As my due date approaches, I get more and more nervous about how my meal planning will change. Right now, I usually cook dinner during Caleb’s nap. But will that still be possible once the baby arrives? Perhaps for a little while. However, I also know I’ll be exhausted and not wanting to cook much. I tent to push myself too far and cook meals that take too long and/or are more complex when I know I should be relaxing more…or at least that’s what my hubby tells me. But, I love cooking and coming up with delicious new meals - and I tend to frown upon pre-made things since I feel they aren’t as good for you (ugh, I hate that I wrote that, but it’s true - it just sounds so hoity toity. Goodness, I hope I’m not really hoity toity!).
On top of that, I’m terrible at taking it easy. I go-go-go until I drop. Oh sure, it’s productive, but by the end of the day I’m just plain pooped. Sooo, I’ve been trying to think up ideas of healthy, yet tasty meals. I thought you might be interested in what I’ve come up with so far.
For starters, I created a new Pinterest board titled, “Dinner: Uber Quick & Easy” (<— click the link to get to the Pinterest board). I’ve been saving some tasty looking meals to it. The Trader Joe’s hacks intrigue me. The one that grabs my attention the most is the Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Spicy Chicken Sausage and Mushrooms. I will definitely be making a trip to Trader Joe’s and stocking up on some items for when baby arrives.
Anyway, you should peruse my board. if you have any suggestions, please share! Now, for the ideas I’ve come up with so far on my own:
I think baked potatoes (or baked sweet potatoes) are often forgotten or overlooked. For a meal, just add a simple protein like sausage or rotisserie chicken alongside a veggie and stuff it in the potato. Then add a sauce or even just sour cream. If you’re like me an a recipe following person, then this recipe could guide you along.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
This isn’t just for toddlers, my friends (although, my toddler won’t eat cheese let alone grilled cheese). You can fancy it up and add spinach, some quality lunch meat ham, and maybe even a marmalade/jam. Have you tried tomato jam before? Net Shed No 9 in Gig Harbor makes a mean one that you can bring home.
Of course, a classic grilled cheese is delicious as well especially when paired with tomato soup. Trader Joe’s makes a pre-made tomato soup that’s delicious. Or, I might grab my instant pot and make a quick tomato basil soup.
Are you a soft shell or hard shell taco person? I’m totally soft shell, or should I say plain tortilla? Then there is the flour versus corn. I like both, so it just depends. For the filling, you can just brown up you ground meat of choice, which for me is turkey much to Josh’s chagrin (he’d go with beef). For uber easy, you can buy taco seasoning at the store. Or, this is a simple one that I’ve had success making in the past. I also think these Chicken Tinga Tacos are quick and easy.
Don’t forget about fish, too. That cooks up fast, and can be tasty grilled if it’s not raining outside (or even if it’s raining, ha). Then just add some lettuce, chopped tomato, avocado, and sour cream.
The sky is the limit with quesadilla fillings. Well, almost. A few of my favorites:
Breakfast: Scramble a egg/person and set aside. Then put a lightly buttered tortilla down on the pan. Add cheese all over the tortilla then lay the scrambled egg on half. I often add spinach, and if you have it, cooked bacon (I like to bake my bacon). Let it sit a moment for the cheese to stick to the tortilla, then fold it over. Cook for another minute then remove from pan, cut into wedges, and eat. Serve some sour cream with it, yum!
Napa: Chop up the pre-cooked apple sausages as well as some apple. Sauté both in a pan for a few minutes then set aside. Then put a lightly buttered tortilla down on the pan. Add cheese all over the tortilla then lay the chicken sausage and apple on half. Adding some spinach would be good for some green in there (have you noticed my propensity towards adding spinach to everything?). Let it sit a moment for the cheese to stick to the tortilla, then fold it over. Cook for another minute then remove from pan, cut into wedges, and eat. (Similar recipe here)
Veggie & Sausage/Chicken: Hopefully you have some pre-cooked chicken like the rotisserie chicken you can get at the store (Costco has a great deal on these suckers). Chop up some chicken, slice some mushrooms, and grab a veggie like spinach, broccoli or zucchini. Or even a red pepper and onion. Whatever you have on hand, add it in there! Sauté the veggies up for a few minutes then add the chicken so it’s warm. Set this aside, then get a lightly buttered tortilla down on the pan. Add cheese all over the tortilla then lay the chicken and veggies on half. Let it sit a moment for the cheese to stick to the tortilla, then fold it over. Cook for another minute then remove from pan, cut into wedges, and eat.
Rather have a recipe? Try this one on for size.
While I do eat red meat on occasion, I ultimately prefer turkey and chicken. If the weather is nice you can fire up your grill, otherwise, you can simply use a grill pan or even just a regular ole pan. The point here is making it easy. While you could simple take some ground meat and form it into a patty and then cook it, taking an extra step for some added flavor is always nice if there is time. Of course, no shame in just buying the pre-formed patties at the grocery store either. We all life busy lives! But if you are game for some extras, here’s a few ideas:
Spinach Goat Cheese Turkey Burgers
The incredible, edible egg! And sometimes breakfast for dinner is just the ticket. For a while the egg got some bad rap, but now it’s back on the good to eat list. I think everything in moderation. We always have eggs on hand, so this is an easy meal when you have nothing planned. You can scramble, poach, fry, bake, hard-boil, or make an omelette. Add some cheese and veggies if you want (hey, how about some spinach?).
Scrambled eggs - They are easy, but getting them delicious is another thing. Low and slow is the way to go with them and also be sure to whip the egg up really well before adding into the pan. Pinch of Yum has some good instructions for you. And I like Simply Recipes idea to add kale and mozzarella.
Fried eggs - Just add an egg on it. Toast and add an egg, for instance. I like Two Peas in their Pod’s polenta rounds with fried eggs. You just that funny looking polenta round tube at the store, slice, and cook it up!
Omelette - I have to admit I make omelettes the least, but PW has your back if you want to try it out. How to make an omelette.
Baked in Sauce - I enjoy shakshuka where the eggs are baked in a spicy tomato sauce. You can make a version of this with store-bought marinara sauce. Serve it with some toast bread and nom nom nom. You can follow this recipe, but simplify it with the marinara sauce.
Frittata - Whisk up some eggs, milk, and veggies then pour into a pyrex and bake. Boom.
Microwave - Heck, you can even make eggs in the microwave in a mug.
I have a Pinterest board full of egg recipe ideas. Go ahead and peruse it, I think I’ve got some good ones in there.
Pasta is my hero. I love it so much! Honestly, in a pickle, grab a jar of marinara and add some steamed veggies, and you have a primavera of sorts. Or maybe just a jar of pesto mixed into pasta…it can be that easy. There is also the tortellini from the store which actually can be pretty good. You can amp it up like Smitten Kitchen did in this Crispy Tortellini with Peas and Prosciutto. I also think this Orecchiette pasta with Chicken Sausage is pretty darn easy to whip up. Oh, and this is maybe a wee bit more work, but the Penne Rosa is tasty as well.
Hope this gives you some simple dinner inspiration! Please share any uber quick recipes you have up your sleeves!