Menu Ideas 25

February 9, 2018 — Leave a Comment

5 menu ideas for easy weeknight dinners that the whole family will love.

It’s been over a month since I shared my last menu ideas post, and we’ve had so many delicious and easy dinners since then that I had a hard time choosing which to include in this week’s Menu Ideas round-up. So I’m sticking to chronological order. We’ve got a crazy schedule going right now, with kids’ activities three out of five weeknights for the next little while. Some afternoons I’m running kids all around town, then stopping by the house for just a heartbeat before dropping them off at the next activity, so on those nights we have really simple dinners: things that can literally cook themselves in the crockpot all day. Or take-out. On other days, I’m home in the afternoon and can prepare a meal as long as it’s quick. And some days are actually leisurely, and while we try to still have simple meal, they can require a little more prep work or a little more time to cook. So there’s a mix!

Ham & Cheese Pizza Pockets and Veggie Sticks
This delicious dinner is a homemade riff on everyone’s favorite college vending machine food (just me?), Hot Pockets. We’ve been making them for years, ever since a friend brought them to a little lunch potluck when our kids were just babies. These pizza pockets are so easy to make, especially if you have a favorite store-bought pizza dough you can pick up, and a favorite jarred pizza sauce you keep stocked in your pantry. Easy, cheesy, and so, so good, especially with some fresh veggies on the side to keep things balanced. Click HERE for the recipe for Ham & Cheese Pizza Pockets.

Mini Italian-Style Shepherd’s Pies with a Green Salad and Rolls
My family loves shepherd’s pie, especially on chilly, winter evenings. Last time, instead of making one big casserole, I made everyone their own mini shepherd’s pie. Just like the big size, these minis are filled with seasoned ground beef and a mix of veggies, and topped with cheesy, parmesan-crusted mashed potatoes. If you don’t feel like making minis, the same exact recipe works in a larger baking dish. We had a green salad and some leftover Costco rolls on the side (and scroll down for more on those Costco rolls!). Delicious, wholesome, and hearty! Click HERE for the recipe for Italian-Style Shepherd’s Pie.

Cacio e Pepe with a Caesar Salad and Garlicky Costco Rolls
I really don’t even have words to convey how absolutely delicious this dinner was. First, I spotted a link to cacio e pepe on What’s Gaby Cooking. Everything she makes is flawless, and she’s delightful in person to boot, so I added it to the menu. And it was heavenly, and only took about 10 minutes to make. Cacio e pepe means “cheese and pepper” in italian, and there’s really not much more than that in this incredible pasta dish: butter, salt and pepper, cheese, and spaghetti. I can’t explain how good it is, I can just encourage you to make it ASAP!! The caesar salad was…just a kit from the grocery store, so let’s skip ahead to the garlicky rolls. We still had so many Costco rolls leftover (as one does), but I didn’t want to eat plain Costco rolls two nights in a row, so I found a recipe for turning them into garlic rolls, and OH MY GOODNESS. They were amazing! Hot, soft, and savory. Now, when we have leftover Costco rolls, I know exactly what to do with them. You can find the recipe for cacio e pepe HERE on What’s Gaby Cooking, and the recipe for the garlic rolls HERE.

Chicken Tortilla Soup, Cheese Quesadillas, and Fresh Fruit
This is my mom’s classic chicken tortilla soup recipe that I remember from my childhood. It is an easy soup to make (although it has to simmer for an hour), and it is warm and comforting. When I made it this time, I actually left the chicken on the side, laid out all the toppings, and let everyone build their own bowls. Then we just ladled the zesty tomato broth over the top. I’m not sure the results were any different than usual, but everyone loves a “build-your-own” bar, so hey! I made cheese quesadillas to go on the side, and we rounded out the meal with lots of fresh fruit. Click HERE for my mom’s Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe.

Slow Cooker Chicken Masala with Basmati Rice, Naan Bread, and a Chopped Asian Salad
We’ve made this slow cooker chicken masala before and loved it. It is easy to make (you literally just toss all the ingredients in the crockpot and walk away), and tastes delicious. And it makes yummy leftovers that can be reheated for lunch the next day. And rice and naan bread are always a hit with my kids. I think they’d live on rice and naan and nothing more if I let them. You can find the recipe for the slow cooker chicken masala HERE on Table for Two.

I started a new series on Instagram where I share our weekly menu plans. Some days surprise us and we change our dinner plans at the last minute, and some meals just don’t end up being a big hit, so the dinners on those posts are often different than the dinners on these posts! You can follow along, and share what you’ve got planned for dinner for the week, by clicking HERE.

We cleaned and reorganized our playroom over the holidays, thanks to the Dymo Letratag label maker. Two weeks in and the room is still spotless!

Organizing our Playroom

January 27, 2018
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This post has been sponsored by Dymo. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Over the holidays, we took advantage of everyone being home and having fairly loose schedules to clean and organize a few rooms in our house that

Need to know where to eat and what to do on Maui? Read my recommendations on the blog!

Where to Eat (& What to Do) on Maui

January 24, 2018
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My husband and I just got back from a trip to Maui! To be honest, I was really anxious as the trip approached, and almost didn’t want to go. I was mostly worried about being so far away from my

Shepherd's pie is one of my family's favorite easy dinners. These individual italian-style shepherd's pies have a delicious filling with herbs and tomatoes, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top.

Individual Italian-Style Shepherd’s Pie

January 10, 2018
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This post has been sponsored by Del Monte®. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The holiday season is over and we are back into our school year routine. We have music lessons, sports practices, and school activities most weekday

I'm sharing 5 menu ideas to help you plan home-cooked dinners for your family this week! These are all favorite meals that are easy to make and taste delicious.

Menu Ideas 24

January 3, 2018
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It’s the beginning of a new year, which means it’s resolution time. One of the resolutions I hear about from friends and readers every year is eating more homemade meals together as a family. We kind of always have that

These cute and easy DIY Christmas blocks are inspired by the Norwegian houses tucked into the hillsides of fjord country.

DIY Norwegian Christmas House Blocks

December 14, 2017
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**This post contains affiliate links. You can read more about them on our policies page.** I’m so excited and honored to be participating in The Creative Collective Calendar this year. I love looking at the gorgeous, Scandinavian-inspired projects that have been

When we have a really busy weeknight come up, or we need a quick and easy dinner that the babysitter can fix for the kids, DiGiorno Cheese Stuffed Crust Five Cheese Pizza is our go-to! Everyone loves it, and the crust is preservative free. Paired with a side salad or cut up fruits and veggies, it makes a wholesome and deliciously easy dinner.

Our Favorite Stuffed Crust Pizza

December 10, 2017
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This post has been sponsored by NESTLÉ. All thoughts and opinions are my own. A few years ago, we moved from our small, suburban house to a few acres out in the country. We traded a modest house with tiny

These easy spiced cider with cinnamon, cloves, and cuties is a perfect gift to put together for friends, neighbors, and teachers!

Cuties Spiced Cider with Printable Gift Tags

December 5, 2017
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This post is sponsored by Cuties. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Last year, my friend Emily hosted a favorite things party just before Christmas. Everyone brought three of their favorite thing to share, and everyone went home with

I've teamed up with Hip Hip Party Goods and Hello Maypole to giveaway one super darling prize pack! Head to @luluthebaker on Instagram to find out more!

A Scandinavian Holiday Weekend

December 1, 2017
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Happy Weekend, friends. I wanted to quickly share a couple of fun things with you for the weekend. First, I’ll be selling books and all kinds of other cute things at the ScanFair this weekend in Portland. I haven’t done