Our Favorite Quick Dinner Ideas

In this stage of life, having quick dinners isn't just a nice idea, it's a necessity. We are in and out of Survival Mode with half our kids in school and half still at home and little. Last week, Shea guest posted about the morning "marathon hour", and I think the dinner hour can also be a marathon hour. About 4:30 every day, I start REACHING MY LIMIT! Add that to my lack of kitchen "ease" and I NEED dinner prep to be quick and painless.

Here are some of my favorite meals that takes 20 minutes or less to prepare:

Homestyle Meatballs

This is a family favorite and so easy. I buy a bag of frozen meatballs (either Beef or Homestyle work best) and empty them in a 13 x 9 Pyrex pan.

I mix together the following things in a separate bowl: 1 1/2 cups of ketchup, 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 3 tablespoons of onion powder, 3 tablespoons of sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk it all together and pour over the meatballs. Roll them around in the sauce a little bit and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until heated throughout.

We typically serve Mac N Cheese and a steam in bag frozen veggies.

**For a fancier version, you can always make your meatballs and shells and cheese from scratch.


Breakfast for Dinner is something I grew up with and an easy tradition we've carried on in our own home now. There are a lot of different ways you can go with this.

For a REALLY quick dinner, we do cereal and yogurt and fruit.

But, it really doesn't take very much time to whip up something heartier. My favorite way to cook bacon is on a foil lined pan in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes. While that is cooking, you have plenty of time to scramble some eggs and toast some bread in the toaster.

Another quick idea is to scramble eggs and breakfast sausage and toss them in a tortilla for a breakfast burrito. Freeze leftovers for Breakfast.

Carrie's Chicken

First of all, the crock pot has to be one of my favorite inventions of all time. It's the best time saver!!

I've talked about this recipe a lot. How even my picky eaters will eat it. If you havn't tried it yet, you should, you won't be disappointed!  You can find the full recipe here: Carrie's Chicken Recipe.


In the frozen section at the grocery store, you can find several different kinds of Tortellini. I like to buy the cheese filled kind, but for this recipe you can choose any kind you like. Cook the pasta per the package directions, drain and empty into a Pyrex baking pan.If your pasta doesn't have meat in it, you can brown some breakfast sausage and pour it over the pasta. Mix together 1 jar of spaghetti sauce and 1 jar of Alfredo sauce and pour over the pasta. Cover the top with Shredded mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 until the cheese in bubbly hot.

These four recipes are quick and easy and TASTY. Let me know if you try them how they work for your family!!

Today, the ladies in the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are sharing their favorite dinner tricks and ideas. Be sure and check them all out!

Chronicles of a Babywise Mom - "Favorite Fall Recipes"

The Journey of Parenthood - "5 Reasons I Love the Crock Pot"

Mamas Organized Chaos - "Quick Dinner Ideas: Gluten, Dairy, Egg, and Soy Free"

Team Cartwright - "Easy Dinner Staples To Keep On Hand (And How To Use Them)

Twinning Babywise - "How To Make Any Dinner A Quick One"

Looking for meal ideas to feed a crowd?? You can find 6 great ideas here: 

Hi! I'm Carrie! I like to drink Earl Grey Tea, watch Gilmore Girls, hang out with my man, read a good, suck-you-in fiction book, play with my babies, take long bubble baths, and learn about Jesus. Connect with me on Facebook for even more Wiley Adventures!

2016 Book Character Parade

One of my favorite events at our kids school is the annual Book Character Parade. I LOVE the encouragement to dress up and be a part of a book.

Laura Kate is my girl. She gets it and she just LOVES to read. We all know this right? So I love her choice in book characters. Last year she chose Anne and this year she chose Fern from Charlotte's Web. I just love these fabulous female characters that she chose.

Shepherd chose Iron Man. Not because we've ever read a book about Iron Man, cause we havn't, but just because he likes Iron Man. But you know what? He's in Kindergarten and our friends had the costume we could borrow, and I found the book at the library, and you know what?? It worked, and he looked so cute!

Before the parade, we got to eat a picnic lunch with our kids, which was really fun!

It was so fun getting to see the kids march in their parade and getting to see all of our friends and their cute characters!  The school arranges for a drumline from one of our local high schools to come play during the parade for some fun beats to march to and the kids always love getting to hear and see them play!

Such a great parade this year! 

See last year's parade pics here: 2015 Fall And Halloween Fun 

Hi! I'm Carrie! I like to drink Earl Grey Tea, watch Gilmore Girls, hang out with my man, read a good, suck-you-in fiction book, play with my babies, take long bubble baths, and learn about Jesus. Connect with me on Facebook for even more Wiley Adventures!

