Uncooked round meatballs on metal tray

As a mother of 3 who has been in the wonderful bubble of child birth, trying to get back to work and re-entering the workforce I have seen it all.

I’ve been a stay at home mom, a working mom, an exhausted, pregnant, working mom and a mom of 3 kids. I am now a mom of 3 girls who go to school full time so my time is limited.

When it comes to food, my head is constantly in the kitchen. I cook or am asked to cook a lot.

For me, cooking is therapeutic.

It’s a creative outlet. It’s a joy! There’s always a chance that something will go wrong while I’m cooking, however it always turns out OK in the end.

I take a lot of pride in my food and in everything that I make.

It’s also important to keep in mind that families don’t need 3 entrees per meal. There are lots of tasty, quick, kid friendly meals that don’t take a lot of time to make.

These can include things like eggs, pasta, rice, veggie burgers, applesauce, etc. I’ve included a few easy and quick dishes that my kids and I enjoy that will give your family a little boost in emergency situations.

1. Roasted chickpeas

vegetable salad in gray bowl

This is by far my favorite way to make dinner. It’s easy to prep and use and you can throw it in the oven when you’re home alone and it’s still hot!

Just remember to drain the water if you’re not using the canned beans. That can be quite dangerous.


  • 1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Pour the garbanzo beans in a bowl and pour the olive oil over the top. Mix it up.

Add the onion and spices and mix again. Add the salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

You want the spices to be evenly distributed. Get your baked potatoes on to boil. Place the garbanzo mix in a large baking dish and scatter the potatoes over top.

Add enough water to cover the dish completely, add the lid and bake for 40 minutes at 350. Remove from oven, keep a tight fitting lid on for the first 5 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro and grated cheese, etc.

2. Vodka marinara

sauced penne pasta dish on bowl

In our house, I’ve come to call this pasta dinner “Mama’s Vodka” because it’s so good. It’s a favorite in our house that my kids beg me to make over and over.

Most likely because it tastes like an Italian dinner! I’m not even a huge pasta fan so the fact that this is a favorite of mine has nothing to do with the fact that it’s so good for you!

This sauce can be on the heavy side and doesn’t have any cheese or heavy pasta. It tastes great and it’s easy to make.

This is a great pasta dinner for a busy night with a big family or even a day when you’re running low on time.


  • 1/2 pound orecchiette (or other long pasta)
  • 1/2 pound rigatoni (or other short pasta)
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped (I used shiitake, but yellow or white would work too)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to serve
  • cooking spray

Carbonara Pasta

1. Cook the pasta until just al dente and drain.

2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the rigatoni and orecchiette until the pasta is al dente. The orecchiette is a little harder than the rigatoni.

3. Add the mushrooms, carrot and garlic to the pot and cook for another minute, just until the veggies start to soften.

4. In a small bowl, combine the vodka, vinegar, olive oil and onion and garlic, combine well.

5. Add the mixture to the boiling pasta and cook for 3 minutes.

6. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Stir occasionally.

7. Serve with your favorite Parmesan cheese.

We typically serve this with a simple side salad of mixed greens dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.

7. Put Together in a Bundt Pan

As you can tell from above, this is really easy to put together and make. If you’ve got the time and the kids have naps, get a couple of kids at a time to help.

This would be great for a family dinner because you can prepare it the night before. Make it ahead of time, divide it into individual servings and refrigerate it.

Then when it’s time to eat it, everyone will have to eat at the same time, and it doesn’t matter how quickly they’re eating because they’re all going to be there at the same time. It’s the only way!

We topped ours with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.

If you don’t have a Bundt pan, you can use a glass baking dish instead. Just remember that the potatoes will fill the pan up, so you need to increase the sauce in order to have enough room for the potatoes.

8. Bake in the Oven at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Chances are, you’re already making a lot of these in your kitchen already.

But this recipe will give you the opportunity to branch out and make something new. Have a great day!



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here