Ten Dinner Ideas for Families: Spring Edition!
Back before I was married with children, there was a long streak where my dinners consisted mainly of cereal with dried strawberries or turkey sandwiches. Now that I'm married with a couple of children, I try to put a little more effort into our meals (but don't let me kid you; sometimes it's still cereal and sandwiches!) These days, I try to find meal ideas that everyone will like. And more importantly, meals that are quick and easy. As a parent of two children under three years old, and a husband who frequently works overtime, easy dinners are a must! Every Sunday, I attempt to jot down dinner ideas for the upcoming week, and write up a shopping list. This doesn't always happen, but when it does, it makes dinnertime a little less hectic. It's really hard to prepare food when you've got two little people running underfoot, so having an idea what to make can help. Because while I'm trying to cook, I'm also trying to referee, handle meltdowns, and prevent my kids from scaling the counter top!
However, when Sunday rolls around and it's time to think of meal ideas, I often find myself stumped. What do I make this week? By seeing comments on social media and having conversations with other parents, I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. Therefore, I decided to compile a list of the top ten meals that my family has enjoyed. Since it is currently Spring, the list focuses on warmer weather recipes. I'm hoping this list will help other parents that are searching for easy, healthy, family meals. All of the recipes in my list were found on a variety of wonderful blogs, and the links are included for you to view the recipe in full. It's fun to find new ideas on food blogs, and the bloggers themselves create really great recipes!
(Note: for the past couple years, my family has eaten a reducetarian diet comprised of both meat-based and vegetarian meals. The following top ten list contains both types of meals).
My Top Ten Spring Meals
Here are the links for ten delicious family dinners (in no particular order):
- Chicken and Avocado Burritos found at Closet Cooking. You can bet I'll try any recipe that includes avocado (although I'm still learning how to select the perfect avocado!) If you are able to cook the chicken the day before, it simplifies preparation time. We've also substituted the chicken for white beans, and it was very good.
- One Pot Zucchini Mushroom Pasta found at Damn Delicious. My kids love anything that includes pasta. I'm always looking for ways to include vegetables in our meals, so this recipe caught my eye. Plus it's a one-dish meal, so cleanup is easy!
- Parmesan Pesto Tuna Melts found at Belle of the Kitchen. When I found this recipe online, I was really intrigued by the pesto/tuna combination. It's a really delicious mix, and has a very fresh flavor. Plus, melted cheese? Yes please! This is a yummy recipe on a nice spring day, since it's not necessary to use the oven.
- Ham and Asparagus Quiche found at Weelicious. A great way to use a seasonal veggie! We received an added bonus when my grandpa gave us a bundle of asparagus from his garden. This recipe includes eggs, so it is a good way to include protein in our diet. The kids aren't fans of asparagus (but I also wasn't as a child). However, I love it now!
- Easy Italian Fresh Tomato Cheese Pie found at An Italian in my Kitchen. This is also a great recipe for summer, using fresh garden tomatoes. Yum! Last summer, I sought out tomato recipes because my garden was having a field day. We were harvesting tomatoes right and left. My kids gobbled this meal down!
- Spring Minestrone with Tortellini found at Let's Dish. This is a tasty meal on a rainy, cool, spring day! I had been making regular minestrone during the colder months, so a "spring" minestrone appealed to me. This has so many healthy veggies, plus I knew the kids would like the tortellini. They really liked most of it (but I still can't get them to try the asparagus!)
- Healthy Alfredo Sauce Recipe found at Show Me the Yummy. This recipe had me at "healthy!" I'm a sucker for pasta, especially fettuccine alfredo. But this is even better because it's a lower calorie version. Sign me up! We paired this meal with a side salad, and the kids ate it within minutes (they must take after their mom!)
- Tex-Mex Black Bean Tortilla Pie found at Alison's Allspice. This is another great recipe on a cool, spring day. And very filling! Because we have reduced our meat consumption, we use a lot of recipes with beans. This recipe is full of beany, cheesy, goodness, plus sour cream (I realize beany isn't a real word, but it accurately describes how good this dish is!)
- Ham, Cheddar, and Apple Quesadillas found at Greens & Chocolate. This is such an interesting combination and very tasty. The kids love apple slices, so this recipe caught my eye. Plus, cheese! I could add cheese to anything and the kids would be happy. This is a great recipe to make when you're strapped for time in the evenings.
- Egg Salad Sandwiches This is our go-to meal. We make egg salad about 2-3 times a month. It is so quick and easy. I use a variation of my mother's recipe. Hard boil the eggs for 12 minutes in boiling water. We do this the night before, so that they are ready to go when dinner rolls around. Cut up the eggs and mix in mayonnaise, a dollop of mustard, salt, pepper, and paprika (all to taste).
(All recipe links/photos are shared with permission from the individual food bloggers).
Most days I don't start cooking until after 6:00 p.m., so quick, easy meals are key. I've found that the above recipes take about 30 minutes or less (with the exception of the quiche and tortilla pie, due to baking times). It can be stressful to prepare a healthy meal after a full day of work, school, or parenting so I hope that these recipe links will help you as they have helped me! You may also want to click the links to the food blogs because they are full of other amazing looking recipes. Take a quick look around and you may find even more ideas to try. Food bloggers are full of clever ideas!
If you have any quick spring meal ideas that work for your family, I'd love to hear them. Please write your ideas in the comments below! Happy cooking!