As a working mother, I always had to be creative in coming up with quick, economical weeknight dinner meals. I became the queen of the 15-30 minute meal. My kids loved these meals as they grew up because they were homemade, yet hot and quick. Some of these specialties I got from my mother, and others I found on my own. Hot dogs and beans were a favorite when I grew up. My mother would take a can of baked beans and put it into a casserole dish with a squirt of ketchup. Then she took a package of hot dogs and sliced them. Mix the hot dogs into the beans and heat for 30 minutes or until the beans bubble. To cut down on the cooking time, I microwave the casserole for 5 minutes, then put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to finish it off. Children love the beans with the hot dogs and serving them this way was a snack. Throw some frozen fries in the oven or in a fryer for a side dish. Voila! Done.
Other weeknight favorites are spaghetti and chicken cutlets, stir fry and tacos. I always make 10 lbs of breaded chicken cutlets and freeze them. Then I can pull them out as needed and toss them in the toaster oven with some cooking spray. Similarly, I make large quantities of spaghetti sauce, and freeze them in quart containers. Each quart is good for 1 lb. of spaghetti.
A stir fry is easy because you just take the meat, chicken or fish and stir fry with seasoning and your favorite vegetables. I frequently will make tacos for a quick meal, adding my own twist by adding onions and green peppers to the cooked meat.
Of course, there are a multitude of pasta dishes that can be made easily and quickly. Cooking during the week after work, does not have to be arduous. And it is always more economical to eat at home.