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August 20, 2018

Family Dinner Goals | Easy Weeknight Recipes

Family Dinner Goals

Since it is Back to School season, I thought I would go back through my recipes and pull out our favorite for easy weeknight dinners.  Everyone I talk to wants more ideas for easy weeknight dinners at home.  We want to spend more quality time around the dinner table with our family and less stress actually making the dinner.  Here are some recipes and tips that help us to make it happen more often.

Setting the Table - a week at a time...

At the beginning of the week (usually on Sundays), I set our table for the week.  I put on a Table Runner (I love my extra wide and extra long runners) and fill a pitcher with something pretty that will last the entire week.  It could be from our backyard or from the grocery store - whatever it is it is something fresh and seasonal.  I'll put out a stack of napkins and maybe a little vessel of sorts filled with a smaller accent - it could be a bowl of apples or a little bunch of berries or a flowers in a creamer (favorites here)

Taking some effort to make the table pretty at the beginning of the week helps us remember to actually use it and makes it more inviting.  It also helps the table from becoming a home for stacks of magazines, mail and clutter.  

Dinner Planning Tablet

The "What's For Dinner" question is always a struggle at our house.  I ask Mike what he wants, and he says give me some choices.  Usually I come up with 3-4 of the standards (pasta, steaks, grilled chicken...), but forget about some of our favorites.  Now, at the beginning of the week, can sit down with this tablet.  
Not only does it help us to decide what to have, but it helps me balance the week's meals - beef, fish, chicken, pasta.  All of these recipes can be found on my site, you can search here in the Dinner Recipe Index.
Natural Cardstock, 50 page tablet
8 1/2" x 11"
These are all our go-to's any week, any season.  Most are from simple, fresh ingredients and can be made in 30-45 minutes.

The best weeknight meals are sheet pan recipes like this Lemon Roasted Salmon & Vegetables.  If you don't care for fish, you can also do this with Chicken.  

You pile everything on a sheet pan, drizzle with lemon and olive oil, salt & pepper, then put it in the oven.  Add some garlic bread spread with goat cheese or mozzarella and you've got a yummy meal.

Lemon Roasted Salmon & Vegetables (or Chicken or Shrimp!)





Grilled Chicken with Penne (can be made with roasted chicken)   |   Poached Salmon & Vegetables

This becomes a weeknight dinner when you make a big batch of meatball and keep them in the freezer. Our all time favorite sauce has 3 ingredients (canned tomatoes, butter and 1 onion cut in half) and only takes 30 minutes to simmer.

What is dinner without dessert?  After dinner, we usually indulge in warm baked cookies (from the freezer), a scoop of ice cream, or these Mini S'mores baked in the oven.  I love these little traditions that feel like a reward at the end of the day - for everyone.  

Family Dinner Essentials :

I am obsessed with my Plastic Kitchen Containers.  I use them for fresh ingredients (grated cheese, fruit, chopped veggies) and for soups and sauces going in the freezer.  I even empty all of my frozen vegetables and fruit into them (instead of the bags they come in) to keep them organized.   In the freezer (and the fridge), they stack perfectly on each other, making it easy to find what I'm looking for.

I use the glass containers for leftovers and to send to work with Mike.

Sheet Pans + Parchment are the easiest tools to use for dinner.  We are constantly roasting chicken breasts, vegetables (carrots, green beans, broccoli, asparagus) and toasting bread on sheet pans.  The clean up is so easy.

I hope to be adding more new recipes soon.  I feel like we've get into our happy routine of favorites, but I'm ready to start exploring new ideas.  I'll keep you posted!

Next, I'll share some everyday centerpieces from the grocery store and your yard... my favorite thing to do.

You can follow along with this Family Dinner Goals series, here >

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