10 Speedy Dinners to Make Now That School's Out

One mom's tip: Pick a theme for each day (think sandwiches on Mondays, pasta on Tuesdays, etc.) and rotate recipes every week.

By: Foodlets

Photo by: Picasa

Picasa

The first few weeks of summer break are really just back-to-school time in reverse; everyone’s learning a new routine and breaking in a new rhythm. With all the new comings, goings, camp dates, don’t-forget-your-water-bottle reminders and spray cans of SPF 1 million to keep track of, I’ll just admit it: Cooking elaborate meals is last on my list right now.

That’s why I love these go-to quick dinners, perfect for this time of year. And it gets even easier. I recently learned a new tip for simplifying menu planning during the week: Pick a theme for each day (think sandwiches on Mondays, pasta on Tuesdays, etc.) and rotate recipes every week. Here are a few kid-approved ideas to get you started.

Sandwich Recipes

Any dinner roll slathered with apple butter and topped with ham and cheese becomes an instant main course your kids will love.

PEACH_BACON_SANDWICH_046.tif

PEACH_BACON_SANDWICH_046.tif

Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin ,Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

Got a toaster? You’re halfway done with this summertime meal, featured in Food Network Magazine. Just add bacon plus fresh peaches — and if you skip the homemade aioli step to save time, we’ll never tell.

Pasta and Pizza Recipes

Photo by: Picasa

Picasa

This pasta tastes like the Italian countryside. Really. That’s where we were the first time I had it, and to my surprise, I’ve found that it’s very possible to re-create those flavors right here at home. Just cook a pot of hot pasta, and let those warm noodles melt your fresh mozzarella, wilt that fragrant basil and warm enough juicy tomatoes to create a small symphony right on your very own plate.

Chicken Pasta Florentine, as seen on Food Network's The Pioneer Woman.

Start with a splash of chicken broth and wine, add fresh spinach and tomatoes, then top with Parmesan shavings. Toss with rotisserie chicken and warm pasta and there you have it: the simple pasta combo you’ll be making all summer long.

This is one of the lightest dishes you’ll make all season, and it’s brimming with a flavor trinity: sweet tomatoes, salty capers and pecorino cheese.

Photo by: Picasa

Picasa

It’s true: You need only three things to create your family’s new favorite dinner.

Asian-Inspired Recipes

If your kids are veggie-averse, this meal has you covered on multiple fronts: The honey-sweetened sauce is irresistible to little guys, you can use any vegetables your brood already likes (and get away with throwing a couple of “try it” veggies in there too), and also, did I mention noodles?

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

Look to Food Network Magazine’s recipe to clean out your fridge. A cup of shredded carrots here, a handful of fresh or frozen snow peas there — it all comes together in a healthy dinner.

Mexican-Inspired Recipes

MEXICAN_LASAGNA

MEXICAN_LASAGNA

Let me share a few numbers on Rachael Ray’s creative lasagna: It takes 10 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook, and it has more than 900 fan reviews.

BEEF_TOSTADAS_009.tif

BEEF_TOSTADAS_009.tif

Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm ,Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

In just 30 minutes from start to finish, you’ll cover a lot of ground with this recipe from Food Network Magazine, including built-in veggies like zucchini and cabbage. Finish with fresh lime wedges and you’ve got the taste of summer on a plate.

Charity Curley Mathews is a mom of four small kids and is the founder of Foodlets.com, a family food site full of simple, fresh-food recipes for busy parents.

Keep Reading

Next Up

10 Make-Ahead Weeknight Dinners (Plus Dessert!)

Too busy to cook during the week? Instead of relying on take-out, prep one of these recipes ahead of time and you'll have a healthy dinner at the ready.

How to Make 3 Delicious Dinners Out of 1 Pork Roast

One mom shares her secret to cooking one big meal early in the week and transforming the leftovers into two more dinners, each with totally different flavors.

10 Refreshing Summer Cocktails to Enjoy Right Now

Get Food Network's recommended cocktail recipes for enjoying all summer long.

3 Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” Recipes to Make Now

Spaghetti squash is the original veggie noodle. Find delicious inspiration from the October issue of Food Network Magazine.

So, You’ve Been Asked to Bake for the School Bake Sale. Now What?

One mom shares go-to recipes that are ideal for the school bake sale.