What do you serve for dinner when you are too burnt out to cook? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 88 Old 07-30-2012, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My hubby is at a dinner meeting tonight, so it is just DD and I. My allergies have been killing me all day, so I'm feeling super worn out and in no mood to cook.

 

Tonight's dinner? Hardboiled eggs and steamed green beans with cantaloupe and a glass of milk (water for me). I'd actually serve the green beans raw, but I can't handle a lot of raw veggies when my allergies are at their worst.

 

What super-easy, barely any effort healthy dinners do you have up your sleeve when you don't leftovers or any homemade meals in your freezer? I am always looking for new ideas!


 

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#2 of 88 Old 07-30-2012, 04:37 PM
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Beans & Rice.  Add cheese, avocado, olives, some greens and we're done.  I can even do it in the crock pot.  Tacos is another one.

 

This is my thing, when I get busy, cooking becomes impossible. I have been leaning a bit more heavily on the frozen section at Trader Joe's as of late. bag.gif


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#3 of 88 Old 07-30-2012, 04:40 PM
 
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Sandwiches, omelettes, frozen pizza, mac and cheese, frozen veggies.


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#4 of 88 Old 07-30-2012, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by AdinaL View Post

Beans & Rice.  Add cheese, avocado, olives, some greens and we're done.  I can even do it in the crock pot.  Tacos is another one.

 

This is my thing, when I get busy, cooking becomes impossible. I have been leaning a bit more heavily on the frozen section at Trader Joe's as of late. bag.gif


 Beans and rice is my go to meal when I feel like cooking a tiny bit. orngbiggrin.gif I wasn't even up for that tonight!

 

I also tend to rely on TJ's frozen meals, but more for myself at lunch than DD. And we are cleaned out of TJ's stuff, our store is close to DD's preschool, and we haven't been going in that direction too much this summer.


 

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#5 of 88 Old 07-30-2012, 05:51 PM
 
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Unfortunately, I do not feel like cooking most nights!

My go to when I cannot force together a meal is:

 

quesadillas - as long as I have cheese, onion, jalapenos, tortillas and salsa.  My family will not eat them without all of those ingredients.  Luckily, they are items that can be kept on hand.

 

 

 

or I do like I did tonight and everyone makes their own meal - they call them 'inventions'.  However, that means I have a mess to clean up.  I do not know how old your children are, but my eight year olds made this tonight:

 

son....veggie broth, wheat noodles that were already cooked and in the fridge, great white northern beans from a can, he chopped carrots and onions and heated it all in a pot. 

 

daughter...she chopped up cucumber, onion, carrots, zucchini, cheddar cheese, and tomatoes.  Then she added a vinaigrette from the fridge.

 

My husband hasn't eaten yet - he needs to run out so he might pick up something or I will make him something later.

It would probably be easier to have cooked than to clean up the mess but I can clean it up a little later. Plus when they make their own inventions they tend to eat it.  If I do not feel like cooking, force myself, and then no one eats it I get a little crabby redface.gif

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#6 of 88 Old 07-30-2012, 05:59 PM
 
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Baked beans on toast or scrambled eggs on toast if I really don't feel like cooking. If I can bring myself to cook a bit then pizza (using a frozen base) or pasta with fetta cheese and lightly fried onions plus either tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini also lightly fried or steamed broccolini.

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#7 of 88 Old 07-30-2012, 06:23 PM
 
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We do beans on toast with a fried egg as well.  Also, breakfast for dinner, mostly scrambled eggs, pasta, I usually have sauce in the freezer, sandwiches, grill something.


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#8 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 07:55 AM
 
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I make breakfast for dinner.  Breakfast is always a pick-me-up, and I'm usually okay with the idea of cooking it :)

 

Other than that, paninis, soups, crock pot things if I know it will be "one of those days".


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#9 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 08:42 AM
 
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I just started this "snack plate" thing that my kids love, when my husband is not home and I don't feel like cooking.  It consists of all sorts of random things from the fridge - carrots, tomatoes, cheese and crackers, maybe a spoonful or two of leftover beans or pasta or something, some fruit.  It's colorful, mostly finger food and the kids are so excited for it and I have nothing to clean up!  It's actually weird because they even eat things they wouldn't normally when it's on the "snack plate."

 

So, that's a no-cooking night, but we have lots of low-cooking nights which include boxed pasta, beans and rice, tacos or frittatas (just tried one with TJ's country vegetable mix - yum).  I am 8 months pregnant and tired and hot so I am all about the short cuts lately!  

