Any ideas for 9-5 working moms on quick dinners

Stephenie - posted on 07/23/2009 ( 33 moms have responded )

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I don't get to pick my boys up from daycare until 5:30 and then by the time we get home its 6 and we are all hungry and 3 kids going 3 ways wanting 3 things...any advice for something simple for dinners

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Cheryl - posted on 08/08/2009

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I try like crazy to make one dish recipes. My husband and kids 2,3 and 17, love chicken pot pie. I use role out crust, 1 can of chicken breast, a couple of cans of mixed veggies and fat free cream of chicken soup- mix them all together, pour them on the crust and lay another crust over. I poke holes in the top and throw it in the oven. The crust browns and we have a meal. Prep time is just a few mins which means more time with the family..

I manage a good-sized medical clinic and especially in the winter, my brain is mush and I can't even think of what to make for dinner. I really don't want to spend the time making foods in advance over the few hours I do have off (on weekends) so I came up with a solution that works for us. With help from my husband and oldest daughter, we made a list of easy, good, quick meals. I made a grocery list of items for each. Printed them out, cut them into small pieces and threw them in a bowl. Before going to the grocery store, we would draw out a week's worth of dinners. My oldest daughter or hubby chooses what is for dinner and then starts preparing it.

For me, I want to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my family so it was in the "planning". Good luck!!

[deleted account]

Salads are great and easy to fix. You can put a salad of any kind with whatever meat you make each night. You can prep burgers on your days off and freeze them to individual serviing portions. Then pull them out before work each day. You can make chili mac, turkey burgers, meatloaf, chili. or spaghetti and freeze it in serving size containers as well. You can make tacos or do a mexican night. You can make lasagna, (different kinds) casseroles, and so on. Freeze them and pull them out before work each day. All of these meals take very little prep work and each evening takes about 30minutes total cook/prep time. Just make a new habit in your house to add fresh fruits or salads or veggies to each meal. They are easy to fix, quick, and you can do it while the main course cooks.

As for the kids. Set a routine. Every night as soon as you all walk in the door make all 3 kids take their schoolbooks out and work on homework. If they have no homework then they sit quietly at the table with their siblings until you call them into the kitchen to hear about their day. Give each child about 10 minutes and while that child is getting one on one time the others can be doing homework or studying. 6:30 for a meal time isn't that bad actually. When dinner is just about done you can have all 3 kids clean up their school stuff and set the table. One can get the cups, one the plates, one the silverware, etc. Kids as young as 2 or 3 can do this so age shouldn't be an issue. :) Trust me. I have a 3 year old that has been doing these things for well over a year.

good luck.

Kimberly - posted on 07/12/2011

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I just found a package of seasoned chicken breasts in the grocery store (lemon garlic) (Safeway) you can saute it in about 8 mins, as long as its thawed. You know what else is really nice? I think its Bertolli, but its usually near the deli section, refrigerated, but they have raviolis and tortellinis ready to throw in the pot, then you just put a jar of pasta sauce on it, and bam! A fun, tasty, filling dinner the whole family can enjoy. The pastas come with different fillings too, like 4 cheese, or mushroom and Gorgonzola, spinach and ricotta, things like that.

Another one I like is homemade quesadillas. I like to take 2 tortillas, layer a bunch of cheese. (3 different kinds of cheese works best for flavor, but plain cheddar works too). If you want to make it interesting, put slices of green onion in there or strips of grilled chicken or deli meat on it. What ever you like. Put it another tortilla on top, and put it in the oven to melt the cheese. (if you put it in the microwave, the tortillas get soggy) Leave the tortillas in there at about 350 degrees for about 5 mins ( till the tortillas get crispy and a little bubbley)

Good luck! Happy cooking

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Pam - posted on 10/12/2012

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Hi Jami,

I am starting a new job.8:00-5:00. I would love some meal ideas that are quick and health, if you don'tmind sharing.

Blessings,

Pam

Michelle - posted on 07/14/2011

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Breakfast for dinner is a treat at our house, esp when we're pressed for time. Maybe not the most nutritious thing, but....we also like hamburger patties, mac & cheese, and carrots. Otherwise...crock pot, crock pot, crock pot...good cookbook to go along with it? Fix It And Forget It! Baby back ribs, best recipe ever!!

Devin - posted on 07/11/2011

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I have two ideas...

1) Crush french fried onions in a plastic bag, coat some chicken breasts or strips in egg and then in onions, and bake until golden brown in over set at about 375. Serve with a vegetable, and maybe some dinner rolls. Pillsbury makes pre-made dinner rolls in the freezer isle of your local grocery store that only take about 15 minutes to bake.

