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O/T EASY dinner recommendations anyone? Please.

AJanie's picture

I cook about 3 or 4 nights per week. I work full time so the other nights everyone fends for themselves. Problem is we eat the same thing over and over, I am not one to get creative in the kitchen, I don't really enjoy it. Everyone is getting tired of taco night, spaghetti night, chicken and veggie night and repeat. I try to limit the super processed meals like hamburger helper, etc, but sometimes it happens.

I tossed some tomatoes, penne and chicken apple sausage together last week, thought it was delicious...skids and husband nearly vomited. Apparently the lone lady who has no blood relation to anyone in the house has very different taste buds. Who knew.

Does anyone have any easy and somewhat healthy suggestions? I do not eat fish.

I look on pinterest and find myself overwhelmed with a lot of it. I do not feel like buying 50 ingredients to cook dinner after a long day. I have no interest in learning to like Quinoa or any of the trendy new stuff. I am more a 3-5 ingredient, all in one pot kinda gal. Smile

Thank you so very much in advance.


Gimlet's picture

LadyFace gave me this recipe:

Homemade chicken dumpling soup:

Boil whole chicken in stock pot with salt, pepper, coriander, mustard powder, celery ends and carrots about 1 hour.
Strain (keeping the broth).
Remove chicken from bones and return to broth with diced celery and carrots on medium/high heat.

4 eggs
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 cups water
4 cups flour

Whip wet ingredients and slowly add flour. Drop into hot soup one spoonful at a time.

I have another one from WTF...REALLY but it has curry in it, which doesn't sound like it would be up your alley. I loved it personally, but I like a lot of plant-based, vegan/vegetarian food Smile

I'm thinking my spicy peanut rice noodles with tofu would be out too Smile

DaizyDuke's picture

You can make this in the crock pot even easier! And it's delish!

•1 large onion, diced
•1 can (10.5 oz) cream of celery soup
•1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
•1 tablespoon fresh parsley
•1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
•black pepper to taste
•4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
•2 cups low sodium chicken broth
•1 cup carrots
•1 can (8 pieces) refrigerated biscuits


1.Add onion to 6 qt crock pot and top with chicken breasts.
2.In a small bowl, combine cream of celery soup, cream of chicken soup, parsley, poultry seasoning and pepper. Spread over chicken breasts. Top with chicken broth and cook on high 5 hours.
3.Approximately 1 hour (I allow 60 - 90 minutes) before serving, roll each biscuit thin and flat. Cut into 4 strips. Add carrots and biscuit strips to the slow cooker and stir.

To Serve
1.Remove chicken breasts and slightly shred. Add back into slow cooker and stir (this will break up the dumplings somewhat which is ok). Let cook an additional 10 minutes and serve.

momjeans's picture

Yum! I love noodles with peanut sauce and baked tofu. I used to always buy the sauce, but there's a delicious and easy recipe in the Thug Kitchen cookbook. I'd be happy to share the recipe if anyone wants it.

momjeans's picture

Peanut sauce:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon maple syrup or agave syrup
1 teaspoon Asian style hot sauce (optional)

Peanut dipping sauce:

So good on roasted cauliflower...

1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon maple syrup or agave syrup

Gimlet's picture

I like to add a tablespoon of miso for more umami (or sneak some fish sauce in if my BD isn't eating it) and use chili garlic paste.

Gimlet's picture

Miso paste is vegan magic. It's very salty though, I've messed up using it and then salting food. Sad

Gimlet's picture

Evil3, I know you weren't asking me, but did you get Isa's new cookbook?? It's awesome.

momjeans's picture

I know you're not talking to me, but ooooh I want that holiday cookbook badly.

I recently put it on my Goodreads to drop DH a hint for the next time he wants to gift me a book. lololol

Gimlet's picture

Oh we're all vegan buddies here! I learned when my daughter went vegan and it's been very helpful with DH's inherited cholesterol issues and my lactose intolerance.

It's worth it. I have really liked every recipe I've made so far. There is an eggplant lasagna that is really close to being as satisfying as the animal product variety.

Of course the one dessert I tried to make ended in disaster, but that's not the book's fault.

Chicago Diner just released a cookbook that I want to get as well!