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#10 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 08:44 AM
 
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Pasta and a jar of sauce is the perennial favorite.

Pasta or rice with a fried egg on top

Tostadas with can of refried beans & toppings (salsa, cheese, sour cream, lettuce)

Green salad w/ beans and bottled dressing

Grilled cheese w/ or w/out canned soup

Rice & beans - rice in rice cooker, can of beans + toppings
 


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#11 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herenow2 View Post

I just started this "snack plate" thing that my kids love, when my husband is not home and I don't feel like cooking.  It consists of all sorts of random things from the fridge - carrots, tomatoes, cheese and crackers, maybe a spoonful or two of leftover beans or pasta or something, some fruit.  It's colorful, mostly finger food and the kids are so excited for it and I have nothing to clean up!  It's actually weird because they even eat things they wouldn't normally when it's on the "snack plate."

 

 

That's a great idea! My DD prefers raw veggies to cooked ones, this would be an easy thing for me to do when I don't feel like cooking AT ALL. winky.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragana View Post

Pasta and a jar of sauce is the perennial favorite.

Pasta or rice with a fried egg on top

Tostadas with can of refried beans & toppings (salsa, cheese, sour cream, lettuce)

Green salad w/ beans and bottled dressing

Grilled cheese w/ or w/out canned soup

Rice & beans - rice in rice cooker, can of beans + toppings
 

 

I like the tostada idea, as a different twist on things we already do (quesadillas, tacos). I really need to get my butt in gear and make another batch of homemade bean burritos for the freezer.

 

I also came across another easy idea that I'm going to try in DD's lunch box this year, but could be an easy dinner as well. Super easy taco salad with leftover chicken/shredded beef/pork, black beans, whatever veggies are on hand, romaine lettuce, and your choice of tortilla/nachos. I also sometimes buy TJ's organic corn chips, and thought that would be a nice special treat addition in a taco salad, too. Make a simple dressing of EVOO, lime juice, and a bit of salsa, then mix all together.


 

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#12 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 10:31 AM
 
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We love breakfast-dinner too, so if I'm too tired to plan we have eggs, pancakes, some kind of potato and maybe a breakfast meat. I'll usually try to throw a veggie into the eggs. Other quick go-to meals I keep on hand: frozen soups, frozen pasta sauce, hummus with veggies/chips, tortilla roll ups with beans and cheese and frozen pizza crusts for a quick pizza with whatever toppings I can find in the fridge.
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#13 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 12:29 PM
 
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We make a Mexican, thanks to my mother in-law passing this on!

shred rotisserie chicken and set aside in fridge to cool or saute ground soy beef with onions and garlic set aside and let cool in fridge( if your are burnt out obviously the chicken is the easiest way to go:).

Ingredients: Romaine lettuce, red onion, can of corn, can of black beans, cucumber, pepper(optional),avocado cubed, tomatoes chopped.

Now layer in a bowl; layer of meat or soy meat on bottom,  then layer of lettuce, then layer of corn, then layer of black beans,then layer of tomatoes, etc, etc, however you prefer to layer it ending up with the meat or soy meat on the top as last layer( you can have two layers of lettuce where ever you choose to put them.)

My boys like this with sour cream but my husband doesn't but there are so many different dressings that go great with this salad.

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#14 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 12:40 PM
 
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Baked potato night.  We add broccoli, sour cream, cheese, and butter and call it a day.  Beans, too, if they are around.  Done.


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#15 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 01:36 PM
 
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fry a lb of bacon in the oven and throw some russets in the oven. chop up a few green onions, salsa, butter sour cream, black beans, cheese....you have baked potato night! takes some time to cook but very little standing and cooking involved. In fact I think I'll do that tonight!!


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#16 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 02:25 PM
 
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With a baby in the house, I am always trying to come up with quick pantry meals, so this thread is great.

 

Our absolute favorite quick meal is Coconut Quinoa Pilaf. It can be thrown together with only a few minutes prep and 30 minutes stove-top time.

 

2 cups quinoa

1 can coconut milk (nature's value brand is BPA free)
2 cups water
1 bunch green onions, sliced (I omit this if it's not in the fridge and it's still yummy)
1 medium red bell pepper, diced small (have some diced ahead of time in the freezer)
3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes (we do a heaping tsp and it's still not overly spicy)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (we don't care for cilantro, so I omitted this)

1.  Rinse the dry 
quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under warm water.

2.  Place rinsed 
quinoa into a medium saucepan with the coconut milk, water, green onions, red pepper, garlic, sea salt, and chili flakes.  Cover and bring to a boil, then turn heat to a low simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.

