Dinner Time Help ? - Rancho Cucamonga,CA

Updated on January 23, 2019
E.C. asks from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
18 answers

Moms.... send help! I work Full time & when i come Home after pickup kids I’m exhausted but everyone is starving! I am not the best cook & i really Don’t know how (i knw Sorry ) but i need To try! We are a family of 5 on the weekdays & my husband is 6’5 tall so he’s a good eater.

Looking for simple good & fast receipie ideas
I know crock pot should be my bff but kids r sometimes so picky too
I’m frustrated w dinner time

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answers from Los Angeles on

-meatloaf (make 2) w/mashed potatoes & salad
-stir fry chicken or thin steak, veggies, rice
-2 rotisserie chickens that you can shred & make tacos or serve breast or legs w/corn & French bread
-lasagna (bake 2 Stouffers serve w/bread & salad)
-tacos, Spanish rice
-chicken fajitas, black beans, rice
-chicken pot pie (make 2)

More Answers


answers from San Francisco on

If you're picking up the kids your husband should be getting dinner started.

Easy, fast and kid friendly:
Spaghetti & salad (do a bagged one)
Hamburgers or Sloppy Joes
Tacos or Burritos
Mac and Cheese with Veggies on side
Baked Potatoes with all the toppings
Grilled Cheese, with ham if you like
Meatballs (get the frozen ones) with bbq sauce
Whatever soup you like: chicken noodle, minestrone, ham and bean, etc.

Have fresh fruit and cheese sticks/cubes for everyone to snack on while you and your husband get the meal on the table!

Allrecipes.com has a LOT of great easy recipes.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I'm definitely thinking crock pot is your answer! Surprisingly my husband is the cook in our family so when he goes out of town I have to figure out dinner. One of my go tos is crock pot chicken - just a whole chicken, drizzle with olive oil and seasoning and put in the crock pot in the morning and it will be done by the time you get home. So good, the meat just falls off the bone! We always have a huge bag of frozen mixed veggies in the freezer for weeknight dinners and you can do rice or mac n cheese quickly for a side.

Or crock pot pork tenderloin - basically prepared the same way as the chicken.

Also, try to meal plan a little on the weekends. Maybe you could make something Sunday for Monday like spaghetti and meatballs or stuffed shells that's easy to reheat. Any casserole would be easy to make ahead as well - check out Pinterest for easy casserole recipes.

Hamburgers and tater tots w/the frozen mixed veggies is another one we can make quickly during the week.

Hope this helped!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Crock pots are great but I can't think that far ahead. Keep it simple and make double batches of casseroles, stews, etc. Have eggs and bread and bagged salad, hot dogs, hamburger, mac and cheese, jarred spaghetti sauce. There's not a thing wrong with frozen pizza. Breakfast for dinner is great! And picky kids will eat if they are hungry. Pancakes!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

poor tired mom. i remember those days well.

you need to carve out a couple of hours on the weekends and prep for the week. you can't get home from work with the starving hordes gibbering at you and come up with anything reasonable.

the crock pot IS your friend! you can throw in a whole chicken or a roast or some chops with some broth and veggies and seasoning and have a lovely soup or stew when you get home.

make a few meatloaves and freeze 'em. take one out before you go to work. when you get home all you have to do is open a can of green beans and heat up the meatloaf.

cook up some taco meat and put it in the fridge. everyone can add their own toppings when you heat it up.

spaghetti sauce from a jar is always an easy, quick go-to. add some bagged salad and you're good to go.

mac and cheese with some sort of protein (tuna or bbq beef or canned chicken) works and can also be made ahead of time.

i have little patience for picky kids when you're already stretched thin. if they don't like what you fix, they can make a pbj.

hang in there, hon!

oh, and start them cooking soon. making my boys each responsible for one meal per week was one of the best things i did. if they just boil hot dogs? oh well, it's still one night you don't have to do it.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Well one night a week husband should be doing the meal making.
Work that up to several nights to off load some of it off your shoulders.
You've got 2 adults - both should be contributing to the feeding of the family.
As the kids get older they can help with the making of the meals too.

Crock pot is good for soup, stews and chili.

When we were really busy we always had some frozen meals in the freezer that were fine to pop in the oven.
Sure home made over the weekend would be nice but sometimes you just got to have some Stouffers Mac n Cheese or lasagna.

It's perfectly fine to have breakfast any time of the day.
So sometimes have pancakes or waffles or scrambled eggs (you can slice up some sausage into it) or omelettes for dinner.

