delicious Asian-inspired entree, simply layer raw chicken in a crock pot, cover with a generous amount of teriyaki sauce, and let cook on low until the chicken falls apart. Serve in a bowl over your favorite rice.
Penne With Artichoke Hearts, Basil and Mozzarella
Pasta fills the belly and warms the soul. Put together this easy dish by cooking penne pasta el dente. While the penne cooks, blanch artichoke hearts and basil leaves for a minute or two, then toss them with olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Drain the penne, stir in the olive oil, artichoke and veggies, and top with shaved mozzarella.
Southwest Chicken Corn Stir Fry
Create this easy Asian-Southwest fusion dish on the cheap with just two pots. In one pot, simmer Ramen to your desired consistency. In a large frying pan, combine chicken strips, red and green bell pepper slices, canned corn, onion powder and cayenne pepper in peanut oil. When cooked, pour the chicken corn “chowder” over the Ramen, and top with queso blanco if you wish.
Not Your Mama’s Grilled Cheese
Kids love grilled cheese, so go ahead and indulge them with an adult twist on this classic favorite. Butter one side of two slices of bread, place in a frying pan and sprinkle liberally with reduced fat cheddar or Swiss cheese. Top one slice with bacon or ham and the other with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Heat until the bread turns golden, combine and enjoy!
Arroz Con Pollo y Hongos
Pull together this Mexican-inspired dish in a crock pot! Simply combine sliced chicken breast, Spanish-style rice, red and/or green bell peppers, jalapenos (optional), onion and two cans of cream of mushroom soup. Let simmer for four to six hours before stirring in one can of peas and one can of sliced mushrooms, then serve topped with cilantro and a lime wedge.
Parsley and Panko Prawns
Give this easy seafood dish a try for a low-calorie, protein-packed meal. Combine ground parsley and panko breadcrumbs in a bowl with salt, pepper, garlic and a touch of ground lemon peel, and dip peeled and cooked prawns first into olive oil and then into the parsley-panko mixture. Bake on a cookie sheet for 15 to 20 minutes while you steam summer veggies like cauliflower, yellow squash and zucchini on the stove top, then just plate, eat and enjoy!
Italian Stuffed Zucchini
This dish can include Italian sausage or be made without it, vegetarian style. Cut washed zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, making a boat shape. Combine chopped tomatoes, basil, oregano and sausage (optional), fill the boat, top with mozzarella and breadcrumbs and bake for 15 – 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
Pizza Shish Kabob
What kid doesn’t like pizza? For all the taste without all the calories, simply layer slices of turkey pepperoni, fresh mushrooms and cherry tomatoes onto skewers. Slice refrigerated pizza dough into thin strips, thread it around the skewers and bake until golden brown, topping the skewers with shredded mozzarella cheese while still warm.
Vegan Fajita Rice Bowl
Vegetarians and vegans need quick meals, too! For an easy, filling vegan meal, simply saute together onions, yellow, orange and red bell peppers, Mexican-style corn and any other veggies your family enjoys in olive oil while simmering quinoa in a separate pot. Combine in a bowl, garnish with cilantro and a lime slice, and dig in!
Super Simple Beef Stew
Chilly days call for hearty meals, and this slow cooker classic fits the bill. Simply combine cubed beef, carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, one can of tomato sauce and two cans of beef broth in a crock pot and season with pepper, thyme and a bay leaf or two. Cook on slow for seven to eight hours and come home to a meal that really sticks to your family’s ribs!
Oven “Fried” Chicken with Smashed Red Potatoes
Treat your family to the cozy taste of fried chicken without all the fat and calories. Crack an egg or two in one bowl, and in another, combine bread crumbs, paprika, parsley, Parmesan cheese crumbles and salt and pepper. Dip the chicken into the egg, then into the bread crumb mix and bake in a 350 degree oven for at least 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully baked.
While the chicken cooks, boil potatoes in their skins on the stove until tender. Using a masher, smash the soft potatoes onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake in the oven until browned on top. Cooking for the family doesn’t need to involve breaking the bank or taking lessons from Gordon Ramsay. By using your imagination and designing your own healthy, easy twists on classic favorites, you and yours can eat well without spending much money or time at all!