To go with the theme of my new blog layout, this is kind of a ‘down home country smarts’ mixed with modern mom know how/quick fixes. If you have any questions, leave me a comment and your email address and I would be delighted to get back to you! Thanks Jen for setting this up! Go over to her blog and find other recipes!
Here’s a couple of ‘cheaters’ that get done in 5-30 minutes… when in doubt, open a bag of or can of mixed vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes on the stove top to add fiber, color, and nutrients to the meal.
My best tip is honestly to put some work in on the weekends and eat leftovers in various form throughout the week as needed. Big roasts or pots of soup go a long way. You at the crock pot and your husband with a grill spatula and 20 extra minutes can make your week SO much easier!
Crock pot suppers, google it!
Grill burgers, chicken, pork, etc on the weekend and then add to dishes as you go. Meat-freers can use portabello mushrooms.
Pre-cook ground meat with onions, garlic, etc and separate into batches for recipes. It’s freezable, too, so for city gals/guys you could get one of those giant packs of meat you always see on discount at the grocery and cook it all at once. I have a friend who does this, it’s a very viable option! If you don’t want to cook it all at once, use containers (or less green, freezer bags), separate into portions as soon as you get home, and freeze.
Having a great stocked pantry is also a must! Keep certain items on hand and you’ll never go hungry: Broth, noodles of various types, jarred sauces, canned vegetables, rice, and meat, cheese, and various types of bread in the freezer. Look for discounts and buy 2 of something if you can freeze it. More if you can afford it. Potatoes and onions in a basket.
One of the best uses for ‘overtime’ money or any small windfall is to go to a REAL meat locker, not a grocery store, and have them give you whatever you can get, the prices are lower (less overhead) and the meat is more fresh than the grocery. Fill up a deep freezer. If you can find someone with a hog/cow and have it butchered, it’s even better, you pay the going rate per pound, so if you get roast it’s the same price as steak the same price as hamburger. Try out the items from the place a few times before you place a big order, but we’ve dropped $200 before and had meat to last for, well, ever. Imagine not having to go and buy meat every week at the store. If you can do this with bonus money, it’s even better, because you don’t miss the cash, see what I mean? Most ground meat will last frozen around 3 months (sausage), 6 months – 1 year (pork or beef alone). The sausage is mixed with other ingredients, that’s why it doesn’t last as long, but we’ve eaten it at around the 6 month mark and it’s still fine. Non ground meat will last longer. Just be sure to check your deep freezer regularly to make sure it’s operating correctly! Oh and then it’s not ‘oh no! what are we having for supper’, but ‘hey what delicious recipe can I whip up, see here, I already have everything I need in my pantry and freezer! and I’m saving all that time by not running to the store!’
Frozen meatballs, microwaved, jarred sauce, Creamette ‘quick cook’ pasta takes 3 minutes to al dente and 5 to baby biteable! Drain pasta, add sauce, zap the meatballs, add together and stir! For added protein, use quick boil meat or cheese stuffed frozen tortellini.
Use the same meatballs for a sub sandwich.
Do the same thing as above with pre-grilled/cooked chicken and jarred alfredo sauce.
You can make a giant pork roast in the crock pot/slow cooker and shred what’s left, use some leftovers that week, and freezing some for a later date. If you don’t feel like doing this, there are microwaveable, able to be frozen (if you find a deal) pre-made bbq chicken, beef, and pork in the refrigerated cases at the supermarket. These can microwave while you make something else. Or chase a toddler.
Quick Cuban Sandwich: Butter one side of 2 pieces of bread, put first down in skillet as if making ‘grilled cheese’, add some cooked (plain sliced or shredded) pork, favorite cheese, ham, and pickles and mustard! Add other piece of bread, cook, flip, etc. Serve with chips/fries/vegetables. If you’ve got a picky kid, delete items as needed and add a dipping sauce, or just do grilled cheese and make the fancy for yourself! A good for you canned soup completes the meal.
Quick egg salad: hard boiled eggs, your favorite ingredients, and the dressing right off the shelf: Marzetti’s cole slaw dressing. It’s tangy but not too sweet, and you never have to try and balance the vinegar and sugar, works well in potato salad and deviled eggs, too! Hard boiled eggs can be kept for up to a week in the shell in the refrigerator!!
Octopus dog:-for big kids, I can’t remember how they cooked the dogs, I’m thinking it’s microwave, but use your imagination, and do a quick google search, there are tons of pictures, the basis is that you slice longways several times halfway up into a hot dog until it has 8 ‘tentacles’ like an octopus, serve on a bed of mac and cheese.
pizza/pizza bread: Use discount rack french bread or an instant pizza crust mix, jarred sauce, and your favorite pizza ingredients. Secure toddler in high chair and throw pizza ingredients on tray as you chop! By the time your pizza is done, toddler will have had most of the healthy portion of the meal, and if is still hungry, you just share a piece! Our baby LOVES green olives and requests more, more, more! Buy the discount french bread and freeze it. I often get mine for up to 60% off!
Add canned tuna or chicken, or chopped hot dogs and peas to cheesy mac from the microwave and stir.
Chop up some smoked sausage and add to Zatarain’s red beans and rice mix. They offer a low salt variety. For a toddler, check into skinless sausage. You can get this cooking and then ignore it until it’s ready.
chili mac: This can be as simple as microwaved pasta and a can of chili spiced beans/chili in a can, or you can go all out and add the beans, water and regular cook pasta to cooked meat and then stir in cheese at the last minute. Either way takes no time at all to prepare and is very hearty. Bonus would be having leftover homemade chili and adding that straight to macaroni and cheese.
Chicken broth, Amish noodles, and pre-cooked chicken.
If you make a pot roast, use leftovers, beef broth and noodles to make beef and noodles.
Small frozen shrimp, thawed under water, and tossed into a skillet with veggies and served over pasta or rice.
Hi, this is melissa from living and loving life. you commented on a few of my meal ideas and i wanted to write back! thank you for the ideas that you gave me on how to possibly do some things in an easier way. also, would you send me the recipe you were speaking about (a casserole with chicken and cream cheese)? thanks!