Pork chops, meatloaf, spaghetti - all are good choices.
Some sort of pasta with some sort of frozen veggie with some sort of meat (like bow-ties with broccoli with chicken - mix it up in a sauce or a Campbells cream of what ever soup) and it's a meal.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I love to cook but sadly live alone but I only know how to make a lot of things for a large family. So, I cook and freeze. Get yourself a good general cookbook such as The Betty Crocker Cookbook find a recipe you like and make it. Soups and stews can be cooked in large quantities then frozen, cook over the weekend.
Pot roast in the slow cooker is so easy and can be adapted to use chicken or pork. Just put in your meat - add potatoes and carrots a little water and seasonings. Turn on slow cooker and let it cook all day. When you get home from work it will be all done all you need to do is make gravy and maybe a salad. Again I make a big salad and use for a few days. The trick is to not put on dressing until you put it in your individual bowls.
If your family is picky tell them they have to taste everything. My kids would not eat a lot of veggies when they were little but with patience and persistence they learned to eat just about everything. I never allowed anyone to say in front of my kids "I don't like that". I wanted my kids to be open to eating all types of food and no matter what you say if someone tells them 'that's yucky' they won't try it. So tell hubby to suck it up and learn to eat good foods.
To make your life a bit easier you can get stew veggies or peppers and onions all cut and frozen to add to your recipes, saves time.
You will become more comfortable with cooking once you do it on a regular basis. Just like anything else repetition makes things easier. Read through recipes look at what seasonings are used for dishes and learn to use those same seasonings with other dishes. For instance I use poultry seasoning in my chicken soup - it just made sense to me and it's really good. My mom said 'poultry seasoning in soup' - I said 'well it's for poultry and the soup is made with chicken so why not.'

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Instant Pot - you have hot - good tasting ribs -on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Crock pot.

You REALLY need to do meal planning. No kidding. Get your list prepared on Saturday and gather all your stuff on Sunday. Then you will know what you need and have it on hand.

I know one of my girlfriends prepares her meals for the week and freezes them - take them out in the morning she is leaving for work and pops it in the oven when she gets home. Enchilada's are the easiest to make and freeze.

If your kids are picky eaters? If they are old enough - have them help in the menu planning so everyone gets a say. For example - here's my plan - and it's an easy fix/change if someone says ahhh - i'm not feeling fish...

Monday - pasta - this could be spaghetti, Ravioli, mac and cheese (with hot dogs or polska keilbasa). During the summer? It's a pasta salad with a hamburger. f

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday - LOL - we have tacos/burritos, enchiladas, Mexican Lasgana, anything Mexican themed.

Wednesday - family night - we order food and play games or watch a movie

Thursday - this is a night we don't have a theme for - it's fish, pork chops, steaks, hamburgers, whatever someone tosses out for ideas. Sweet and Sour Pork, Sesame Chicken, Orange Chicken, etc.

Friday - this is the night I go out with my girlfriends. So the boys take care of themselves.

Saturday - this is the "hearty" night - when it's cold I make "rib sticking meals" - fried chicken with mashed potatoes. Ribs and potatoes. Anything that is considered "hearty" - I also make potato soup with grilled cheese, chicken soup with grilled cheese, etc. broccoli casserole.

In the summer? I love doing things like chicken with spinach salad, things that are healthy but not "heavy".

Sunday is leftover night. We clean out the fridge of the leftovers from dinners during the week - if there are no leftovers? I pick something off the menu that I have on hand and make that.


If your kids are old enough and get home from school before you get home from work? they can prep for dinner what you need done. Ensure the family is participating in things and YOU are not doing it all - making lunches for the next day, setting the table, getting drinks prepared and on the table while you are fixing dinner. WHY isn't your HUSBAND cooking?? This is NOT just a "wife" duty - it's a FAMILY duty - cooking gets all involved and conversations started - get the family involved!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Pan seared salmon with garlic rice and steamed broccoli. Put the broccoli in the steamer and get that going. (Or a pot and boil it)
Rub salt and pepper on fish fillets. While the pan is getting hot. use 1 tbsp butter for each fillet. When butter is melted and browned add the fish skin side up and sear for 6 minutes.
Start the rice. (You can use Lipton rice sides but we just do instant rice and add seasonings)
Flip the fish and sear till it's flaky squeezing lemon juice on the fish in the last minute ( about 6 minutes again)
I temp check my fish to know when it's done. and usually when the fish is done the rice, and broccoli is done too.
Whole meal takes me about 20 minutes from start to table.

