When I was homeschooling, I planned a lot behind the scenes. Not only did I plan the kids weekly lessons, I always looked for easy, family meal ideas and other ways to keep our home going while I homeschooled.
It can be a real balancing act for homeschool moms. Really, a balancing act for all moms … working moms, stay at home moms, homeschool moms.
I remember sitting at my desk on Sunday nights while the kids were at Awanas, creating and planning our weekly schedule for homeschooling. Many times I planned for two hours. The kids would come home. We’d eat a bite and get them to bed. I was exhausted, but I still need to plan a menu for the week. I would feel overwhelmed because there was one more thing to do.
I wish I had a list of easy, go-to, family meal ideas that I could quickly pull from. I didn’t want the pre-packaged foods. I wanted simple, easy family meal ideas that were healthy for our kids. A list like that would have reduced my overwhelm.
That’s one reason I decided to create a list to share with moms like you. If you want our Easy Family Meal Ideas Recipe Book (retail $10) for free this week, just enter your name & email below. We’ll send you a copy….absolutely free.
Be sure to read to the end for our InstaPot Giveaway! Yep, we are giving away 4 Instant Pots to honor moms for Mother’s Day.
Breakfast Family Meal Ideas
Breakfast was easy for me. I love to cook breakfast, so I rotated some of our family favorites: breakfast tacos, pancakes, waffles, muffins, coffee cake, biscuits and sausage. Yes, we had cereal, too!
Overnight Coffee Cake
One of my favorite easy breakfast meal ideas is our Overnight Coffee Cake. While we were cleaning up from dinner, I would pull out the Kitchen Aid. Add the ingredients. Mix it up. Pour it in a 9×13 baking pan. Place it in the refrigerator.
The next morning, I turned on the oven. Pulled the coffee cake from the refrigerator and baked it.
A homemade breakfast that I didn’t have to get up super-early to prepare. You can get my recipe in our Easy Family Meal Ideas Recipe Book.
Angel Biscuits Dough for Everything
As I mentioned, I enjoy cooking and baking. I have a super-easy biscuit dough recipe that can sit in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 weeks. I’ll make my Angel Biscuits for dinner one night and use the leftover dough for breakfasts throughout the week. How would I use my dough?
- Cinnamon Rolls – Roll out the dough the night before. Spread melted butter. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar. Roll up. Slice. Place in baking dish. Let set overnight on the counter. Bake the next morning.
- Pull Apart Bread – Roll balls of dough in melted butter and cinnamon sugar. Place in bundt cake. Let rise overnight on the counter. Bake the next morning.
- Biscuits & Sausage – Leftover biscuits from dinner can be heated in the oven. Cook breakfast sausage and you have Sausage Biscuit Sandwiches for breakfast.
Breakfast Birthday Tradition
Growing up, my mom made pancakes on our birthday. She always made one pancake in the shape of our new age. If turned 8 years old, she made a pancake in the shape of an eight.
My kids chose what they wanted to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner on their birthday. If they chose pancakes, I made a number pancake just for them. I usually made a letter pancake with their initial. It’s a fun memory and tradition.
Lunch Family Meal Ideas
I do not like making lunches. Never have. Probably never will.
Sandwiches get old, so I wanted some variety. So, I made a list of lunches that I kept near the kitchen sink. When I couldn’t think of what to fix for lunch, I used one of those lunch family meal ideas. Some of those ideas included:
- Crackers & cheese with fruit
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
- Rice & beans
- Deli meat rolled up around cheese
- Macaroni & cheese
- Biscuit pizzas
- Anything on a stick – cheese, deli meat, veggies, fruit
- Sandwiches cut in shapes
- Leftovers from dinner
- Burritos – Roll up beans (or anything) in a tortilla
You can find lots of “cute” lunch ideas on Pinterest, but my kids wanted plain and simple. They didn’t want mac & cheese muffins or rolled up grilled cheese. They weren’t sure about eating it, if it looked strange.
On the other hand, my kids and grandkids love food cut in shapes. Using cookie cutters, cut sandwiches into fun shapes. Add a little decoration. They think it’s fun to eat. Another idea, “Ants on a Log” is a big hit. Spread peanut butter on celery sticks. Add raisins as the ants.
Dinner Family Meal Ideas
Now we come to dinner…a mom’s all-time favorite – NOT!
After homeschooling in the morning, cleaning up, chauffeuring the kids to activities, I was wiped. For some reason, my family still wanted 3 meals a day, including dinner. LOL!
I have some ideas for you. When I was homeschooling, the crockpot was my favorite friend for family meal ideas. Fill up your crockpot in the morning. Turn it on. Wait until dinner time. Serve your delicious meal.
One of the easiestfamily meal ideas that we truly loved was Italian Chicken. It’s super-easy. Basically, you put chicken, tomato sauce and seasonings in the crockpot. Cook until done. Cook pasta right before dinner time. Serve chicken over pasta. It’s really that easy!
- Place chicken pieces in crockpot. I use boneless chicken breasts because they are easy to serve on pasta.
- Add tomato sauce, Italian seasonings (Basil, Oregano, Parsley, or Garlic Powder)
- Stir together.
- Cook in crockpot on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.
- About 30 minutes before serving
- Sprinkle ½ – 1 cup Mozarella cheese on top. Stir. Cook 30 more minutes
- Start water to boil. Cook pasta
- Serve chicken and sauce over pasta. Sprinkle Parmesan on top of each serving. Add a salad and bread, if you like.
Now . . . the Instant Pot is all the rage. With the Instant Pot, you can make your entire dinner from start to finish in about 30 minutes. Both my daughters have one, so I asked them for some easy family meal ideas for you.
If you want my Easy Family Meal Ideas Recipe Book (value $10) with some good Instant Pot recipes, just enter your name and email below. As I update the recipe book, you’ll receive more recipes with more family meal ideas, as long as you stay on our recipe book list.
ORGANIZING YOUR FAMILY MEAL IDEAS
How can you organize your family meal ideas? Wondering how to organize recipes?
My daughter, Gentry, uses a simple weekly planner like this one. She buys them at the Dollar Store or the dollar section at Target.
She’s been using a similar one since she got married. In fact, my mom visited them in Virginia a couple months after they were married. When my mom returned to Texas, one of the first things she told me was Gentry had all her meals organized on a planner.
I keep a list of meals my family really enjoys. These are simple family meal ideas that are quick and easy for me to prepare. Ones that I have all the ingredients on hand. These become my go-to meals. Get your “Go-To” Meal printable when you read How to Organize Recipes as a Homeschool Mom.
When I’ve been scattered all day or overwhelmed by my kids arguing all day long, I make one of these meals. I recommend using our Family Meal Ideas printable in our recipe book to make your own family favorites list. I could share my list, but it will be different from yours.
Having said that, our Easy Family Meal Ideas Recipe Book includes many of our family favorites. They are some of our easiest meals to prepare.