Easy Mid-Week Meal Ideas for Busy Families

With busy work and school schedules, it can be challenging to find time to cook nutritious family meals during the week. However, with a bit of planning, you can put together quick, easy, and delicious meals without spending hours in the kitchen. Here are some ideas for easy mid-week meals that your whole family will love.

Photo by olia danilevich

One-Pan Meals

One-pan meals are a busy parent's dream. Simply throw your protein and veggies into a sheet pan or skillet, season them up, and pop them in the oven or on the stove. Clean up is a breeze since everything cooks on one pan. Some easy one-pan meal ideas include:

  • ·        Chicken fajitas - Cook chicken breast strips with onions, peppers, and taco seasoning. Serve in warm tortillas with guacamole, salsa, and cheese.
  • ·        Sausage and veggies - Roast sausage, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and bell peppers on a sheet pan seasoned with Italian herbs.
  • ·        Cheesy chicken and rice - Mix rice, chicken, peas, and cream of chicken or mushroom soup and top with cheese. Bake until bubbling.

Sheet Pan Dinners

Similar to one-pan meals, sheet pan dinners make cooking and clean up simple. Just chop up your protein and veggies, add seasonings or marinades, spread on a baking sheet and roast. Some sheet pan dinner ideas:

  • ·        Honey garlic salmon with green beans and potatoes
  • ·        Pork chops with squash and apples 
  • ·        Steak fajitas with peppers and onions

Slow Cooker Meals

Let your slow cooker do the work for fuss-free dinners. In the morning, just toss in your ingredients and come home to a hearty ready-made meal. Some set-it-and-forget it ideas:

  • ·        Beef stew with potatoes, carrots and peas
  • ·        Pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw
  • ·        Chicken tortilla soup loaded with veggies

Pasta Night 

Pasta makes for an easy and affordable family dinner. Jazz it up with ready-made sauces or protein add-ins. Ideas include:

  • ·        Penne with roasted vegetables and Italian sausage
  • ·        Mac and cheese with ham and broccoli 
  • ·        Spaghetti with lemon shrimp and asparagus

Sheet Pan Pizzas

Make personal pizzas on a sheet pan for a fun and customized dinner. Provide a variety of toppings and let each family member create their own pizza masterpiece. Try variations like: 

  • ·        Margherita with tomato sauce, cheese and basil
  • ·        BBQ chicken with red onions and coriander
  • ·        Vegetarian with mushrooms, peppers, spinach and goat cheese

Baked Potatoes

Humble baked potatoes become a complete meal when you top them with proteins and veggies. Set up a potato bar with mix-ins like:

  • ·        Chili and cheddar cheese
  • ·        Broccoli and Parmesan chicken 
  • ·        Bacon, tomato and green onion 

The key to easy weeknight dinners is keeping ingredients on hand that can be used flexibly across recipes. Having a well-stocked pantry with canned beans, tomatoes, broths and sauces will help you throw together meals on the fly. Take advantage of shortcuts like pre-cut veggies, rotisserie chicken and premade sauces when you need to save time.

Most importantly, get the whole family involved in meal prep and clean up. Food preparation and cooking is a great bonding activity if you are fostering children with

Try some of the meal ideas above. They will make weeknights less hectic so you can enjoy an easy dinner together!

Photo Gallery