The "holiday season" always makes it
sound like we do nothing but flitter from party to party, starting on Thanksgiving and continuing through New Year's Day. But unless
you're leading a far more fabulous life than I am, you have to serve another 20 non-festive, Monday-to-Friday dinners before you ring in the new year. All while
working, shopping, wrapping, planning and preparing for the actual
Not to worry: I've got you
covered. What follows is a list of easy, nutritious, kid-pleasing dinners—most
of which you can have on the table in around 30 minutes. Some are my own Quick Supper recipes, some are from "Parents
Need to Eat Too," and the rest are favorites from Mom.me. Bookmark this
post, and no matter how chaotic things get over the next four weeks (or you know, during life in general), you'll
always know what's for dinner.
Photograph by Debbie Koenig
What's your go-to quick dinner
for this hectic time of year?
1. Teriyaki Chicken Sauté boneless
chicken thighs, then simmer a simple, sweet and salty sauce. Dunk the cooked
chicken and serve.
Chicken Pesto Heroes Start with store-bought grilled chicken breasts and
prepared pesto—tuck into Italian rolls along with jarred roasted red peppers, crisp
lettuce leaves and provolone (or mozzarella).
5. Honey-Mustard Chicken Tenders Pack a
sweet and spicy punch: Coat chicken tenders in honey mustard (or equal amounts
of honey and mustard), then dip in panko or crushed pretzel crumbs. Bake at
400°F for 20 minutes.
6. Korean Mini-Meatloaves Take sweet & salty to an
irresistible new level. Individual loaves are ready fast, too.
7. American Chop Suey This isn't remotely
Chinese. It's one of my favorite dishes from childhood, a savory one-pot meal of
ground beef, elbow macaroni, vegetables and seasoning.
Flank Steak Only three ingredients! Combine 1/2 cup pineapple juice and
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce. Lightly score across the grain of a 3-4 pound
flank steak, then marinate for 30 minutes. Broil or grill for 3-4 minutes per
side for medium-rare.
9. Potato Chip-Crusted Fish This delights
kids just as much as you'd expect. And the same concept works equally well with
10. Honey-Soy Roasted Salmon It rivals
Polynesian Flank Steak in simplicity: Whisk together 1/3 cup of honey and 1/4
cup reduced-sodium soy sauce, and marinade 4 salmon fillets while you preheat
the oven to 450°F.
Transfer the fish to a baking dish and roast for 10-12 minutes.
11. Fish in Foil Packets As flexible as
it is easy: Place a fish fillet (any mild white fish will do) in the center of
a large piece of aluminum foil. Top with your favorite salsa, pesto, or simply
lemon and herbs; then seal, and bake at 350°F
for 15 minutes. Open carefully—steam can burn!
12. Tuna & White Bean Salad Almost
entirely pantry-based: Mix one can of rinsed and drained white beans with one
can of drained and flaked tuna. Add in chopped olives, capers, roasted peppers,
celery, herbs—whatever you've got that seems like it'll go—and toss with olive
oil and lemon juice. Serve on greens or hero rolls.
18. A Quesadilla Bar This pleases picky
eaters, since they can customize (or, you know, use nothing but cheese). And
because everyone's assembling his own, it's less work for you, too.
19. Ravioli Lasagna Use an ingenious trick
to simplify a comforting favorite: Start with a layer of prepared pasta sauce,
top with frozen ravioli and alternate until the baking dish is full. Sprinkle
mozzarella on top and bake at 375°F
until the cheese is browned and the dish is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.
20. Garlicky Greens & Beans Super-easy, and the type of bean almost doesn't matter—I've used white beans,
kidney beans, navy beans and chickpeas. Sauté minced garlic in olive oil for a few
seconds, then add handfuls of chopped kale or other greens—add a splash of
water if the pan seems dry. Add salt & pepper (and a pinch of red pepper
flakes, if you like) and cook, covered, 4-5 minutes, then add one can of low-salt
beans with about half of the canning liquid. Simmer another 2-3 minutes, and
serve with lemon wedges and Parmesan.