Monday, August 27, 2012


Most of the kids have started school and it seems I might find a little bit more time in the day to get somewhat organized and dig into all of the paperwork and projects and messes that have been looming over my head like a dark cloud!!  One thing that I want to attempt to get better at is meal planning.  I so often don't even know what I'm making for dinner until 20 minutes beforehand.  Most of the time that works fine for me, because I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl.  But sometimes it causes undue stress and leads to less than stellar meals.

So I want your ideas!!!  I want ideas for EASY (most important) meals that are mostly nutritious (I try not to cook with a lot of cream-of-something soups, sour cream, etc) and that are QUICK!  Crock pot recipes would be great.  I'm into really easy sides, like rice, cut up fruit or steamed veggies (I don't usually make fancy salads or side dishes unless it's a special occasion). 

I'll give you a few ideas of some of our favorite, easy dinners off the top of my head:

Breakfast Sandwiches: Toasted English muffins (we even like whole wheat) with scrambled eggs and turkey bacon-- easy and yummy. 

Breakfast Burritos:  Scrambled eggs and turkey bacon with salsa in tortillas

Barbeque Chicken Wraps:  Chicken cooked in barbeque sauce in the crock pot, shredded, then add more bbq sauce and put in tortillas (preferably the uncooked ones that you cook yourself-- so much better!), sometimes with added cheese or rice (Thanks, Channy, for this family favorite)

Stir fry:  A mega bag of stir fry veggies seasoned with soy and teriyaki sauce-- at the end add a bunch of cooked ramen noodles (drained and seasoned)

...These are the easy kinds of meals I'm talking about.  A few ingredients and QUICK.

Please, slather me with ideas!!!!  (:



  1. As if I have any room to talk......sloppy joes and fries, spaghetti, cube steak with mashed potatoes and salad, shepherds pie (ground beef with canned gravy and Lima beans mixed together, top with mashed potatoes and Parma cheese and bake), taco pie, chicken legs in crock pot covered in BBQ sauce, homemade pizza, bean salad can be a whole meal, taco bar, pigs in a blanket....if any of that sounds appetizing enough feel free to ask for better instructions...oh, black bean burritos are the bomb, no meat...glad to send recipe.

  2. Yes! Please give me details on taco pie, bean salad, and black bean burritos! And sometimes it's just good to be reminded of ideas-- we haven't had sloppy joes in forever!

  3. The favorite in our house is sloppy joes. The kids don't like the bun. I make my own sauce from a recipe I found online, which is super easy. I put it in a ziplock bag and tape a half a chopped onion in a bag with it. I can freeze this and pull out the meat the night before to thaw in the fridge. Quick sloppy joes.
    I also keep jarred Alfredo sauce and fettuccini noodles in the pantry. They like it even if I don't have chicken to put on top.
    You can also do a beef stroganoff in the crock pot. I've even used meatballs in the crockpot and add to noodles.
    Lately, when I make a dish, I have doubled it and froze one of them. I've frozen a chicken pot pie mix, thaw it and put in with a pie crust for an easy dinner.
    I usually google ideas to find recipes.

    Kim o

  4. We love chili and soups at our house, especially now that the weather is cooling off a bit. We make a huge pot of chili (sometimes using real ground beef, and sometimes using "fake" meat, such as morningstar crumbles) it for a couple of days, and freeze the rest. It's easy to thaw on a busy night for a quick meal.

    Vegetable beef soup is another favorite, with grilled cheese sandwiches. Again, make more than you need and freeze the rest for quick meals later in the month.

  5. my fav quick go to meal is qusidillas (sp?) I will do spinish and cheese, cheeses and chicken, even throw some veggies between two tortillas and fry them on the stove. Have you heard of EZ meals? it cost a small fee less than $5/month, but you can choose what kind of meals you want to make, family size, and where you normally shop and they email a weeks worth of recipes, a grocery list, aprox cost, etc. if you decide you only want to make 3/7 meals it really easy to see what you don't need. Some weeks the leftovers from one day turn into another delish meal the next. might be worth looking into. good luck!

  6. ohh English muffin pizzas were a fav of mine as a kid. Everyone grabs an English muffin, top it with personal choosing and broil on a cookie sheet.

  7. Two ideas that come to mind are tacos In a bag. Use snack size Doritos or tortilla chips. Add meat and toppings to bag and all you need is a fork! We can get the chips at a local outlet store. Kids love them and it is an easy clean up. We make Mac and cheese in crockpot. It can be topped with various toppings, Mac and cheese bar. A favorite lunch idea is pepperoni slices, crackers, cheese cubes, and fruit. I'll keep thinking. Kim

  8. When we hit a rut (and when my kids were less adventurous with dinner), I did a theme for each night. It's been awhile, but I think it was Meatball Mondays (Swedish, Sweet and Sour, Spaghetti with..., meatball sandwiches), Taco Tuesdays (hard tacos, fish tacos, pork tostadas, chicken soft tacos), World Food Wednesdays (international food!), Try-it Thursdays (new recipes and ones to educate their palates), and Friday night pizza. Maybe Soups on Saturday? I can't remember.

