By Vicki Little
You know this situation will happen, at least a few times each month or more: You run home after a long day with your hungry kids, who are frantically trying to finish homework before their evening activities, and you suddenly realize that you don’t have a quick fix for dinner. Of course, the chicken hasn’t thawed out yet, the kids already ate a frozen dinner that week, and your mind draws a blank. What you need is a go-to list of quick-fix dinners with items you most likely already have on hand. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Bean-and-cheese quesadillas. Tortillas have become a staple in my house because they are so versatile. Grab some black or pinto beans, a bit of cheese , and two wheat tortillas per serving. Heat in a skillet on medium heat, pressing the outside edges together to keep the fillings from falling out. Flip occasionally to keep from burning. And there you have a yummy dinner in about 10 minutes. Alternatively you can just heat up in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
- Tilapia with cannellini beans and tomatoes. Tilapia, salmon, cod…whatever you have on hand will work well in this quick dish. Mix together a can of rinsed cannellini (or black) beans with a package of halved cherry or grape tomatoes. Add some salt, pepper, lemon juice and a dash of Old Bay Seasoning and put in a baking dish. Season your fish with the Old Bay seasoning, place on top of the beans and tomatoes, and cook at 425 until fish is done.
- Honey Chicken and Veggies. This is a super quick meal to make, but it does add extra flavor if you can remember to start marinating the chicken in the morning. In a Ziploc bag, mix together a bottle of Italian dressing and half a cup of honey, and put about 1/4 of it aside. Mix the remaining with skinless chicken breasts and let marinate all day-or at least five minutes if it is a last minute dinner. Bake in the oven at 350 until done, or grill if you would like. Put some veggies on the side, drizzled with the remainder of the mixture.
- Fried egg sandwiches. Heat a tablespoon of butter and oil in a skillet over medium until hot. Add egg (1 egg per sandwich is good) and cook until whites are opaque. Flip egg quickly and heat on other side until the whites and yolks are to your liking. Add egg and slice of cheese in the middle of two pieces of toasted bread and enjoy. If you want perfect circle eggs, crack them into a ring from a mason jar.
- Honey Mustard Chicken Salad- Slice and brown some chicken strips and allow to cool while you finish the rest of the meal. *As a side note, I usually bake a lot of chicken on Sunday and then I can add it to salads or for a quick protein boost through the week, so my chicken is already available for me when I make this.* Prepare a salad with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, red peppers, dried cranberries, and walnuts. If you don’t have all of that, just prepare with what you do have. Drizzle with honey mustard dressing and a side of garlic bread. You can make your own honey mustard by mixing 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt, 2 tablespoons of regular yellow mustard, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Add pepper to your preference.
The best part about these meals is that they can be easily customized to your family’s preferences. What are your “go to” quick meals?
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, camping, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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