Mama Life is so busy for most. Some of us are running our kids all over creation to all of their activities. Some of us are not at that stage yet, but our lives with our babies at home are exhausting, we are sleep deprived and just trying to stay on top of the laundry! One of the last things we think about sometimes is dinner for our family. But where else are we going to get any energy from?? We need nourishing food for the whole family. Nobody wants sick kiddos or mommy. Home made food is the best kind of food for energy and staying healthy. It’s fun to eat out and eat some junk every now and then, but it takes it’s toll eventually on our weight, energy, and health. I hope you can take at least one or two of these ideas and run with it! Make and change them into something that suits your family and your taste.
On the nights when it’s hard to get dinner on the table, I have some great go-to meals. Maybe they can help you when you need a little dinner inspiration.
But first? I keep some staples in the pantry, fridge, and freezer that help me out so I’m never in a jam. Here’s some of the things that help me out:
Canned black beans
Nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts)
Dried fruit (cherries, cranberries)
Chicken stock (from the store)
Pasta (spaghetti, penne, macaroni, linguini)
Dried beans (Great Northern, navy, small red, split peas)
Chicken stock (homemade)
Corn and flour tortillas
Now, I am probably opposite of most people, but I usually feel like doing most of my cooking during the week. Micah gets home around 5:00, takes over kid-duty, and I head to the kitchen for some time alone (mostly) to cook something yummy. It’s relaxing. I love it. Weekends are just so chill around here that I’m not in the mindset to get something together for dinner. So for the most part, I plan crockpot meals or something simple on Saturdays and Sundays. They cook all day, the house smells incredible, and there are usually left-overs for the next day. Win, win, win!
We have some favorites that make their way on our dinner table regularly:
But sometimes I just don’t have the ingredients, energy, or time to make one of these favorites and I just need something simple where I can use whatever ingredients I have on hand. That’s where these gems come in handy.
My go-to weekday meals usually include:
Tacos. We put whatever we’ve got in them. They’re not always traditional tacos. If there’s no meat, we do scrambled egg tacos! Black beans, onions, salsa…yum. We use whatever veggies, meat, and cheese that goes well together and throw them in a tortilla.
Rice bowls. We usually do brown rice, but white is faster so that’s helpful when there’s not much time! Ours usually include broccoli, chicken or sausage, onions, peas, a vinegary sauce that I usually make at the last minute and topped with Parmesan. But again, lots of veggies and meat would go great on top of rice. You can make these Asian or Mexican inspired too. Just use what you’ve got!
Pizza. Make or buy a great crust. I like this one. Use sauce, or don’t! Pizzas are great with just cheese and veggies. Much more Italian. Any cheese you’ve got, Parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar, ricotta, goat cheese, Gorgonzola…so many options! Some veggies we like are onions (fresh or caramelized), bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Any meat is great, do a white cheese and chicken pizza. Or a taco pizza. Marguerita pizzas are one of our favorites in the summer with fresh basil.
Pancakes and bacon. Buttermilk pancakes with bananas or blueberries in them are the kids’ favorites. Micah’s favorite? These peanut butter pancakes from Joy the Baker. They’re incredible!
Omelettes. They’re so filling, and you can get your veggies in easily. We put whatever cheese and veggies we have. Add some sriracha or salsa on top and you’ll make your man so happy. At least, it makes my man so happy.
Or weekend meals include:
(most of these are cold-weather recipes because they’re super warm and filling)
Ham and beans in the crockpot. I like this recipe. But I chop up a whole onion instead of using onion powder. I bake up some cornbread to go with them right before we eat.
Split pea soup. I like this recipe. I use my homemade stock for this because it’s packed with flavor. Cornbread goes great with this too!
Red beans and rice. I like this recipe. But I tone down the spices because it’s too much for kiddos. Again, make some cornbread and you’ve got a winner! This recipe makes tons of left-overs for us!
Pulled pork. Put some bar-b-que sauce on top and you can do pulled pork tacos after church. I like sour cream, cilantro, and fresh onions on top of mine!
Salad. On Sunday nights, if we’ve had a big meal, we like to eat light. Fresh greens, chicken, caramelized onions, dried cherries, walnuts, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette. Done.
Maybe these ideas can make your Mama Life just a little easier? It’s all about keeping it simple. And yummy. That’s important.
You can find a lot of my family’s favorite recipes on my Pinterest board “our favorites”, if you’re interested!