Easy Weeknight Meal Tips

By: Chef Shahir Massoud

Fellow parents, rejoice!  It’s that magical time of year where we get to return our beloved children to their rambunctious hallways and patient teachers – it’s back to school! There’s so much excitement in the air this time of year, but with the thrill of new beginnings also comes the return of weeknight dinners after a long day. So here are a few of my top tips to help you get back into the swing of things when it comes to getting a hot, healthy meal on the table in no time.

Use those leftovers for lunch

Whenever I’m making a quick weeknight dinner, I also find it useful to think about how to reimagine the leftovers into an exciting lunch. As a kid who grew tired of the same old ham and cheese between white bread, parents are always looking for ways to keep their kids engaged with their food – that way they’ll eat it! For example, when prepping the Butterball turkey breast for the Turkey Breast Satay recipe, grab another breast while you’re at it and grill it simply with just salt and pepper. That way, you’ll have it ready for the next day to throw into a turkey BLT or shred into turkey fajita rolls – two quick but interesting ideas for the kids’ lunchboxes (that will also be peanut-free for safe school consumption!).

Get the kids involved where you can!

Whenever you can get the kids involved in prepping dinner, it’s a good thing. They become more invested in the meal this way, and it leads them to try new things and actually eat what’s being served. It can be simple too – let them add things to the blender and turn it on (exciting for a little one!). Sure, they might be too young to handle the grilling, but even getting them hands-on with some of the simple steps goes a long way.

Prioritize mealtimes together

This one is tough (and it’s something that we’re working on still, so it takes time!), but try to put away all distractions at dinner time. A quick recipe doesn’t mean you have to rush through the actual meal. Dinner is a chance to put away phones, homework, arts and crafts – any and all distractions and connect as a family. There may be grumblings at first, but eventually this is a family tradition worth adopting.

Make it fun!

Are you tired of the same old routine when it comes to weeknight dinners? Spice up your meals by introducing Theme Nights! This creative strategy adds a touch of excitement and anticipation to your family’s dining experience while simplifying the planning process. Ideas such as “Taco Tuesday,” “Stir-Fry Wednesday,” “Comfort Food Thursday,” or “Pizza Night Friday,” are all super fun ways to keep not only the kids but you engaged and excited to cook dinners.

Hopefully, these tips will help make your weeknight dinners easier, whether you make them happen 5 days a week or 1 day a week. Good luck parents, you’ve got this!