Next Week's Meal Plan

5 Super-Simple Dinners to Help New Parents Survive

published Nov 9, 2019
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Credit: From Left to Right: Joe Lingeman, Lauren Volo

My first baby was born not quite five months ago, and it’s meant big adjustments everywhere, but especially in the way I cook. Now that I’m back at work, I often don’t have a chance to start making dinner until at least 7 p.m. So I have found that most weeknights I need dinners that are really easy, can be cooked in advance, or come together lightning-fast with just few ingredients.

Honestly, I also want recipes that don’t require too much attention or brainpower, either. A lot of that attention now goes to my child, and there’s only so much to go around! If you’re in the same boat, or are heading there soon, here are five dinners that have helped me get through the week. Hopefully they’ll help you, too.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Monday: Sunday’s Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

I try to make a point to cook at least one dinner during my weekend meal prep to get my week off to an easy start. I’ll make a big batch of this chili the day before, so all that needs to be done is to reheat it. We’ll top our bowls with Greek yogurt, avocado, and cilantro, and take advantage of the ample leftovers for lunch during the week.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Tuesday: Broiled Salmon with Lemon, Mustard, and Herbs

Here’s a helpful PSA: If you cook salmon under the broiler, you can get dinner from the fridge to the table in 10 (yes, 10!) minutes. That’s just enough time to toss together a quick vinaigrette, dress a simple green salad, and slice up sourdough to serve on the side.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Wednesday: Brown Butter Parmesan Pasta

Tonight’s dinner is nothing more than buttered noodles. But by browning the butter and adding some toasted breadcrumbs, it feels both comforting and even a little fancy.

Get the recipe: Brown Butter Parmesan Pasta

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Thursday: Sheet Pan Greens and Beans

These days I’m inclined to opt for convenience whenever possible. To minimize prep, I start with a bag of pre-cut broccoli florets. As everything roasts, I can just fry up a couple of eggs to top the bowls, and add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of red pepper flakes right at the end.

Get the recipe: Easy Sheet Pan Greens and Beans

Credit: Lauren Volo

Friday: Sirloin Steak Sandwiches

We’ll finish out the week with this family favorite, which will leave us with just enough leftovers for one weekend lunch. While the steak cooks I’ll pickle the red onion and whisk together the Dijonnaise.

Get the recipe: Sirloin Steak Sandwiches

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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 contributorfor Next Week’s Meal Plan!