I have many many more simple dinners that take an hour or less. Pm me if you need more ideas than you get here.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

The key to this is planning ahead. Figure out your meals for the week and that way there's no 'geeze its late, I'm exhausted and now I'm stressed because I have to get dinner on the table.'

I use to do all my cooking on Sunday. Usually a baked ziti, a roast, some pork chops,etc/ That way when I got home from work I could jump into helping with homework and catching up with the kids. I would just have to reheat the main part of the meal and make a coupe side dishes. Really cut down on the stress of feeding my crew.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I see that everyone is recommending meal planning. It does make life easier - I admit that I am sporadic about it. I love it when I do it, but sometimes fall off the wagon (currently off, but this reminds me that I should get back to it). When I started, I found this download online: https://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/meal-planner.html It's an excel sheet and you put in your meal options (I brainstormed about 10 meals) onto one sheet of the workbook. Then those options will appear in dropdown lists on a calendar on another sheet. It keeps you from eating the same thing again and again. I personally plan 4 days a week because we usually grab a pizza on Fridays and on weekends, I do whatever works with our weekend plans, often spontaneous.

Otherwise, you asked for easy ideas.
Crockpot Tacos: 1 jar of salsa and either 4 chicken breasts or a beef roast into the crock pot. Cook on low all day. When you get home, shred the meat, put it back into the cooked salsa and serve with refried beans and set out taco toppings.

Meatloaf: can be prepared the night before and put in the fridge tightly covered with plastic wrap. When you get home, put it in the oven and bake. I toss in a Pillbury French bread loaf to cook with it for fresh baked bread with the meatloaf. Microwave your veggie of choice.

Fish: You can go from frozen to baked in 30 min with mahi or talapia loins. I put the fish onto a piece of foil. Season for the person with premixed(purchased) jars from my cupboard (eg, a jerk seasoning for me, italian seasonings and a few cherry tomatoes for someone else, pepper and a dash of lemon juice for someone else). Then close up the foil into a pouch and bake for 20 min (maybe more if you have very thick fish, the fish I buy is fairly thin). Steam veggies in the microwave for sides.

There are a bunch of fast easy things that you can do with chicken breasts (stir fry, bake in the oven with stuffing, etc). They all take about 30 min or less. But, you have to plan ahead with the chicken thawed, stir fry veggies purchased, etc. That's where the meal planner helps.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

There are two parents in your family? Why is this only your job? Divide up the week, 3 or 4 days of meal planning/preparation is a whole lot easier than 7!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Somebody just posted a question on this - there were some good suggestions and recipes there.

It would help to know what your kids like. You don't want dinnertime to be a battle, but you don't want to train your kids that you're a short order cook and they can refuse things either.

You work full time, and your husband does too? So why is cooking your job? It would help to know what his skills are, what your schedules are, and what you can do beforehand (weekends or night before) to have something ready to heat & eat.

I didn't know how to cook when I met my husband and his 2 daughters. I learned fast. I can help you with make-ahead things from this list, if you give me ideas:

- enchiladas & rice (Mexican) - lots of veggie, bean dn meat optios
- stir fry veggies and Asian rice - agai, lots of choices
- sweet & sour meatballs and poppyseed noodles
- salad bar or taco bar
- make your own pizzas with purchased crust or English muffins
- shepherd's pie with any meat, veggies and mashed potatoes
- potato skins with toppings
- quiche and frittatas
- baked chicken nuggets/fingers and oven-friend potatoes and other veggies.
- easy tuna casserole with veggies and cheese
- Monte Cristo sandwiches
- loaded burgers with veggies (hidden nutrition)
- veggie patties (potato, peppers, carrots, spinach, etc.)
- chicken or shrimp kabobs with veggies and pineapple
- nutrition-loaded lasagna

What appeals to you? What do you already know how to do? Pretty much everything can be made ahead, which is the key to a stress-free dinner hour.

The key is to plan, use leftovers creatively, work on weekends, and freeze portions from a bigger prep session that you can take out of the freezer in the morning, put in the fridge, and have ready to heat when you get home.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I found the meal planner concept worked wonders for us - and I used that template Mynewnickname has (got it from her - very helpful). I only had so many meals - I worried it would be tiresome, but we went with the same meal each day of the week.