Evil3's picture

I haven't seen it. I'll have to look it up. If the recipes are plant based, I'll likely buy it. My DD16 is vegan and I'm a nutritarian, so such cookbooks are great for me, because I'm not creative at all. I can never think of new dishes to make and I end up making the same things over and over again.

momjeans's picture

I go back and forth between eating a vegan diet. I love seafood, and good cheese, way too much to be strict vegan. I have quite the collection of vegan cookbooks. If anything, it has given me a lot of good basic meals, using the least amount of processed food, to build off of. I eat baked tofu like it's life, though.

Gimlet's picture

Second the Crock Pot! Great way to make filling for burritos and such.

I got an Instant Pot pressure cooker over the holidays and I'm really starting to dig it. It has a slow cooker function too.

BethAnne's picture

Sounds like soups and stews will be your friend then, if you have time to let them simmer for a bit or make them in the slow cooker. If not noodle stir frys are good, potentially using store bought sauces if you don't want the hassle of making your own (they will have more sugar/salt that homemade probably). In the summer some baked chicken and salad is yummy, healthy and fairly quick. What sort of things do your family like to eat?

AJanie's picture

I love veggies and lean meats. Skids and DH are steak and potatoes type people. I do like some seafood but only once in awhile. We are New Englanders so clam chowder is a summer norm for us.

BethAnne's picture

Also how old are the kids? Can you get them to cook one night a week or once a month or something? And if the schedules work your husband should be helping out too doing half the cooking.

AJanie's picture

They're 7 & 10. He is our breakfast guy and does a lot of the cleaning. Cooking is my (half -assed) contribution Blum 3

moeilijk's picture

Here's a simple one we do when the Crock-Pot is in the dishwasher: microwave the heck out of frozen Brussels sprouts, until you can mash them. Then mash'em. If you're feeling fancy, get some bacon and crumble into your mash, otherwise sprinkle a little dried rosemary, splash a little olive oil, and mash some more. Then just poach or coddle or fry some eggs, put it on a plate and call it yummy.

Aniki's picture

I make a "burrito" filling.

2 cups of Minute Rice
2 cans refried beans (regular, fat free, vegetarian...your preference)
Thick & Chunky salsa, add to your taste
Grated cheese
Cooked ground beef/chicken/turkey, optional

Prepare the Minute Rice in a large saucepan (2+ quarts). Over low-med heat, add the refried beans and salsa (and meat) and stir until well blended and heated through.

Heat a skillet (large enough for the tortillas). Place a tortilla in the skillet for a few seconds, flip, remove.
Spoon filling into the tortilla, top with cheese, and roll up.

If making a LOT of these, lightly spray a 9x13 pan with Pam, place burritos in the pan until all are made. Top with more cheese and bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes.

Evil3's picture

I'm following you on Pinterest now. OMG! The recipes look amazing!

ksmom14's picture

I have a few go to "easy" recipes:

- grilled chicken sandwiches (just thin slice boneless skinless chicken breast, season, grill or saute and throw on a store bought bun with some mayo, lettuce, and tomato)
- meatball subs (I buy frozen meatballs from the store, you could make your own and freeze them if you wanted, just warm the meatballs up in some marinara sauce, throw some hoagie rolls in the oven with some mozzarella or provolone cheese and then top with the meatballs/sauce)
- paninis (simple sandwich bread, lunch meat, and cheese, butter the outside of the bread like you would a grilled cheese and throw it in the pan, I put mayo and tomato on after they're toasted up)

Another thing I do to help ease one night of cooking is I plan to have leftovers and use the next night. Last night I made chicken thighs for dinner, I made about 6 more than I knew I needed and tonight I'll be using that chicken (chopped up) in a chicken Alfredo dish. So now tonight I only have to make the pasta and sauce since I already cooked the chicken last night! Works well for things like enchiladas, or soups too.

AJanie's picture

Perfect. Spaghetti and meatball night can be meatball sub night... easy as pie Smile

momjeans's picture

With a DH that really isn't a leftovers eater and two young children, I try to think of dishes I can incorporate into something else. I usually start my week by making a huge batch of Parmesan roasted carrots. Here's the recipe:

They're like crack in our house. I have to make so much, because we'll eat them all week. I serve them over couscous or rice with a veggie burger or put them on a salad.

I've been on a soup kick lately. Cheddar broccoli is a favorite because leftover, it can be heated up and served over a baked potato or leftover rice for our toddlers.

I also do a batch of par cooked potatoes for the week to cut down on cooking time when I go to use them for a meal. DH and I really like to make root hash (adding in roasted carrots) with a fried egg on top.

