Imagine this wild scenario: you make something delicious, and life-giving (and easy) for dinner…. and everyone at your table ACTUALLY EATS IT, your kids included. They might love it, even. Ask for it again. Or at least, eat it without a lot of complaints 🙂
Now, did I just name your 6pm fantasy land? Wait for it: this is not a dream!
This is not impossible to do. In fact, I think a lot of it can start to happen when you’re willing to SIMPLIFY some things in your house:
SIMPLIFY your food (aka, to real-food). Bonus tip: when you get the chemicals, additives, emulsifiers and processed stuff out of your food, your (and your kids) taste buds open up (and real-food tastes amazing.) You gotta give it 2 weeks of clearing the other stuff out before you’ll see this shift, but once you do, everything else gets easier.
SIMPLIFY the execution (aka, know what things work well for your family: the quickest cooking veggies, having a pantry stocked with real-food supplies, and ideas of what sound good for the week).
and SIMPLIFY the pressure you’re putting on yourself for your meals to be 5 star, magazine worthy meals. Bonus tip: this is a *prime* example of an all-or-nothing mentality at play: it leads us to not even try cooking anything, because we know we don’t have the time or energy to do it “perfectly”.
Let me tell you what IS true, though:
As long as it’s SIMPLE & REAL, your body will thank you.
As long as it’s SIMPLE & REAL, it’s time well spent.
It does NOT have to be fancy. Or complex. Or anything crazy.
So today, I want to simplify the process for anyone who’s feeling overwhelmed in the kitchen these days– whether you have kids or not. With five meals that are my go-to’s even when I only have 10-20 minutes to get dinner on the table…which seems like most nights these days?! Ha.
They’re simple, easy to make, and don’t require a ton of ingredients. And most of all? Don’t require separate meal-making :).
Grass-Fed Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries (With A Side Veggie)
Even before summer grilling days get here, burgers are the quick dinner we can’t get enough of. I love to look for grass-fed lamb, beef, or turkey at the store ( I usually get ours at PCC if you’re local to Seattle). If you’re looking for a great vegetarian option, Hilary’s veggie burgers are delicious (and a great pantry staple when you’re short on time). I pair them with sweet potato fries, which are so easy to make, and something green. My recent go-tos? Sauteed green beans, roasted broccoli or cauliflower, or a fresh salad.
Chili and GF Cornbread
Is there anything better than walking into the kitchen to smell a delicious chili simmering on the stove? I don’t know about you, but it’s one of my all-time favorite everyday moments. You can make turkey, beef, or veggie chili– my sweet potato version (recipe here) debuted in the Simply Real Eating cookbook, and it’s been a favorite in our family ever since. I usually pair it with gluten free cornbread, using my corn muffin recipe (also in the Simply Real Eating cookbook), and just baking it in a square dish instead. Optional to add some arugula on top for some extra veggies if you’d like.
Veggie-Packed Chicken Enchiladas
This one is straight from my Cooking Club, where I’ve been sharing tons of family-friendly dinner ideas lately (as in, a new one every single week). AND, guess what? This family friendly recipe post inspired me to do something fun, for this week only! Through this Sunday only, I’m offering a 7-day free trial, so you can check out this recipe and LOTS of others! You can stick around after your trial for just $9.99/month (or $97/year), both on flash sale until this Sunday 3/19. Come on in, try some healthy family recipes, and see if it’s a good fit for you!
For this recipe, you’ll just need chicken (if you want), peppers, zucchini, green or red salsa, corn tortillas and mozzarella cheese (also optional– leave it out if you want to go dairy free). It’s sooooo good and makes enough to have leftovers the next day! Also check out my Mild Verde Salsa version too.
Asparagus and Pea Risotto
This one’s also from the Cooking Club– check it out here to see how the recipes are laid out. I try to make each meal easy to follow, adjust and simple for everyone (you can adjust the serving sizes, search by ingredients you already have in your fridge, save your favorites, and print coordinating shopping lists too!).
This is one of those meals that feels fancy but is actually sooo simple to pull together quickly! Just add your favorite protein (we love roasted chicken, salmon, and halibut). It’s always a hit with the entire family, and I use whatever veggies on are on sale/in season that week.
Lentil Pasta with Meatballs & Tomato Sauce (& A Side Veggie)
I love to simplify where I can, and for this recipe, it means reaching for Rao’s, my favorite store-bought tomato sauce. Then, I whip up some greek meatballs or turkey meatballs (both available in my first cookbook (which celebrates 8 years old this week!) and yup, also available in the Cooking Club too). Short on time? Swap them out for organic chicken sausage from your freezer instead.
I usually serve with broccoli, sea salt, pepper & butter– on the side or mixed in– and I add arugula on top for the adults, or mix up a quick side salad. Lentil pasta has a great amount of protein and fiber, and when it’s topped with sauce, you’ll never tell the difference. I love the TJ’s brand best.
Want more simple, delicious, nutritious dinner ideas for the family? Join the Cooking Club for free this week, or visit the whole SRH shop. You’ll find tons of recipe resources, including seasonal meal plans, my cookbooks, and the baby food files.
photo by talitha bullock