    This was so helpful for me, and my kids liked knowing what to expect. I also made the themes fit with our weekly schedule--so, for example, Tuesdays were really busy, so the taco fillings were either crock pot recipes or fish, which cooks really quickly.

    Hope this helps!

  9. Taco Soup is always our go-to. You can even crockpot it. There are all kinds of variations of it, but we always do: can of black beans, can of pinto beans, can of corn, can of diced tomatoes, meat, taco seasoning packet, and olives.
    Just dump it all in a pot! You may need to triple the recipe :). We serve it with cheese and sour cream on the side with tortilla chips.

  10. I second the theme idea. The food nanny (it's an awesome cookbook) suggests the following themes:
    Monday: comfort food (biscuits and gravy, meatloaf, casseroles, stews, etc)
    Tuesday: Italian night (spaghetti, lasagna, Alfredo, etc. tons of recipes)
    Wednesday: fish and meatless ( Mac and cheese homemade, fried rice, naked halibut, breakfast for dinner! Etc)
    Thursday: Mexican night (tacos--so many different kinds!, enchiladas, nachos, quissadillas, burritos, etc)
    Friday pizza night (BBQ chicken, English muffin do it yourselves, etc)
    Saturday: grill night ( steak, hamburgers, chicken, brisket, etc)
    Sunday: traditions (pot roast, turkey, etc. and add things like your yummy rolls!!!)
    Don't have to be fancy dinners, but gives you an easy schedule so you don't get stuck in a rut

  11. Super easy chili spaghetti - ground beef browned (for a purest you can use shredded beef) - a couple cans of Brooks hot and spicy chili beans - and a couple cans (or jars) of spaghetti sauce (LaRosa's works best for us). Throw it all in a crock pot - boil up a pot of spaghetti - and on top of the individual servings throw a nice pile of shredded chedder cheese, maybe some crackers - you've got something there! Add an apple or peach or whatever is in season and dinner is served!

    hugs - love you guys - aus and co.

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  13. Taco soup, white chicken chili (both in crockpot) we make our own bean burritos with tortillas, beans and cheese, breakfast for dinner for us is pancakes and eggs...easy chicken parmesan - just put chicken in either the crockpot or a baking pan, cover with Spaghetti sauce, cook until done (you can even put it in the crockpot frozen), then cover with cheese. Serve with a side of noodles..

  14. I love to do who chickens in the crockpot. Put in 2 cups of veggie or chicken stock ( I make my own from the chicken bones if crockpot chickens) and a slice up whole lemon. cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Serve with rice and steamed veggies and you're good to go!

  15. Another meal a large family i know does is mac and cheese but they put tuna and peas in it for easy meal. Even the 10 month old ate it today! Oh in one of my other comments i mention ezmeals its actually sorry about that.


  16. taco soup (I saute an onion with 2 tsp cumin and 2 tsp chili powder, add 3 cans of tomatoes, 2 cans of black beans, 2 cans of pinto beans, some amount of frozen corn- whatever looks good) and cook it until it is warm. If I'm very ambitious I will add fresh cilantro. Serve with cheese and tortilla chips.

    pancakes are fast and easy and the kids love them

    any kind of noodle with parmesan cheese (my kids love it even though it's simple)

    burritos- beans, lettuce, canned salsa, cheese, rice if I have time

    fried rice- heat up cooked rice with a little oil, soy sauce, and frozen mixed vegetables

    noodle soup- noodles, mixed vegetables, and better-than-bouillon not-chicken flavor, serve with toast or some other bread thing

    if you pre-cook potatoes and carrots in the crock pot, it's very easy to make a creamy soup out of them very quickly with just milk. I also add frozen corn and salt.

  17. My go to easy meal is Cornbread Casserole. You might want to double it, but here's how I make it:
    1lb ground beef, cooked with onions and then seasoned with taco seasoning. Spread it in a pan (I have an 8x 11.5 pan I use). Spread a can of drained black beans on top. Pour a small bag of frozen corn over the beans. Make a batch of cornbread (for the 8x8 pan size) and add a cup of cheese to put. Spread over the corn. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or till cornbread is cooked through. is where I go to find new ideas. They have a delightful Bourbon Chicken recipe that is really quick and easy and contains no actual bourbon!

  18. Sheesh, I need to proof read better. You add the cheese to IT, meaning the cornbread batter!


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