This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure.
This post about easy meals for crazy nights is the third in a series of homemaking posts that will be going live over the next several days.
All of them are linked below and will be available once they are live.
- How to Easily Meal Plan for an Entire Month in Just 15 Minutes
- How to Not Spend Your Evenings Cleaning
- Easy Meals for Crazy Nights that Every Mom Needs to Know About
- How to Keep Floors Clean with Little Kids
- How to Make Sure Your House Doesn’t Stink
- How to Set Up a Command Center + 15 Inspiring Ideas
- How to Clean When You’re Overwhelmed by the Mess
- 8 of the Best Ways to Make Your House Feel Like a Home
I’m just going to be real for a second here. Every. single. night. is a crazy night in our home.
I have a gorgeous 4-year old that loves to ask deep, theological questions (mostly when I’m right in the middle of something), a 2-year old that has no fear…of anything, and a fast-moving 8-month old.
Life is busy and most evenings can be described as organized chaos.
Quick and easy dinners are my go-to because otherwise we’d all be eating pizza every night (not such a bad thing in my opinion, but anyway…).
For the sake of my other “crazy stage in life” mama friends, here are a bunch of quick dinner recipes that I find myself using a lot.
Quick & Easy Dinner Ideas:
#1 Mac n’ Cheese
Mac n’ cheese is an old favorite and I love that you can make it in a few different ways.
I typically make a cheese sauce in the microwave while the pasta is boiling on the stovetop.
Then I put it all together and bake it for 30 minutes.
However, I often add bacon, leftover meat from the night before, different veggies, etc.
Basically whatever I have on hand.
A good tip is to blitz up some veggies and add them to the cheese sauce. Your kids will love the color and won’t know what they’re eating.
#2 Sweet & Sour Chicken
I’ve used this recipe for years and I’m not even sure where it came from, but I like it because it is super easy.
It does take about an hour, but that is almost all bake time so you’ll be free to deal with your munchkins while this is cooking.
- Chicken breasts (or thighs)
- 1 sachet of onion soup powder
- Half a jar of sweet chutney
- Half a jar of mayonnaise
- 1 cup of boiling water
Preheat your oven to 180˚ Celsius (360˚ Fahrenheit) and then in a jug whisk together the boiling water, soup powder, mayonnaise and chutney.
Put the chicken into a casserole dish and pour the mixture over it.
Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for a further 15 minutes.
Serve with rice and vegetables.
#3 Ritz Cracker Chicken
This is another go-to chicken casserole that I’ve been using forever.
- A packet of Ritz Crackers
- A tablespoon of butter
- A sealable bag
- Chicken breasts/thighs
- A tin of creamy chicken soup
Preheat your oven to 180˚ Celsius (360˚ Fahrenheit).
Place the chicken in a casserole dish.
Take the Ritz crackers and put them in the sealable bag. Seal it well and then crush the crackers into a crumble.
Once the crackers have been crushed, melt the tablespoon of butter in the microwave, add it to the crumble and shake the bag so that the crumble is covered in butter.
Next, pour the tin of creamy chicken soup over the chicken.
Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top, cover and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the cover and bake for a further 15 minutes.
Serve with rice and salad/vegetables.
#4 Crumbed Fish
My kids LOVE fish, but they especially love crumbed fish. This is one of the meals that I can pull together in about 30 minutes.
I buy crumbed fish fillets from the supermarket and bake them in the oven for 20 minutes at about 200˚ Celsius (390˚ Fahrenheit).
While it is baking I boil some potatoes on the stovetop and also steam some broccoli & carrots in the microwave.
It is a quick and healthy dinner and my kids love it!
Another 30-minute dinner. And again, my kids love this one.
I don’t have a recipe to share because I honestly just throw whatever I have into the saucepan and pray it tastes okay.
It really is different every time though.
Of course, I also boil the spaghetti and then put it all together and top it with some grated cheese.
I love having a mini grater that I can pull out and quickly use as I’m dishing up!
#6 Stir Fry
This is a great recipe for if you have leftover meat to use up!
If I’ve done a chicken the night before, I often will do a stir fry the next day.
I love stir fry’s because they’re great for just putting together whatever you have on hand.
I typically keep a few stir fry sachets handy so that I can use one to get the flavor I’m looking for.
#7 Breakfast for Dinner
Who said breakfast can only be for breakfast?
I’ve definitely been known to make up some oatmeal for dinner when the nights are crazy.
It is especially nice on a winter’s night and you can come up with so many variations!
So a full homemade pizza is not a quick dinner because you need to make the dough, however, if you’re smart and keep a few frozen pizza bases in stock, then you can just add the toppings.
This makes for a very quick dinner and you can fine tune it for those fussy eaters almost all of us have.
This one isn’t quick, but it is EASY! I love to use my slow cooker to cook a stew for dinner.
Usually I serve it with rice, but I just love how easy it is to prep and then forget until dinner time comes around.
If there’s ever a day when we’re going to be away for the most part, this is the dinner I’ll be sure to put on to cook in the morning.
#10 Slow Cooker Chicken
I can’t remember exactly when I started doing this, but now I do it often because it is easy AND cost effective.
That is to put an entire chicken in the slow cooker and let it cook away over the course of the day.
I actually even put mine in straight from the freezer and by the end of the day it is moist, tender and full of flavor.
Then all I have to worry about are the sides for the dish.
#11 Corned Silverside
Another slow cooker recipe. I love to cook corned silverside because it is another set-and-forget dinner.
I fill up the slow cooker with water about 2/3 up the silverside, add a dash of vinegar, a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, a couple of bay leaves, and about 3 cloves.
I usually serve it with mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies.
It is great because it usually lasts us for at least a couple of meals and is even great on sandwiches!
#12 Sausage Casserole
My kids LOVE sausages and I love how easy it is to throw together a sausage casserole.
I start by frying the sausages in a frying pan and then carefully cut them into smaller pieces.
Then I turn down the heat and add a tin of creamed corn, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tin of kidney beans and some seasoning.
Serve it up with some rice and you’re done.
This is such a fast meal to pull together!
Fry up and onion, add some ground beef, seasoning, tinned tomatoes, kidney beans, and whatever other flavoring you care for.
Once that’s done you can just serve it up with nacho chips, cheese and sour cream.
#14 Chicken and Beans
I actually found this recipe on Pinterest recently, tried it and LOVED it.
The chicken turned out SO moist!
The only thing I had to change a bit was the cooking time for the potatoes, but that could just be my oven (it is OLD).
Here’s the recipe that I used:
#15 Fried Rice
Last but not least is fried rice and this is definitely the recipe that I use when I have a bunch of leftovers to use up.
If you have some leftover rice, don’t toss it! Add some other things to it and have fried rice for dinner.
I always like topping it with some soy sauce and sweet chilli. YUM!
Favorite Tools for Quick Dinners:
I’m a simple girl when it comes to cooking, and that’s mainly because I cook as little as I can at this point.
It just isn’t enjoyable for me with little ones hanging off of my legs.
One day I’ll start cooking for the love of it again.
Anyway, there are just two tools that I use and love that I highly recommend every mom has.
Aside from my dying oven, I recommend having a:
For the mom with a newborn, for the mom with 2 under 2, or for the mom carting kids from one activity to the next…this is what you NEED in your life.
I couldn’t function without my slow cooker. This is the one that Amazon says is best value for money.
I use mine all of the time. Every. single. day.
Whether it is to heat up frozen veggies, reheat a meal, cook steamed veggies, or a multitude of other things, I’d be even more of a hot mess without it.