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Operation: Dinner

By Heidi Schertz February 19, 2021

Let’s Talk Battle Plans

Is there anything more frustrating than not knowing what’s for dinner? It seems we are over it. At least half of my convos with my mom friends lately have been about food. Especially since so many of us are working from home and prepping 3 meals a day for our whole family, dinner can be daunting. How do we continue to generate enthusiasm for a meal when all you and I want to do is go to bed? I’ve got a couple tips and a few recipes to get you excited. 


Pro Tip #1: Toppings

My kids love Mac & Cheese. I confess it isn’t my favorite. However, I’ve gotten really good at turning Mac & Cheese from a box into a meal. It’s all about the toppings. Toppings can take a canned soup from ok to AMAZEBALLS. Toppings can take a dinner from so so to OMG so GOOD.


Ideal toppings

  • Parmesan or other shredded cheese
  • Pesto 
  • Nuts (walnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, etc) Toasted if you have lots of energy
  • Gardinera
  • Fancy Salt and Pepper (I know you have that one you impulse purchased)
  • Olive Oil Drizzle

Pro Tip #2: Breakfast for Dinner

No one is ever unhappy with pancakes for dinner. Scramble some eggs and add in some broccoli and you’ve got it. Gluten Free? Pamela’s is our favorite.


Pro Tip #3: Have an Emergency/ Go To Recipe

This one saves me every time. When I go to the grocery I make sure that I purchase the ingredients for one of my easy meals. This way I know I have SOMETHING. Maybe one of the recipes below can become your go to recipe. 

Cheesy White Bean Tomato Casserole

My friend has a standard fall back recipe that she raves about regularly. Ready in under 30 minutes. She usually adds 3 cups of diced tomatoes. She recommends chopping some red peppers and mushrooms to toss in if you’re feeling up for it. Or you can add your preferred veg. 


Quinoa Chili

When your kids look in the slow cooker and say, “OH Goodie! My favorite soup!” you know you have a winner. Top with some fritos or tortilla chips. This delicious soup is a dump and forget type vegan recipe. Perfect for winter days, days where you have other things to do, or really just any day where you feel overwhelmed. 


Tuna Nicoise ala Dad

Ok. My Dad got this recipe out of a newspaper when I was 18. I have made it since then. It is on standing order and I always make sure we have sliced olives ready. However, when I went hunting for the recipe I couldn't find it! And all the recipes that say they are Nicoise look way different. So here’s my dad’s recipe. Great on toast, crackers or just a spoon. This recipe is dump-it-all-into-the-bowl, season-to-taste kind of thing. Tastes like summer. My kids love it.

  • 2 large cans of tuna (nicest kind you can afford)
  • Olive oil
  • Zest and Juice of at least 1 lemon
  • Can of sliced black olives drained
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parsley bunch chopped
  • 2-3 stalks of celery chopped small (trust me)
  • Capers 

Pan Bake

I know, I know. This one isn’t a real recipe either. But that’s what makes this one great. Preheat the oven to 425. Combine your choice of the items below. Make sure you chop small. Ready in 30. Don’t forget what I said about toppings.

  • Potatoes 
  • Squash
  • Beet, Carrot or Root Veg
  • Sausage or other ground protein, if Vegetarian heat chickpeas up separately on stove
  • Green veg (broccoli is king)
  • apple

What’s your favorite go-to recipe? Share it with us!


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