Ann Hodgman

Quick School-Night Suppers Kids Will Love

quick school night recipesHow well I remember the glorious sense of liberation when both my kids finally reached all-day-school age. The days opened up like flowers in front of me. All those empty hours to fill as I liked! Going to the supermarket alone! Working without interruptions!  Maybe I’d even have time to take piano lessons.


But by the kids’ third day of school, I was already wishing they could stay there for just one more hour. As you may have noticed, weekdays with kids aren’t all that peaceful — not with the constant after-school shuttle to lessons and games and rehearsals and play dates.


Did you remember to bring the snack for the soccer team? Can you get Molly to do her homework during Jack’s trumpet lesson? Speaking of homework, weren’t there a couple of chores YOU were supposed to get done? And assuming we can even find the time to sit down together, what the hell are you supposed to make for supper?


Have no fear — well, no fear about supper, anyway. The following recipes are kid-friendly and suprisingly quick to prepare. Which is good, because you still have to help Owen make a scale replica of the solar system before he goes to bed.




Ranch-Dipped Chicken Fingers

quick school night recipes

If I had to line up all the chicken fingers my kids have eaten over the years, I would run away because it would take way, way, WAY too long. When you make your own, you can be sure you’re getting real chicken instead of  factory sweepings. You can also bake the chicken fingers instead of deep-frying them — a healthier and less messy alternative for anyone who doesn’t work in a fast-food restaurant. The result tastes nine thousand times better than anything you can buy.




Quick and Easy Beef Pizza

quick school night recipes

Wouldn’t it be easier just to buy a pizza? Sure, but then you’d have to factor in the delivery time. With homemade, you can get it onto the table faster. Plus you get all those Parent Points for actually making pizza from scratch. I’d replace the green pepper with a red one, though. It’s easier to hide, and children are less likely to pick it off.




Easy Slow-Cooked Pork Stroganoff

quick shool night recipoes

Now, slow cookers can’t do it all. You do have to load them with those ingredients eight hours ahead of time. On the other hand, anything that’s made in a slow cooker can be made the day before and reheated, so if you’ve got it together enough to have made this yesterday, you’ll be way ahead tonight.




Chili-Topped Potatoes

quick school night recipes

May I recommend the taco seasoning mix at Penzeys? You can keep it in a jar and spoon some out whenever you need it, rather than futzing around with those sticky little supermarket packets. It also tastes better, for those of us who still have time to taste our food.




Italian-Style Breaded Fish

quick school night recipes

My friend Roz once burned a batch of frozen fish sticks by mistake. She solved the problem by telling her kids that the blackened morsels were “fish crisps.” Worked like a charm! But please don’t burn this recipe. It’s too good. And it’s a great way to trick certain children (you know which ones) into eating  fish.




Easy Salmon Burgers

quick school night recipes

Here’s another delicious and non-threatening fish recipe. Why is it that shaping things into burgers makes kids like them more? Let’s not ask. Let’s just be glad it works for kids of every age, including their parents.

The Anything Frittata

quick school night recipes

Great name, great recipe! You can leave out the meat and add more vegetables if you want–or vice versa. You can also top the cheese–which I myself would double — with bread crumbs or panko. As long as your family likes eggs, you’re good to go.




BLT Salad

quick school night recipes

Many children fear the concept of salad, but ALL children love bacon — at least all the ones I’ve met. For salad-fearers, chef-salad-type recipes are a good way in, and this is a delicious introduction to the whole salad concept. If you have small children, you might want to omit the mustard from the dressing. You might also want to use iceberg or romaine lettuce, both of which are less scary than mixed greens, and you should definitely put the tomatoes in a separate bowl if anyone in the family hates tomatoes. Please don’t let all these instructions put you off! I’m just being realistic here.




Blueberry-Ricotta Pancakes

quick school night recipes

You’ll never miss when you serve breakfast for dinner! Ricotta adds protein to these tender pancakes, and no one will notice that it’s there. Although the blueberry syrup is delicious, you can also find delicious blueberry syrup at the supermarket. So don’t go nuts making handmade syrup if you’re pressed for time — just stir a handful of defrosted frozen blueberries into the store-bought version and march on.




Make these quick-and-easy lunch recipes too!





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