As much as I love to cook (and eat!), there are nights when I just don't want to work at making dinner. Particularly on the warmer summer days when I don't want to heat up the kitchen, or at the end of an especially stressful work week, I just want easy, easy, easy. Often times, the temperature of the meal is as much a deciding factor as the work involved - for instance if I'm in the mood to fix a meal, but jut want something cool and refreshing, I might throw together a salad for dinner - taco salad and greek salad are always favorites in our house, or we might have deli-style sandwiches on crusty rolls. Then there is "Snacky Dinner". Steven & I have always been fans of what I really think of as an indoor picnic - olives, rustic bread, an assortment of cheeses, fresh fruit, wine and some Pacific Northwest alder smoked salmon or a nice hunk of salami.
Sometimes we enjoy an assortment of finger foods that can be eaten in front of the TV so we can enjoy a movie marathon or at the game table during family game-night (something we are LONG overdue for). These might include appetizers that I make for parties like tortilla roll-ups, or taco bites (won-ton skins filled with a taco-like filling - I'll post the recipe another time) or other party-type foods like chicken wings, homemade artichoke-jalapeno dip with chips, nachos, sausage rolls or a deli-meats and cheese platter set out with assorted cocktail breads and condiments like mayo or mustard.
I remember Steven & I attempting to introduce these as "snack meals", more like something you'd enjoy at a party. You assemble a little plate of goodies, nibble on them while playing cards ot mingling with guests, then later, you might assemble another plate with a few more items - just nibbling as you go, rather than filling a plate and eating non-stop until you're stuffed. This concept has never really caught on with our children, they enjoy the food (very mucy, in fact), but they just feel compelled eat until they are satisified, all in one go, so in our house if there's something you especially enjoy, you better move quick before the kids finish it off!
Somewhere along the lines our "picnic" meal of bread, cheese, fruit, etc. was christened "Snacky Dinner". If our youngest, Amanda, sees a loaf of bread and some cheese out near dinner time, she immediately announces we're having "Snacky Dinner". It's a meal that is always greeted with much enthusiasm. There's plenty of room for you to add your own twist and I find it's nice to know that my family is really just as happy with such a simple meal as a more complex one that requires real attention at the stove!