Weeknight Dinner

tomato soup and grilled cheese dinner

My weeknight dinner efforts are fair at best. Everybody is worn out by the time we make it home and roll through the door. We have many cereal and scrambled eggs nights (much to TheRoomDad’s frustration). One weeknight dinner I can handle is tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I usually have all of the ingredients on hand even if I have not been to the grocery store, and it takes minimal effort and time to prepare. We ate tomato soup twice last week with toasted sandwiches in the panini maker.

tomato coup ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 c. canned, diced tomatoes
  • 1 T. fresh basil leaves, minced (or 1 t. dried)
  • 1-2 c. chicken stock

tomato soup carrot and onion

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften (~5 minutes).
  • Add the diced tomatoes and basil. Simmer about 10 minutes.

tomato soup heating

  • Add 1 c. of chicken stock. Return to a simmer.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), puree carefully until smooth.

tomato soup pureed

  • Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Reheat if needed before serving.

Notes

  • If you do not have whole carrots, dice a handful of pre-cut carrots sticks if you have a bag of the snack carrots in your refrigerator.
  • You can replace the basil with thyme.
  • We like the soup with grilled cheese strips and/or Goldfish.

tomato soup and grilled cheese strips

Snacky Dinner

turkey quesadilla slices

I so enjoy making party food, cooking a big dish for a group, or assembling appetizers and class snack foods, but I avoid the daily grind of cooking family dinner that will be eaten in 3.7 minutes followed by kitchen clean-up like the plague (and don’t even get me started on packing school lunches).

If TheRoomDad has taken care of the grocery shopping, I can be persuaded to make fast dinners during the week that have minimal clean up. I have a recipe for turkey apple quesadillas that is acceptable as a mid-week meal. It is an odd combination of ingredients, but the adults and children at my house love them. The other nice thing about the recipe is the fact that all of the key food groups are in one bite, so I don’t have the pressure of having to come up with a side dish TOO. Utensils are not required to eat this “meal”, and we really don’t have to have plates either, so clean-up is a breeze.

Have you developed a resistance to making weeknight dinners night after night after night, or is it just me?

turkey quesadilla slices 3

Ingredients

  • Dijon mustard (I use Grey Poupon)
  • honey
  • flour tortillas (any size– I like large then folded in half when heating)
  • Munster cheese slices (our grocery’s deli section has pre-sliced packs. Cut or break each slice into halves or thirds when assembling the quesadilla)
  • Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced (or another tart, green apple)
  • deli turkey, thinly sliced

turkey quesadilla slices 2

Directions

  • Mix equal parts honey and Dijon mustard in a small bowl. I start with 1 tablespoon each of mustard and honey. That is usually enough for 4 quesadillas (4 large tortillas folded in half).

turkey quesadilla honey mustard

  • If using the large tortillas, spread the honey mustard on half of the tortilla.

turkey quesadilla spread and apples

  • Layer 1 1/2 slices of Munster on the honey mustard spread. Since I cut the deli slices into smaller strips, I place ~3 1/2-slices across the half of the tortilla with the honey mustard.
  • Add 1-2 slices of turkey on top of the cheese.
  • Place several apple slices on the turkey.

turkey quesadillas assembly

  • Top the apple slices with 1/2 to 1 cheese slice.
  • Fold the tortilla in half to close.
  • Spray a skillet with Pam and using medium heat, cook the quesadilla on both sides until the cheese is melted, and the tortilla is browned.

turkey quesadilla cooking

  • Remove from heat, cut in thirds or quarters, and serve immediately.

turkey quesadillas finished

Notes

  • You can purchase a “brick” of Munster cheese and grate the cheese instead of using slices.

Grown Up Kid Food

chicken nuggets bite

TheRoomDad was reminiscing about the days when I used to prepare delicious meals most evenings. That was before we had children, and I was trying to impress him. Fast forward to today. I only get excited about preparing food for parties and school snacks. If it is bite sized food, snack food, or party dips, I am all about it. Otherwise, I don’t want to be bothered.

One recipe that I have not used in awhile is something from my childhood– a recipe for homemade chicken nuggets. They may seem like kid food at first glance, but they actually have a slightly more sophisticated taste than your average chicken nugget, and I used to make them for TheRoomDad. It is a recipe adults and kids enjoy. I was gracious enough to dust off the family cookbook and make the chicken nuggets last night. I was going to say how much healthier they are than a box of nuggets from the freezer section of the grocery store, but then I remembered that the chicken is dredged in melted butter before being coated in seasoned bread crumbs. Enjoy!

chicken nuggets ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2-3 boneless chicken breasts (or 1 pkg of chicken tenderloins, ~1 lb.)
  • 1/2 c. Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 t. dried basil
  • 1 t. paprika
  • 1/4 t. thyme
  • 1/2 c. melted butter

Directions

  • Cut chicken into 1 1/2″ squares. If you are using the chicken tenderloins, cut each piece into 2 or 3 nugget-y pieces. The tenderloin can also be left as is to make a chicken strip.

chicken nuggets assembly

  • Mix dry ingredients in a shallow dish.

chicken nuggets coating

  • Pour melted butter in a separate shallow dish.

chicken nuggets melted butter

  • Dip chicken pieces into the melted butter and then into the dry mixture to coat.

chicken nuggets bread crumb coating

  • Arrange coated chicken pieces on a jelly roll pan (baking pan with a lip).

chicken nuggets covered

  • Bake at 400 degrees about 20 minutes or until browned and chicken is cooked through. If you are using larger chicken pieces, you may need to turn once while baking.

chicken nuggets cooked