Thai Themed Dinner Party

We really love having dinner parties! It's a fun way to express creativity when creating the menu and setting the table. This month, we hosted a fun Thai themed dinner party. I've been wanting the chance to practice the Thai cooking I've been practicing and this was the perfect opportunity.

Fischer helped me this week make the gold glittered mason jars by painting the inside of the jars with modge podge and rolling gold glitter around inside the jars and letting them dry. Then I just lit tea lights inside of them and they glowed beautifully.

For my table settings, I kind of used a mix of my own china as well as some wooden bowls from Thailand that I borrowed from my Mom. The chop sticks were mainly for looks at the Thai people don't typically use them, main just a fork and a spoon. But the chop sticks ARE actually from Thailand that Kyle brought back with him on his last trip so I chose to use them anyway :). The Bamboo place mats I found at the Dollar Tree (Yep, that's right... $1 each) back ten years ago in my first year of marriage! I use them all the time and LOVE them. And the table runner I got when I was in Thailand back in 2006.

My friend Molly has been teaching me how to cook some Thai dishes.I love Thai food so much but I'm not always the best chef in the kitchen and needed some help. Our kids go to the same schools and our paths keep intersecting and so one day I just asked her if she would help me and she agreed! My favorite part of cooking lessons with her though, has been becoming such great friends with her. We have the sweetest time together and then the icing on the cake is me learning how to to make some yummy dishes!


My dinner party menu consisted of:

- Beef Satay w/Thai Peanut Sauce (I forgot to get a picture, but you can find a great recipe here)

- Masamaan Curry Chicken (A Mild Yellow Curry Sauce) **Recipe Below**

- Chicken Fried Rice

Sauces and Sides:

-Thai Peanut Sauce

-Stir Fry Sauce

 -Pineapple chunks

-Thai "Wai Wai" Noodles

-Roasted Peanuts

(These three things are what my Granny always serves Curry with so I felt like I should have them too.)

For dessert I served a fruit salad with some exotic fruit I found at the local Asian market: Dragon fruit, Rumbuton, and Logan fruit with Ice Cream (I looked for coconut ice cream but couldn't find any, so I just had vanilla).

Fried Rice Tips:

Everyone has their own recipes that they love for fried rice, and I had one tried and true I had been using for years. But I asked Molly to teach me how to make it better because hers tasted like what I ate in Thailand or a good, authentic restaurant and mine tasted like, well hamburger meat with soy sauce and some rice.

Molly's tips are:

- Use a good sauce made up of: Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, and Oyster sauce. Start with 2 tbsp of Soy and 1 of the fist and oyster and add little bits at a time to taste. This sauce makes a huge difference!

- Use half white, half brown rice. Under cook both before you fry it in your wok or pan. Because you are cooking it again, it will help it not end up mushy if you undercook it whenever you first boil it.

- As you are frying, toss the rice (eggs, veggies, and meat) as you would a salad while it sizzles and cooks over medium heat.

- Add the sauce sparingly to taste

Molly's Massaman Curry Chicken Recipe
(serves 4-6)

**Do not be afraid of these ingredients, if you don't know what they are or cannot find them in your local grocery store, you can order them on Amazon or check a local Asian Market... don't be afraid of it either!**

2-3 Chicken breasts, sliced 1inch
3 cups of coconut milk (more if needed)
1 large spanish onion sliced (1/4 cup)
4-5 Potatoes peeled, quartered, and boiled
3 large carrots peeled, sliced and boiled
2 tbsp roasted peanuts (optional)
3 kaffir lime leaves
3 tbsp massaman (yellow) curry paste
1/4 cup fish sauce (more to taste)
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 cup chicken broth

1) Heat oil and cocunut cream (the thick part at the top of the can of coconut milk) in a frying pan until oil appears on surface, then add the massaman curry paste and cook until fragrant.

2) Place the remaining coconut milk in a large pot with the chicken and simmer until tender. 

3) Combine the massaman curry suace, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, sugar and chicken broth potatoes, carrots and onions. 

4). Heat to boiling and cook for 5-10 minutes.

5) Adjust taste and add more fish sauce if needed. 

6) Serve over rice and enjoy!

It was such a fun and delicious dinner party! You should try it and let me know how it goes! 

Hi! I'm Carrie! I like to drink Earl Grey Tea, watch Gilmore Girls, hang out with my man, read a good, suck-you-in fiction book, play with my babies, take long bubble baths, and learn about Jesus. Connect with me on Facebook for even more Wiley Adventures!

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