What Easy Dinners Do You Make After a Long Day?

As the mother of a three-year-old and six-month-old, I would use one word to describe my life right now: full. So, when dinner time comes around, I look for meals that meet four requirements:

1. Filling enough for my husband Max, who usually eats two servings, and myself
2. Takes less than 30 minutes (including prep and cooking time!)
3. Dirties five dishes/cutting boards/knives tops
4. Tastes delicious

Finding a recipe that hits all four bullet points is like trying to make a toddler eat a salad — almost impossible. But those recipes are out there, and once found they are life changing and deserve to be shared with everyone. Here are a few that I turn to when I’m *this close* to ordering takeout:

Ever since discovering The Easy Mexican Shredded Chicken by What’s Gabby Cooking, I’ve been making it at least once a week. It’s tender. It’s tangy. It sits cooking on the stove for 20+ minutes, giving me enough time to give my baby Emiliano a bath or unload the dishwasher. And my favorite part? It only dirties a pair of tongs and a dutch oven.

On nights when I’m feeling inspired, I’ll pair it with a full tostada spread, including black beans, sour cream, sliced avocado, pickled onions and lime wedges. But most days, I simply serve it on warm flour tortillas, top with cotija cheese and call it a day.

When I’m low on energy or time, Smitten Kitchen’s crisped chickpeas with herbs and garlic yogurt saves the day. While cooking, I find myself sneaking tastes of the crunchy, zesty chickpeas. And once everyone is done eating and has moved onto bedtime, I’m still standing over the kitchen sink, spooning the leftover garlic-y yogurt into my mouth. Basically, this meal is hella good.

The key to making it under 30 minutes is to fry the chickpeas and zucchini in separate pans. This still leaves the total dirty dish count at five!

Another vegetable-forward recipe that’s become a go-to weeknight dinner? Caroline Chamber’s Basically a Salad Pasta. The champion of this meal is the sauce, which is made with superfoods (kale, broccoli, pepitas) and tastes like a creamy, bright pesto. The big bonus? Kids love it.

What easy dinners are in your weekly rotation? Where do you find your recipes? Please share links in the comments, if you’d like!

P.S. More quick dinners and the #1 rule for family dinners.

(Photo by What’s Gabby Cooking.)

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