2) Make a bed of cooked rice (normal or instant, both work fine) in a cake pan lined with tin foil and place chicken strips on top, drench with thousand island or balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing. Bake covered at 375 for around 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. *Thinner chicken strips cook faster than whole chicken breasts.

Both are quick and fairly healthy, as opposed to just plain frozen breaded chicken nuggets. You can do a variation with the rice recipe and use something like Campbells cream of mushroom, cream of chicken or cream of celery condensed soups or any other kind of soup or dressing that your family likes.

Allison - posted on 08/08/2009

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if you have time, make several meals over the weekend and freeze them, that way you still get a home cooked healthy meal and in just a few minutes in the microwave.

Amber - posted on 08/08/2009

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Stephenie,

These are all great suggestion but you know I have to say I find that the crockpot is still laborsome, I haven't been able to find peace with the crockpot, but I believe I have perfected microwave cooking in a crunch it really cuts down on time. Also frozen veggies is a good alternative to fresh and not as much sodium and additives as canned.



ie:

I buy the individually frozen chicken tenderloins they are just the right size for kids and the bag lasts for a while. I put a couple on a plate and defrost in the microwave. Season to taste ( I like lemon pepper, sometimes, seasonall, or Mrs Dash this is sodium free) then cook 3-4 min in the microwave put a little of water on the plate or a coffee mug to keep it from drying out if you can cover it it is better. For a side the kids love the packaged rice or pasta dinners(or minute rice and season to taste) these cook up in 7-10 min with just boiled water in a pan, and for veggies, there are lots of frozen options they cook in a shorter amount of time then fresh Green Giant makes a good selection of preseasoned veggies, this simple dinner is always a hit, in less than 15 min if you can multitask :)



I also have quick broccoli cheese chicken and rice recipe

chicken and alfredo

speggheti is also good and quick

tuna noodle casserole

stirfry

homemade chicken noodle veggie soup

baked potatoes

mashed potatoes



And of course for the nights I want an easy night there is the pizza in the oven, hotpockets, Ravioli, or chicken noodle or vegatable soup with crackers.



I would love to share more if you would like to talk send me a msg, I have 3 kids 7, 5, and 2, and they are not picky eaters( thank the lord) but they eat what we eat and all these options go over well. I don't have the 9-5 anymore, but with swmming, t-ball, gymnastics, church, and impatient eaters with bedtimes, I know about quick cooking and with that much going on it has to be nurishing. I enjoy cooking and know the benefits of fresh, and cook fresh when I have the time, however I feel I offer healthy options when time is an issue. Good luck hope this helps.

Sarah - posted on 08/07/2009

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hi, wow 3 kids... you must be so tired!! i'm the same. I have to admit though my little boy is fed proper meals at nursery so he's only really wanting a yoghurt and bottle on the evening. but a very quick one for children is pasta. i buy the baby pasta and it cooks literally in minutes and just use pasta sauce with it. Sorry I was no help there really was I.

Anna - posted on 08/07/2009

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it seems rice is popular but I can never cook the rice enough or I cook it too much. Can you bake it in the oven with the chicken? What kind of sauce do you use, cream of mushroom?

ELSA - posted on 08/07/2009

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i am hispanic and most of the time cook healthy food (i try) lol but you can cook spinish with cheese.. or even enchiladas put the chiken in the crockpot get home have the chili ready from the night before put the tortillas in the microwave wrapped then shred the chiken put it in and serve with lettuce tomatoes and cook some white rice it takes a total of like 20mins to cook all its easy hopefully thiss works for you let me know if you need any other recepies also the marthastewart website helps alot aswell...

Jami - posted on 08/07/2009

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I work 8-5 Monday- Friday, I cook everyday. I try to repair what I can the night before and try to fix easier stuff on the week days that will not take longer than 45- 1:00 like grilled ckn salad, Tacos, Baked beef ravioli and etc. I have lots of reciepes, I don't mind sharing just let me know and I can share a few.

Girlio - posted on 08/06/2009

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I find planning meals the hardest part! Or remembering to take something out of the freezer while running around like a chicken with my head cut off in the am! I try to make enough on weekends so that I have at least 2 nights worth of left overs for during the week. When I make meals during the week I always make enough for hubby and I for lunch the next day. A few of my fav quick dinners?
1: 2 boxes of KD, 2 cans of Tuna, 2 Cans Mushroom Soup and frozen veggies (however many you desire) Make KD as per box in a larger pot while preheating oven to 350*F. Drain cans of Tuna, add Tuna, soup and veggies to KD and mix, cook for 20 min in oven (or until hot). (I have substituted ground beef browned, and cooked chicken for tuna and that works great too!)

