Meal Planning, Recipes, Saving money, Simplify

My Top 10 Go-To Family Friendly Meals

I want this post to be as generic as possible so you can simply plug in your family’s needs and so you don’t have to add all new recipes to your arsenal. I assume you already have a few meals that you and your family like and eat on a regular basis. Either because they are easy and fast, or because they are yummy! Or both!

So today, I want to share a few generic meals that are my go-to weekly meal ideas.

1.) Meatless Monday. Now this isn’t always on Mondays for us, but lately I’ve been adding at least one meatless meal to our weekly meal plan. For us, this is usually breakfast. The other night, we had scrambled eggs with cheese, hash browns, and smoothies. I added some veggies to my eggs and my husband’s eggs. This time it was sauteed spinach and garlic. We’ve also done sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms, fresh green onions, or salsa. Other options for meatless meals could be beans, or veggie soups.

2.) Taco Tuesday. This isn’t a new concept but that’s okay. Who doesn’t love tacos!? I find I can change up taco night by simply changing up the components a little bit. Maybe we do burritos, enchiladas, hard shell tacos, taco salads, nachos, or some other configuration of taco-related items. It seems no matter how I do this, my family just loves taco night.

3.) Italian night. Italian night sounds a lot more fancy than it actually is. This is usually spaghetti or some other type of pasta. Occasionally I’ll make a really simple alfredo sauce or even use a jar of store-bought pesto sauce. Add some grilled chicken or meatballs and a side salad, and you’ve got a lovely Italian-style dinner! Bellissimo!

4.) Fish or seafood night. I don’t make fish every week because it’s pretty pricey. But if I can get a good deal on salmon or white fish (usually Aldi saves the day here), I’ll make some type of fish dish. This could be fish tacos (SUPER yummy and simple!), baked salmon with honey garlic glaze and rice, or grilled fish with a fresh salad on the side.

5.) Soup and/or Salad. In the winter months a nice bowl of soup is just the best comfort food. I added salad into this too because summertime dinners are better with a big salad. Soup night looks like chili, beef veggie, or chicken noodle here, though I am trying to branch out with  new soup recipes. We’ve done taco soups and different variations of chili and creamy soups like broccoli cheddar too. I also love making Olive Garden Zupa Toscana copycat recipes. The best part about soups is that they are easy and for us, there are usually leftovers for us to eat throughout the rest of the week.

As far as salads, we have them all year long, but in the warmer months, salads make a yummy dinner. We’ll often do baked potatoes and salad and load up on yummy toppings like avocado, tomatoes, onion, maybe chicken or bacon and all that delicious-ness.

6.) Pizza Night. Order in or make your own, but everyone loves pizza night!

7.) Casseroles. Our favorite casseroles are shepherd’s pie and tater-tot casserole but there are A TON of recipes for different types of casseroles.

8.) Asian-inspired meals. We love Chinese food but it’s usually not in the budget to order it. So, we’ve improvised with meals that give us a similar taste. My personal favorite is Poor Man’s Korean beef. We also enjoy a good stir-fry with lot’s of veggies with either rice or noodles like Ramen or rice noodles.

9.) Meat and Potatoes. Roast, pork chops, meatloaf, BBQ chicken. I like doing one of these meals once a week or every other week depending on the meat. And  a little tid-bit, I usually do this in the crock pot or the instant pot. It saves me a BUNCH of time and effort.

10.) Sheet pan dinners, one pot dinners, and instant pot meals. I’m going to try to add more of these to my meal arsenal because they are so simple! Baked chicken and veggies, baked nachos, one pot spaghetti, instant pot cheeseburger macaroni, sheet pan fajitas. Yummy and simple!

Money and Time Saving Tip: Side Dishes.

I don’t put a lot of time and effort into side dishes. Most of the time it’s raw and/or steamed veggies, fruit, applesauce, or salad. I found myself spending too much time and money on trying to make amazing side dishes. However, if you find yourself getting bored with this type of side, look for ways to change it up a little bit. For example, instead of just steamed green beans, sometimes I prefer to sautee green beans with almond slivers and cranberries with a little bit of maple syrup or brown sugar. I’ve also sauteed green beans and then baked them in the oven with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and some red pepper flakes.

Also, try your favorite veggies cold! I love peas. But it was getting boring having steamed peas every meal. So I found this recipe for pea salad. It’s one of my most favorite additions to meals, especially in the summertime!

I hope this helps encourage you that dinners don’t have to be complicated. The best decision I made for myself and my family has been making meals SIMPLE.

Your turn! What are some of your go-to meals?


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