Skip to main content

Easy Dinners

November 27, 2017

Okay, let's say that I'm a terrible planner. My main strategy for surviving dinner includes the following tips:
If you have a busy afternoon, make dinner at lunchtime!!! One of my smarter friends recommended this. It's a game changer.

If it's 4pm and you still haven't figured out what's for dinner, you can scrape something together if you have some building blocks on hand, in the pantry and in the freezer. Let's say you like to buy cooked chicken at Costco, and you split the package into four portions. This package costs $13 and will feed my family for 3-4 dinners. Once I open the package, I stick the other portions in freezer bags. 

Using this cooked chicken, you can make stuff like pasta with alfredo sauce, soups, tacos, salad, etc. Hopefully your pantry is stocked with pasta, potatoes, rice, bread or tortillas.

The same idea applies to ground beef.  While the big kids are at school, I make time to cook 2 lbs of ground beef.  Chop an onion and saute them together, season with salt and pepper and spices. Now you have enough cooked meat for 3-4 dinners.  Use one portion for chili or spaghetti, then put the other cooked stuff in the freezer.

Broccoli chicken
1 quart Broccoli cheese soup.  Add a bag of frozen broccoli, just steamed until it’s nice and bright green.  Add some chicken (Or use all your turkey leftovers!)  and serve over rice, or cauliflower rice, or with noodles or potatoes.

Chicken noodle soup
1 box chicken stock.  If you need more liquid, add some water + chicken boullion.
Frozen bag of homemade noodles
Once your chicken stock is boiling, add the noodles because they take like 20 minutes to cook.  After about ten minutes, add all the veggies and seasonings.  Such a great dinner in less than half an hour.

Cornbread chicken pot pie
This is one of Cade’s favorites. 
1 can cream of chicken
1 can corn, drained
2 C chicken, cooked and cubed
Mix these three together

1 pkg Jiffy cornbread mix
¾ C milk
1 egg
½ C shredded cheese

Pour the cornbread mix over the other stuff.  It works in a square pan, or in one just smaller than a 9x13.  Bake 400* 30 minutes.  (uncovered.  The cornbread needs to cook.  One time back in college, I put foil over the top and it was a huge mess.)

Miracle Lasagna
From a campbells cookbook.  I’ve probably made this a hundred times.

1 jar Prego (for a total of 2 ¾ C sauce)
6-7 uncooked lasagna noodles, just the regular kind
1 container cottage cheese (15 oz)
Cooked gr beef + onion
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (2 C)
¼ C parmesan

Spread 1 cup pasta on the bottom of 9x13 pan.  Add 3 noodles, and then if there’s room you can break some extra to make the bottom layer.  Add meat here, if desired.  Spoon in all the cottage cheese, next 1 C mozzarella, add all the parmesan.  Layer 1 C sauce, three more noodles, and then the last bit of sauce.  Bake 375* for one hour.  At the end, add the last 1 C mozzarella and let stand for 5 minutes. 

Saute an onion, add a can of refried beans.  Add in some salsa and cheese.  Stir together on the stovetop.  Sometimes we’ll add cooked ground beef/elk or chicken, sometimes not.  Use whatever stuff you have:  black beans, corn, cheese on top of the chips, whatever. Usually we make each plate individually and heat them in the microwave for 20 seconds.  Add lettuce, red peppers, green onions, sour cream, salsa, lime, guacamole…

And just for reading, and because it's fall, here's a bonus dessert. Actually, these cookies are pretty delicious and slightly nutritious so I've given them to a kid for breakfast, too.

Gingerbread Cookies
1 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 C molasses
2 T vinegar

5 C whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp bak soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ginger

Cream the wet stuff together, add in dry ingredients.  Chill for 1 hour, this helps it roll out easier.  Bake 350* 10 minutes  This recipe works great for houses, or gingerbread men.  We used regular butter cream frosting, filled a quart sized ziplock bag and cut the corner off, and Shad and Karly went to town on these guys.

Buttercream Frosting
4 C powdered sugar
1/4 C butter
1/4 C crisco
1/4 C milk
1 tsp vanilla

Quick sidenote.  This is what they're not supposed to look like, ten minutes is all you need, not thirty.  Oops.  I think the timer went off but we were in the middle of dinner and I can't remember the rest.  


Popular posts from this blog

Leaving Utah

Norm and I are at a crossroads.  It's time for our family to take the next step.  But first a quick trip down memory lane. We first came to Utah sixteen years ago.  We were young and cute and pregnant with baby #1.  Norm had been accepted as a student.  I had a lot of fun during my first two years of college, and I imagine the admissions board looked at my transcript and said something like, "yeah right!"  (More details about getting a D in organ lessons over  here .) So my first BYU application was rejected.  They let me attend classes as a visiting student, and one day an admissions officer called my phone.  It was a landline, and we were living in BYU married student housing.  He had two questions for me:  Is your husband a full time student?  Yes.  And you live on  campus?  Yes.  End of interview.  A few days later I got my acceptance letter. We finally graduated together in 2004. We bought our first home in Lehi, not too far from Willow Creek middle schoo

Thorns and gifts

We've been reading in the New Testament as a family lately, and Paul has some great advice and counsel that's still applicable today.  In his letter to the church in Corinth, he talks about a thorn in the flesh. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. It's kind of a moot point to speculate what Paul's particular thorn might have been, but I've often wondered. More importantly: what is God's purpose in giving his children such difficult stuff to learn? Why does life have to be so hard?

One More Syllable

It's been a year. One year ago we moved to Texas. One year ago I started asking people to call me Kristina instead of Kristy, thus adding one more syllable to my name. August is our anniversary. Last year we celebrated that anniversary by adding a cool new memory. That day we drove up to our house, found the keys and walked inside with the kids. We spent the night in our house without any stuff. Isn't it funny how places seem bigger when they're unfurnished? And that pool in the backyard? We knew nothing about pools and maintenance but just jumped in carefree. It was great. It was like being in a hotel but with room for everybody to spread out. Maybe it's time to explain the name change. For me, I had decided before moving to Texas that I wanted to quit using Kristy as my nickname. It served me well for many years and I still like it, but it's mainly for simplicity. When I'd first meet somebody, maybe I'd mumble or maybe I don't speak clearly enou

Meek Warhorse

Norm's last church talk/sermon in Utah before moving to Texas July 2018, Lehi UT, Traverse Mountain 8th Ward Hello brothers and sisters, it’s my privilege to speak to you today.  I guess this is our good-bye address even though we haven’t moved yet, which I’m taking as a personal sign that the bishopric can’t wait for the next family to move in.  (that was a joke, guys) In my remarks today, I’m going to cover an alternative definition of meekness that really struck a chord with me.  Once I’ve introduced this idea, I’m going to share my supporting argument for meekness as a strength, and then I’m going to talk about how I believe we can develop this form of meekness in our lives. As Kristy told you, our topic is “being meek and lowly of heart” which, in the terms I normally think of meekness or lowliness, is a subject that does not come naturally to me.  I am not naturally what I consider to be meek, quiet or, as Kristy would tell you, all that well behaved.  While I