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Quick, What's for Dinner?

When my youngest son moved out on his own, I put together a
"Bachelor's Guide to Cooking"
to give him some meal ideas and cooking tips.

Then, a couple of years ago I was asked to teach a cooking class at a church ladies event.
As I browsed through my files I came across this guide and wondered if it might be useful to
young moms. So I adapted it and renamed it:
"Quick, What's for Dinner?"

Life is so busy. With Moms and Dads working full time, children in after-school sports and lessons, and church and community commitments,
there often isn't time for planning meals. You get home after a day of non stop activities and are faced with nothing in mind for dinner.

In today's post, I thought I'd just give you a reference list of meal ideas and then over the next while I'll fill in a few details to the items on the list.
Using the comment section, let me know what your standbys are and I'll add them to the list.

Perhaps this guide can take some of the stress out of deciding


Stir fry – Vegetables with or without meat – serve with rice or pasta

Fajitas – like a stir fry in a tortilla

Quesadillas – filled with cheese and any meats or veggies

Soups – starting with canned or packaged soups

Meatballs – serve with sauce over rice, mashed potatoes or pasta

Pasta – Anything goes for a sauce

Pizza – using homemade, frozen or packaged dough

BBQ – hamburgers, sausage, hot dogs, chicken, pork, or when you feel like
splurging, steak (you can buy cheaper cuts and use a homemade or packaged
marinade and they can be really good.)

Tacos or Enchiladas

Taco Salad

Baked Potato – Bake for about 1 hour or until soft or microwave:
top with pork & beans, chili, spaghetti sauce, broccoli in cheese sauce, etc.

Rice – in a casserole or topped with meatballs, stir fry, packaged or canned
sauces or even a can of soup.

Nachos – easy as 1,2,3. Tortilla chips on a pan, toppings like sliced black olives , pre-fried bacon or hamburger, chopped peppers, onions or tomatoes and CHEESE. Broil until cheese melts.

Main Dish Salads – Start with lettuce (buy it ready prepared in a bag or buy a head
of lettuce and tear into bite sized pieces). Add any type of chopped raw vegetable, sliced deli meat or cubed cooked chicken, and shredded cheese Add the dressing of your choice.

Breakfast items - who says that pancakes, bacon and eggs are only breakfast food?

Maybe today was one of those days when you forgot to take meat out for supper and now you're in a panic to feed that hungry family. Instead of going out, choose something from the list.
Let me know if it helped!


  1. This is GREAT. Sometimes we forget how easy making a meal can be. Thank you for your wonderful ideas, tips and recipes!!

  2. I did the same for my oldest daughter when she moved out. I made her a little cookbook of quick and easy recipes and ideas. It sure came in handy.


  3. I use many dinner ideas from your list often on those busy days,my boys' favorite is what we call baked potato bar- baked potatoes topped with what ever is on hand as toppings. Cottage cheese is my favorite.
    I have two boys and they fight over who will get my cook books when they move out.Whoa horses! I'll still need them.So like you I am writing them their own books based on my recipes and tips.

  4. I learned from a friend many, many years ago that meals can be called "Inspiration." You open the fridge door and use whatever inspires you as a jumping off point. Actually about once a week, I open the fridge, pull out leftovers and make up plates to microwave. I may have to make a salad, a veggie or potato, rice, etc to fill the plate. That's still simpler than having to cook the whole meal.

    The other thing I employ a lot is quantity cooking and freezing in meal portions. I can have supper on the table in the time it takes to cook the spaghetti when I have the meat sauce ready in the freezer and lettuce in the fridge.

    Other things that freeze fine though they may need a little more time to thaw are carrot salad with raisins or pineapple, three bean salad. With just two left in the house I find I still like one bigger mess and many meals from that one mess down the road. I freeze soups, avoiding adding potatoes, sweet and sour ribs, swiss steak, stew. There are actually weeks where I have only had to prepare a meal or two per week. The rest were from the freezer and the aid of the microwave.

