Want a Break From Making Dinner? Cheap, Quick, and Easy Family Meals Your KIDS Can Make
Mom, put down the spatula
My husband may be working from home, but he is working really long hours and will continue to do so for the next 8 months.
I can’t expect him for dinner, much less be available to take take turns making it. Last night, his business call ended after 9:30pm. He grabbed dinner on one of his breaks and brought the plate with him to his home office.
For the time being, meal time is just me and the kids. And honestly, I hate the question, “What’s for dinner?” Especially when I have no idea for our family of six with diverse tastebuds.
Now I say, “I don’t know. What are you making?”
The pandemic has given us extra time to teach the kids how to cook easy meals for the entire family. It also gives them a sense of accomplishment and a skill that will last them their whole lives.
I share 4 easy meals that kids can make for the family using 2 ingredients and they are FAST. Bonus, you probably already have the ingredients already in your fridge or pantry. They aren’t super fancy, but do you really care when you’re tired of making dinner every night?
Put down the spatula and teach your kids these easy meals. I’ll even add in a few ideas to make it “fancy” without a whole lot of extra work. Bon appétit!
While you may know how to make these meals, I break it down for your young chefs.(Author’s note: My kids have started cooking on their own starting around age 9 years old. As a safety precaution, I am also always around when they are using the stove or oven. And for those few occasions I’m not available, cold cut sandwiches for everyone.)
This is so easy and all you need is shredded cheese and tortillas. Tortillas are a staple in my house. Thy 12 year old has been making quesadillas for the family since she was 10. Whenever we don’t know what to have for dinner, she’ll say, “I can make quesadillas.” Done. Girlfriend, go and make those quesadillas.
Ingredients: shredded cheese (literally any kind you have in your fridge…except maybe mozzarella, but still good in a pinch), tortillas
Place shredded cheese in a tortilla and fold tortilla in half over the cheese. My kids like to add more cheese. The more cheese the better. My daughter has it down to a science where she cooks the quesadilla and flips the quesadilla about every minute for a total of four minutes. Done!
Want to make it fancy? My daughter adds in last night’s leftover meat. Cut up steak or pot roast, shredded or cut up chicken, or shredded pork. Taco night is a huge in our house so we usually have leftover meat from dinner. Add that into your quesadilla and you’ve got yourself a new twist on an old favorite.
Eggs, glorious eggs! So many possibilities! Easy and cheap! Boiled eggs, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, and omelettes.
It doesn’t have to be breakfast time to cook eggs. We often have “Brinner” when we don’t know what to cook. I forgot to throw together a crock pot meal for Christmas Eve and we came home from Christmas Eve services and no ideas for dinner.
Fortunately, eggs are easy and fast. By the time kids had changed out of their church clothes into their Christmas jammies, dinner was on the table.
Ingredients: Egg, pat of butter in the pan so that the eggs don’t stick. For boiled eggs, just place the eggs in a pot of water.
Boiled eggs: Place in cold water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let the eggs sit in pot for 10–15 minutes while they finish cooking.
Make it fancy: To stretch boiled eggs you can cut them up and make them into egg salad with a couple of dollops of mayonnaise and diced celery. Mix it all up. Put it in a sandwich or eat it on top of a lettuce leaf.
Fried eggs: Place a pat or two butter into the pan and it melt. Crack the egg over the pan and cook until solid, flip over. If you want the yolk hard, use a spatula to slice the yolk open and cook.
Make it fancy: An easy way to make this more filling is to toast bagels or English muffins and make a fried egg sandwich. My kids like a slice of cheese melted on top of the egg. With another a couple of minutes and not much work, you’ve got yourself an egg sandwich.
Scrambled eggs: Place a pat or two of butter in the pan and let it melt. Crack 2–3 eggs (or more depending on the size of your family) in a bowl and use a fork to mix the eggs. Pour eggs into pan and use a spatula to cut and scramble the eggs until they’re solid. Sprinkle a little salt.
Omelette: I use three ingredients for this one. 2 eggs, a splash of milk, shredded cheese. Crack the eggs in a bowl and mix in the milk and cheese and stir together. Place a pat or two of butter in the pan. When the butter is melted, pour the egg mixture into pan. As it solidifies, I fold over the omelette over onto itself and cook. After about a minute, flip it over until cooked throughly.
Make it fancy: Add veggies to your omelette. Cook sliced mushrooms, peppers, or spinach in the pan with butter. When the veggies are cooked, pour the eggs over veggies and follow the above directions.
Pasta was one of the first meals I learned to make in college. I came into adulthood with few cooking skills. I could make a peanut butter sandwich and that was about it. I didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to put the pasta in the pot before the water boiled. If you do, your pasta makes one big sticky clump. Lesson learned.
Ingredients: box of pasta, jar of pasta sauce, sprinkle of salt, splash of olive oil, water
Pasta and sauce: Boil enough water in a pot that will cover the pasta. After the water boils add the pasta. I add a sprinkle of salt and a splash of olive oil. The olive oil helps the noodles from sticking to one another.
In a separate pot: Open up a jar of pasta sauce and dump the sauce into the pot and cook on medium low until warm/hot. Hot much sauce depends on how many people like sauce on their noodles. I have three picky eaters who prefer nothing but butter and a sprinkle of cheese on their noodles. I warm up half a jar of sauce for the rest of us.
My 9 year old just asked if he could make a grilled cheese for lunch. So easy to do. It’s a nice hot meal in less than 10 minutes.
Ingredients: 2–3 cheese slices, two slices of bread of buttered bread. In a pinch, use shredded cheese. My kids don’t know this, but instead of butter, I use mayo and slather it on the outside of the sandwich and when it cooks, it is perfection.
Spread mayonnaise on the outside of both slices of bread. Place the cheese slices between the slices of bread, cook on each side 1–2 minutes.
Make it fancy: Add a can of tomato soup in another pot. Now you have soup and a sandwich for those cold winter days. It’s a cozy meal for little effort and you can easily make up half a dozen sandwiches for the family.
Do you have any other meal ideas for families? Drop me a comment!