We are also a very busy (by choice) family. Here are some of our stand-bys:
* Crockpot baked potatoes - We talked about these in meal planning. Wash and dry potatoes well, wrap in foil, place in crockpot, NO water. Cook on low 8 hrs. or on high & they'll be done in 3-4 hrs. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions, canned chili, whatever.
* Tostadas - Open and heat a can of black beans. Put on top of tostada shells with toppings of your choice - sour cream, cheese, salsa, lettuce, etc. We have this probably once a week.
* Crockpot chicken - Put chicken pieces in crockpot, dump on BBQ sauce. Cook. Cooking time depends on your crockpot. I don't time too closely because I am home to check on it. I have never had BBQ sauce burn in the crockpot, but watch it the first time if the sugar content is high.
* Spaghetti and sauce - Cook a box of pasta and dump a heated jar of sauce over. Parmesan cheese optional. Serve with salad. I always have this in the house. For a homemade, almost-as-easy version of sauce: Open a lg. can of chopped or crushed tomatoes and put in a pot. Throw in a peeled whole onion. Simmer for 10-15 min. or so. Finish with salt, pepper, and a pat of butter. Really yummy.
* We tried frozen pizza and weren't really fans, so now I buy french bread rolls or pitas and top with pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella. Place under broiler until cheese melts or bake in oven until cheese melts. Other toppings optional - olives, artichoke hearts, etc. Takes about the same amount of time when I buy cans of pizza sauce and pre-shredded cheese.
* Does your family eat Indian food? There are jars of Indian sauces available for around $3 or so. Makes an easy meal. I saute some tofu and vegetables and simmer with the sauce. I'm not too concerned about authenticity, so I use butter chicken sauce on tofu, etc. You could also do an easy meat like chicken tenders - takes just a few minutes to saute those. Serve over rice (I make mine in a rice cooker, so again, super easy). The thing I noticed about most brands of the prepared Indian sauces and spice mixes is that they are natural with no weird franken-ingredients. Yummy and takeout-like.