Easy Dinner Ideas | Long Island Photographer

As a busy work-at-home mom who is constantly juggling the schedules of two kiddos, running a photography business, keeping the house in a moderately clean state and maybe trying to sneak a minute or two for myself... spending hours in the kitchen is something that just does not fit into my lifestyle at the moment. Let's get real - it probably never will. I love to eat. Cook? Not so much. 

Dinner time around here, like most houses that contain small children, is definitely the hardest part of the day. We don't usually get home from picking up Lila from school until 4:30pm, and then it is a mad rush to get some sort of a dinner together for the kids as they start screaming for food as soon as they walk in the door. Lila and Logan eat dinner around 5 or 5:30p. Eric and I usually eat a bit later. Right now this is what works best for us.

I still meal plan every week, and it is really key to keeping me sane in the kitchen. You can read all about how I meal plan using Evernote here, and all my meal planning posts are here, including many weekly meal plan examples!

I just put together a list of all my current go-to easy dinner ideas for a friend, so I thought I'd share them here, too, in case any of you are looking for inspiration.

Disclaimer: my kids are horrid eaters so they are usually eating mac and cheese from a box while Eric and I enjoy one of the meals below - but most of these are kid-friendly if you actually have kids who like food!

Here we go!

ROASTED SAUSAGES, ASPARAGUS & TOMATOES (no recipe)
This idea was borrowed from Tracy over at Shutterbean (she has lots of awesome recipes on her site, so go and check them out!). Super easy: put everything on one baking sheet in the oven at 400F for about 30-35 minutes with a little glug of olive oil, salt & pepper. Lila actually eats this one because she likes sausages! 

BAKED TACOS
We had this last night! Super easy. We liked them topped with shredded lettuce and sour cream.

FAJITAS (no recipe)
Ridiculously easy: buy packet of fajita seasoning from the grocery store. Follow directions on back (except sub beer for water!). Done. We like with shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes and sour cream.

BURRITO BOWLS WITH SALSA CHICKEN (crockpot)
Again, ridiculously easy. We put the chicken on top of lettuce with tomatoes, corn & avocado (the frozen charred corn at Trader Joes is amazeballs!). You could use this chicken so many ways - on top of rice, in burritos, or tacos... so good.

BAKED SPAGHETTI & MEAT SAUCE
Another winner from Tracy at Shutterbean. This one is pretty indulgent (CHEESE!) and a bit more labor intensive, but the leftovers last for days, which is a definite win.

SAUSAGES AND BAKED POTATOES w/CHEESE & BROCCOLI (no recipe)
I don't need to spell this one out for you. Protein, carb, veg. Easy. Done.

BOW TIES WITH PEAS AND HAM
Stupid easy and the kids will usually eat this one if I leave the onion out. Heat up some frozen garlic bread to eat on the side.

BAKED CHICKEN STRIPS WITH ROASTED BROCCOLI
We are long-time fans of this paleo chicken recipe made with almond meal. We usually skip the dipping sauce from the recipe and just eat with  BBQ sauce. Our favorite veggie side at the moment is roasted broccoli: line a sheet pan with foil, cover with broccoli florets tossed in oil and garlic salt. Cook at 450F for about 15 minutes. The more charred the better!

BAKED CHICKEN PARMESAN WITH ROASTED ASPARAGUS
Another old favorite! This is from the Skinnytaste website, which is my favorite site to go to for dinner ideas. Another of our favorite veggie sides is roasted asparagus, which is basically made the same way as the roasted broccoli: toss the asparagus in oil, salt & pepper and cook on a baking sheet at 450F for about 15-20 min. We like our veggies roasted if you couldn't tell!

SAUSAGES WITH CORN & BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Sausages are always a good go-to protein for us as they are easy and fast to cook and Lila will eat them! I love this corn & brussels sprouts side - I could easily sit down and eat the whole pan myself!

BEEF ORZO SKILLET
I love this easy one skillet recipe. It tastes like spaghetti bolognese to me - only its healthy because it has spinach in it - haha :) We usually have some garlic bread on the side.

CHICKEN FAJITA SOUP (crockpot)
This is the best version of chicken tortilla soup that I've found (that cream of chicken soup is key!). It is also SO easy. Dump everything in the crockpot. Cook. Eat.

SMOKY BACON CHILI
This one is probably too spicy for the kids, but Eric and I love it. Eric is not a fan of beans, so this bean-less chili is one of his faves. Paleo-friendly!

MAC AND CHEESE (crockpot)
Okay this is a Paula Deen recipe so I'm not even going to pretend that it's healthy, but it is easy and the kids love it. Its also an easy potluck recipe. I leave out the eggs and don't bother pre-melting the butter and cheese. Just make the pasta and then mix everything together in the crockpot. It only takes about 2 hours to cook, on low.

SESAME NOODLES
These noodles are so yummy and SO easy to make! Get some frozen potstickers from Trader Joe's and serve on the side!

SLOW COOKER CREAMY CHICKEN WITH BISCUITS
This is a great winter meal. Hearty comfort food.

PESTO CHICKEN AND TOMATO KEBABS
This is such a delicious summer grill meal. If you don't have an outdoor grill, I've also made without the skewer sticks in the oven on a baking sheet! We serve with corn on the cob. Bonus: Lila loves this chicken! We make this a lot in the summer when our tomato plants are going crazy!

BBQ BEER CHICKEN (crockpot)
Super easy! You can also make this with pork. We like on sandwiches, or over baked potatoes. Serve with corn on the cob and coleslaw! This is a great party meal!

QUICHE
I make a quiche every week and leave in the fridge for lunches. Favorite ingredients include broccoli, cheese, tomatoes & scallions or ham, cheese and scallions. This is also a great potluck meal.

BREADED CHICKEN CUTLETS WITH DECONSTRUCTED GUACAMOLE
This is a recent addition to our dinner line-up. Lila loves the chicken = win!

KOREAN TACOS (crockpot)
This is another recent favorite. SO GOOD! I put all the meat on a baking sheet after it was done in the crockpot and broiled it for about 10 minutes to make it crispy. Highly recommend!


I hope these give you some ideas for easy meals you can make for your family! I am pretty excited that grilling season is upon us and that when all else fails, burgers are a good bet... or order a pizza!

Happy cooking, friends!