5 easy meals for toddlers and busy moms

my favorite 5 easy meals to feed my kids when i’m feeling lazy

everyone knows feeding toddlers can be tedious. compound that with my husband being deployed last year, multiple trainings away from home, dealing with covid, and living 2500 miles away from any family. and despite loving to cook (i definitely don’t shy away from a complicated meal), i still feed my kids super simple easy meals when i just feel burnt out from being in the kitchen, or even when i know they won’t like what i’m eating for dinner. here are the five easy meals i find myself going back to over and over.

1. dino nuggets for the win!

easy meals for toddlers

i mean… who doesn’t love a good dino nug? i literally microwave them and usually serve with steamed fresh broccoli and some kind of fruit. always a hit, and so so easy especially for lunch. also, i haven’t been able to find these in california but my friend turned me onto these perdue plus chicken and vegetable dino nuggets… they are so delicious and it makes me feel better knowing they are getting a serving of veggies as well.

2. 3-ingredient naan pizza

this is one of our new favorites. all the ingredients come from aldi and it is so so easy. just take a piece of their naan bread, spread on some marinara, cover in shredded mozzarella, and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. comes out perfect every time, and i love it just as much as them. another version is to use premade bbq sauce instead of marinara, top with shredded chicken, mozzarella and finish with pickled red onions. easy bbq chicken pizza!

3. pb&j… a classic

simple and self-explanatory. my one year old actually prefers grilled cheese, but my 2.5 year old is team pb&j all day. we’ve been using the organic unsweetened peanut butter from aldi, and my kids don’t even notice the difference between that and the kind that has added oils and sugar.

4. chicken sausage

this is mostly for my 2.5 year old… the one year old won’t eat meat at all unless it’s a chicken nugget. these chicken sausages come from aldi and they have three flavors. our favorite is the apple sausage, but we also love the spinach feta, and my husband likes the italian. they’re precooked, so super easy to heat up for a quick lunch ror dinner. i will also be posting a skillet dinner i made with the spinach feta flavor that was delicious! i also love that they don’t have nitrates or any weird ingredients that you can’t pronounce.

5. cheese and crackers!

usually we’d think of cheese and crackers as a snack, but there isn’t any reason why we can’t have it as a meal. if my one year old won’t eat anything else, i know she will always eat sliced cheese. cheese has plenty of protein, and there is virtually no prep. my 2.5 year old likes the sharp cheddar from aldi, but sometimes i will even just give them presliced sandwich slices and they love that too. serve it with some steamed veggies or avocado and a fruit and you have a whole meal with hardly any cleanup.

let me know the easy meals you love to feed your little ones!

sandwich love

two cheese veggie panini

a vegetarian panini that hits the spot with herby balsamic mushrooms, roasted peppers and onions, spicy arugala and 2x the cheese. you could definitely add some rotisserie chicken, but with everything going on here you won’t miss the meat!

ingredients

herbed balsamic mushrooms
baby bella mushrooms, sliced
olive oil
fresh thyme, about 1 tsp of leaves stripped off the stem
1 clove minced garlic
splash of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

roasted peppers and onions
1-2 red or yellow bell peppers
1/2 yellow or sweet onion sliced thinly
olive oil
salt & pepper

sandwich
crusty panini bread – i like this one from aldi, but you can use anything!
herbed balsamic mushrooms
roasted peppers and onions
goat cheese
muenster cheese
baby arugala
sliced tomato
butter

instructions
for the roasted peppers and onions, preheat your oven to 415. thinly slice onions and peppers and lay flat on a sheet pan covered with foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. toss to evenly coat everything then bake for 10 minutes. remove them from the oven, toss and return for 5-7 more minutes until onions start to brown. for the mushrooms, heat a large skillet to medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. add in the mushrooms, thyme, and some salt and pepper to taste, and saute until the mushrooms release all their liquid. once the liquid begins to evaporate, add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar and continue cooking until most of the liquid is gone. add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. arrange your sandwich by buttering both slices of bread on the outside, stack up the goat cheese, mushrooms, onions and peppers, tomato, arugala and finish with the muenster. press in a panini press or grill over medium heat in a skillet until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melted. enjoy 🙂

perfect fall salad

arugala salad with roasted sweet potatoes and maple balsamic viniagrette

it’s been a while! we’re currently staying with my parents in maryland until ryan gets back from deployment so my mom typically does most of the cooking while we’re here. i can’t complain! i made this salad a few times last year and was craving it again with the crisp, cool fall weather brought on by october. it’s definitely my favorite time of year in maryland, and this is one of my favorite salads.

ingredients

salad
baby arugala
peeled sweet potato, cut into rounds
goat cheese
toasted pecans*
craisins
corn starch
olive oil
salt & pepper

dressing
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 clove of minced garlic
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

instructions

preheat your oven to 415. place sweet potato rounds on a sheet pan covered with foil. sprinkle generously with corn starch and then salt and pepper. sprinkle with olive oil (about 1-2 tbsp), and toss together until there is no more dry corn starch, and all the sweet potatoes are evenly coated. roast for 10 minutes, then turn the sweet potatoes and return to the oven for five more minutes. some pieces will start to brown around the edges, i love the crispy ones! *if you are toasting your own pecans, spread them evenly on a sheet pan and toast in the 415 degree oven for about 2-3 minutes or just until you start to smell them. for the dressing, combine all ingredients in a mason jar or small bowl, and shake or whisk together until combined. combine all the salad ingredients in a large salad or pasta bowl, toss with the dressing and enjoy! pomegranate seeds could also be substituted for the craisins and i think that would be delicious as well.