Weekends after kids could not be any more different than when it was just my husband and I. First of all, we never cooked. It wasn’t that we didn’t like to cook, but we just enjoyed the activity of going out to eat more. In retrospect, we probably could have saved some money and probably been a little healthier earlier, but man….were those times fun.
Now, with kids, going out to eat on the regular is expensive, unhealthy and honestly not very much fun with little ones. Do I want to go out to eat, scarf down some re-heated food, while fighting with a toddler and appeasing two older children? No, not at all.
As an adult with small kids, I really enjoy home time now. I also love cooking, but some nights, I am really not feeling it. Other times, life is busy and I want the easy button. Here, my friends, is an easy button. Two easy meals, made easier with the accompaniment of the other.
Meal 1: Tacos
Tacos are so easy, I was tempted to not even post a recipe. Everyone has a tried and true recipe for taco meat, but my one piece of advice for this glorious combination—do not use the pre-made taco seasoning. It will be too spicy for phase II. Instead, I use some kid-friendly taco meat/seasoning like the following:
- 2 Pounds of Grass Fed hamburger
- 2 TB Chili Powder
- 2 TB Cumin
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- 15 ounce can Tomatoes
With my kids, the typical taco seasoning is too spicy, so I spice this version up with some hot sauce and salsa as needed on mine. This is a healthier version than inside of the taco box with much less sodium.
I made this on a Friday night, when my brain/body were beat down from the week and I could not handle anything more complicated. What makes tacos particularly awesome is how versatile they are—my oldest likes hers with avocado and sour cream, my middle likes sour cream and chives, my littlest will still eat anything 😊
Now onto day 2, which was a busy Saturday and I knew we would all be tired. So, early in the day, I prepped the lasagna and threw it into the oven at roughly dinner time.
Meal 2: Lasagna
- ▪ 2 32 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (BPA free lining/no salt)
- ▪ ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ▪ 2 tablespoons sugar
- ▪ ½ cup Italian parsley/basil (whatever you have)
- ▪ Salt/pepper to taste
- Lasagna preparation
- ▪ 1 box lasagna noodles
- ▪ 16 ounces mozzarella (handful reserved)
- ▪ 12 ounces ricotta
- ▪ 1 egg
- ▪ ¼ cup Italian parsley
- ▪ Remaining taco meat
- ▪ Salt/pepper to taste
- ▪ 15 ounce can of tomato sauce (no salt or sea salt only)
- 1 Prepare the sauce by combining all Sauce ingredients and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Use immersion blender to blend to desired consistency.
- 2 Meanwhile, prepare the lasagna noodles, per the instructions.
- 3 Combine the meat with the warming sauce and allow them to marry while the noodles finish cooking.
- 4 In a side dish, combine the cheeses (minus the reserved cheese), egg and Italian parsley.
- 5 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- 6 In a greased baking dish, layer enough tomato sauce to cover the bottom of the pan, then noodles, then cheese mixture. Repeat until there are 3-4 layers, the final layer being tomato sauce, then reserved mozzarella.
- 7 Cover and cook for 45 minutes. Remove cover and heat for an additional 10 minutes.