A peek into real life here: what my family actually ate for dinners during the past week. I hope this post gives you some inspiration, something relatable, or is just fun to read.

One of the most common questions I get from friends and acquaintances is whether the recipes I post on the blog are what we actually eat for dinner. I’m happy to report that they absolutely are; I don’t have any extra time to cook different things! But given the frequency of this question, I figured people might be interested in this little glimpse behind the scenes.

Background & Daily Routine

I live with my husband and our two little-ish kids, 8 year old Henry and 3 year old Viv. We live just outside of Washington, DC and are very fortunate to have a huge variety of grocery stores and restaurants nearby.

Honestly, breakfast and lunch are pretty boring around here. Weekday breakfasts are a rotation of protein waffles, oatmeal, cereal, hash browns, or scrambled eggs and bacon, always with fruit. Time permitting I will make a quick batch of pancakes or French toast. On the weekends my husband takes over and will often make waffles or Henry’s favorite chocolate chip banana pancakes.

Lunch is also pretty predictable: leftovers, a big salad, or something very simple for the kids if they are home. Quesadillas, mac and cheese, pesto pasta, chicken nuggets, etc.

Although our dinners may be only marginally more exciting, that’s what I’m going to focus on here. 🙂

Our Week in Dinners

Playing catch-up again, but here’s the past week!

Saturday 2/3: Instant Pot fire-roasted tomato soup and grilled cheese! Delicious and satisfying. I do have to make the soup with “regular” crushed tomatoes, since I couldn’t find fire-roasted in the right size cans, but it still tastes really good with a little extra salt.

Bowl of Instant Pot tomato soup made with fire roasted tomatoes.
Instant Pot fire-roasted tomato soup.

Sunday 2/4: Pierogies in butter and steamed peas. Not exciting but the kids love it and it does the job for a quick dinner before swim practice.

Monday 2/5: I re-make and photograph penne rosa, the Noodles and Company copycat dish I tested a couple of weeks ago. There are a reasonable quantity of veggies in the pasta itself — spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms — so I just add some frozen steamed veggies for the kids on the side. I also make garlic bread, because I happened to be at Whole Foods, which has the most delicious garlic bread ever. Decadent but I don’t care. 🙂 Recipe coming to the blog very soon!

Tuesday 2/6: Cajun butter chicken with rice, corn, and sweet potato fries. This is a recipe I tested a few times last year that is loosely inspired by this honey garlic chicken, and have been meaning to re-make and photograph. Done and done! It’s delicious. Another recipe coming to the blog very soon. (Updated with link!)

Wednesday 2/7: I don’t feel great, didn’t have a major plan for dinner anyway, and the kitchen is sparkling clean. We all agree: perfect night for takeout.

Thursday 2/8: I’m feeling better and experiment with making salsa chicken but with black beans and corn mixed in and made on the stovetop instead of the Crockpot. It’s super easy and works well. Plus, even Henry, who is usually not a big fan of chicken, likes it because it’s so tender from being essentially poached in the salsa. He says, “when we have to have chicken, can we have this?” Ha.

The kids eat the chicken and corn deconstructed with a few side veggies, while Paul and I enjoy the whole thing as a kind of burrito bowl with rice, cheese, and diced avocado. We eat the leftovers wrapped up as a burrito for lunch the next day and agree it tastes at least as good reheated. A keeper! I’ll probably test the recipe one more time before planning for photographs.

Close up of Mexican shredded chicken transferred from a slow cooker to a serving bowl.
Salsa chicken from the slow cooker, which we love in tacos and burrito bowls. Freezes great, too.

Friday 2/9: Pizza and salad at home and we call it a night!

And that’s a wrap on our week(s) in family meals!

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