5 Easy Dinners That Are Perfect For Midterm

A successful "dinner time" tends to lead to a stress-free bedtime and that is worth everything in my book.

As much as I enjoy a break from routine, I find midterm break a little bit stressful. I find that school gives my family a sense of structure that ultimately keeps things moving in all the right ways. For this reason, I enjoy having a meal plan because at the very least we have one structured check-point every day. I realize this makes me sound incredibly boring but something so simple has a huge knock-on effect in our home. A successful "dinner time" tends to lead to a stress-free bedtime and that is worth everything in my book.

Easy Cheesy Mac 'N Cheese

Creamy cheesy pasta dinner, need I say more? I've always been a lover of this dish in a restaurant but always assumed that it was a complex dish to make. It's actually incredibly easy though. Make a simple cheese sauce like this one and add it to some cooked macaroni. That is literally it. You can bake it and add some breadcrumbs to the top or you can jazz it up by adding fried bacon lardons. A teaspoon of English mustard will transform it into a more adult version. This is delicious hot or cold.

One-Pot BBQ Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs are inexpensive and perfect for slow cooking. Simply fry six skinless chicken thighs in a little oil for a couple of minutes on each side. Add in 500ml of passata, one teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of brown sugar (or honey), one teaspoon of coriander powder, two teaspoons of smoked paprika, one teaspoon of tomato purée, one crushed clove of garlic and a dash of black pepper to the pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for twenty minutes. Serve with rice, quinoa or mashed potato.

Spinach And Marscapone Lasagne

We are big fans of Kenmare Foodie and she recently posted a recipe for stuffed pasta shells. We couldn't find the large pasta shells so we turned it into a lasagne dinner and it was incredibly delicious. Layers of tomato sauce, pasta, creamy spinach and bechamel sauce. Heaven on a plate. Here is Karen's post.

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Cheey Topped Spinach and Ricotta stuffed Pasta Shells... This reminds me of when I was a teenager and just starting to really discover food. My Parent's used to take me to a restaurant in Cork called Bully's, right beside Paul St Shopping Centre. It was probably my 1st growning up food experience and EVERY time without doubt I'd have the Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni. It was served with Garlic Bread, warm and salty from the Butter and leafy salad on the side that you could douse with the gorgeous Salad dressing that sat on top of each table in a little brown Stephen Pearce bowl. It was the height of sophistication in the 80s but to me it was more than that. It was a flavour and texture I ADORED and a wonderful new type of food. One bite of tonight's dinner and I'm 15 and I'm falling in love with food all over again. A quick run down on what I used. 500g Spinach 500g Ricotta 2 cloves garlic Good pinch grated nutmeg Salt and pepper. 1 quantity homemade tomato sauce using 1 onion sautéed with 4 cloves of garlic, adding 2 tins of tomatoes, handful of basil, pinch of sugar,salt and pepper (simmer and blitz) 1 quantity bechamel using 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp flour, 400 ml milk, grated nutmeg, 2 big handfuls of grated cheddar, salt and pepper. 1 bag of BIG pasta shells. Sautée the Spinach in frying pan in a little butter in batches seasoning well until wilted then place it in a colander and squeeze out the excess water before finely chopping. Put the marscapone in a bowl, add the Spinach, 2 cloves garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well. Get a baking dish (1 very large 1 or 2 smaller) and Pour the tomato sauce in a thin layer in the bottom. Using a tsp scoop up spoons of the Ricotta mix and stuff each shell (I used approx 40 shells in total ) Place them in rows on top of the tomato sauce before pouring the cheesy white sauce over. Top with even MORE grated cheddar and a few chopped pine nuts (

A post shared by Karen Coakley (@kenmarefoodie) on

Savoury Mince

We can guarantee clean plates after this dinner. Fry a packet of lean minced beef with a finely diced onion and a crushed clove of garlic. When the mince is cooked add some frozen peas and a jar of baby carrots. You can now add a packet of oxtail soup and enough water to transform it in to a thick sauce. Serve with mashed potato.

Sticky Garlic And Soy Salmon

A super easy marinade is the star of this dish. It's sweet, salty and the salmon will melt in your mouth. You can find the whole recipe here.

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Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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