  5. Love your idea of the booklet -bachelors guide to cooking- that you put together for your son. Would you consider sharing the booklet in some form?- if you have it on file - could others download so we also could share with our sons? or put into booklet form to sell- I would gladly pay for a booklet or a download. In one year our last child plans to have a place of his own and he does NOT cook. This sounds so perfect and helpful. Please get back to Thanks a million- just love your site-so refreshing to have a recipe site with spiritual encouragement as well reminding many of us our wonderful Godly Heritage.

  6. Very nice! I will be having my hubby read this...hee, hee

  7. That's a great idea for when the kids leave home. I'll have to remember that :)
    Mealtime can be frustrating for moms. I know with 4 children, who each have different likes and dislikes, and a husband who is out of town all week, meals just seem so difficult to get through without a bunch of complaints.
    Spaghetti is one meal that works for evryone, and so is pancakes for supper. Taco salad is another favourite, although I usually leave all the ingredients separate so each kid can add only what they want to their bowl. Chicken is another good one - frozen chicken thighs, sprinkled with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme, baked in the oven. Serve with either potatoes or rice or leftover pasta. Macaroni casserole is another one that everyone agrees on, and we have almost every week.

  8. This is awesome - always looking for a quick idea for supper!

  9. Great idea! Sandwiches, pitas, or wraps work very well too - I just put everything out - sandwich meat, veggies, cheese, spread, etc. - and everyone can make their own and add what they want. Simple and easy!

  10. Just cut and pasted youe post and emailed to my son who is 20, in college and house sitting this summer. He often calls me and asks, "Mom, what can I make to eat that is fast and easy?"

    I am also going to use this list as I recuperate from surgery this summer. EASY and two favorite words for summer of 2011!

  11. anonymous, who is requesting the bachlors guide.....Bev will be unavailable for a few weeks. I will make sure she gets the message. I just wanted you to know why you wouldn't be getting a quick reply to your request......

  12. I'm with the one lady who asked for a pamphlet/pdf or whatever of recipes.

    Great idea!

  13. What a great post with practical tips and ideas! Thank you!


  14. Tuna salad sandwich or grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup....good and hearty and the kitchen ain't hot!!

  15. for BBQ nights, I put vegetables in a big foil packet with some seasoning and a bit of olive oil, or Italian dressing and throw the packet on the grill. most often use sliced potatoes/onions/peppers and anything else sitting in the fridge. taco casserole with rice is fast and easy. creamed spinach with mashed potatoes and eggs was Mom's fast meal. I make meatloaf just to have cold meatloaf sandwiches. yum. frozen cooked shrimp is nice to have on hand for hearty salads or stir fry. the rotisserie chickens from the store can be the beginning of many good easy meals.

  16. I really appreciate this. We own a fruit farm and sometimes when you run in for lunch, you need something quick and easy - so some of these ideas will be used for lunch and sometimes on those busy running around evenings they will be used for dinner. thanks so much

  17. thank you so much. We own a fruit farm and sometimes when you run in for lunch you have no ideas. THis will really help as well as for those running around days.

  18. Are "Mennonite Girls Can Cook" on the google plus? or will we lose ya'll?

  19. Quick what's for breakfast/after school snack:

    Thick cut bread toasted, spread with cottage cheese, peach or apple slices, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and broiled.


  20. I was going to request the "Bachelor's Guide to Cooking" but others beat to me to it so I'll just add my vote here. Sounds like it could be useful!

  21. Bev here =-I just checked in and read all your comments. Thank you for the great ideas. I'll ask Lovella to index this under "Quick What's for Dinner" and will add more posts to it later so you can print it up the pages you want like you would a recipe.

  22. This helps so much! We are having our second baby soon! Do you have any ideas on quick meals while tending to a toddler and a newborn?

  23. salads...I like to add nuts and cheese to make them heartier...thinly sliced beef or chicken would make them even better! For dressing, I usually put about 1 tbsp (maybe a bit less?) balsamic vinegar in a small plastic container, add just a wee bit of oil, close the lid firmly, and give it a good shake.

    2 fave combinations of mine: baby romaine with feta, pecans or walnuts, and pears
    :baby romaine or baby spinach with mandarine slices and toasted almonds

  24. oh, and for breakfast, muffins freeze really well and reheat in the microwave in less than 1 minute. If you buy a box of healthy, yummy granola (or make your own version), yogurt with fruit and granola is a healthy, filling way to start the day


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