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Enjoying (Cooking) Dinner at Home

Before my son was born, “date night” with my husband sometimes consisted of pouring a glass of wine, turning on some music and spending a leisurely evening cooking up a complicated meal that was exquisitely delicious. Over dinner we’d guesstimate how much such a divine dinner would cost if we ate it at a restaurant and we'd congratulate ourselves on our cooking talents and our savings savvy.

Now that we’re the parents of a hungry three-year old, we don’t quite have time for all that (unless grandma’s visiting) but our desire for delectable food and sticking to a budget by eating in hasn’t changed.

With that in mind, I’ve pulled together some flavorful, family-friendly dinner ideas that are quick to get on the table on a weeknight. 

Taco Time: Make a savory mixture of chile-spiced ground turkey, beef or sautéed mushrooms and collard greens and set up a taco bar for the family.

Here are some more takes on tacos and spicy flavors from south of the border:

Presto Kale Pesto: Substitute kale for basil in pesto and stir into whole wheat pasta, as a spread for sandwiches or spoon on top of a mix of steamed veggies or sautéed shrimp and whole grains.

Everyone loves Italian! And tasty sauces are a sneaky way to get some veggies in to those “green food”-adverse kids.

A Spicy Meatloaf: Mix ground turkey with spicy Italian sausage and fresh chopped herbs such as parsley and basil for a tasty meatloaf.

Here are more meatloaf, meatball and meaty recipes (some that are even made without meat!).

Sweet Tenderloin: Roast pork tenderloin and serve with baked sweet potatoes and an apple-grape slaw (dinner never tasted so good!).

These dinnertime classics might not all be “quick,” but they are simple to prepare. Pop them in the oven or simmer on the stove while you help with homework.

Do you enjoy cooking at home but don’t have much time to indulge? What’s your favorite dish to make for your family?