Busy people need easy dinners they can prepare quickly or as a “do ahead.” One important tip is to keep certain ingredients on hand, enough to prepare a full week of meals. Here are five dinners you can prepare and make in no time:
Monday – Chili Cheese Casserole for Four
- 2 lbs. of ground beef
- 1 tablespoon each of dried chili powder, cumin and cilantro (dried or fresh)
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 onion chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic minced (or 1 tablespoon of pre-minced garlic)
- 1 large can of stewed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped green chili peppers
- 1 package biscuit mix
- 8 cubes of cheddar cheese
Sauté onions, chili peppers and garlic in olive oil, lightly over medium heat. Add in ground beef, chili, cumin and cilantro. Sauté until beef is lightly browned. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and blend well. Remove from heat and place in a deep casserole dish. Set aside.
Remove eight biscuits from package and place one cube of cheddar cheese in each. Place these atop the chili and back for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until biscuits have lightly browned.
Tuesday – Penne Pasta ala Pizza
- 1 1-lb. box of Penne Pasta
- 1 jar pizza sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 small can of sliced mushrooms, drained
- 1 package pepperoni pre-sliced and diced into small pieces
- 1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
Cook penne pasta al dente. Butter a casserole dish. Drain pasta and place in a large casserole dish. Blend in pizza sauce, mushrooms and pepperoni. Add Parmesan and mozzarella and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
Wednesday – Mid Week Wizardry
- 1 large round loaf of crusty bread like rye, sourdough or Pumpernickel
- 1 large can of pumpkin
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup diced tomatoes, seeded
- 1/2 cup sautéed onions
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup sour cream or crème fraiche
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
Scoop out the Klosterman Baking Company bread center from the loaf and set aside. In a large pan over medium heat, place 1 tablespoon of butter. Set aside remainder of butter. Sauté pumpkin and diced tomatoes for three minutes. Add in white wine, sautéed onions, sour cream and half and half. Remove from heat. Blend well. Pour into crusty bread shell. Place scooped bread in a small sauté pan and add butter. Toast lightly and place atop pumpkin soup.
Thursday – Tex Mex Salad
- 1 large bag taco chips
- 1 lb. brown ground beef
- 1 cup seeded, diced tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- 1/2 cup raw onion diced
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon onion, garlic, chili and cumin powder
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
- 1 to 1 1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing
Toss first eight ingredients until lightly blended. Add dressing and toss gently and serve.
Friday – Fish and Chips
- 6 potatoes (skins on) microwaved and sliced
- 6 to 8 fish filets lightly broiled
While potatoes are in the microwave, place fish on a baking sheet, drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle lightly with freshly ground black pepper. Broil 4 minutes. Serve with potato chips, garnish with cucumbers and sour cream.
Finding the time to make meals and plan for the week can be a serious hassle. Try these recipes and see how quickly hunger disappears and how fast the smiles from family members appear.