Friday, February 17, 2017

4 easy family meal formulas!

Today I've got four super easy family dinner formulas for you!  These are meals that my family loves time and time again that don't break the bank and are on the passable-healthy side too.  Last week on my Instagram Stories I polled my readers about anything that might be missing from your blog experience here.  The response was overwhelming that you want more 'lifestyle' type posts here on the blog... more about my family, my life as a mom and behind the scenes stuff.  You love the fashion-y posts, but want to dig a little deeper.  And hey, I get that!  I've been blogging for over 8 years and really for almost that entire time it's been outfits and packing lists and awesome sales and clothes and fashion and clothes.  So I automatically just sit down and produce that content, often without thinking about it.  So it's going to take me getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things! (if you have any specific requests... leave them in the comments!)

One thing you gals always love is when I share on Instagram what I am making for dinner.  I treat dinner making much like getting dressed; I am very formulaic.  I like to have a few easy formulas to make dinner planning easy.  I have to say I used to cook all these elaborate home made meals every night.  With my kids getting older and their schedules getting busier and my husbands crazy travel schedule I have really simplified dinner.  If there protein and a veggie on the plate it's considered done and if I meal plan only four meals for a whole week, I am okay with that too. Cereal, the drive-thru or a family dinner out fills in the gaps.  I shop at Trader Joe's almost exclusively, so all these ingredients are from there. But if you don't have a TJ near you, you can easily improvise on some of the items below.

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French Bread Pizzas
The is a SUPER easy family favorite!  Simply slice a baguette lengthwise in half and then spread pizza sauce, cheese and whatever other toppings you or your family loves on top and bake until the cheese is melted.  (About 15-20 minutes at 400F).  I love to serve this with steamed artichokes which is my kids favorites. Fill a wide pan with about an inch of water on the stovetop and bring to a boil.  Cut off the stem and the top 1" of the artichoke (and use scissors to cut off any sharp artichoke leaves) and then place the artichokes stem side UP in the boiling water and cover.  Let them steam for 20 minutes.  Then peel the leaves and dip them in garlic butter (2T butter, 1 garlic glove minced together and then melted) with a sprinkle of sea salt.  SO yummy!

Turkey Bolognese with Gnocchi and Peas
This meat sauce can be found in the frozen section of Trader Joes and is SO good.  Simply follow the package instructions for preparation of the gnocchi and sauce (substitute your favorite meat sauce if you don't live near a TJ) and then top with parmesan cheese.  These shelled peas from TJ are SO tasty and sweet, I love to add them to everything or just grab a handful for a healthy snack.  My kids like the peas on the side, but they would be great mixed into the already heated sauce too.

Tilapia and Roasted Broccoli
I keep these tilapia on hand in the freezer always! They are quite delicious and I'm not a big 'fish' person.  I like mine baked a little extra crispy and then enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon on top.  To roast the broccoli simply line a pan with parchment and preheat the oven to 425. Spread the broccoli on the pan and sprinkle with about 2T of olive oil and a little sea salt.  Then cook for 25 minutes.  They get all cartelized and yummy - so don't be afraid if they get a little brown on the edges. I like to dip it into this yogurt dip, but they are yummy on their own too!

Pulled Pork Sammies and Salad
This is another one that is on heavy rotation in our house.  Warm the pulled pork according to the instructions (it's already pre-cooked) and if you have an extra minute I suggest toasting the pretzel rolls in the broiler (yum!).  Then load the buns up with the pork and I suggest topping it with shredded pepper jack cheese for some spice.  I like to serve it with a simple bagged salad.  Our favorite is this broccoli/kale slaw but any bagged salad will do!

I hope you got some easy dinner inspiration... let me know what other fun posts you would like to see here on the blog. I would love to hear!



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