3.  Remove pot from heat and let pilaf cool in pot for about 10 minutes.  Then add chopped cilantro and gently fluff with a fork.  Serve hot.

 

 

I throw some canned salmon in after it's cooked and serve with sliced avocado. We had it with blueberries the other day and it occurred to me that this is a real "super food" meal! And it's delicious


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#17 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 02:33 PM
 
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Love this idea! It's a great way to get kids involved in what they're eating--and a break for mom! Personally, sometimes it's harder for me to come up with the idea than it is to clean up. Thanks for sharing!

Quote:
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everyone makes their own meal - they call them 'inventions'.


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#18 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 02:37 PM
 
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I'm lucky too that we have 4 grocery stores within about 2 miles of my house, so it's not uncommon that I'll just go pick up a rotisserie chicken, bag of salad, and a crusty loaf of French bread for dinner.


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#19 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 02:46 PM
 
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Sooo happy I stumbled on this thread, lots of awesome ideas here!

 

For us, I always have pasta, sauce and we love cheese, so we have pasta with cheese if I'm not in the mood to cook, or sometimes I pull out a couple of boxes of mac n cheese and we do that. I hate feeding the kids that, so I'm trying to use my crockpot more often.

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#20 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 04:16 PM
 
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I do frozen tortellini or ravioli. Once it's done, plop on a little pesto and stir. Done. Ok so minimal cooking. On no cooking night it's wraps with whatever cold cuts we have lying around and lots of baby spinach, tomatoes, onions, etc.
I get SO much help around the house from my 16 month old DD, it's a wonder I get anything done lol
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#21 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 06:56 PM
 
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Quesadillas with cheese and canned beans; sour cream and salsa for dipping. If I'm being really lazy about it, they can be nuked in the microwave. 

 

My kids love these "egg in the hole" things: http://weelicious.com/2009/05/03/egg-in-the-hole/

 

Tonight we had gnocchi with peas and parmesan. Olive oil, italian spice for me, just oil for the kids. The peas and gnocchi I buy in freezer bags. They both cook in 3 minutes combined. Boil water, dump in two bags, set timer for 3 minutes, drain, drizzle with oil and let the kids shake on pre-shredded parm. Less than 10 minutes for sure.

 

Scrambled eggs and toast

 

Veggie hot dogs, especially like this, my kids love it: http://lunchinabox.net/2008/02/22/how-to-make-an-octodog-octopus-hot-dog/   

 

Mock chicken nuggets

 

PBJ or grilled cheese

 

To not cook at all, we do a couple of muffin tins filled with whatever snacky but decently healthy stuff we have around and graze, but I don't think we've done it for dinner, usually for lunches. Nuts, baby carrots, diced cheese, sliced fruit, raisins, crackers, pretzels, edamame, hummus, etc. The kids like to dig through the pantry and it nicely uses up stuff that we only have one serving of too.


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#22 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 07:16 PM
 
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A big salad made from whatever is in the fridge.

All kinds of fruits and veggies, maybe some beans(if we have canned) or seeds/nuts.

 

Some garlic bread on the side if I want to go that far :)


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#23 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 08:30 PM
 
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Wow! You're all amazing! At my place a quick "mommy's burnt out" dinner is one's choice of Trader Joes O's, oatmeal, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or (my fave) a few spoons of Greek yogurt mixed with a few spoons of peanut butter topped with chocolate chips!

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#24 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 09:26 PM
 
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If it were just dd and myself and I truly didn't feel like cooking it would be pretty simple stuff.

cheese and crackers or peanut butter on crackers with fruit on the side

a cold sandwich of some kind

a bowl of cereal

bean & cheese burrito

yogurt

I might eat a salad but dd would not.

 

If dh were home too and I didn't have leftovers, didn't feel like cooking and we had the funds then we would be getting take out food.

 

If we didn't have money and I had to cook then it would probably be spaghetti with jarred sauce.

 

I don't often feel totally burnt out on cooking though as I like to cook. I do get burnt out on stacks of dirty dishes and that can make me want to serve finger foods on a napkin.


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#25 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 09:32 PM
 
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Omelette & salad, with fruit or toast.  You can stuff the basic omelette of eggs & cheese with all sorts of stuff:  cilantro, black beans & salsa; mushrooms & kale; leftover stir-fry; etc.  You could have omelettes every night of the week and it'd taste different every time as long as you were creative enough with the stuffings.

