“Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail” is something I remind myself of all the time. Not only does planning and preparing help me to stay organized at work and at home, but it also allows me to feel calmer and organized. So in order to avoid Sunday night blues, or Monday morning anxiety about a hectic week, I always dedicate an hour each Sunday to planning the week - from meals, to playdates, to doctor appointments. And so my weekday dinner menu ideas for kids is obviously an important part of that planning.
Each Sunday I ask my Stanley, Eleanor and Jane to each choose one dinner menu idea that they would like for that week. Sometimes it is something new (and then we have fun finding and creating a recipe for it), sometimes it’s an old favorite. But this way they each feel involved and they know that there will at least be 1 weekday dinner that they are excited about. So here are a few of our weekday dinner menu ideas that my kids all love and make the rotation quite a bit!
Roasted Whole Chicken. Few things make me feel like a better mom than roasting a whole chicken. First, it is so tasty and healthy. Second, you can use whatever you have in the fridge to make it - lemons, open white wine, open red wine, herbs, potatoes, onion, carrots. My favorite weekday dinner menu ideas for kids are ones that while I’ve planned for them I can also modify as I go. The other great thing about this one is the leftovers can be repurposed later in the week and wrapped in tortillas for fajitas, shredded into fried rice, or on top of a nice salad. One of all time favorite people, Joy Bauer, has a great recipe for chicken enchiladas that you can find here and use your leftover chicken in place of the chicken breasts. And we can’t overlook that it’s a one pot meal which is amaaazing.
Taco Bowls. It’s no coincidence that one of our most popular Yumble dishes is also one of my kids favorite weekday dinner. And whether we use the Yumble meal or make the taco meat at home, what’s fun about this dinner is everyone makes it their own personalized way. I love weekday dinner menu ideas that my kids can get hands on with - Jane adds smashed avocado and mixes it altogether, Eleanor loves hers separated and loves to add some beans with her taco. And Stanley will pile it all in his bowl - corn, beans, avocado, some whole grain taco chips, and even a little spicy sauce! I love setting this up as a taco bar and letting everyone assemble their own bowls - this gives my kids a sense of responsibility in the kitchen and around their mealtime choices.
Salmon Skewers. This is a new weekday dinner menu idea that my kids love - probably for the same reason they love chicken pops and all meals on sticks! The skewer makes it really fun, and once again they can help with the assembly. I usually cut up red onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and then I cube and marinade the salmon. That’s when the kids come and start skewering what they want on their salmon kabobs. I like these bamboo skewers because they are a little less sharp than regular ones. And here’s one of my little tricks - I lay parchment paper down on a cookie sheet and write each of their names. This way they can place their skewers by their name and we remember whose is whose after they’ve cooked. This weekday dinner idea for kids can certainly be made with other proteins your family likes, but we always have salmon once a week so we love finding creative ways of preparing it!
Protein Pancakes. Something about breakfast for dinner gets my kids excited every time. And what gets me excited is I can make the pancakes exactly how I want to make sure they’ve balanced out whatever else they’ve had that day for breakfast and lunch. So most days, when they could use some extra fiber and protein, I make these pancakes from a flour blend I love - whole grain flour, spelt flour, and garbanzo bean flour. I add some flaxmeal, eggs, vanilla, and just a tad of maple syrup and my kids adore them. Each of these pancakes is packed with protein and fiber to keep them full through the night. Since this meal feels indulgent to my kids, I can usually convince them to eat extra veggies too :)
Bean Burritos. In our house no week of kids dinner is complete without something cheesy. So we usually rotate between Italian cheesy weekday dinner ideas and Mexican ones. My kids just love black beans so I like to use this meal as an opportunity for them to have a meat alternative as their protein. Packing the tortillas with beans, corn, cheese, and usually some leafy veggie that I have in my fridge, and then topping them with a little more cheese (why not?) means everyone in my house from David to Jane is happy with this dinner. And I always make sure to keep 2 or 3 Bean-A-Ritos from Yumble on hand for the weeks when life gets too hectic and we need some burritos right away!
As always I hope these weekday dinner menu ideas for kids help lighten your load and make your week easier! If you have a minute, share your favorite dinner idea for kids on our social channel and maybe it will make the Yumble menu rotation next month!