I'm really tired of all my standard dinner recipes! As a working Mom with a family of 5 to feed, looking for new easy recipes that can be on the table in an hour. What are some of your favorites? No picky eaters here, just hungry!



mwb February 27, 2011
The book "Time for Dinner" may be a helpful resource, too.
askann October 20, 2010
This is a regular fallback for me. It tastes really good too. I add more spices than called for in the recipe:
While this is on the stove simmering, you can cook up a pot of rice and mix some yogurt with cukes or wilted spinach and some red onion and cumin for a side.
luvcookbooks October 20, 2010
allie above has the best conceptual approach, i think. i am hopelessly disorganized in the kitchen, but try now to plan out recipes loosely for the week when i shop, then try to prepare long cooked recipes in segments. for instance, pernil is a two night dish, start it one night, finish it the next. can also prep a casserole and leave a note for the kids to put it in the oven when they get home from school. cholent is a great easy dish. prep it and start it on the weekend, finish it on a weeknight. it throws together so fast and fills up so many people. jayne cohen has great cholent ideas in The Gefilte Variations. Seek healthy takeout, too (seriously). If you don't have salt issues, Japanese is usually healthy and accessible. Fajitas can often be found nearby. Chinese takeout usually has some healthy soups with vegetables and tofu, and the stir fried broccoli with brown rice is pretty healthy. There's a great kosher deli bakery near us, can't say its physically healthy (a bit heavy) but sometimes u need to feed ur family's soulw ith falafel, ribbon cookies, etc. Will post the name if anyone in the Bronx is listening, i love this place.
luvcookbooks October 20, 2010
Just reviewed Cauliflower and Parsnip Puree with Calvados Shallots from the Cauliflower Contest, SallyCan's recipe. Dynamite, parsnips are like a seasoning and do not overwhelm the delicate creamy nature of this elegant dish... think antique linen tablecloths and bone china serving dishes, best silver, crystal wine glasses. Oops, we're on an easy dinner thread. Just eat it with pork chops on your fiesta ware, then.
healthierkitchen October 19, 2010
I put up the mojo criollo - hope it helps. As to parsnips, I've been eyeing AntoniaJames' parsnip and butternut squash puree.
Julie7007 October 19, 2010
Wow, thanks for all the responses! We freq. do a burrito bar, and breakfast for dinner, so I have to slip those into the "standard" category that everyone is tired of. My husband also draws the line at ox tail!. But there are several recipes posted here that I am anxious to try! Hkitchen, please do post your mojo criollo! Thanks everyone! Today was our final delivery from our CSA (Michigan), but I sure could have used the zucchini and eggplant recipes earlier this summer! Any great parsnip recipes you could suggest?
healthierkitchen October 18, 2010
Hear, Hear, AntoniaJames! Will try to get my mojo criollo marinade posted if you're interested Julie7007.
mrslarkin October 18, 2010
Along the lines of the tortilla bar, one of our favorite evening meals is a taco bar. Saute ground meat with the (yes, store bought) seasoning packet, heat the (yes, store bought) shells, shred lettuce, buy shredded cheese, dice some tomato, chop some cilantro, any fillings, like avocado, onion, add hot sauce, etc. My kids love this. And it's quick and easy!

And the Costco rotisserie chickens - grab a couple of those for a quick, easy meal. Don't knock them till you try them! Nuke some potatoes, toss a salad, and it's dinnertime.

One of our (way too frequent) favorite meals is quick mac n cheese. I'm surprised the kids aren't sick of this yet. http://www.food52.com/recipes/2776_ridiculously_easy_mac_and_cheese
AntoniaJames October 18, 2010
Frankly, I think the food52 community itself, without any outside sources, and using just the recipes on the site plus a few dozen new ones, could very easily create another terrific food52 cookbook focused on Weeknight Dinners . . . given what we have here now, and the tried and true nature of our weeknight favorites, and better yet, our methods and strategies, I would even say that the recipes could be selected in a matter of few months, or less. Who are the real experts, anyway, in cooking for tired and hungry families at the end of a long, stressful day at work, followed by a commute and kids' basketball practices, music lessons, SAT prep, getting our tax returns filed, and everything else that pulls us in every which direction? We are, of course! A&M, are you listening? ;o)
nutcakes October 18, 2010
Here is a great quick sticky Asian chicken, our household evergreen:

A mild Curried Couscous w/ chicken & zucchini I've made for kids:

Parmesan coated Turkey Cutlets are quick (you do have to lightly pound them to make em tender, but after that it is a snap. Don't forget the lemon wedge squeezed over--it makes it. I like it with spinach and rice.

