Balancing work, your kids’ after-school activities, and a hungry husband can be a challenge. When it comes to weeknight meals, fast and easy is definitely the way to go. From salmon to steak to breakfast for dinner, here are five fabulous family-style dinner ideas that fulfill mom’s desire to dish up healthy meals in less than 30 minutes. And bonus, dad can make them.
Turkey Cobb Salad with Homemade Buttermilk-Herb Dressing
Add deli-sliced turkey breast and pre-cooked hardboiled eggs to your grocery list; they’ll take the heat off you for a night in the kitchen when you make this scrumptious salad.
Top a mountain of greens (like chopped romaine or baby field greens) with the following: chopped turkey breast from the deli,crumbled blue cheese, chopped hard-boiled eggs, halved cherry tomatoes, and sliced avocado. The five minutes that it takes to whip up a Homemade Buttermilk-Herb Salad Dressing will be the longest part of prepping this meal.
Roasted Salmon with Garlic-Lemon Broccoli
This meal shows that a gorgeous dinner can literally be just 15 minutes away.
Drizzle salmon with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper; roast at 425F until flaky, about 6 minutes per 1/2-inch of thickness (so if your salmon is 1 inch thick, it should take about 12 minutes). Meanwhile, steam broccoli until crisp-tender; heat a little olive oil in a skillet and add a clove of crushed garlic, a little lemon zest, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy!). Toss the steamed broccoli in the garlic-lemon sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve this meal as-is to keep it low-carb or to make it heartier, serve it along with couscous (which cooks in just five minutes), fresh crusty bread, or toasted pita bread.
Chicken Cutlets with Creamy Tomato Sauce and Spinach Pasta
Chicken cutlets are so quick-cooking you’ll be reaching for them all the time! Side Note: To up your vegetable intake, sauté a few more veggies to add to the pasta. Because really, if vegetables are drenched in sauce and served alongside pasta, your kids probably won’t be so picky about eating their veggies.
Cook whatever shape of pasta you fancy to al dente according to the package directions. Season chicken cutlets with salt and pepper and sear on both sides until fully cooked (there should be no pink), and then let them rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain. Heat up your favorite brand of store-bought tomato sauce until simmering; turn off the heat and wilt in some baby spinach, and then stir in a splash of half and half. Toss the pasta in the sauce and serve with the sliced chicken on top.
Egg and Cheese Muffin Sandwiches with Spinach-Orange Salad
Everyone is a fan of breakfast for dinner, right? In the time that it takes to toast English muffins, this b-for-d will be on the table.
Toast up some English muffins and fry up some eggs (one of each per person). Top the eggs with cheese if that’s your thing (white cheddar is my thing here!) and sandwich each fried egg in a toasted English muffin. For a speedy side salad that’s big on flavor, top baby spinach with sliced orange, sunflower seeds, and a sprinkling of scallion; splash a little olive oil and red wine vinegar on top or use your favorite bottled dressing.
Steak and Bell Pepper Fajitas
South-of-the-border flavor turns a hum-drum weeknight dinner into something special. And here’s a tip that will help even more if you’re in a time crunch on weeknights: slice onion and bell peppers on the weekend and stash them in the fridge until the night you make these fajitas!
Mix up some fresh lime juice, olive oil, brown sugar, crushed garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper; divide in half to use as marinade for the meat and dressing for the veggies. Pour half onto a skirt or flank steak and marinade for 1 hour (or overnight). Grill or pan-sear the steak until it reaches your desired level of doneness, and then let it rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain. Sauté some sliced onion and bell peppers in the remaining lime/olive oil mixture. Serve the steak and veggies with soft tortillas and sour cream.
Which dinner idea will you test drive?
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