2. 1/2 cup of soy sauce 1/2 cup of ketchup 1/2 cup of honey - mix together. Throw 4 ckn breasts in casserole dish add sauce bake for 30-45 min @ 400*F (until chicken is cooked) serve with rice and frozen veggies.

3. Anything in the crockpot as the other mothers have said! I LOVE mine!!

I try to do baking/cooking on a weekend or one night a week for the freezer, then when I don't have time or don't feel like cooking or forget to take something out of the freezer to make I have instant microwave meals that are WAY cheaper than the ones at the supermarket, healthier and there is more to serve!

Adriana - posted on 08/05/2009

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again all great. my family loves my cheap and fast authenic dishes. yellow rice and chichen. one bag of rice can of chx breast and season to taste. takes as long as the rice takes to cook. another fav is black beans rice and roast pork. pre pacaged pork tenderloin, can of black beans,and rice.. 30 mins for the pork.. yumm

Annette - posted on 08/05/2009

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Try to make dishes on the weekend and then freeze them, pull out a dinner for that day in the morning. Homemade Macaroni and Cheese is hard to freeze but it works, etc..

Jodi - posted on 08/05/2009

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Make extra of your favorite meals and freeze them. Put them in the fridge before you leave for work in the morning and put it in the oven when you get home. This works great for casseroles and one dish meals.

Mela - posted on 08/05/2009

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I agree with all of these comments. I cook meats on the weekend to use during the work week and I do buy 1 or 2 rotisserie chickens from Sam's. Crockpot is good if I remember to prepare it the night before. I also make sure there are "fast food" meats in the fridge like taco meat, sloppy joes, chicken salad, egg salad, and sliced turkey or ham for quick sandwiches. Fresh or canned fruit, salad greens/veggies are always in the fridge, too. My fast recipe for chili: 1 lb. cooked ground beef, 1 jar of mild salsa, and canned kidney beans.

Anasha - posted on 08/04/2009

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my family loves burgers. We have a counter grill and it is the best thing ever. Throw some fries in the oven, they will both finish up bout the same time and there you have it. A tasty meal.
I have also seen a few people respond with this one, but breakfast for dinner is good and quick. Pancakes,eggs, sausage, it doesn't matter its all quick!

Stacey - posted on 08/04/2009

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all of the below suggestions are great....however I just want to add one more thing....breakfast does make a great dinner...one night a week should be breakfast night...pancakes and turkey sausage, french toast and turkey bacon, scrambled eggs with fried up left over baked potatoes and toast. My family never complains when I make breakfast for dinner.

Tanika - posted on 08/04/2009

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Cooking dinner early or the day before when u come home reheat lets eat!!!

Maria - posted on 08/04/2009

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You can go to the freezer section and get some Bird's Eye Voila that cooks in less than 10 minutes. It includes a variety of meat, veggies, sauce and/or noddles or rice to choose from. You can visit the web site for more information. http://www.voilawednesdays.com/ Good luck!

Tanya - posted on 08/03/2009

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I do a chicken enchilada casserole the night before, refrigerate it, and pop it into the oven to heat when I get home. I've also froze several left overs and pulled them out to reheat when I was too bushed to cook.

Maria - posted on 08/03/2009

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You can always cook things like lasagne, bolognaise,chilli,curry etcetcetc on you day off and freeze them then take them out the night before you plan to eat them, atleast then there still proper homecooked meals and there quick to heat, just do double the amounts each time.

Shelia - posted on 08/01/2009

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BIG POT OF VEG SOUP ON SUNDAY (FREEZE)

BIG POT OF SPAGHETTI ON SUNDAY (FREEZE)

PEANUT BUTTER N JELLY AND FRUIT ARE ALWAYS QUICK, TASTY N HEALTHY

Pamela - posted on 08/01/2009

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2 words--rotisserie chickens. They're about $5 each at Sam's/Costco and you can get 3-4 meals from one. Shred it into tacos, chicken salad sandwiches, tortilla soup, with rice & soup casserole, etc. plus kids love the drumsticks

Trina - posted on 07/30/2009

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Utilize that crockpot! Set it and forget it baby. Plus look up "Robin Miller" on foodnetwork.com. She gives weekly shopping lists and prep ahead menus that tend to be kid friendly and very flavorfull.

Cindy - posted on 07/29/2009

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I always plan a menu and make sure I've got everything in the fridge first. The menu only has 5 nights of dinners. I cook a double meal each weekend and freeze half for a homemade frozen meal the following week (think pasta sauce, BBQ pork/chicken in the crockpot or soup). 1-2 of the meals are super easy, quick meals like bean and corn burritos (1 can each of black beans, pintos, corn and diced tomatoes + salsa to taste - mix and roll in flour tortillas top w/ gated cheese and microwave until warm - serve w/ bagged salad) or homemade pizza (I make the dough in my bread maker or pick up a dough ball from our favorite pizza place - roll, top w/ sauce, grated cheese and anything else you like - bakes at 425 for 15-20 minutes). I usually only try 1-2 new recipes each week because I've found it's too stressful to attempt a new recipe each night of the week. I used to keep my menus for ideas for the following weeks when I felt like I was in a rut.

Sarah - posted on 07/28/2009

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Something I've tried is cooking a large amount of meat(s) on the weekend then just prepare a quick side dish that night. You can grill some chicken and have it with rice one night, chop it up and make enchiladas or burritos. Or you could make chicken sandwiches, just buy nice bulkie rolls and put the chicken in the toaster oven with some cheese and throw a salad on the side. There are cookbooks out there that give you a main dish and meals for the left overs. I have one by Robin Miller.

Tykia - posted on 07/28/2009

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trick to a tasty quick meal, marinate! Buy chicken breast maybe two nights worth and cut up into cubes or tenderlions put ina zip lock bag the night before. when you get home get you wok or equivalent, stir fry veg. and instant garlic potatoes. cookj meat first, 17-20 minutes add veg and a little watter so they wont dry out, cover and start potatoes in sauce pot. before you know it dinner is done in 30 min. and will taste like you slow cook the chiken.





Another is boneless chicken stir fry and add cream of mushroom can and can of milk let it cook and then simmer for 5-7 minutes and add a 1/2 bag of frozen veg. and pop garlic bread in the oven. while it is cooking in the begining, cook egg noodles in boiling water. delicious!

Deborah - posted on 07/28/2009

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Stir fry is the simplest! so long as you stock up on the basic vegatables at the weekend. Takes less than five minutes to chop up some veg whilst the chicken pieces begin to cook. You could even use pieces of packet ham! cooking time ten minutes.



Tortilla (spanish omlette) using oven chips, tinned sweetcorn, a couple of tomatoes or leeks. serve with sliced baguette. 10 minutes



A friend of mine, mother of four, cooks on a sunday afternoon. She makes soups, bakes and makes sauces such as curry, chilli, bolognaise, each morning she takes a tub out of the freezer to defrost and they always eat healthy. she spends a few hours cooking and cleaning on a sunday afternoon and her meal times are stress free.



To stop the children wanting to eat different things why dont you post the menu on the fridge door so that the children know what to expect....the choice is taken away each evening, you could discuss it at a family meeting before you go shopping and you are less frazzled on an evening!



fruit salad is healthy, easy and goes a long way towards their 5 a day.



happy eating, deborah

Tricia - posted on 07/28/2009

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I seriously love my crockpot. We eat crockpot soup, stew, or roast at least once a week. I have a great cookbook, too, that someone gave me as a wedding present called Desperation Dinners. All of the meals take 20 minutes to cook from start to finish, and for the most part they use real ingredients (like "3 chicken breasts" and "2 carrots") rather than prepared foods (like "one package lipton sides" and "one can cream of mushroom soup").

That said, you can guess many of their ideas just from chapter titles. "Breakfast for Dinner" (it's fast to make pancakes or eggs, and there are endless variations). "Pasta" (tons of pasta recipes can be made from scratch in the 20 minutes it takes to boil water and cook noodles). "Salad Entrees" (especially if you have leftover rice or pasta or meat, these are great speedy choices with lots of nutrition). "Skillet Meals" (use high heat to saute up your meat and veggies). Yay real food fast! And seriously, 20 minutes is how long it takes to make Hamburger Helper or Lipton Sides anyway. :-)

Michelle - posted on 07/24/2009

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sometimes i prepare something in the crockpot the night before when the kids are asleep, flick it on in the morning and teas ready to serve when u get home!

Tessa - posted on 07/23/2009

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I feel like chicken tonight!

Seriously its great, rice, chicken breast, jar of sauce, 20 mins to cook max!

OR

Can of tuna/salmon with pasta, and mixed vegies (corn, peas, etc) fresh fish is better but this is good for a quick dinner.

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