Easy Weeknight Dinners

via The Little Things
Actual footage of what I am not doing at 6PM on a Thursday. (via The Little Things)

By the time I made it through the torrential downpour last night and survived the drive home, it was pushing 6:30PM and I had exactly zero motivation to cook or clean or be vertical, really. Luckily, Mike already had the kids and the dinner situation under control (my hero, as always), but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes he’s working late or the kids are a tornado of crazy and before we know it, it’s way past dinnertime and we’re reaching for whatever we can pop in the microwave.

Because stress-eating Nutella does not count as a meal, I’ve had to put some work into a little endeavor I’d like to call, “Making Dinner That Doesn’t Include Hot Dogs or Chicken Nuggets After Sitting in Traffic for Approximately Two Hours.” Since that isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing title, we’ll just go with Easy Weeknight Dinners.

And they are! Pinky swear. They are also low-maintenance when it comes to ingredients- things you probably already have on your grocery list or in your pantry. Get yourself a sheet pan, though, because that’s where most of this is heading. My favorite is this one from Target 🙂

Sheet Pan Fajitas // This literally could not have been any easier. Chop up a couple peppers, two or three chicken breasts, and put it all on a sheet pan. Mix olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and garlic salt and drizzle it on top. Bake for about 25 minutes, done and done! No hot dogs in sight.

Mini Meatloaves // I grabbed this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers (follow the link to check out her post about this and other weeknight meals!) and Landon gave it all the thumbs up. I’ve never actually made meatloaf before, probably a result of the time my dad made “porkloaf” and the whole idea of meat in loaf form lost its appeal- love ya, Dad 🙂. These little minis can be made in a cupcake pan! Just a handful of ingredients, low-prep, big hit.

Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Tilapia // This is such a great, light, summertime meal! The lemon garlic butter makes the tilapia taste very Bonefish. Mike plated his so that he got a little asparagus, tomato, and tilapia in each bite and it was ah-mazing.

Chicken Fried Rice // This one is slightly more high-maintenance, but still something that can be thrown together in about thirty minutes! All you need are two cups of cooked white rice, frozen mixed vegetables, soy sauce, vegetable oil, two scrambled eggs, and chicken. Sometimes I grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store on the way home. If I have a little more time, I bread and fry the chicken instead- whatever works! Combine the rice and vegetables in a large skillet with about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and soy sauce to taste, then add in everything else.

Tortellini and Breadsticks // This is probably the least earth-shattering of the recipes I’m sharing, mostly because it isn’t so much a recipe as it is boiling frozen pasta and heating up a jar of pasta sauce. However, when you’re crawling toward the weekend, it’s a great secret weapon. Add some Texas Toast breadsticks and a salad and no one would ever know the entire process of “cooking” this meal took all of ten minutes. You’re welcome 🙂

Sheet Pan Nachos and S’mores Dip // Ok, so these aren’t meals. We’re having some friends over this weekend though, and I’m looking forward to trying them out!

What are your go-to weeknight meals? I feel like I always end up with the same handful on rotation, so I’d love to get some new ideas! You know where to find me 🙂

Happy weekend, everyone!

 

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Currently // 7.28.17

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1 // So excited to share some official branding for ETG! I fell off the face of the blogging planet for most of 2016 (new job, small children, unhealthy amounts of Netflix) and I’m realizing how much I need this space. And even if it’s just for me, investing in it feels like a kind of self-care that is so necessary when everything else is for everyone else.

Jamie Sebby is nothing short of a rockstar when it comes to hand lettering and custom design! This is the third time I’ve asked for her help with a project, and I am in love with the banner she created. Definitely check out her shop on Etsy!

2 // Living that commuter life for the next couple of weeks! I can’t say it’s something I would want to do every day, but I’ve figured out how to manage it with lots of iced coffee and low expectations. Yes, I’m talking about you, Friday Rush Hour.

The Coffee + Crumbs podcast is my go-to in the mornings, brought to you by the writers of The Magic of Motherhood, which I’ve already raved about all over social media. So good. Each episode is roughly the length of my drive, and it feels like I’m sitting in on a conversation with my best friends.

