“Mom, What’s for Dinner”?

March 25, 2024 | Katy Moscoso

cutting vegetables on a cutting board

As a busy mom to two kids under 5, I get asked “mom, what’s for dinner?” around the same time every day. To help me stay organized, every Saturday I decide on a meal plan devoted strictly to dinners for the upcoming week. By looking at each day individually I have a better idea of how much time I will have to devote to preparing dinner. This also helps me track which days my family has evening commitments that may make it more difficult to prepare a time-intensive meal.

I love the saying “work smarter, not harder”. This plays a big role in how I choose meals when I am planning for the week. A way that I can make dinner simpler at my house is picking recipes that work with my schedule. One pot and slow cooker meals are my absolute favorite! I love limiting the number of dishes in the sink after preparing dinner, especially when I add in bathtime and bedtime routines. Having meals that can cook themselves during the day when I am busy doing other things is also a bonus.

Below are some of my family’s favorite recipes. I keep ingredients for these dishes on hand for those busier evenings and rotate them into my weekly dinner plans often.

  • Slow Cooker Refried Beans– We love this recipe for tostadas, as a filling for quesadillas and as a side dish for tacos or chicken fajitas. This is a great slow cooker recipe that can cook for up to 10 hours untouched, making it perfect for busy days outside of the house.
  • Slow Cooker Roast– This is a great prepare ahead recipe. I cut the vegetables the night before to store in the fridge which leads to a simple throw together slow cooker meal in the morning. It makes great leftovers, too!
  • Skillet Lasagna– If you have read my blogs over the years, you know I highlight this recipe A LOT! We love pasta at my house, but having to wait to boil water for noodles can take a while. I serve this with salad or a microwaveable bag of vegetables, and the whole meal comes together quickly.

I have eliminated a lot of stress by incorporating slow cooker and one pot dishes into my meal rotation at home. Check out Spend Smart. Eat Smart. for simple, nutritious recipes that are sure to become family favorites at your house, too!

Katy Moscoso

Katy Moscoso is a Program Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. As a mom to both a toddler and a preschooler, Katy loves trying new recipes that are quick and versatile. Cooking meals that can provide leftovers to fill her fridge and freezer is a win during this busy season!

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