Weeknight Madness

Meal ideas for busy people.

A bit about me...

I'm no chef, but I'm a busy, working, studying mom of 3. Part of what drives me crazy preparing for the week ahead is a) no ideas of what I should buy or make to feed the fam, and b) as a result of a), going to the grocery store with no sense of what I'm getting (thus spending more money).

So here you'll find some internet-curated recipes, a few of my own, as well as some links to a couple sites that I love. Hope they help to make your weeknight meals a little less mad!

Kid approved recipes

Here I would like to share with you some of my best, easiest, family-approved meals. These have all been curated from the internet and have are kid-approved, for the most part (note: with three kids, there is almost always one who'll change her tastes, but sometimes bribery works).

Easy Shepherd's Pie

This healthy, one dish meal was a HUGE hit with adults and kids alike the last time I made it. NOTE: I always use a good quality ground meat when feeding my family. Opt for AAA Canadian beef or locally farmed ground meat for best quality.
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Recommended local meat farmer

If you can get your hands on this meat, it is exceptional!

Easy Tacos

These easy tacos are fun and colourful for kids to customize. You can follow the recipe exactly and use corn torillas (although my kids aren't fans) or you can use small flour tortillas (or hard "taco shell" ones if you prefer). You can also change up the ground meat to your liking. I've even made these with iron-rich bison meat and my kids were none the wiser.
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Best Caesar salad EVER!

OMG this Caesar salad recipe is literally the best. If you get nothing else from this page, this dressing will change your life. EVERYONE who has it raves about it and hounds me for the recipe (I only give it to select few). Kids even love it and you can make it a meal by adding grilled shrimp or chicken on top. The only thing I do differently to this recipe is I add crisped proscuitto to the salad. I usually take about 6-7 thin slices of prosciutto and crisp them in the oven/bbq/toaster oven until brown and crispy (not burnt or rubbery). Generally 8 min. @ 375 degrees does the trick.

I now pass this on to you, but share wisely...

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This broccoli cheddar soup is fantastic for a night when you want to reheat something quickly and maybe serve with a sandwich. I puree the final product as my kids won't eat broccoli, but they DEVOUR this soup!
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Personal Creations

Homemade burrito-like wraps

I call them "burrito-like" because I tend to omit the heavy rice and just keep them light & healthy. They're really more like grilled meat & veggie wraps that also include beans, cilantro, salsa & sour cream.

I don't measure my recipes, but hopefully you can figure out measurements based on the # of people you're feeding.

You'll need:

  • chicken breasts or thighs (grilled)
  • bell peppers & white onions (sliced and grilled)
  • whole wheat tortilla wraps (large is my preference)
  • salsa & sour cream
  • cilantro
  • black beans
  • shredded cheese

Once onions, peppers, and chicken are grilled, put them + drained, rinsed black beans + cilantro + shredded cheese in tortillas and roll. Place wraps on a pan and bake in oven (at about 375 degrees) until wraps are golden and slightly crunchy (approx 20 minutes). Top with salasa, sour cream... and whatever else you like. Obviously ingredients can change depending on your kids' tastes. Sometimes I also used ground meat, depending on what I am in the mood for.

To season chicken or meat of choice, I usually throw together a mix of chilli pepper, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, salt and pepper OR i buy a pre-packaged seasoning.

FYI: this dish is amazing reheated, so make extra and bring to work the next day.

Roasted beet soup

I'm not lying, my kids LOVE this and it is a nutrition powerhouse! They call it "red soup".

You'll need: (I try to buy organic when possible and reasonably priced)

  • a bunch of fresh red beets (beet tops included)
  • large white onion (diced)
  • can of diced tomatoes (preferably Italian tomatoes)
  • 3 carrots (diced)
  • 4-5 peeled and slightly smashed (with the side of a think knife) garlic cloves
  • 3 celery (diced)
  • 2 tetra packs of broth (Costco has a great organic chicken bone broth)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
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Basically I roast beets first (tops not included yet) with similarly chopped carrots, onions, garlic, and celery. Those roast in a few tablespoons of grapeseed oil on my BBQ (but can also be done in the oven on 375) for about 25 minutes. Then I add chopped beet tops and a can of diced tomatoes to the mix and continue roasting for another 15 minutes. Ingredients should be stirred/tossed every 15 minutes or so. When veggies appear roasted (black/golden edges) add 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and continue roasting for another 5 minutes.

Empty roasting pan into large stock pot, add 2 tetra packs of chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for about 20 min. Allow to cool a bit. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper. DONE!

FYI: this soup is 10x better the next day.

Spiralized Lasagna

I LOVE my spiralizer!! Even making "spaghetti" and meatballs with this gadget is a HUGE hit with my kids.

This version of lasagna was so easy and awesome.

You'll need:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • a can or jar of your favourite tomato sauce (or simply diced Italian tomatoes - San Marzano are best and sweetest)
  • smooth, fresh ricotta cheese
  • shredded cheddar or Italiano blend cheese
  • a touch of grapeseed oil
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Spiralize the sweet potatoes on the spaghetti setting and place into a deep oven pan (spread noodles evenly). Add fresh, minced garlic, canned tomatoes, ricotta cheese, and shredded cheese on top. Drizzle with a touch of grapeseed or olive oil. Bake in oven at 400. Cover in foil for the first 20 minutes and then remove. Cook until golden as shown above.

NOTE: I've added turkey sausage to this before and it was amazing. I just removed the meat from its casing and fried it before adding to the dish.

Literally the easiest meal ever: Chicken Curry & Basmati Rice

This is my easiest meal of all because I buy the sauce.

You'll need:

Literally just cook the chicken, add the sauce, and serve with cooked basmati rice. Delicious. If the sauce is too spicy for your kids, add plain greek yogurt. Done.

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One of my favourite recipe websites

SkinnyTaste has so many healthy, delicious food options! The site is well organized and you can select recipes based on special diets, seasonal eating, kid friendly, slow cooker... you name it!

Homemade pizzas

I make these at least once a week and switch up my ingredients each time. I'll give you my fav...

You'll need:

For the sauce...

  • canned tomatoes (or your favourite tomato sauce)
  • garlic
  • grapeseed oil
For the pizzas...

  • whole wheat pitas
  • shredded pizza cheese
  • goat's cheese
  • peppers
  • mushrooms
  • prosciutto
  • onion (red or white)

To make the sauce, I just simmer canned tomatoes, garlic, and oil together for about 15 min, puree with an immersion blender - set aside.

As shown above, sauce your pitas generously, add shredded cheese, add your toppings (I always cook mushrooms before adding them to pizzas more more flavour), and finish with goat's cheese and prosciutto. I cook at 425 for about 15 minutes or until they are golden and bubbling.

These are easy, healthy, and kids can help make theirs!

For the visual learner :)

If you haven't seen Buzzfeed's "Tasty" videos, you should! They make following a recipe fun and easy!

Helpful food hacks! You'll love these.

The best side dish!

Garlic & Herb Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes"