Super Contributor
Posts: 466
Registered: ‎03-17-2018

This school year is going to be extra busy for me, since I am back in my classroom (private school) but my kids are learning virtually (public schools that are not open for in-person learning). I'm going to have to work hard at supplementing my kids' educations because they can't have science labs or do hand-on activities with virtual learning. Some evenings I am just picking up a rotisserie chicken and bagged salad from the grocery store because I don't have enough time for anything better. 


What are your favorite "no-work" meals that are reasonable healthy? I don't want to rely on fast food! My older kids can make some basic things, but they're already making their own breakfasts and lunches, so I don't want them to have to help with dinner too. Usually on the weekends I make a casserole that works for two nights, but I still need to come up with something fast for the other evenings. Oh, and soups are not an option. I love soup, but my kids don't and neither does my husband. My husband covers Sunday night dinner... eggs... and that's about the extent of his cooking skills! 



Honored Contributor
Posts: 19,658
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

There are so many crockpot recipes that do most of the work for you!

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,001
Registered: ‎05-01-2020

~ Stew over rice (Dinty Moore canned stew, packet of rice)

~ Chili over toast or baked potato (Hormel canned chili, do the potatoes in an instapot)

~ Tuna Melts (mix tuna, put on bread, sprinkle cheese, bake in oven till cheese melted/bread browned)


Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,338
Registered: ‎01-27-2014

Maybe discover Grubhub? I have never used this, but many people love it. 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,571
Registered: ‎06-03-2010

Crockpot could be the answer.  


My go to is I just throw a chicken breast in (still frozen) before I head out to work on low and by the time I get home, I can smell chicken as soon as I open the door, and  then it's just put some rice in the rice cooker and microwave some fresh vegetables.  You could get minute rice if you don't have time for the rice to cook normally.  You can also make a baked potato in the microwave in about 9 minutes - just clean and pierce with a fork - 9 minutes later it's ready.


The vegetables now come in bags where you can just cook them in the microwave for about 4 minutes still in the bag.  Only about 5 minutes effort for an entire meal. 


Make a large batch of spaghetti sauce and freeze some of it for a quick meal too. Just pull out of the freeze before you go to work, and then just heat up while the pasta is cooking.  You can also get frozen garlic bread from any store and just pop it in the oven at the same time too.  Bagged salads are also super easy and not too expensive if you want some salad too.


So easy and much better then fast food.

......You look like I need a drink.....
Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,457
Registered: ‎12-27-2010

Instant  Pot chili, ribs, chicken, rice, stews, meatballs, 

Crockpot chicken, pot roast

Weekend-made casseroles, pasta bakes, meatloaves

Chef salads,  panini

Pasta and sauces of all kinds

Steak, potatoes, corn, sliced tomatoes,

A study on Noodles, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, ...around the studies and dinner for weeks! 

Breakfast for dinner

I remember back when we didn't have a.c., in FL, mid August when I was a kid and my mom had an all-fruit dinner idea and I had to melon-ball an entire watermelon lol cut up tons of friut  including star fruit. I've never forgotten that 44 years later. 

Canned chili, chips, cheese nachos, tacos,

Kids cookbooks...great for home-ec lessons



Don't worry about hands on science. As you know there are learning books with household experiments etc.

Maybe even start a box garden and do science that will inspire meals. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 10,400
Registered: ‎05-15-2016

You could cook up some taco meat on the weekend and then warm up tortillas, put out toppings and everyone can fix their own. Maybe a Mexican coleslaw on the side. 

You can premarinate chicken and freeze to thaw out for quick meals

Make two casseroles at a time and freeze one

Chili is easy to make and freeze if you make a double batch. 
Rotisserie chicken is a time saver for recipes. 
Prechoppimg vegetables can save time to have on hand for vegetable dishes or to add to main dishes. 

You can buy actual pizza dough and just roll out and bake

Lasagnas are good 


Maybe hubs can do some of the chopping or get one of those food choppers that kids can easily use. 

