Too often I lack inspiration when it comes to quick and easy dinner ideas and it’s at these times that I fall into the trap of thinking that takeaway is the quickest, easiest option! But honestly, it’s usually actually not. Plus it’s expensive and so unhealthy for our family. So in an effort to save money, save time and to keep our family healthy, I put the call out to friends of the Childhood 101 Facebook page to share their quicker-than-takeaway dinner ideas. Here’s 50 great suggestions shared by the fabulous community that hangs out over there.
1. Egg and bacon muffins: recipe suggestion via Planning with Kids here
2. Eggs and cheese on a toasted English muffin: see the Planning with Kids version here
3. Baked eggs: Line ramekin with ham, crack an egg or two in top with chopped tomato, grated cheese. Bake for 15 minutes.
4. Mushroom, spinach and tomato omelette
5. Omelette with various veggies and fresh herbs chucked in. You can put it between two pieces of toast (burger style) for a heartier meal and no cutlery!
6. Poached eggs on a bed of steamed broccoli, carrot strips and melted cheese.
SANDWICHES, WRAPS & ROLLS
7. Bacon and cheese toasted sandwiches
8. Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup
9. Grilled chicken sandwiches
10. Wraps: Fill with fresh salad and either a hot meat like pork, chicken or beef strips or even cold sandwich meats like salami or ham
11. Make Your Own subs: Offer a range of fillings.
12. Fried rice: Stir fry veggies, garlic and chilli (optional) while rice is cooking. Combine vegetables, rice and soy sauce.
13. Asparagus risotto with ham: Fry half an onion, 2 cloves garlic and 2 sticks of celery till soft. Add a handful of chopped asparagus and 1/2 cup of stock, cook on high for about 10 minutes, then lower the heat and add 1.5 cups of Arborio rice and the grated zest of one lemon. Stir. Continue to add stock until rice is cooked al dente. Sprinkle in a little parsley. Add 1 cup of grated cheese and stir (parmiggiano or grana is great but today it was good old Edam!).
14. Rice bowls: To lime flavored rice the kids add toppings such as black beans, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, etc.
15. One Pan Mac n Cheese
16. Pesto pasta with olives, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms and red onion. All gets prepped and cooked whilst the pasta cooks.
17. Pasta with pesto and broccoli with Parmesan grated on top. Best with fresh pesto!
18. Pasta with a commercial tomato based sauce, tuna and garlic.
19. Pasta with spinach and feta: Defrost frozen spinach, cook pasta, break up feta and then mix it all together!
20. One Pot Pasta: recipe suggestion via Family Bites.
21. Tuna Pasta
22. Cooked chicken cut up and mixed with commercial Chicken Cacciatore sauce and cooked pasta. Place in pie dish and bake with cheese on top.
23. Quick Chicken Parmigiana – pre-prepared commercial Chicken Schnitzel, jar of commercial tomato based pasta sauce, shredded cheese, box of pasta. Bake chicken according to directions. Boil water and cook pasta while chicken cooking. Remove chicken, add sauce and cheese and bake/broil additional 10 minutes. Serve with salad, garlic bread or steamed veggies
24. Chicken pasta with seasonal vegetables and cream sauce (cook pasta, while that drains, cook chicken and veggies with oil in same pot used for pasta, add flour and milk and seasonings
25. Chicken Stirfry: Stir fry chicken and vegetables with honey and soy sauce. Serve with egg noodles or rice
26. Sloppy Joes: recipe suggestion via Family Fresh Meals (can also use beef mince/ground beef)
27. Baked potato bar: Bake potatoes while you are prepping the toppings. Chilli beans, cheese, sour cream, chopped avocado, chopped tomatoes
28. Jacket potatoes with tuna, baked beans and cheese
29. Roasted Vegetable Soup: recipe suggestion via Country Life Experiment
31. Chicken burritos
32. Quesadillas: this recipe via Planning with Kids
33. Chicken quesadillas: Shredded chicken with cheese plus salsa and sour cream
34. Taco night: Toppings include cheese, salsa, sour cream and avocado
35. Baked bean nachos: Corn chips, baked beans and cheese on top. Microwave until cheese melts
36. Tortilla bake: Brown hamburger, add taco seasoning. Spread store bought cheese dip on tortillas, layer meat, a little shredded cheese and repeat until meat is gone. Cover with cheese sauce and bake until bubbly. Top with sour cream and your favorite taco toppings. Can be made ahead and heated when ready.
37. Mexican Hot Dogs: Roll hot dogs in softened corn tortillas. Use toothpick to hold tortillas in place. Fry in oil on stove top or fryer. Better to use a lower heat and cook slow. Serve with mustard, ketchup, salsa and cheese
38. Chilli con carne
PRETENDING WE’RE STILL HAVING TAKEAWAY
39. English Muffin Pizzas: English muffins, mozzarella, pizza sauce, toppings, oven @ 350°F, 12-15 min
40. Pita bread pizzas
41. MYO Hot Dog bar with a variety of toppings – chilli, sauerkraut, shredded cheese, coleslaw, onions
42. Burgers on the grill
43. Souvlaki: Heaps of salad, hommus, tzatziki and lamb or chicken quick fried with Greek seasoning
44. San Choy Bau lettuce cups
BREAKFAST FOR DINNER
45. Pancakes with bacon or sausage
46. French Toast with bacon or sausage
47. Scrambled Eggs
48. Eggs, bacon, fried potatoes or hash browns or chips
49. Homemade baked beans
50. Surprise plate: Leftover veggies or diced meat, cheese, olives, dried fruit, nuts and fruit
What are your go-to, quicker-than-takeaway family meals?