Easy Weeknight Dinners

I’ll be honest: While I am a registered dietitian, I’m not much of a cook. Most people seem to think this goes hand-in-hand. I would cook more if I had more time, but being a working mom of two boys is time-consuming. So my strategy is to keep it simple—healthy foods, fast. Just because I lack time and the love of cooking, doesn’t mean my simple, healthy dinners aren’t delicious.

But let’s face it—even for the mom or dad who loves to cook, getting a meal on the table at dinner time can be a tough task with all of the other weekly commitments families face. That is why many of us resort to take-out and the drive-thru at the dinner hour. Recent statistics show that for the first time ever, Americans are spending more money on dining out than groceries. Make a New Year’s resolution to plan ahead and avoid eating out during the week. Below are some of my family’s favorite weeknight suppers.

Slow Cooker Veggie Lasagna– Slow cooker lasagna seems to be all the rage on foodie blogs and in cooking magazines lately. It provides the goodness of lasagna, but takes out some of the work. This recipe is a go-to for my family on days when we are walking in the door late. Since it’s packed with veggies, I serve it with fresh fruit, whole wheat bread and a glass of milk for a well-balanced meal.

Salmon Cakes– My kids aren’t big fish eaters, but they gobble up these salmon cakes served with creamy coleslaw. Making the coleslaw with yogurt instead of mayo ups the nutrition, adding protein and calcium, two nutrients my kids can use more of. In addition, these can be made in advance and reheated for a quick weeknight supper.

BBQ Chicken and Cheddar Foil Packet– Very little cleanup is required with this one-dish meal because everything is cooked in a foil packet. Packed with potatoes, veggies, cheese and chicken, this is a hearty meal the whole family will enjoy.

Davis Noodle Bake– Pasta is a must on our weekly menu and this hearty noodle bake is always a hit with my hungry boys. Round it out with a tossed salad and a cold glass of milk.

Breakfast for Dinner- This is always a mealtime pleaser for my pancake loving boys. I usually serve eggs, fruit and yogurt and pancakes. We like to mix up the pancake flavors, with pumpkin, banana and blueberry being our favorites.

Laura Buxenbaum, MPH, RD, LDN

Laura Buxenbaum, MPH, RD, LDN