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In need of some ideas....

Posted by on Nov. 9, 2009 at 7:43 PM
  • 12 Replies

 I am like most mom's I run out of ideas for dinner sometimes before the week begins. I have started full time school and have little or no energy when I get home to make a full course meal. Does anyone have any recipes of quick and easy recipes? Thanks

by on Nov. 9, 2009 at 7:43 PM
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by on Nov. 9, 2009 at 9:50 PM

 Taco Soup

1 lb ground beef

1 onion chopped

1 can corn

1 can black beans

1 can kidney beans

1 can mexican style stewed tomatoes

1 can italian style stewed tomatoes

1 packet of taco seasoning

Brown the beef with the onion, drain and throw in teh crockpot, add the cans (liquid and all), stir in the taco seasoning and cook on low 6-8 hours, or you can do it on the stove and just heat through.

Serve with cornbread or french bread.  The soup is really good with sour cream, salsa, cheese and more onions on it too.  Oh and its good with fritos on top too.

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by Member on Nov. 9, 2009 at 10:13 PM



Cajun Chicken Alfredo


  • 4 (5-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup blackening spice (recommended: Paul Prudhomme's Chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup roughly chopped marinated sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt  
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound cooked fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Dredge the chicken breasts in the blackening spice and place in a cast iron skillet over very high heat. Blacken both sides of the chicken and place in the oven for 10 minutes, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Slice in strips on the bias and set aside.

In a saute pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Add garlic and lightly caramelize. Then add the sun-dried tomatoes and the chicken slices. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add the heavy cream, increase the heat to a simmer, and reduce the cream sauce by half.

When the cream sauce is to desired consistency, stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt, pepper, and pasta. Nest the pasta on large rimmed plates, pour sauce over pasta, and garnish with scallions and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
by on Nov. 9, 2009 at 11:35 PM

I'm still trying to figure this one out myself, I just went back to work not too long ago.  You might google once a month cooking and see if you get any ideas.  Once a month I  brown a bunch of ground beef.  I use some to make a big batch of  spaghetti sauce, which I divide and freeze.  Then divide the rest up and use it to make stroganoff, tacos, chili, taco soup, etc.  It really speeds things up during the week (I usually add onion when cooking it).  I also made a few meatloaves once a month, we eat one and freeze another one or two for the coming weeks.  I'm going to try meatballs this weekend. :)

The crock pot is great.  I can soak beans overnight, drain and add to the crock pot in the morning (with a little onion and ham), then cook all day and serve with some corn bread.  I can use the leftovers to make refried beans or in chili.  Throwing a roast in the crock pot is also great, you don't even have to thaw it.  You can use leftover beef to make french dip sandwiches or if it's pork roast, you can add BBQ sauce to leftovers and serve on buns with some slaw or make burritos or something.  Corned beef and cabbage (and potatoes) is another winning crock pot meal in our house. A whole chicken in the CP is easy, if you don't have a giant family you can get another meal from the leftovers (quesadillas, casseroles, chicken salad).

I also freeze pork and chicken in marinades so they marinate all day while they thaw, then throw them on the grill (I grill year round).  I try to grill something for another dinner later that week, like fajitas, stir fry, salads, etc.  I love my rice cooker too.  It really speeds up rice cooking (add broth, stock, or bouillon cubes to jazz it up) and can steam veggies at the same time.  It makes simple, quick and healthy sides.

Pizza with store bought pizza crust and sauce is easy (pepperoni, Canadian bacon, your browned burger, veggies, and lots of cheese), serve with a salad.  Soup and sandwiches or a salad and rolls. 

