Easy Weeknight Meals for Busy Families

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weeknight mealsWith the start of the school year around the corner, there is a major change in schedule for many families. With extra-curricular activities, sports, and homework, evenings are jammed with things to do. And that doesn’t include getting ready for the next day! The last thing you want to think about is what to make for dinner. But you need to feed your kids something, right?

If you are looking for easy, kid-friendly weeknight meals, we have you covered! Here are a few of the meals that I regularly include in my weekly meal plan.

Turkey and Veggie Chili, By the Mindfully Scientific Mama

This recipe is both healthy and delicious. Hearty and warm, it is perfect for autumn evenings!

Instant Pot Cheeseburger Pasta, by the Mindfully Scientific Mama

This recipe is like Hamburger Helper, but far better; all the great flavors of a cheeseburger without the grill! You can easily modify it to be a turkey cheeseburger instead of beef.

Salmon, Rice, and Avocado Salsa, By the Mindfully Scientific Mama

Healthy and delicious, this meal is great on days when the weather is still warm (though we eat it all year round).

Taco Instant Pot Pasta – By Foody Schmoody

Okay, so there is a trend of instant pot pasta meals here, but that is for a reason. They are quick, easy, and super kid-friendly. Plus, you wind up with far fewer dishes than if you were cooking a traditional meal. I normally make this recipe with turkey and chicken broth instead of ground beef and beef broth. I also add chopped red pepper.

Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken – By Kristine’s Kitchen

Because my family is managing a sesame and cashew allergy, a lot of Asian cuisines are off the table. That means this awesome chicken recipe hits the spot because it is allergy-friendly for our home and has a lot of great Asian flavors. We usually serve it with rice and broccoli.

Spinach and Feta Turkey Meatballs

I love this meatball recipe because it checks the pasta and meatballs box while still being delicious and healthier than your traditional recipes. Here is how you make it!

Ingredients

  • 1 box frozen spinach, defrosted in the microwave
  • 1 1/3 lb (1 package) ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (you can also buy minced garlic at the market to save time, ½ Tbsp per clove)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs or panko
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Italian seasoning blend of choice
  • Jarred marinara sauce
  • Pasta of choice

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Defrost spinach and dry using a paper towel.
  • Chop and measure out other vegetables.
  • Add turkey to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add breadcrumbs, egg, vegetables, cheeses, and seasonings (to your taste) to the turkey, and mix by hand. If the meatballs aren’t sticking well due to being too wet, add a little more of the breadcrumbs/panko (this can happen because the spinach or turkey has retained water). If the meatballs are not sticking well due to being too dry, add a small amount of milk to the mix.
  • Pour a small amount of marinara sauce into a glass or ceramic baking dish; You’ll want to add just enough to coat the bottom.
  • Form the meatballs. Larger meatballs need to cook for longer than smaller ones, so I recommend making the meatballs no more than 3” in diameter (just a little bigger than a golf ball). Add them to the baking dish, and drizzle with a little more sauce. Save the remaining sauce for later.
  • Cover with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, cook the pasta.
  • Once the 20 minutes is up, remove the tinfoil from the meatballs, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked to 165 Degrees Fahrenheit or greater.
  • Serve with pasta, sauce, cheese, or other sides of your choosing.

Looking for more meal inspiration? Check out these great meal planning resources!

As Easy as They Get Meals 

Easy Weeknight Dinners for Fall

Mexican Chicken Soup

Recipes and Cooking for a Food Allergy Family

What Do You Give Your Kids?: Kid-Friendly Food Ideas

The 4 F’s of Weekday Meals: Family Friendly Freezer Food

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Erin is the mother of one sweet, rambunctious toddler and wife to a talented chef. Professionally, she is a former special educator and preschool teacher, and is currently a cognitive neuroscience researcher and Ph.D candidate in Cognitive Science in Education with specializations in neuroscience, cognitive development, and neurodiversity/autism. She holds masters degrees in cognitive science, and neuroscience in education, from Teachers College, Columbia University, and undergraduate degrees in special education (with an additional concentration in elementary education and a minor in English) and early childhood education. As the wife of a chef, food is a huge part of her family culture, and she enjoy both cooking and baking. Some of her other hobbies include hiking, traveling, jogging, meditation, animal rescue, playing piano and guitar, crafting, reading, and of course, writing. You can follow her parenting journey and pick up tips on great kids activities here on Westchester Moms Blog, as well as her website (www.themindfullyscientificmama.com), Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts.

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