Empowering Parents to Teach- Easy Dinners

Dinners For Tired (or Busy) Moms


Fresh food is always best. But in real life, we have days where we just want to get through a tough night or we don’t have a lot of time to chop vegetables, make food from scratch, or keep a constant eye on the stove. These meals are for those days.  They are not fancy but they will get through the night!


We’ve all been there. You’re tired, utterly exhausted, but you still have kids to feed. Especially when you have a new baby at home, getting dinner on the table sound like a monumental task. Running on empty with lack of sleep, the witching hour comes at dinner time. You are trying to prepare dinner while the preschooler (or toddler) melts down, the baby wants to be held, and you can’t leave the stove because your pot may boil over!


Or perhaps your nights are busy. Your kids get off the bus at 3:30, they have to get their homework done and eat before being at sports practice at 5:30. You really don’t want to get fast food, so you are looking for something quick and easy to prepare.


Sometimes, it’s both of those scenarios together!  It’s not easy getting dinner on the table when your attention is pulled in so many directions and time is tight.


After the birth of my second child I stopped saying that I cooked dinner, instead, I heated dinner. Buying things that were for the most part already made, I just needed to heat them up. While my youngest is now four and I’m out of the lack of sleep baby fog, there are still days where I need a quick dinner. Sometimes when I prepare these quick meals it reminds of the baby/toddler days and I thought I’d share my easy dinner ideas for those of you may need them :)


If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, it is a goldmine of products that are already made that you can just heat up.


Note: I cook primarily vegetarian meals. However, all the recipes that have “fake meat” can be substituted with real meat (the frozen kind that you just heat up)!


So here is my list of easy to prepare dinners for a tired or busy mom:


1. Orange Chicken, Peas, and Clementines


Empowering Parents to Teach- Quick, Easy Dinners



This is one of my family’s favorite easy dinners.  I have to thank my sister in law for sharing this idea with me! The rice (found in Trader Joe’s frozen section) cooks in the microwave for three minutes.  The “chicken” morsels bake in the oven just like chicken nuggets so you don’t have to stand by the stove keeping an eye on things. You easily heat the peas in the microwave for a minute or two. Simply defrost the orange sauce packets in warm water and top it on the chicken when it is done baking.  Plate your rice, add some delicious orange chicken and peas. It’s so good!!


If you grab a bag of clementines from the market, they make a great dessert!


2. Pierogies and Sweet Peas

Empowering Parents to Teach- Quick, Easy DinnersThis one is the quickest meal ever!

My boys love pierogies! It is actually my youngest favorite food.  My mother taught me how to make pierogies from scratch and of course those are always the best. However, when time is tight I go to Mrs.T! The pierogies only take five minutes to boil and they are done.  Heat the peas in the  microwave for a minute or two (depending on your microwave) and you are set! If you have the time, heat butter and chopped onions on the stove for the most “homemade” taste. Have some fresh fruit for dessert to round out this meal.


There are twelve pierogies in a box. My boys typically eat about four to five pierogies each, so depending on the size of your family you may need to purchase a couple of boxes :)


3. Chicken Parm and Broccoli


Empowering Parents to Teach- Easy Dinners


If you don’t have time to steam some broccoli or need gluten-free pasta:


Empowering Parents to Teach- Easy Dinners



Boil some of your favorite pasta- whole wheat, rice, corn, or quinoa pasta. Heat fresh broccoli in a steamer pot or buy the microwave kind to make it faster. Bake the chicken patties or Morning Star “chicken” according to the package. For the last five minutes of bake time add a little bit of pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese to let the cheese melt on top. As the chicken is baking, have your sauce heating on the stove, add the broccoli to the sauce. Once everything is done, plate your pasta and sauce, then top it off with the chicken patty!


4. Meatball Subs and Carrots

Ok, this is so easy! Heat the meatballs or meatless meatballs in pasta sauce according to the package.  Fill a bun with meatballs and top with parm or mozzarella cheese (or fake cheese). Heat up a side a carrots and you’ve got a quick, filling, dinner!



5. Black Bean Burgers, Mashed Potato, and Corn


Empowering Parents to Teach- Easy Dinners


Oh how I love Morning Star Black Bean Burgers! They are simply delicious and only take a few minutes to grill on the stove. Slice some veggies to top it- lettuce, tomato, yummy avocado, pickles, etc. Pair with the already made mashed potatoes you find at the deli department in your local grocery store (or instant potatoes) and some canned corn you’ve heated up and you’re golden!


I did not include corn in the picture because I’ve had the hardest time finding organic canned corn in our local grocery stores! Hopefully, your grocery stores still carry it!


6. Sloppy Joes and Salad


Empowering Parents to Teach- Easy Dinners


These are so easy! Brown some meat or “fake meat” from Morning Star.  Once the meat is fully cooked, pour the Sloppy Joe sauce into the pan, simmer until ready. Add them to a bun, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and you’re done! On the side, grab some greens from one of those ready to go salad mixes and add veggies that you have in the fridge! Easy, simple meal :)


Leave a comment below and tell us what your favorite super easy dinner is to make when you are tired or busy!





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  1. Kym

    The orange chicken sounds delicious. I think we’ll try that one :)

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