A Week of Family-Friendly Dinners from Kendra Adachi of The Lazy Genius
When it comes to feeding her family of five, Kendra Adachi — the self-proclaimed Lazy Genius, host of the podcast by the same name, and author of the forthcoming book, The Lazy Genius Way — adheres to the same strategy she tries to help others adopt: Be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t. Meal planning matters to her, big time. Spending a lot of time in the kitchen? Not so much. Which is why she stacks her meal plan roster with what she calls brainless crowd-pleasers. Like us, she leans hard on super-simple, family-friendly dinners that require next to no thought and please everyone around the table (at least for the most part). Here, Kendra shares a week’s meal plan with us, and tells us how she does it.
5 Easy Family-Friendly Dinners
Our collective experience these last few weeks and months is something else, right? We’re weary and scared, hopeful and persistent. And within all of that, we still have to cook dinner. For me, I’m also still working a full-time job in part-time hours and moving into a summer with kids at home after a spring of the exact same. It’s okay that it’s a lot, y’all, and it’s okay for our meal plans to reflect where we are emotionally. For me, this season calls for tasty meals that have limited steps and ingredients, flavors the kids won’t whine about, and easy cleanup. If you want the same, I offer you my Lazy Genius list.
Monday: Change Your Life Shawarma
My legacy was once Change Your Life Chicken, and then I made Change Your Life Shawarma. It’s massively flavorful, easy to prep ahead of time, and versatile in how it’s cooked and what it’s served with. It’s a simple path to powerful flavor, and it’ll be a building block all week. Make double.
Get the recipe: Change Your Life Shawarma recipe and podcast
Tuesday: The Chickpea Bowl
I make this recipe almost weekly for lunch, but throwing in a few handfuls of leftover chicken from the night before makes it a dinner my family will actually eat. My kids are into the ginger-garlic paste here, so we go heavy on it. I always make extra and will use it later in the week to pump up the flavor of two more dinners.
Get the recipe: The Chickpea Bowl
Wednesday: Stupid Easy Oven Nachos
The last of the leftover chicken will come to play in this incredibly lazy dinner. (The cumin in the shawarma makes a non-nacho flavor profile work really well here.) Sheet pan nachos are not a new concept, but I sure love how they quickly make a meal come together. Our family generally enjoys chicken, cheese, and heavy salsa; I’m not feeling badly that there aren’t any vegetables.
Get the recipe: Stupid Easy Oven Nachos
Thursday: Asian-Inspired Rice Bowls
This pork-mushroom creation is perfect for lettuce wraps, but will be used for rice bowls tonight and noodle bowls tomorrow. A double batch it is. If I think I’ll be running short on time, this pork-mushroom situation can be made a day ahead and just reheated or even made over the weekend and frozen until needed. The ginger-garlic paste will be a champ at adding some extra flavor, and we’ll make these next two meals feel different with sauces and condiments. We like to serve our rice bowls with avocado, cucumber, pickled ginger from the jar, and Cholula hot sauce.
Get the recipe: Pork and Mushroom Filling for Rice Bowls and podcast
Friday: Easy Noodle Bowls
I love cooking ramen noodles in the yakisoba style of simmering in an inch or so of water until the liquid is absorbed and then sautéing with any extra ingredients I have around. In this case, I’ll use the extra pork-mushroom filling to toss with the noodles, along with carrots cut into ribbons with a Swiss vegetable peeler and any remaining ginger-garlic paste. I mix the spice packet from the ramen package with a little water, and use it to flavor-bind all the ingredients together. Top these noodle bowls with cilantro, green onion, sesame seeds, and Sriracha, and you’d never know the base of the meal happened the night before.
Get the recipe: How to Make a Pretty Bowl of Noodles and watch on Instagram
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Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But we’re firm believers that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. We want to help you find inspiration and ease some of the pain points that come with getting dinner on the table night after night, whether you’re cooking one or a family of four or five. Every week we share a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests or from a guest contributor, for Next Week’s Meal Plan!