I tell you one thing, if there’s anything we’ve been doing a lot of during the pandemic- it’s cooking and eating. Back in March and April, I was making any and everything that sounded good and felt good. All the dips, desserts, appetizers, comfort foods, and family favorites that we could possible think of. It was the one thing that I could do to manage my anxiety and also bring us some joy! Of course, it caught up with us a bit, and I had to lay off all the cheese dip and brownies, but I’ve still been making some great new dinner recipes and fun after-school snacks for the kids to add a little fun to their days.
We are still not eating out at restaurants, but we order delivery about once a week. Otherwise, I’ve been combing pinterest for healthy dinner recipes that don’t take much effort (I am pretty much exhausted every single night) or too many ingredients! I thought I’d share some of the meals I’ve been making lately — feel free to steal a page out of my cookbook and try some of these out. And you know I am always up for new dinner ideas, so let me know your favorite go-to dinners on busy weeknights too!
With my pandemic obsession with bread making (which I think I am just adopting as a regular obsession, not just pandemic-induced), I wanted to try my luck with pizza dough. I found this lazy pizza dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen (always good) and haven’t looked back! You can make the dough same-day (or night before- even better!), crank the oven up as high as it’ll go, and make personalized pizzas for everyone in the family! We made them every week for almost a month (practically unheard of in our house), but took a few weeks off, and now they’re back on the menu this week. So good and SUPER cheap! We always have the dough ingredients on hand, so all I have to add to the grocery list is tomatoes for a super-simple sauce, mozzarella, and whatever toppings sounds good.
Best Tomato Soup Ever
I love a good grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup dinner just as much as the next person, but if the tomato soup isn’t great, it only serves as a dip for the sandwich! Last week I wanted to make tomato soup that would be the main course, not just an accompaniment to the sandwich. One of my favorite little bakeries in town has a Tomato and Goat Cheese Bisque that is lick-the-bowl-clean delicious, and I wanted to try to recreate it. I found this NY Times recipe that ended up being realllllllly close and totally delicious. I told no one that it included goat cheese, otherwise nobody would have eaten it, and everyone LOVED it! And me, most of all. I will never make another tomato soup!! I actually added a bit too much cayenne and ended up adding a can of condensed tomato soup and a can-full of water to it to cool it down a bit, and it was perfect.
PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps
It took a bit of convincing, but the kids ended up LOVING these PF Chang’s Copycat Lettuce Wraps. Super easy to make, and I made some veggie fried rice to serve alongside them.
Marinated Tomatoes and Tomato Pie
We’ve gotten some pretty tomatoes this summer and made good use of them in some simple recipes. We love this Tomato Pie– I usually serve it with butter beans and corn, and then these Marinated Tomatoes are the perfect side dish for just about anything. I made it with a really easy and tasty Chicken & Zucchini casserole (sounds kinda weird, but we ate every last bite of it) and it was a really easy and delicious dinner.
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
These meatballs are stuffed with cheese… I mean, what else needs to be said?! They are so delicious, the kids love them, and I just serve them with sauce and steamed broccoli, but you could add pasta, of course. So good, and they don’t take long to make. If you have a hard time finding ground chicken, ground turkey works fine too.
Taco Casserole & Frito Casserole
We have Mexican food at least once a week, and after we tried this Taco Casserole last week, we’ll make this over and over! I love recipes like this- it’s just cauliflower rice, ground beef, onion, bell pepper, tomato paste, taco seasoning, and cheese, and then whatever taco toppings you like. I made the basic casserole and then let everyone choose their own toppings to customize their own dinners. Me and Ben like the works- sour cream, salsa, lettuce, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes, jalapenos, and olives, and it was SO GOOD!! The corn has been so good lately that we just had corn on the cob on the side, and there was nothing at all leftover. We also made this Fritos One Skillet Enchilada Bake which everyone LOVED! Even the ones who claimed they didn’t like Fritos! Another couple of good, easy, and family-friendly casseroles.
What have you been cooking lately? I’ve been meal planning like a madwoman since school started back- is that something you’d like to see again? Hope you have a wonderful start to your week!