In a dinner rut? Here are 5 quick, simple and affordable suggestions to get you through the week:
1. Hot dog night: With the weather getting warmer, it’s a great time to start up the grill. Cook up some hot dogs or veggie dogs, warm a few buns and make yourself a fix-in station with mustard, ketchup, relish, jarred fried peppers, and even a warm black bean and corn salsa for a fast chili. Dinner will be on the table with the opening of a few jars and a quick turn of your tongs!
2. Make your own pizza night: Pick up some regular or whole-wheat pizza dough from your local bakery, and get everyone involved by rolling it out together. Want an even quicker option? Purchase pre-made crusts or use English muffins, pita pockets or mini bagels as the base. Build a buffet of your favorite toppings and be adventurous with twists such as jarred vodka sauce, roasted egg, or fresh salad on top after your pizza is already cooked.
3. Create your own fast food night: For a healthier fix, put together an at-home version of drive-through classics. Slice potatoes for oven baked fries or buy the frozen version. Crisp up a package of chicken nuggets (plain soy nuggets and ones filled with broccoli and cheddar are delicious!) and serve with honey mustard and BBQ sauces for dipping. Grill burgers or veggie patties and stack them on a bun (‘light’ hamburger rolls are a great option) with lettuce, tomato, cheese and desired condiments. It’s fast food you can feel better about eating.
4. Taco night: Time for a fiesta! Brown up some ground beef (or vegan soy crumbles) in a pan with onions, cumin, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Arrange taco shells and a variety of add-ons like shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, chopped tomato, black beans and jarred taco sauces from your grocery store. Switch things up with easy fish tacos (I like Dr. Praeger’s frozen fish sticks) with mango salsa and arugula!
5. Breakfast for dinner night: For most of us, a weekday breakfast equals a to-go cup of coffee and anything we can eat on the run. Give yourself a chance to enjoy it in a more leisurely fashion by winding down with these foods after a long day of work. Take out the griddle for simple pancakes filled however you like them, throw together a veggie omelette or eggs for a good dose of protein. Sizzle up bacon and sausage, pop a few pieces of bread in the toaster and even pour yourselves a bowl of cereal with milk. Add some fresh fruit for dessert and you’ve got yourself a balanced and satisfying meal.