I've recently started roasting turkey breast cutlets to use for a couple meals like burgers or salads. Just toss the breasts in olive oil. Coat with sage, rosemary, chopped garlic, a little lemon juice, salt and pepper. Obviously, can be cooked in the crock pot as well.

DaizyDuke's picture

Yum those parm roasted carrots sound delish. I just pinned your link so I can make them!

ksmom14's picture

those carrots look good! I have some leftover carrots from soup I made last week...I'm going to try out this recipe tonight!

DaizyDuke's picture

I used to LOVE that when I was a kid!! Why is it so exciting to have pancakes for dinner? lol

Aniki's picture

Chicken Ala King

1 precooked rotisserie chicken
2 cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken with Herbs soup
Frozen mixed veggies, thawed (I put them in the sink before I leave for work)
Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits

Remove all of the chicken from the carcass, chop, and place into Texas skillet or Dutch oven.
Add the soups, plus 2 cans of water.
Add the veggies.
Cook over medium heat until heated through.
Bake the biscuits while the chicken "stew" is cooking.

Split the biscuits and place in a bowl or on a plate and ladle the chicken stew over the biscuits.

Aniki's picture

Take about 30-40 minutes (depends on how fast you can dissect that chicken). If you can buy find cooked chicken that's already removed from the bone, it's ready in about 15-20 minutes.

For us, the Cream of Chicken with Herbs seasons everything just right. If you get regular Cream of Chicken, be sure to add some herbs!

justanothergurlNJ's picture

Crock Pot Lasagna YES I am serious

same way you make regular lasagna just layer in the crock pot (don't cook the noodles).

I like it better with homemade sauce instead of jar. I usually make a BIG pot of cause at least twice a month and freeze it.

NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

I do taco night and spaghetti night too ! And chicken fajita night. I also make Sheppard pie a lot which is hanburgwr meat, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes and cheese baked. I do beef stroganoff by buying fajita steak meat and egg noodles and gravy and sour cream. We do chicken and waffles with chicken strips too

Stepped in what momma's picture

Love this in the winter!

Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Soup
About 6 servings

3 to 3 1/2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 medium potatoes, 8 - 9 cups)
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced (1 cup)
3 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup evaporated milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (6 oz)
9 oz bacon, cooked and diced or crumbled
4 green onions, diced

To a 6 or 7-quart slow cooker, add potatoes, onion, chicken broth, evaporated milk and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid and cook on HIGH heat for 4 hours or LOW heat for 8 hours (poke potatoes with a fork to check make sure they're soft).
Ladle out 2 cups liquid from soup mixture in crock pot into a liquid measuring cup, set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour 2 cups liquid in measuring cup into butter mixture (it will thicken quickly). Pour butter mixture into slow cooker and stir to blend. If desired, mash potatoes with a potato masher to break down into smaller pieces or use an emulsion blender to puree. Cover and cook on HIGH heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. Turn heat off (or to warm), stir in sour cream. Serve warm topped with cheddar, bacon and green onions (you can just mix in those three remaining ingredients into slow cooker or top individual servings).

Acratopotes's picture

simply google

easy cheap meals....

millions of sites and the meals are cheap, and can be made with in 30min.... this is what I do, everyday a different meal lol, I do not care who likes it or not, if you do not like dinner - eat bread....

last night I made beef strips and veggies, with loads of fresh ginger, garlic and chilies.... my chinese style pan fry
then I simply added 2 packets of Ramin noodles.

Livingoutloud's picture

I use slow cooker liners so I don't have to do much washing after cooking, just throw away liner. Bought on amazon

noway70's picture

My family loves oven-baked vegetables with oregano:
Slice whatever vegetables you have (it's great to use that one potato or two carrots or whatever leftover in the fridge). I often use potatos, zuchinni, carrots, eggplant, anything, but make sure you use onions. It's just not the same without them.
Layer the vegetables sprinkling some olive oil, salt and oregano every 2 or 3 layers. Cover with aluminum foil and put it in the oven for about 40 minutes.
Then remove the aluminum foil, sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and put it back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts.

Pasta with gorgonzola cheese sauce is also a huge hit with the kids.
To make the sauce, just melt the gorgonzola with a little milk. When it has melted, turn off the heat and add a little ricotta cream or half and half.