The other day my sis-in-law, Nikki and I were emailing back and forth about how challenging it is to get dinner on the table during the week with an active toddler on our hands. And really, the only thing we want to do when we walk in the door from work is scoop up our babies and play with them every second until it’s bedtime.

But…that’s not realistic because dinner needs to be made and people need to eat. And eating together as a family is really important. I remember sitting down to dinner with my family every single night growing up, that family time is really invaluable.

So the goal is to find the easiest, quickest meals that are still healthy and taste good. My strategy is all about planning ahead as well as making the most out of leftovers. Erik and I (but mostly me) decide what meals we want to eat that week and we prepare a grocery list. Then one of us does the shopping (I shop more but he’s pretty good about doing it when I need a break).

Typically I cook two meals during the work week, then we eat leftovers two nights and on the last night we opt for convenience (frozen pizza, paninis, quick salads, etc). That way, I am only cooking two nights during the busy weeknights. I’d love to get to the point where we don’t have that last day where we just eat whatever is convenient (we don’t eat fast food ever…but frozen pizza isn’t healthy either). Juliet always eats what we eat, with the exception of frozen pizza, those days I’ll make her a hummus and Applegate turkey sandwich with veggies and fruit or something else that is simple but nutritional.

When I saw this Easy Korean Beef recipe on Pinterest the other week I thought it looked awesome. It fit the criteria I listed above and best yet, we always have ground beef in our freezer because we get it from Erik’s uncle who has cattle in North Dakota.

This recipe was super easy, had a lot of flavor and is overall pretty healthy.  It may not be the prettiest dish around, but when you’re feeding a toddler and a hubby who would be happy with boneless wings for dinner…well, presentation is the last of your worries. I will definitely be adding this to the list of 20 minute meals that make my weekdays easier.

Easy Korean beef with kale (recipe via The Girl Who Ate Everything blog)


1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce (I always used reduced sodium)
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced 
1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I omitted this because Juliet hasn’t had spicy foods yet)
Bunch of kale (or bag of pre-washed kale, I prefer baby kale)
salt and pepper
1 bunch green onions, sliced (optional, I didn’t use these)
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the ground beef in the sesame oil. Add the garlic towards the end of browning and cook for a couple of minutes. Drain the fat.

Add the kale and stir to wilt.  
Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper and red pepper. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Serve over brown rice. I use Trader’s Joes brown rice that comes pre-cooked and frozen. It just takes 3 minutes in the microwave.  

This recipe is a bit nostalgic, it totally reminds me of a meal my mom used to make when I was growing up. Her dish had ground turkey, spinach, soy sauce and probably a few other ingredients. We ate it over white rice (we had white rice every single night). It was totally delicious, just like this easy korean beef. 

Juliet gobbled this meal up, she really loved it. It’s funny how happy something like this can make me. 

I’d love to hear what your go-to weekday meals are. Please comment and share and bonus points for links to the recipes!