It’s no secret that I love food and I especially love foodie food but when cooking for a large family, foodie food is not your typical weekday dinner! I have some go-to easy family meals that I make that are kid-friendly and just plain good.
1. Mom’s Monday Macaroni – what makes it so easy is not having to cook the noodles before putting them in. It’s a one dish meal that requires minimal prep, has minimal mess and all of my kids love it!
2. 5 Ingredient Pasta Shells – all of the food groups in one dish. What’s not to love about that?!
3. Soup Made from Leftovers – this one is so economical. It can stretch a small amount of leftovers into an entire meal and because the leftovers change, this soup is never boring.
4. Breakfast for Supper – this is what I do when I am really pressed for time, have fairly empty cupboards or can’t think of what to make. Breakfast foods are a big hit around here so making one of my breakfast favourites for supper never gets complaints.
5. Penne a la Vodka – this is our favourite meal. All of us. It tastes like restaurant food, but is so simple to make. It is delicious and even our pickiest kids ask for me to make it. I make it usually a few times a month. So yummy! I will post the recipe in the next few weeks and link this to it once I do. It will give me an excuse to make it again because I will of course need to post pictures…I’m practically drooling just thinking about it!
6. Taco Type of Meals – we really enjoy the flavours of Mexican cooking. We do eat tacos and they are always a hit but I also make taco salad, taco-style dips, nachos, burritos, and taco inspired casseroles. The one pictured below combined refried beans, ground beef (or in this case, Mexican veggie beef), garlic, salsa, and taco seasoning for the base and was topped with tomatoes, black olives, green onions, jalapeños, and grated cheese before baking. After it was baked, I topped it with some shredded iceberg lettuce.
7. Easy Baked Pasta – I sauté whatever vegetables I happen to have on hand: onions, garlic, zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms, etc. in butter. I place cooked pasta (usually fusilli or rotini) in a casserole dish and toss with sautéd vegetables, tomato sauce and spices. After those ingredients are mixed well, I top with grated cheese (cheddar, mozza, parmesan, asiago, jalapeño jack or a mixture of some of these) and bake. So easy!
8. Chilli – I usually make this in big batches and freeze it so that I can just pull it out and throw it into the crock pot and have the house smelling like comfort food. I sometimes make popovers to serve the chilli in.
9. Tater Tot Casserole – this recipe may not be the very healthiest so I try not to make it as often as the kids ask for it, but it is so easy! The way I make it produces two large casserole dishes which feeds our family for one supper or two lunches (keep in mind there are 9 of us!). It is the Duggar family recipe except that I don’t use the canned chicken soup at all, I use spicy ground sausage instead of turkey and I use two bags of tater tots instead of 3. Basically, it’s a totally different recipe than theirs when I think about all the adjustments I’ve made but that is where I got the idea from! This is hands-down the biggest hit with my kids!
10. Mexican Lasagna – This meal (officially called Beef Enchilada Casserole) is from my favourite cookbook author Sandi Richard. It is a little bit more time consuming to make than the above meals, but it has such a comfort food feel to it and can be made ahead of time and cooked when needed. It is also really easy to make two at a time and freeze one for another day or use both for a large gathering. I use Mexican veggie ‘beef’ in mine instead of ground beef.