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Easy weeknight dinners for me and my two year old

It is just me and my daughter for dinner during the week. Anyone have any good quick food ideas for dinner. She eats anything. Things I could make on sunday and reheat during the week would be great too.

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  1. Pasta dishes come to mind...Good old fashioned casseroles...Soups...Chili if she can eat it...Maybe some chicken and rice dishes....

    1. Make your own "TV dinners". Nearly anything can be frozen in individual portions and quickly reheated later. Hearty soups (but not with cream), lasagne, Indian curries, tomato-based pasta sauces, chili, even sliced roasted meats or poultry can be frozen and reheated later. Add some veggies, pasta, bread or rice, and/or a bagged salad (you can wash and bag your own---it'll stay well in the 'fridge for several days) and dinner is served!

      1. I just made a pot of minnestrone with pasta last night so that comes to mind. Lots of veggies to chop and then simmer for 45 minutes to an hour- so I don't know if this is quick enough for you but it would be good to make ahead on Sunday and have for a couple days during the week. Also, any braised chicken dish. I usually skip browning and just throw everything into a pot and simmer for an hour. Pasta salad or pasta primavera. Sandwiches made with sauteed veggies and a good melting cheese with an interesting bread. Stir fry over jasmine rice. Seafood! That's always quick.

        1. For my three-and-a-half year old daughter I make a basic French carrot soup (sautee onions; add stock and carrots and potatoes; blitz; add powdered milk; blitz) and then reheat with different add-ins during the week. Add-ins include different combinations of pasta, rice, cubed cooked potatoes, cut up sausage or hot dogs, ham, and/or canned corn. I freeze the soup in one liter tubs, with one tub always in the ref.

          1. First of all - good for you for not "happy mealing" your two year old! And congratulations on having a kid that will eat anything!

            When I had a young child I made burritos - which is about as easy as it gets. I would puree black beans as opposed to using refried - though now you can purchase the black beans pureed and then added what I wanted. I just zapped it in the microwave.

            Breakfast for dinner is also a kid’s favorite and pretty simple to throw together. How can you go wrong with scrambled eggs or an omelet?

            Another easy trick is to purchase a rotisseri chicken and use that for several meals. You can make chicken salad and serve it in a tomato or with little grape tomatoes on the side- use it in the burritos, or serve it sliced with some great sides like fresh/frozen vegetables.

            I also have a few recipes that are easy and fun if you are interested. One is a skillet stir fry using smoked sausage and vegetables and serving it over pasta and another is for a baked pasta casserole called string pie. One that my mom made was a ground sausage and rice one skillet dinner that I loved as a kid.

            A good book with really easy and quick recipes is the "I Hate To Cook Book" which was published in the 1950's.

            5 Replies
            1. re: sunsuze

              Thank you for all of your suggestions. These are some great ideas.
              I would love the recipe for string pie.

              1. re: sunsuze

                Heh, that brings back memories! That was the cookbook my grandmother gave my mother when she was a new bride, and my mother gave to me (with an added inscription) when I announced I was getting married.

                While I can't say I've actually cooked from it, some of the techniques are nifty. I had no idea you could make meatloaf on the stove!

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Okay, I went to go dig it out, and it turns out I remembered wrong (so much for sentimental memories) -- the 'heirloom' cookbook is actually "Cook It Quick: 203 Delicious Half-Hour Recipes" by Arthur Hawkins. I think I got I Hate To Cook from a book sale.

                    In the recipe, you make a standard meatloaf (1/2lb beef, 1/2lb pork, 1/2 c. bread crumbs, 1tbl dried onion, 1 egg, 1/4 c. milk, salt, pepper), and form into an oval loaf about two inches thick. Fry some bacon in a heavy skillet for 2 minutes, remove, then put the loaf in the pan, put the half-cooked bacon on top, and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or until loaf is browned and bacon is crispy. It suggests basting occasionally as well.

                    My mouth is watering... that's the kind of meatloaf my mom used to make (brown gravy, extra fat with a side of fat please). The first time I ever made meatloaf for my Texan, he stared at it, stared at me, and politely asked what it was. Then he didn't believe me when I said meatloaf. Meatloaf down here is universally coated in a tangy red sauce -- good, but not mom's!

                    1. re: dietfoodie

                      Thank you! I can use the recipe here at the office (where we have only a two-burner electric).

              2. I have a 2 1/2 year old who will also eat anything. It's a pleasure to watch her try new things!

                Some of the things that I make ahead of time and keep in the freezer are meatloaf, turkey meatballs, brisket. I freeze the meatloaf in individual slices and the brisket in small portions. On Sundays or at the beginning of the week I also roast up a big batch of vegetables (usually baby carrots, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, red onion) and keep that in the refrigerator. It holds up pretty well for during the week.

                I do make chicken fairly often, so when there's leftovers, I will make quesadillas since we usually have tortillas around (I make fajitas a lot too -- very easy). I just put some shredded cheese and small pieces of chicken in between the tortillas and put in a hot pan for a few minutes, and my daughter loves this. She always calls it pizza. Put some vegetables with it and it's dinner.

                Also as someone mentioned, eggs for dinner. I make frittatas. They're so easy that they don't really need to be made ahead, but certainly you can do so and that also holds up pretty well.

                1. I have a one a half year old and the things that we enjoy while my husband opts for sausages are: spinach and rice bake wtih bechamel sauce, bison and beef meatloaf, rice congee with beef or chicken, baked potatoes with toppings (almost no cleanup on this dish!), creamed corn (recipe on the whole foods website is good). I love the add-ins to your carrot soup Sam! I always have some kind of vegetable soup in the freezer. I never think to bulk them up like that.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: alex8alot

                    my daugther also loves canned sockeye salmon (hard to get the fresh stuff here) flakes over almost anything (macaroni in alfredo sauce, rice, vegetable gratin) so it's easy to throw onto the defrosted portions.