Last week our gas grill ran out of propane and it took us 3 day to replace the tank. Do you know what a calamity that was? My whole evening routine was completely off because for the first time in roughly 3 months, I had to cook. Cook!! As soon as the weather is warm enough (and even sometimes before then), we grill. Chicken, burgers, steaks, veggies, heck we’ve even tried grilling fruit! Our house is usually too hot in the summer to cook using the oven, so the grill is our mainstay and when it was gone I was thrown for a loop.
Once we got the tank replaced, life was back to normal and meals were good again. I had my footing and all was well- until the Hubs made an off hand remark about how we won’t be able to grill for much longer once the cold weather moves in.
People, I about had a panic attack. You see, I don’t really like to cook. I do cook at least 5 days a week because we’re not wealthy enough to 1) hire a chef or 2) eat out all the time but clearly my brain needs a jump start when it comes to cooking inside again. After going over a schedule of the the kid’s extra curricular actives, it became even more apparent I have to get my act together soon because 3 nights out of the 5 week nights, we won’t be getting home until 6ish.
So this is where you come in. I’m looking for recipes that are either 1) quick or 2) meant for the crock pot. While healthy recipes are the gold standard, I’m not necessarily only looking for healthy ones as I don’t mind cooking up one meal a week drenched in butter. I’m looking for something my kids will want to eat and that I can’t really screw up. So if you have any that meet that criteria, please feel free to share!
In the interest of fairness here are some of my family favorites. The Riggies recipe isn’t really quick and certainly isn’t healthy (heavy cream, anyone?!), but it is really good and it freezes well!
Beef with Beer (Crockpot)
> get a Beef Round Bottom Round Roast in the size you need
> 2 beef bullion cubes OR 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
> Beer (any kind will do- the alcohol will burn off)
You can cook this in the crock pot, stove top or oven. Just put the beef in the pot you’re cooking it in and cover 3/4th of the way with beer and add in in the bullion cubes or soup mix. Cook until you can easily shred the meat. Serve on a roll as a sandwich. It’s great when cooking for a lot of people! I make it in the crock pot- but it does take all day to cook, so give yourself time.
(these are spicy. I’d recommend this for a Sunday dinner as they do take some time to make, but they are great to make and eat a few days later. Also, the sauce freezes very well)
1 lb of pasta
~1.5 lbs of chicken tenders
1 stick of butter
garlic, basil, oregano
1 12 oz jar of sliced pepperocinis
2 12 oz jars of marinated peppers (look for “pepper salad” by Cora in the pasta/sauce aisle)***
1 can of medium pitted olives (optional — you can also add mushrooms or onions)
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup grated parm
1 1/4 cup marinara/spaghetti sauce (any kind will do as long as it does not have meat in it)
- boil the pasta, drain, set aside
- boil the chicken until thoroughly cooked, drain, and shred or cube
- in a large pot, melt the stick of butter.
- add chicken. add a few dashes of garlic, basil, & oregano. saute & stir for just a few minutes.
- drain ~1/2* of the liquid from the jar of pepperocinis. add remaining contents to pot.
- add peppers to pot. do not drain.
- drain liquid from olives. add to the pot.
- saute & stir for a few minutes
- add parm, heavy cream, & spaghetti sauce
- stir well, until the sauce is a light pink color.
- add pasta, stir, serve & enjoy
*** I didn’t read the recipe correctly and only used one 12 oz jar of this and the riggies were plenty spicy enough!
Parmesan Ranch Chicken
2 lbs boneless chicken breasts or tenderloins**
1 package dry ranch dressing
1 C Parmesan cheese
1/2 C crushed corn flakes or bread crumbs
1/2 C butter, melted***
Preheat oven to 400
In medium-sized bowl, mix together ranch dressing, Parmesan cheese and corn flakes/bread crumbs.
Dip chicken in melted butter, then in the mixture from above.
Place in greased pan, drizzle left over butter over top and add in left over coating mixture as desired
bake for 40-50 minutes (or until chicken is done.)
** I used chicken cutlets or tenders so this cooks in under 20 minutes.
*** To make this some what better for you, I’ve dipped my chicken in egg whites. While I’d much rather use the butter, it still tastes just fine that way!
Just put pork in crock pot with dinosaur bbq sauce and then make noodles quick to go with it. Can also put carrots in with crock pot, but my boys like raw carrots.
Yummy Cheesy Chicken and Salsa
Put chicken in crock pot, or a sauce pan, with Campbell’s cheese soup and salsa of your choice. So yummy in wraps or over rice. I do with the 90 second rice bag when I am really in a rush. Can also use as an awesome dip for parties with the scoop tostitos
Chicken noodle soup
Chicken in crock pot with broth, carrots, and celery and then add noodles later on or just make on the side.
Taco meat (we use ground pork or turkey) cooks so quick and easy by just adding the taco mild sauce. Daniel eats in a taco shell and Kyler eats out of Tostito chip scoops. We just add cheese, rice and I add peppers and tomatoes to it. Very simple and fast to make.
Add left over chicken, or cook it up, with cheese and vegetables of choice to tortilla bread and place in oven. We use a pizza stone from Pampered Chef and it comes out great.
Breakfast for Dinner 🙂
We tend to do pancakes at night because I never have time to make them before school. They only get cereal and fruit in the mornings. Pancakes usually don’t take a long time to make and they just love Pancake Night.
I get the Pillsbury dough because it is easier and quicker and they just throw sauce on it while I cut other toppings up and then they help decorate it quick and it cooks pretty fast because it is so thin.
Sausage or Chicken and Pasta
Just throw sausage or chicken, or be crazy and do both :), in crock pot with tomatoes or sauce of choice and then you just have to cook the noodles later.
We use the microwable sweet potatoes and frozen veggies on crazy nights just to get the meal going quicker. I sometimes dread making dinner at the end of a long day, so I understand what you are saying. Steve was home some in July for dinners and it was bliss! He loves to cook and makes more complicated things for us since I stick to quick and easy. Mac n’ cheese from a box is a once a week staple for them and I always feel a little guilty for it, but they love it.
You rock- thank you!
If you look under the recipes tag in my LJ, there should be a lot of quick and easy dinners.
Off the top of my head, things like Chicken and Black Bean Quesadillas and Lasagna Soup would be good. The soup isn’t really fast, but you can make it on a Sunday and freeze the leftovers for future quick dinners.