Quick Family Dinners

I am so excited about this month's Not Just a Mom link up.  I am always on the hunt for quick and easy family meals.  


I don't know about your family but what we eat changes a lot from season to season.  

During the school year we tend to rely a lot on casseroles and crock pot meals for those nights I need a quick option.  I tend to keep a few casseroles on hand in the freezer so when I know we have a busy night coming up I can just pop the casserole in the fridge the night before then just pop it in the oven and know that dinner will be ready in just under 30 minutes with NO prep!  

Some of our favorite casseroles include:

This American Chop Suey recipe I made while modifying a Weight Watcher's recipe


My younger boys can not get enough of our chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole.


Everyone is a fan of the ham and pea mac and cheese or even my broccoli and ham shells and cheese 



We just tried this recipe for chicken teriyaki casserole a few months ago and it was a huge hit. 


Another one we tried this winter that we've been eating on repeat is this chicken parm. casserole.  


Lasagna is a classic choice too! Here is a recipe for a summer squash lasagna, traditional lasagna made in a loaf pan for smaller servings, & a Weight Watcher's lasagna with turkey.




We always have a huge bowl of salad ready to go in the fridge so I serve all our casseroles with a side of salad for a complete meal.


When I'm making meals in the crock pot I primarily focus on making sure the protein is being prepared as I can always heat up a bag of frozen veggies and cook up some egg noodles or couscous real quick to go with it.  However, we do love a great crock pot lasagna meal!

Family crock pot favorites include:

Chili


Crock pot lasagna 



Pulled pork or chicken (we've been experimenting with different recipes for these this year as this is a new to us dish!).  Easy dinner when we're just making sandwiches and we'll have chips or veggie sticks with them.

Chicken noodle soup (my recipe calls for cooking it in a big pot all day but I have absolutely made this in my crock pot.  I have lots of other soup recipes for my crock pot too but this is the only one that all three of my boys will willingly eat. 


I'll cook up meatballs in sauce in my mini crock pot for meatball grinders or spaghetti and meatballs.

Pot roast-- I often make it with just the meat but for a quick meal I'll add in carrots and diced potatoes for a true New England style pot roast.


Any sort of meal I can cook and complete ahead of time and then just heat up like quiche works well too (with or without a crust-- crustless quiche recipe here).  My husband and I like our quiche with veggies and the boys like theirs with just meat and cheese so I typically make 2; one of each kind and we'll eat leftovers for breakfast the next few days. 


Pasta and sauce, ravioli and sauce, or even pasta with frozen veggies and pesto is another quick option that everyone seems to like.  I make up my own jars of pesto in the summer and freeze them so we have them year round (canning and putting up jars of food is just beyond me so I tend to freeze things).


During the summer we're not usually quite as busy as during the school year but there are times when we want a quick meal then too.  In late spring and for most of summer I almost always have a cold side dish in the fridge like pasta salad or potato salad to go along with our traditional greens salad so we just throw some chicken, steak, burgers or hot dogs on the grill and dinner is ready in no time.  

Side salads like:

 Cole Slaw


BBQ Macaroni salad



Pasta salad



Potato salad


We also purchased some grill baskets so we can cook up veggies and even potatoes on the grill too for a quick, easy meal where I don't have to turn on the oven. 


How do you handle quick weeknight dinners?

Make sure you come back next month where we're sharing our home tours. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Comments

  1. Oohhh I didn't even think about the crock pot and we use ours a lot in the fall and winter! You shared some great recipes!

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    1. Yeah, we use ours year round. In fact I just cooked up a huge batch of meat sauce this weekend while we were out hiking.

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  2. Some really nice meal ideas here. I am always on the look out for quick meals to make. I really like the looks of the chicken, broccoli and rice casserole. #MMBC

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    1. That is the casserole dish that my youngest two sons request every single month without fail.

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  3. Ohh! I am all for quick family meals. What great ideas. I think my family would love the American Chop Suey and the chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole. Yum! Yum x

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  4. So many yummy ideas here. I also make my own pesto. It's so good! I make a lot of one-pot pasta dishes. They always go down well in our home. #MMBC

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  5. I can almost always throw together a salad for myself but not for the kids! And my kids might like pasta casseroles (well maybe 2 out of 3 of them) but I don't like to eat a lot of pasta!

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    1. My boys will eat pasta but only as a side dish... unless it's a Caesar salad.

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  6. I like having a bunch of side salads on hand and then BBQing the summer. It's so easy! And I really need to work on making, and freezing, some meals so we can thaw them and heat them quickly in the winter. That's such an EXCELLENT idea!!!

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    1. Thanks! When I'm making casseroles I like to make two-- one to eat right away and one to freeze.

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  7. You make some yummy meals! One pot/pan is the best.

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  8. I always need new recipe ideas. Thank you for this!

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  9. Give me ALLL the pasta dishes. I like the idea of broccoli with pasta!

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    1. OH me too! I could eat pasta every night and not get sick of it (though I don't let myself eat it that often!).

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  10. Lots of yummy choices! Thanks so much for linking up with me at the Unlimited Link Party 28. Pinned!

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    1. Thank you so much for the pin and for hosting.

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  11. You've made a lot of awesome dinners Joanne. We enjoy eating the crock pot lasagna too. Thanks for sharing all of these recipes. I will have to try some of them. I hope you have a nice week Joanne.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you find some "keepers" on the list.

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  12. These all looks so tasty. I need to get more creative at dinner time :) Thanks for hosting and linking up

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  13. That chicken, broccolli, rice casserole looks delicious! I might have to try that one! I think our picky eaters might like it!

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    1. My two pickiest eaters request it every month... even though it had a touch of mayo in it and they would never eat mayo otherwise.

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  14. You have so many great ideas! I love casseroles in the winter! We always get leftovers out of those.

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  15. So many great recipes! I wish my hubby like broccoli because that Chicken, Rice and Broccoli casserole looks so good.

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    1. I've used other veggies in it's place-- spinach, cauliflower, peas... but I tend to use a lot of broccoli since that is the only cooked vegetable that all three of my boys will eat.

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