M - pasta (son and I make together - most basic one we found on internet called Basic sauce. I cook the hamburger - use it on Tuesday too).
T - wraps (what everyone else calls Tacos)(hamburger left over from Monday, I make extra, kids prepare the fixings - chop the veggies, wash them, etc.)
W - husband prepares it - either chicken in oven just olive oil, salt and pepper and rice on side, I do veggies, or kid makes salad
T - our 'fun' night - breakfast for dinner, has browns, eggs, bacon, etc. I do this with kiddos.
F - pizza night, either order in (not often), or we make our own (store bought base, but we put the fixings on so everyone enjoys it)
S - kids together get this ready - hot dogs (we have this grill thing), or chicken nuggets or fish sticks and fries. Sometimes it's soup and sandwich.
Sun - hubby and I do nice meal, fish, ham, etc.

Repeat. Sometimes we change it up depending on what's on sale or if we've been to our local butcher, etc. I can make mac and cheese, lasagna, etc. a few dishes,

I never cater to a kid - they eat last night's leftovers if they don't like what we're serving. Most kids can now go make an egg on stove if there's nothing else, and toast.

I can't cook but Bittman's basic is a good book if you're wanting to learn. I just needed to learn the techniques and it's super helpful. How to make an omelet for example. Your teens could totally use it an learn how to make a meal a week. You have 4 teens in your home if I'm not mistaken and a hubby - that's 6 of you who can make meals!

I got my kiddos chopping and prepping as soon as they were able. It made it so much more fun to have company and it's a great way to hear about their days. Not to mention, they won't be in my boat - being middle aged and just now learning how to cook :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Like others said, meal planning takes the guess work out of figuring out "what's for dinner and do I have everything I need." I try to plan a month at a time and generally have all my groceries on hand (I shop every two weeks). I also have two nights a week that we also have the same thing: Tues is Sandwich Night and Thurs is Pizza Night. I use my crockpot several times a week and I love my air fryer! When my kids were younger, I did freezer meals a lot. I'd make two weeks worth of meals on the weekend and freeze them. Pull them out the night before, throw in the fridge, and then throw in the oven when you walk in the door. By the time I started a load of clothes and unloaded the dishwasher, made a salad and some bread, dinner was done. Check out freezer meals on the internet for some great ideas. A couple other "fast" weeknight meals are spaghetti (seriously - I can get that meal on the table in less than 15 minutes!), breakfast for dinner (check out boiled bag omelets), fish of just about any kind cooks quickly, and chicken breasts on the stove top.

I will say that letting a picky eater(s) drive your meals is a mistake. You aren't doing your child or yourself any favors by pandering to someone who turns their nose up at everything. I get not liking stuff, but as someone who raised 6 kids, 2 with special needs, while working full time, I can tell you there was no room at my table for over the top pickiness. I never cooked anyone a special meal and no one ever got a pbj sandwich because they didn't like what I served. They ate some or all of what was on their plate, they could take extra of a side if they weren't a fan of the main dish, but that was it. No extra meals for anyone.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Meal planning. Meal Planning. Meal Planning.

Whoever gets home first should start preparing the meal that is listed on the menu for the week.

We go shopping to the commissary on Saturday and buy what we need for the week ahead of us. There are times I shop for 2 weeks.

You don't need to have a crock pot. You just need to plan and have your family participate in this as it's a FAMILY meal. This is NUTS that it all falls on you to do this. Stop the insanity!

My kids help with ALL meals. They fix their lunches the day before. My husband fixes his lunch too. Breakfast is depending upon how early they get up and get it fixed. I AM NOT THEIR SHORT ORDER COOK!!

Kids NEED to learn to plan. They need to learn to cook. Get them in there and TEACH them. Stop making this your bailiwick.

We have an IP, Instapot. EVERYONE in the family knows how to use it.
We do have a crock pot. but I don't use it like I use my IP.
Cook meals in advance. Get them in containers and bags! ENSURE YOUR FAMILY HELPS YOU DO THIS!!! properly label them and go from there.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Elmira on

I don't even like Swiss cheese, but a friend at work gave me this recipe and it is delicious!! It's so easy too. You can throw it together quickly or even have it ready and stick it in the oven when you get home.

Creamy Baked Swiss Chicken
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
55 mins

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Servings: 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 slices thin swiss cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons Thousand Island dressing
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken breasts with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Place chicken breasts in a lightly greased baking dish and cover with swiss cheese slices.
In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, and Thousand Island. Spoon on top of cheese.
Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.
Bake for 50 minutes. Serve with rice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

The best fast dinner idea is to have your husband share the burden with you. He's a "good eater" - great! I bet he'll cook lots of food then, when it's left up to him.

Responses below mention "meal planning" - the best "plan" is that the "meal" is his responsibility half the time. A shared chore.

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