Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas

It’s 6:00 pm, otherwise known as 'witching hour' for young kids. Everyone's tired, you're stressed, and everyone wants to know: "Mom, what's for dinner?" 

It’s not easy juggling our busy lives while trying to feed our families a hot, nutritious dinner every day.
Here are seven quick and easy dinner ideas will help take the stress out of family meal times. 

1. Plan a Menu 
This does take a little organizing ahead of time but it’s definitely worth the effort. Find a few minutes during the weekend and plan your meals for the upcoming week. Write a quick menu, do your shopping and stick the menu on your fridge. Every morning, glance at it and take out the foods that need thawing. Plan ahead how much time you need to prepare the meal. 

2. Befriend the Crockpot
Okay, this little invention may not be the coolest kitchen gadget around but, with a little planning you can have a nutritious dinner ready before the kids can even say “mom…”

3. The Casserole is Back
Similar to the Crockpot, and great for days when you forget to plan ahead. Casseroles are fantastic for using leftovers or just about any items you can find in your pantry. Throw together some pasta, tuna, corn kernels, peas and cream for a quick meal. Casseroles made with rice or potatoes are just as easy. Keep a few easy recipes on hand and add or omit ingredients according to what you have in your pantry.

4. Easy, Versatile, Pasta. 
By far the easiest way to quickly throw together a healthy family dinner. To avoid boredom, experment beyond the usual jar of sauce.  Try this instead:  heat two tablespoons of olive oil over very low heat and add one crushed garlic bulb, stir for about a minute and add a can of drained crab meat, the juice of one lemon and a little salt and pepper to taste. Add a little chopped cilantro or parsley and serve over your pasta with some garlic bread on the side for a delicious meal in minutes. 

5. Eggs Incredible Eggs.
Eggs aren’t only for breakfast, they’re also great for quick and easy dinners. Make an omelet and fill with a little ham and cheese. You can also add some chopped tomato, onions or mushrooms. Serve along with a salad and some bread. Or make a Spanish tortilla: Scrub, peel, and thinly slice a couple of new or small potatoes. Add to a sauce pan with a little water and boil until soft, about 8 minutes. Add a little oil to a nonstick frying pan, add the potatoes, scramble eggs and a little chopped onion (optional). Cook on low until the bottom starts to set. Then stick the frying pan under a hot grill until the top of the tortilla sets. Serve with a side salad. 

6. Sandwich Bar. 
Put out some bread rolls (whole wheat is best), add a platter of cheese, ham, turkey, tuna or any other favorite fillings. Add another platter of chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and any other favorite veggies. Now let your kids put together their own sandwiches. Serve with some pretzels, a salad or cut up veggies and dip. 

7. Wrap It. 
Wraps are great for quick dinners. You can fill them with just about anything. For a Mexican wrap, cook a little ground beef, drain and fill the wrap. Add some chopped tomatoes, grated cheese, sour cream or guacamole. You can also fill it with a little heated tuna with some corn kernels and a little mayonnaise or try scrambled eggs, chopped ham and tomatoes. Leftover chicken with cheese and lettuce works great too.