The title of this post originally said that these meals were for working parents but then I realized that I still use these and I’m now a stay at home mom so I quickly changed it to “busy parents” because the fact is that stay at home parents are just as busy as those that work outside the home.
Yesterday I was running errands all day and as tempted as I was to just grab some fast food, I realized that dinner could be pulled off in 10 minutes! After last night’s Instagram post I felt inspired to share a few of my favorite quick meals. Back when I worked outside of the house a lot, I had to master the art of pulling off quick meals so that Dylan had as many home cooked meals for dinner as possible. Being from the Caribbean makes me instantly partial to any form of seafood so most of the meals on this list will involve just that.
Since we’re all busy here, I’ll stop my blabbing and get straight to my top 3 favorite quick dinners for busy parents!
1. Shrimp Caesar Salad with Baked Macaroni & Cheese
The trick to this meal coming together quickly is me having a frozen stash of mac and cheese to just toss in the oven. If you’re one to make baked macaroni, lasagna, or anything similar I highly recommend always making an extra pan to freeze. This always comes in handy for those nights when you’re too tired to cook but don’t want to get fast food. Last night was one of those nights. I had a pan of macaroni in the freezer so I decided to take a little out to heat up for dinner.
I always have bags of Caesar salad kits on hand and there’s always shrimp in my freezer because seafood (insert drooling emoji). Start by simply putting whatever amount of macaroni you need in the oven then move on to your shrimp. Even if your shrimp is frozen you can flash defrost it by running some cold water over it. Season to your liking and saute in a little EVOO. Squeeze in a little lemon or lime and you’re done. Shrimp takes like 3 minutes to cook. Caesar salad kits come ready to eat so no need to wash, cut or anything! Just toss all the ingredients in a bowl and serve. I love serving this meal family style because Dylan and I have very different preferences. While he looks most forward to the shrimp and macaroni, I look forward to the salad and shrimp so we just sit at the table and make our plates however we want.
2. Rotisserie Chicken, Salad and French Bread
I know, I know! There’s a lot of salad happening here. You can replace the salad with a different veggie if you like. Technically this meal consists of take out but it’s still close to home made. This one is ideal for working parents.
On the days that I was drained at work I would stop to my favorite grocery store’s prepared food section and grab a rotisserie chicken. I’d run over to the salad bar and make a huge salad big enough for sharing and I’d grab a French bread. Once home I just slice the bread, carve the chicken and serve the salad. I’d recommend getting more than one chicken if you have a bigger family. Voila! Dinner’s ready! This was Dylan’s favorite when he was a younger toddler because, bread. This meal goes back to when the daddy and I were together. He and I loved this meal and Dylan never complained. When I’m at my wit’s end I still turn to this meal. If you’re a working parent and your partner stays at home, I promise you they’ll appreciate you for taking dinner off their hands by coming home with this. If your family doesn’t see it for salad just grab one of those microwavable bags of veggies or even whatever veggie is available at the prepared food section
3. Fish in Butter Sauce with Rice and Broccoli
This one is Dylan’s favorite these days. If your little human doesn’t like broccoli I’d recommend using whatever veggie you can get them to eat or just leaving it off their plate. I usually turn to swai for this because like shrimp, it’s always in my freezer and can be quickly defrosted. Start by making the amount of white rice you need for your family size. Rice is another one of those sides I tend to make extra of so that I can just warm it up. Sometimes there's already some in my fridge but if not I just make how much I need for Dylan and I. I usually start my broccoli at the beginning of the process as well. I put some in a pot with just enough water to steam it. Add some butter and season however you like. Let this cook on low. Season the swai to your liking, saute about half cup of sofrito in a little EVOO for about a minute. If you don’t have sofrito just chop some garlic, onions whatever bell peppers you have and cilantro. Look for a sofrito recipe on the blog soon. Add your fish, turn it over after 2 minutes, add half a stick or a whole stick (it’s your arteries) of butter, a little water or fish stock (chicken stock if that’s what you have) and a little more seasoning so your sauce is flavorful. Turn your heat down to med/low and let that fish do its thing. Squeeze in some lemon or lime and just give it a few minutes. Swai cooks fast and is delicious. This meal takes me 20 minutes tops. I typically just use the whole bag of fish. As long as I have sofrito in my fridge anything is possible. If you have children who don’t like fish, sorry to those kids… This particular meal may not be for them but if you need to just use a fish that they do like.
There are a few other ways I whip up quick dinners around here. Dylan LOVES oatmeal and cream of wheat so sometimes that’s what's for dinner because he requests it. I’m typically not hungry at dinner time so on the nights when I’m not hungry Dylan has his hot cereal and we hang out in front of the TV together. Judge your granny! I’d love to know how what you all make for quick dinners so please share below and send me pics on Instagram if you make any of the meals above!