Trader Joe's has a lot of ideas if quick meals you can throw together with their products that are time savers as well. 

Maybe one night a week do take out?


Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,049
Registered: ‎08-25-2010

I do most of my grocery shopping at BJ's and have found these to be quick and easy. Most of them are "passive meals" in that you put them in the oven and let them cook while you do something else.


*Michaelangelo's eggplant Parmesan - you bake it from frozen for an hour and it (the BJ's sized container) serves 4 adults easily. I usually serve it with spaghetti topped with jarred sauce. BJ's marinara sauce is really good. If I don't have time to make my own sauce, I use BJ's. Michaelangelo's also makes other frozen entrees, but we gravitate towards the eggplant parm. 


*BJ's frozen Italian style meatballs are really good. They're fully cooked, so you just have to reheat them until they're cooked through. Get a pot of spaghetti sauce (I would use a couple of jars of  BJ's marinara sauce) simmering, then add as many meatballs as you like. Let them cook with the lid ajar for about 20-25 minutes until the meatballs are cooked. You can serve them with pasta or make meatball hoagies. Top either with grated cheese. 


*Roast pork loin with apple sauce, mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Put the seasoned pork in the oven and test after 45 minutes for done-ness. Continue roasting until done. I buy a large bag of broccoli florets and steam them for about 15 minutes. The mashed potatoes are Simply Potatoes. I buy the one with the lowest sodium content. You can just nuke them, but it's just as easy to heat them in a non-stick skillet with a little extra butter. 

*Baked chicken breasts with jellied cranberry sauce, rice and steamed green beans. Season the chicken with garlic salt and pepper, then bake for an hour. I use Success rice and prepare according to the package directions 15 minutes before the chicken's done. You can buy green beans that are ready to steam right out of the package. Once the chicken's done, doctor a big jar of chicken gravy with the pan drippings and heat until bubbly.

*Make Philly cheesesteaks with rare roast beef from the deli. Sauté some sliced onion ahead of time and hold to the side. Then sauté the beef in butter or olive oil just until done (this goes quickly). While still hot, top with provolone, American or Cooper sharp cheese slices (also from the deli). Transfer to hoagie rolls and top with the sautéed onions. We also like ketchup and sweet & tangy banana peppers on them. 

Maybe your older kids could get some of these started if you left them instructions. The cheesteaks don't take much time at all. Good luck!

Valued Contributor
Posts: 512
Registered: ‎04-04-2016

@PreKteacher first thank you and all teachers for what you do.  Now to issue at hand.  Start with list of meals that your family will eat.  I post  rotation of menu on frig.  When list was created only rules were meals had to include a vegetable,  would only be twice per week and not back to back.  That will help children with the "what's for dinner" question.  Involve all children in age appropriate meal planning, preparation and clean-up.  Those are skills that will serve them well as they mature into young adults.  So many childhood memories are created around the dinner table. Ensure those experiences are relaxed and enjoyable.


Praise that hubs for his Sunday night offering.  Some of my favorite memories involve hubs and i cooking together when our lives were much busier and time together more limited.  I hope you have a great school year.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,113
Registered: ‎09-30-2010

@PreKteacher   Simple stir fry dishes are quick and have the bonus of usually including vegetables.  You could do the preliminary prep of slicing the meat and vegetables and putting them in containers on Sunday so that all you do is pull them out on Monday night to do the actual cooking.  I would put the rice on to cook the minute I walked in the door since rice takes about 20-25 minutes to cook once the water has come to a boiil and lowered to simmer.  Rice and stir fry will thus be ready at the same time.  Or you could make rice ahead and just steam or microwave to reheat the night you will be serving itt.


Do a roast over the weekend and have leftovers during the week.


As others indicate the slow cooker is a good option, as is a pressure cooker/Instant Pot.  So many good ideas for using these appliances.


Best wishes for a successful and healthy school year for your family and your students.