We all get into grooves of shuffling through the same four dinners, and then doing take-out or pizza the other nights. I was in one of those “what am I making for dinner” slumps this winter, and have been making a consious effort to be better about that. Now, I won’t say I am meal-planning, grocery shopping with a purpose, and then making dinner ahead for the whole week. Slow down. I’m not even close to that. But I have worked up an arsenal of tasty weeknight dinner ideas that are easy AND kid-approved!
I guess you could consider this part to be “making ahead”, but I promise it’s the only time I really do it. I make sure I have the ingredients for my Easy Italian Pasta Salad recipe on hand or on my grocery list. I make it over the weekend, and that’s a perfect side dish, afternoon snack, or to add in for a school lunch.
I also save the rest of the peppers and cucumbers to use throughout the week as snacks!
Ok, let’s jump into the actual dinner ideas!
One-Pan Salmon and Asparagus Dinner
What you need: 1 lb fresh salmon, asparagus (washed and trimmed), 1/2 lemon, 3 tbsp butter, italian seasoning blend, 1 cloved minced garlic.
What you do: in a saucepan over medium heat, melt your butter and add in the garlic, cook until garlic is fragrant (about 2-3 minutes), stir in Italian seasonings. Remove from heat and set aside. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil (because dishes are the worst), and spray with cooking spray. Wash and de-skin your fish, pat dry and place on prepared baking sheet. Arrange the asparagus around the salmon. Drizzle the butter mixture over everything. Thinly slice your lemon, and place on top of the salmon. Add more Italian seasoning to taste. Broil on high heat (400 for my oven) for 8-10 minutes.
We all love asparagus, so I can never make enough. Adjust the recipe to taste. 1 pound of salmon is good for David, Peyton, Addy, and myself – London won’t eat fish not in stick form.
Honey Garlic Shrimp and Veggies Dinner
What you need: 1 lb peeled shrimp, 4 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp freshly grated ginger, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, butter, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 1 cup white rice (could also use brown rice).
What you do: Cook your white rice, and set aside, covered. If your shrimp is frozen, thaw it by running cold water over them in a strainer. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, and ginger. Toss thawed shrimp in olive oil and salt and pepper. Heat the honey mixture in a large pan on medium heat until hot, add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add the shrimp, and cook until pink, stirring to coat in the honey mixture. If your honey mixture doesn’t seem like it’s coating the shrimp, add more honey as desired. In a separate pan, heat butter over medium heat. Wash and slice your zucchini and squash. Add to heated butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip frequently, until soft. Once the shrimp is pink, remove from heat.
Plate your shrimp mixture over the rice and serve with the sautéed veggies.
Chicken Stir-Fry Dinner
What you need: 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, Asian veggies (I like to use: water chestnuts, baby corn, broccoli, carrots, and pea pods), soy sauce, rice, 1 clove minced garlic.
What you do: Spray a pan with cooking spray, and cook your chicken, I like to cut it up as I cook it, but you could wait and cut it up after cooked. Once cooked through, remove from heat and set aside. In a new pan (because chicken germs), heat your garlic in soy sauce for 2 minutes. Add in the veggies, and cook until soft. Cook white rice according to package instructions and set aside. Once veggies are soft, add the cooked chicken to the veggie pan, and toss until it’s well-mixed.
Plate the chicken and veggie mixture over rice.
Honey Lemon Salmon
What you need: 1 lb salmon, 1/2 lemon, rice, broccoli, 3 tbsp honey, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
What you do: heat the broiler to high (400 for my oven), and prepare your baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying with cooking spray. Wash, pat dry, and de-skin your salmon, before putting it on the prepared sheet. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the salmon, and drizzle with honey, and add seasonings to taste.
Broil 8-10 minutes, but watch it. The honey will go from zero-to burning in the blink of an eye. I like to roasted-honey flavor, so I take it out of the oven when it’s starting to bubble, and the scent goes from “mmmm this honey smells good” to “is that smoke??” So. Stay close to the oven for this one!
While it’s cooking, steam your broccoli and cook your rice according to package instructions.
A few other family-favorite dinner ideas include:
My healthy, veggie-filled, sloppy-joes. This dinner is awesome because none of the girls notice that they’re eating zucchini! I love serving it with sweet potato fries!
My one-pan chicken and veggies. I think this is a favorite for Peyton. Whenever she sees me making potatoes, she asks, “hey are you making the potatoes I like?” Legit, this is the only way she will eat them!
My BBQ Hawaiian wraps. Now, the girls won’t eat this, but David loves it! I swear, he will request this for dinner every time I ask him what he wants!