Here is a great Jamie Oliver recipe for chicken legs with tomato and basil, so fragrant! Last blast of summer, goes together in minutes.
healthierkitchen October 18, 2010
another weeknight favorite, (though this is not completely homecooked) at our house is a"tortilla bar". Sometimes I've marinated a flank or hangar steak in my own mojo criollo marindae, which we quick grill or other nights we just pick up a rotisserie chicken to shred the breast meat. Put out corn, wheat or flour tortillas, sliced avocado, shredded cheese, pico de gallo, etc. If I have time, rice and beans as well. Sometimes just a salad on the side. Recently did this with Merrill's fish salpicon, which is on its own a great weeknight dish with a little avocado and heart of palm salad.
kjrmcclain October 18, 2010
luvcookbooks - Sorry, I should have been more explicit. I am using the bento as a thermos and for portion control, but also to keep in mind the balance of foods. I have not done anything visually creative (yet).

I use these: http://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-SL-NCE09-Bento-Stainless-Steel-Vacuum/dp/B0016S7MJM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1287421190&sr=8-2
Sadassa_Ulna October 18, 2010
I am taking note of all these great prep-ahead ideas. I just thought of a quick supper we sometimes resort to when there's little food in the house and not a lot of time: Breakfast for dinner! It might be omelets with homefried [leftover] potatoes, or it might be pancakes and sausage. Sometimes orange juice is the "vegetable" that night. Kids like this and think it's a treat. I sometimes make puffy omelets or I add sauteed onion and peppers to the potatoes to step it up from a standard diner breakfast (not that there's anything wrong with that).
allie October 18, 2010
Love these ideas. One thing that has saved me is rethinking when I cook. Rather than attempting the mad rush each evening when everyone is starved, I often cook Sundays and the night before so that dinner is ready/almost ready at the start on each day. Baked pastas are a good bet for this, as are many stews, but even roasted chicken and fish taste just fine the next day. It's not ideal, but it is a sanity saver and allows me to pick dishes that may need longer in the oven but are easy to make otherwise.
AntoniaJames October 18, 2010
Here's one of my favorite recipes on food52:

As you can see from the comments, I've already made it many times, and every time, I've made it with something other than chicken meatballs (which happen to be more labor intensive). I make it with fish, chicken and seafood. You can cook the rice at the same time. You can add vegetables while the sauce is cooking, to make it more of a stew, so you don't have to worry about a side dish. It's so easy!
Also, monkeymom's Criss-cross Eggplant goes together quickly and can be adapted for other vegetables and proteins. Look at some of my comments following the recipe for some ideas.
It's another favorite weeknight meal here. Finally, you can make my own Lentil and Sausage Soup for a Cold Winter Night, a contest winner for the first cookbook. http://www.food52.com/recipes/2348_lentil_and_sausage_soup_for_a_cold_winters_night I've written the instructions to enable you to make it as quickly and efficiently as possible. I'm not entirely sure that you can make, eat and clean up within an hour, but the cleanup is fairly easy, and you can do all of the clean up from the prepping during the final cooking stage of the soup. I was where are you, but with two children and not three, not so long ago. I've had a busy law practice yet have wanted to eat at home every night since I was first married. Over the years I developed a lot of strategies and great recipes to achieve that. In addition to finding quick meals, find ones that you can double and freeze. Chili, some soups, and soups that can be made in advance up to a point and then frozen, such as the Red Lentil and Cauliflower Soup recipe that I recently posted, are all favorites in my kitchen for that reason. There's a book that was published years ago called "Fresh From the Freezer" that's well worth tracking down for this purpose. Good luck!! ;o)
luvcookbooks October 18, 2010
kjrmcclain, how do you make bento boxes? I'm intrigued but amazed at how complex looking they are. Afraid i'll buy all kinds of stuff that won't get used. Can this be part of the same foodpickle?
Valerie October 15, 2017
Look up "Just Bento/Just Hungry". This blog is an old one but it is FANTASTIC! If you scroll thru and read up you will find great ideas for your children's lunches and even your grownup lunches. Not hard at all. We brought our gal up with Bento and she has definitely thrived. Now she will eat most anything and we have no leftovers!
healthierkitchen October 18, 2010
Just made wanderash's Roasted Curried Caulifower last night. Terrific flavor and easy to put together. You could even cut up the cauliflower the night before and then quickly preheat oven and put up rice when you get home. Once it goes in the oven it roasts for about 45 minutes, but at that point there's nothing else to do. http://www.food52.com/recipes/7058_roasted_curried_cauliflower