 

Breakfast-for-dinner is bigtime comfort food in my house. :)
 


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#26 of 88 Old 07-31-2012, 09:57 PM
 
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Black bean burritos: can of black beans, can of corn, jar of salsa, bell pepper (if you happen to have any), rice (optional), any random things like tomatoes that you want to use up. Combine all except rice, cook for a little while. Make up burritos with or without rice.

 

I also tend to saute up whatever veggies we have and serve over pasta.

 

The baby is still in the stage where she'll eat anything, so I have no experience with "picky kid" food.

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#27 of 88 Old 08-01-2012, 12:41 AM
 
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Hmm. We don't really have meals like that. We meal plan, so most of the time I have dinner figured out; but on the rare occasions I'm absolutely too exhausted/busy/stressed/sick to think about it, it's takeout. Usually fish and chips. Classy. :p

 

I guess it would be healthier to keep a packet of ravioli in the freezer and a can of pasta sauce in the freezer. But if we had that on hand, I'd eat it instead of saving it. :p

 

We do ad-hoc lunches fairly often - "baked" potatoes (microwaved - again, classy), toasted sandwiches, etc.

 

Oh, we do have one sort-of-lazy dinner (or lunch) - simply known as A Platter. It's not necessarily lazy, as I've been known to make homemade hummus, dukkah, flatbread etc for the occasion; but at its most basic, it's carrot sticks, apple slices, hard-boiled eggs, cheese cubes and some kind of bread unearthed from the freezer, toasted a bit and dipped in olive oil with caramelised balsamic. Or if we had the foresight to go to the supermarket and we're feeling dangerous, chips and sour cream instead of the bread and olive oil.

 

It's one of our favourite meals, especially in summer. Sometimes we add olives, salami, ham, chicken, fancier cheese, homemade pita chips, yoghurt-and-sweet-chilli-sauce dip, grapes... but when we're less rich and it's just the basics, it's still delicious. Easy for feeding the baby, too. :)

 

What's all this about beans and rice being a quick dish?? We're having beans and rice tonight and I'm very proud of myself! How do you guy do it..?


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#28 of 88 Old 08-01-2012, 02:39 AM
 
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Cold meat, cheese and veggies/fruit. And the kids (6, 4 and 2) can get it out themselves. smile.gif

 

*Maybe* I'll heat up homemade soup if I can get up/stop what I'm doing. We'll eat soup for any meal of the day. Or if I'm feeling extra generous with my energy, there's a minute chance I might do a chef salad. orngtongue.gif

 

I scratch cook WAPF nearly every day for nearly every meal, so I have zero guilt in sending the kids foraging in the kitchen or serving them a giant bowl of (real) vanilla ice cream for dinner. It happens. shrug.gif


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#29 of 88 Old 08-01-2012, 06:21 AM
 
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Super easy pizza dough so dinner takes maybe 10 minutes hands on time.

 

Pizza Dough:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 scant tsp salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil

Bake 425 for 13-17 min.  Substitute gluten free flours if you want. :)

cleardot.gif

 

My 3 yr old helps and we're ready to go.  No rise so there is no planning ahead or waiting.  Always makes everyone happy.  My son sits in front of the oven and waits for the pizza to be done.

 

I love to have cold dinners like fruit, veggies, cheese and crackers with my son.  My hubby likes something cooked for dinner.

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#30 of 88 Old 08-01-2012, 07:43 AM
 
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I am a new mom so this is a great thread for us! I will be writing a lot of these down!

 

I can my own beans so we usually have plenty of beans around. I slice up some smoked sausage and while that's frying, plop the beans in a pan. Add brown sugar, onion flakes, garlic, salt, ketchup and mustard and it's "baked beans." If I'm feeling a little more nutritious I throw some greens in a pan with balsamic vinegar too.

 

I also keep stir fry veggies in the freezer. If we don't have any meat defrosted, I throw in a can of venison, or ground meat that I've previously cooked and frozen for quick use. The rice cooks while I work on seasoning the veggies. Takes about 20 minutes w/ no prep.

 

If hubby's not home I usually eat ice cream for dinner. Or make a sandwich and broil it for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

 

Our new thing this summer is for Hubby to smoke or grill meat on Sunday's. I throw some potatoes or squash in the food processor to slice. Douse them in olive oil, salt, garlic, and dill and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes. Easy peasy and there's usually leftovers for another night!

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