5 fast and family friendly recipes for easier weeknights

Sometimes, the last thing you want to do after a long day of work, is make a meal for yourself, let alone the whole family. We’re here to help! Here are 5 easy weeknight recipes that can be whipped up in no time. Stop spending evenings sweating over a stove and spend more time enjoying time with your family.

1. “Lazy Lasagna”- 3 ingredient Baked Ravioli

This is not your nonna’s lasagna by far. But, it’s easy to put together and with only three ingredients, it doesn’t break the bank either. Layer a 9×13 with stacks of marinara, frozen ravioli, and shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Cover with foil and pop in the oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit. Bake for 30 minutes until cooked through, then uncover and bake for an additional 15 or until it’s golden and bubbly on top. Toss together a salad on the side and you have yourself a hot and cheesy dish in less than an hour! Click here for the full recipe.

2. Mandarin Orange Chicken Pita Pockets

This recipe from Halos mandarin oranges is a refreshingly sweet end to any workday. I tried this one for myself and was shocked when after 5 minutes it was ready to serve. I picked up some pre-cooked grilled chicken strips from the store (great to have on hand) but you can opt for a rotisserie chicken to cut and shred for this recipe to cut down on time.

Fun fact: Halos mandarins have 50% of the recommended daily vitamin C value per serving!

Just chop and mix together the ingredients in a bowl and stuff into a pita pocket for a balanced, nutritious meal. You can even roll this into a wrap or serve on top of greens for a nice, filling salad if you’re carb conscious. If you like this one, you’ll also like their chicken salad recipe that uses Halos as well.

3. Sheet Pan Fajitas

The “sheet pan” method to cooking for a crowd is seriously foolproof. Stick your meat and veggies onto a cookie sheet with your favorite seasoning, mix it up, bake it and vois la! You have dinner. This Fajitas recipe takes all the guesswork out of this mexican-inspired feast.

Chop up peppers and onions (color makes food exciting people!) place them on one side of the baking sheet with a drizzle of oil, and whatever taco seasoning you like. Do the same thing on the opposite side with whatever protein your family prefers. Throw it in a 400 degree oven until your meat is cooked through and serve with warmed tortillas. Healthy and only one pan to clean, I’ll take it!

4. BYO Ramen night

image by pikisuperstar on freepik

An original creation of mine, this dinner idea is a great tool for cleaning out the fridge, and helps give picky eaters a little autonomy when it comes to mealtime.

Cook up any flavor ramen noodles, steam some broccoli, corn, green-beans and any other veggies you desire. Pull out some of that pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken we talked about earlier in the pita recipe, or any other quick to prepare protein, or even whip up some scrambled or hard boiled eggs to add to the bowl.

Have fun creating individual masterpieces to slurp up on a cold or rainy night. With a little preparation, this inexpensive meal choice can go a long way.

5. Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

This recipe is hearty, delicious with a little kick that the family will love. Melted down butter and cream cheese makes a sauce that’s irresistible by anyone.

When mixed together with chicken and pasta, it makes an unforgettable dish easy for a busy night. Better yet, it can be put together in 30 minutes!

It’s easily customizable too: Make it meatless by swapping chicken for your favorite veg or sneak in more nutrients by blending up cauliflower to add to the sauce.

Grace is Tampa Bay Mom's newest content creation intern. A Senior at University of Tampa, Grace looks to make a difference by making content that gives voice to important issues and topics among her audiences. Dedicated to learning and creativity, Grace's content aims to offer a youthful, fresh perspective while giving advice and insight to the Tampa community she loves so much.