30+ Easy, Quick Dinner Ideas Every Mama Will Appreciate

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It has been over 200 days since my family has stepped foot in a restaurant, which also equates to over 200 dinners prepared and/or cooked at home. My family has done takeout five times since the middle of March with that just recently beginning in August.

Going from being a family that averaged takeout two to three times a week before the start of COVID-19, I thought that cooking every night would get tiring…tiring from having to cook every single night and tiring from having to eat the same things. Add on the fact that I don’t allow raw meat in our house and our future “at-home menu” looked pretty bland.

As the nights of dinners at home continues to rise, my husband and I have been pleasantly surprised at the variety and deliciousness of our meals. I have not only satisfied my carnivorous husband’s palate, but I’ve also cooked a slew of new meals and haven’t had to repeat too many, even though some of them have definitely been “repeats!”

In the past, I wasn’t a fan of casseroles, but this new quarantine chef is loving casseroles—dump, stir, bake, and voila! I have four young kids, and like most mama’s out there, I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

As a family of six, Costco is our regular grocery store. We get a few things from Publix, Target, and Aldi, but, Costco has been our main squeeze these last few months. All of the following recipes contain a lot of the same ingredients so even if you don’t need a bulk size for one meal, you can buy bulk and use for a variety of recipes throughout the week. #winning #savingmoola

Here is a list of quick, easy, delicious, and versatile dinner ideas

  • Meat—I know, I know, pre-cooked meat doesn’t sound too appealing, but trust me when I say these pre-cooked meat options will definitely satisfy. I buy most, if not all of our pre-cooked meat from Costco. Our favorites include their:
    • Sous Vide Beef Sirloin
    • Rotisserie chicken
    • Carnitas pulled pork
    • Beef meatballs
    • Organic panko chicken nuggets (my kids’ favorite nuggets and this says a lot–I love em, but they are a picky crew)!
    • Stuffed broccoli and cheese chicken breast
    • Angus burgers
  • Prepared meals are a mama’s best friend. Costco has great prepared meals. These are our favorites:

    • Meatloaf and mashed potatoes (I’ll add a side of steamed asparagus, sweet peas, or side salad to complete the meal).
    • Chicken street tacos (soooo good—you’ll grow to be obsessed with the avocado crema).
    • Macaroni and cheese (great to use as a side dish for other dinner meals).
    • Seasonal chicken pot pie (it’s huge, but you can cook and then freeze what is left over).
    • Frozen Beef Lasagna (we get three meals out of this and it’s only around $15).
  • Quick and easy meals every mama will appreciate—most of these are kid pleasers too:

    • Stuffed shells (I add pepperoni some nights…you can also add spinach, mushrooms or whatever you fancy).
    • Baked ravioli (buy bags of frozen ravioli and add marinara and cheese, dump into a dish, bake, and devour).
    • Pork tacos (I’ll use one of the two bags from the carnitas pork I purchase from Costco—add a side of black beans and Spanish rice…yum)!
    • Steak fajitas (sous vide beef sirloin from Costco and a big bag of bell peppers from Costco—cook beef, sauté peppers, add a dollop of sour cream, and so good)!
    • Spaghetti and meatballs (meatballs from Costco)!
    • Gnocchi (sometimes I use marinara and sometimes I use pesto sauce. I’ll add in different items depending on the flavor desired for the night).
    • Pork sliders served on Hawaiian rolls (I use one of the packs from the carnitas pork from Costco and serve on Hawaiian rolls…sometimes I’ll add caramelized onions, pineapple slices or red onions, sour cream, and salsa).
    • Black bean sliders served Hawaiian rolls (topped with salsa, salsa verde, pineapple slices, sour cream, and guacamole. Sweet potato fries are a great side).
    • Meatball subs (surprise…I use meatballs from Costco) or meatball sub casserole.
    • Philly cheesesteaks (sous vide beef sirloin and bell peppers from Costco).
    • Homemade chicken salad on croissants (rotisserie chicken and croissants from Costco).
    • Chicken pesto tortellini (rotisserie chicken and tortellini from Costco).
    • One-pan Moroccan chicken and couscous
    • Chicken, pork, or steak enchiladas (my ingredients vary from adding corn, black beans, green chiles, red enchilada sauce, green enchilada sauce, bell peppers, onions—rotisserie chicken, pork carnitas or sous-vide beef from Costco).
    • Costco beef lasagna (we get three meals out of this and it’s only around $15).
    • Greek Chicken Pita (rotisserie chicken piled in a pita paired with lettuce, caramelized onion, olives, feta, pepperoncini, and a greek vinaigrette—so good)!
    • Chicken and dumpling casserole
    • Vegetable Primavera 
    • Cheesy beef goulash
    • Beef stir FRY
    • General Tsao chicken from Aldi
    • Stuffing and chicken casserole
    • Fiesta chicken casserole
    • Chicken noodle casserole
    • Chicken tamale bake
    • Beef tamale bake (use the same recipe above, but replace chicken with beef. I use Beyond Meat meatless crumbles or meatless crumbles from Aldi to substitute for the ground beef).
    • Baked spaghetti
    • Stuffed pepper casserole
    • Easy Classic Calzones
    • Greek Gyro Skillet
    • Classic stuffed peppers
    • Easy chicken parmesan (I use frozen breaded chicken strips for a quick and easy chicken option).
    • Chicken pot pie (rotisserie chicken from Costco).
    • Costco Angus burgers or hotdogs with fun sides:

I hope these recipe ideas help save you time and money and fill your family’s belly’s with tastiness…happy eating!

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Melissa recently resigned from her career in higher education and was promoted to her new title as Dr. Mom to two-under-two. Her quest to have a family involved a long road of infertility struggles. She has a son named Rowan who is 21 months old and a girl named Ildi who is 6 months old. There is never a dull moment in the Butcher house with two-under-two. Their days are fast, dirty, silly and tiring, yet also imaginative, magical and memorable. Melissa is passionate about conquering every great moment as well as the challenging moments, with love. She truly embraces the Beatle’s philosophy of “All You Need is Love” especially in moments when she finds herself gritting her teeth and taking deep breaths during the blissful chaos occurring in her home. She enjoys reading, baking, decorating cakes, walking, biking, spending time with her family and friends, and cheering on the Clemson Tigers. She also enjoys writing for infertility and adoption focused organizations, striving to serve and support families pursuing assisted reproductive technologies and adoption to achieve their dreams in becoming parents. In writing for Charleston Moms Blog, Melissa hopes to bring Moms together in enjoying and laughing about the special and comical moments of being a mom as well as providing the comfort and support that all Moms need on this journey we adoringly call Motherhood.