This recipe for breakfast-on-the-go gets all the thumbs up! I made a batch on Sunday night (with sausage instead of spinach) and they were good for four days. I have a solid hour of planning before the kids arrive, and having a real, non-donut breakfast after the drive in was a great way to get the day started.

Speaking of…

3 // Teaching a course called “Be a Scientist!” with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth! So far this week, we’ve explored chemistry, biology, forensics, genetics, and physiology. PHEW. It sounds very Ms. Frizzle but feels more like my brain is going to explode. The last time I had to know/care about the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells was ninth grade but ask me now! Forensics has been my favorite to teach so far overall, but the gross-factor of the digestive system model we made today might make it a close second 🙂

4 // Taking Landon shopping for school supplies and back-to-school clothes this weekend and I can’t even. Kindergarten? KINDERGARTEN. It’s happening. Pre-K graduation wasn’t all that long ago, and even in this short amount of time it’s crazy how he’s grown up. We’ve started reading chapter books at bedtime, he’s newly obsessed with playing video games, and he’s figuring out sarcasm and trying it on for size (and it’s hilarious). Who is this big kid???

Oshkosh is having a huge sale on all of the back-to-school essentials, so that’s where we’re heading! I’ll be the one crying over the baby clothes that are conveniently positioned right outside the dressing room while my five-year-old tries on jeans by himself 😦

5 // Leaving you with these words from Grace, Not Perfection in case you need to hear them, too.

We’re all looking for someone to give us permission to slow down- to be perfectly imperfect and uniquely different. So here it is. You have permission.

If we take care of ourselves the way we take care of everyone else, we’ll find all sorts of joy and be better for everyone we love.

PRAISE. HANDS. Right now that self-care looks like podcasts and breakfast-on-the-go and investing in this corner of the internet, but even those small things matter when we have to be so many things to so many people.

Happy weekend, everyone!

How to Clean Your House

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Ah, Summer Break. Unbelievably happy that you’re here (and seemingly unending). I am soaking up this time with the boys, but also feeling zero mom-guilt about sending them to daycare two days a week because sanity. Two days to do grown-up things like clean and walk laps around Target and eat snacks without hiding in my bathroom.

In the event that you, too, are relishing a few kid-free days and have big plans to check cleaning off of your list, this “how to” guide might just be the one for you.

How to Clean Your House in 15 Easy Steps!

1 // Take the children to daycare.

2 // Come home and immediately change back into your PJs.

3 // Actually, maybe a shower would be nice. Yes, while the children are at daycare and can’t barge in every few minutes to ask, Are you naked in there? and Did you know girls only have butts?

4 // Sweatpants.

5 // Get sucked into four episodes of Mad Men/Gilmore Girls/etc. Consider starting a load of laundry multiple times. Do not leave the bed.

7 // Carry the laundry downstairs because it’s noon and, well, that’s a start!

8 // Realize you haven’t eaten yet.

9 // Stop in the kitchen to make lunch and share it with no one. Eat it all in one sitting. This is amazing.

10 // Actually take the laundry to the laundry room.

11 // Pick up one of the two-year-old’s shirts and wonder how he ever got this big. Spend the next hour reminiscing by trolling your own Instagram.

12 // IT’S THREE O’CLOCK?!

13 // Clorox wipe everything. Run the vacuum like you’re being chased. Do two loads of laundry on the “quick wash” cycle.

14 // Pick up the children from daycare.

15 // Watch as the two-year-old spills his snacks and the five-year-old crushes them into crumbs on the carpet on his way to tear out every toy you own. It’s okay! There’s always tomorrow 🙂

In addition to all of the things you obviously need, these products and tricks of the trade are seriously life changing if you are seriously on a mission to clean. I use them, I love them, and they are essential to my cleaning routine (which is basically just Step #13, let’s be real). 

Products –  Clorox ReadyMop Flip Mop // Glade Carpet Powder

Tips and Tricks – Cleaning a Microfiber Couch // Cleaning Glass Bakeware