Good luck with school.

by on Nov. 9, 2009 at 11:58 PM

I know how you feel.  I have a full time job and a 45 minute commute to work and to pick up my daughter every day.  I do lots of crock pot.  It takes maybe 20 minutes to put everything together, but that's it (and if you buy the liners, clean up is a snap!).  I will also take meat out a day early so I can prepare the meal the night before.  For example, if I'm making meatloaf for Tuesday night's dinner, I'll take the meat out Sunday night so it will be all defrosted by Monday night.  Then I mix and shape the meat and stick it in the fridge.  When I get home from work on Tuesday, I stick it in the over and that's the extent of my work.  But lots and lots of crock pot cooking.  It's great!

by on Nov. 10, 2009 at 12:48 AM



by on Nov. 10, 2009 at 2:46 AM

As someone has suggested - make ahead and freeze whenever you can.

Try 30 day Freezer Gourmet - there's a website with recipes (limited wtihout membership), an email newsletter (free) and cookbooks. 

by on Nov. 10, 2009 at 8:08 AM

On the weekends I cook and freeze rice, beans, soup, chili, burritos, etc. I cook and refrigerate pasta. I keep lots of frozen, chopped veggies around to throw in sauces, soups, stir-fries, etc.

Here are a couple of great recipes to help you get started:

Emerald Noodles

1 pkg. any kind of linguini (i use whole grain) cooked and drained (add a bit of sesame oil to keep from sticking)


1/2-3/4 cup nut butter (you can use sunflower seed butter if you have allergy concerns

1 bunch cilantro

2-3 (to taste really) cloves garlic minced

1 bunch or less green onions

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

2-3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

red pepper flakes (for spicy) (I use Asian chili paste)

soy sauce or tamari or braggs to taste

1 cup frozen spinach

blend all together in food processor, add to noodles stir in peas, broccoli, or any veg you want (if you have picky eaters, blend them into the tend to like the greenness of it)

Super Quick Stir-fry

Here is a quick dinner recipe, adapted from Vegetarian times. It takes less than 15 minutes (if the rice is cooked): Heat a few chili pepper flakes in olive oil, along with a sliced garlic clove and sliced ginger. Remove the garlic and ginger before they burn. Add onion saute for 1 min. Add 2 diced up baby eggplants and saute for 5 mins (I have used zucchini and broccoli, too; really, any fresh or frozen veggies will do). Add red/yellow peppers & mushrooms. Add 2 tbsp each of brown sugar, tamari or soy sauce & vinegar (I didn't have tamari so I used Braggs) and saute 2 more mins. Add fresh basil. Serve over rice (you could use room temperature leftovers) or rice noodles (they are super quick in a pinch). You can also add cubed tofu before serving.

Sweet Potato Burritos
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups canned kidney beans, drained (I use home cooked black beans; you can use any bean)
2 cups water
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
4 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
12 whole wheat tortillas, warmed
shredded cheese (whatever you have)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a medium skillet, and saute onion and garlic in until soft. Stir in beans, and mash. Gradually stir in water, and heat until warm. Remove from heat,
and stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper and soy sauce. Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the warm flour tortillas. Top with cheese. Fold up tortillas burrito style. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, and serve. NOTE: I put the cheese inside and freeze burritos wrapped in wax paper in a big zipper bag; they can be microwaved safely in the wax paper

Robin in Chicago

by on Nov. 10, 2009 at 1:17 PM

A family favorite in this house is homemade pizza.  We buy already made pizza crusts and put pizza sauce, garlic, oregano, parsley, grated cheese and Kraft pizzeria cheese all over it.  My son is a big fan of peperoni, so I cover the pizza with it and bake.  Takes 5 minutes to prepare and about 15 minutes to cook.  We love it.

by on Nov. 10, 2009 at 6:28 PM

I always buy Women's Day magazine because there is month of menus on the next to last page. It is always gives me a some fresh new ideas. I try to pick anywhere from 6 to 12 meals a month from there.  

by on Nov. 10, 2009 at 7:58 PM

I'm completely out of ideas. I work full time, and go to school. Seems like there isn't enough time in the day little own cook. If it was for the crock pot! At time DH wouldn't have a meal. LOL

Thank you ladies for sharing your ideas. I'm gonna use some of them!

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