Weekday Family Dinners: a tip and recipes

Every weekend my husband and I ask each other the same question, several times, with increasing desperation: “What do you want to eat this week?” After having lived together for over a decade, you would think we would have this down to a fine science (nope, we don’t). However, we do sometimes luck into an idea that makes our domestic lives a bit easier.

One (1) Grocery Shopping Tip!

list of meals
The actual list!

This one little trick has made my meal planning, and grocery shopping, experience a lot easier. In my notebook I keep a list of all the regular meals that we like to cook and eat. This list can include anything and everything from the more complicated (shepherd’s pie) to the easy (mac and cheese!). The idea is to have something that can spark your interest, and jog your memory, so before you go grocery shopping you can pull together a shopping list that makes sense.

I also keep a picture of the list on my phone for any last-minute consultations.


But what’s on our list…

Included on our list are a variety of meals we like to eat. Previous versions of the list have included very simple meals (eggs and toast! grilled cheese!), but now I stick to dinners that seem more like family sit-down meals and assume I can remember to make grilled cheese when needed. They’re generally meals that I don’t require a recipe to make, and have often been adapted from other sources to suit our tastes. Here are some of our favourites:

Black Bean and Coleslaw Tacos

This is a household favourite (easily gluten free and vegan too!). It’s based on Smitten Kitchen’s crisp black bean taco with feta and slaw. But we mash and heat the beans with a couple tablespoons of salsa and some diced onion (if we’re feeling fancy). I also tend to leave out the feta (though it is delicious) due to the expense. You can use the coleslaw dressing as suggested in the recipe, but I like it with a creamy dressing made from mayo, yoghurt, and a bit of pickle juice.

Sushi Bowls

Our version of this is (very lightly) adapted from Budget Byte’s sushi bowl recipe. Instead of using artificial crab we usually buy a small piece of salmon or trout and cook it in the oven, breading it with panko if we’re feeling fancy. Using proper sushi rice is worth it, but you can cut the sugar in half. I’m also a wuss when it comes to spice, so I put in less that half the recommended amount of sriracha, and will sometimes sub out part of the mayo with yoghurt. We use a mandolin to cut the vegetables nice and thin.

Naan Pizza

I like using naan as a pizza crust because it takes a lot of the work out of making a homemade pizza, while still getting a tasty end result. The toppings are key here. I like using some leftover chicken, whatever veggies are hanging around in the fridge, and finishing it off with fresh herbs just before eating. 10 minutes in a 450 degree oven is usually all it takes.

Chicken, Quinoa, Roast Tomato, Feta Salad

A quick google suggests that I could have found this “recipe” in a number of places. We haven’t eaten it lately because my daughter dislikes both quinoa and tomatoes, but I have high hopes this could change one day! Combine cooked chicken with roasted tomatoes, cubed feta, and your choice of salad greens. Drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

If you’re making it ahead of time, leave out the greens until you’re ready to eat. Alternatives include swapping out the chicken for chickpeas, feta for goat cheese, and roasted tomatoes for roasted red peppers. In the summer I would add herbs (basil, flat leaf parsley, chives) from the garden.


Happy eating!


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