Or for an easy weeknight dinner that is not at all fancy, but generally well liked (and loved by my husband and kids), try my peanut chicken with broccoli:

Sadassa_Ulna October 18, 2010
I love this thread and there is probably a whole new website that could be based on this issue! I do have picky eaters and our standard fare is sad, so I am interested to see what recipes people post. I will try to post some in the future if I can think of anything . . . I really like what kjrmcclain said: "I would love it someone took it further and developed a periodical that included information on what could be purchased, prepped ahead of time, and shared across recipes." So maybe you prep for two different meals at the same time? Thank you julie7007 for posting this question!

pierino October 18, 2010
Glad to hear your family does not include picky eaters. So here is my recipe for Roman style oxtail http://www.food52.com/recipes/2741_and_now_our_tail_comes_to_an_end_coda_alla_vaccinara The way the recipe is written it serves 4 but by increasing the amount of tail (and celery) you can up the number of portions. An advantage here is that this can be done in a slow cooker so that it's ready when you get home from work. Just be sure to brown the meat separately first.

Voted the Best Reply!

kjrmcclain October 18, 2010
We are two working parents with 3 kids and very little time (less than 1 hour to cook and clean up). The daycare lunches for our little ones do not meet our expectations (our state recently forced very poor requirements), so they go to school with bento boxes every day. I have done my best to continue making every meal they consume, but it is very tough. It makes it easier to do when I look at the nutrition information on the prepackaged foods. I hate to say it, but my cookbook and periodical choices have changed quite a bit in the past few years. Mother-in-law dropped off a Food Network magazine a few months ago, and it has become a staple source. The front of every issue has a nice visual recipe index and there always at least 5 recipes that we like and a fair number of those are adopted into our 'meal rotation'. I would love it someone took it further and developed a periodical that included information on what could be purchased, prepped ahead of time, and shared across recipes. This is easy if you make the same things each week or two, but we change things up and only have a few seasonal staples. Have any of the meals been exceptional? No, but they are healthy, affordable, varied and seasonal. My wife laughs because almost every night my two toddlers tell me 'they love my dinner' and ask me if I will pack it up for their lunch the next day too.
luvcookbooks October 18, 2010
I'm a working mom for a family of four, including two fussy children and one vegetarian. Submitted some of my weeknight recipes to food52, most of them cook up in half an hour: Chickpea Curry, Purnima Garg's Eggplant and Tomato Curry, Black Bean Chili, Rice and Beans, Pasta Fagioli. All tried and true. Love the Broccoli Rabe with Lemon and Cream from the Blog over pasta, don't know if it's in the recipe section but can find it on the blog from food52, also super fast. Love pork chops with calvados from Bittman's How to Cook Everything (or pork chops with something, I use Calvados), also Asopao de Pollo submitted by me, also tried and true.... this is a routine breaker, but Vietnamese Summer Rolls can be made quickly and double as a family craft project in hot weather. Hope this gives u a range of thoughts.
drbabs October 18, 2010
If you put the word "easy" in the Food52 search engine, you get >500 recipes. Look at the bar on the left on the recipe page after you have done your search and you'll see 21 contest winners and 150 editors' picks. Those could be a jumping off point for you. And every Monday, there's a feature on the site called "Jenny's in the Kitchen," in which Jenny, a NY Times reporter and enthusiastic home cook, reports on a recipe she made for her family on a weeknight. She usually finds previously undiscovered recipes that are easy to make and very appealing. To find her old columns, click on the blog link under the title page, look on the right, and click on "Jenny's in the Kitchen." Have fun exploring Food52!
AntoniaJames October 18, 2010
What are your standard recipes now, of which you are tired? ;o)
Mr_Vittles October 18, 2010
I'd go with some semi-homemade type dishes, not from the show though. I suggest a simple Chicken Parmesan. Simply take a couple minced garlic cloves and a few tablespoons of olive oil and spread it on the bottom of a large casserole dish. Lay in 5 or 6 large chicken breasts (boneless, skinless), cover them with 2 cups of your favorite jarred marinara sauce (or whatever it takes to cover the chicken), and sprinkle a little basil (fresh or dry) on top. Spread a good portion shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan over the sauce and cover that with a bag of garlic croutons. Finish by spreading a little more shredded mozz over the croutons and bake in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. It is pretty easy, doesn't take any time to prepare, and is ready in under an hour. Hope this helps.
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