5 Easy Meals for Busy Families
Let’s face it, if you are a mom or dad today, your life is busy. Between driving the kids to or from school, to after-school sports or lessons, or to and from play dates with friends, many parents feel like they are taxicab drivers. Add to that the responsibilities in your own life such as work, yard work, volunteer activities, picking up dry cleaning, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, doing laundry, etc. your life is extremely full. Although I can’t offer to come and cook for you, I can offer you 5 easy meals that are a snap to create and kid friendly as well.
1) American Chop Suey
This easy meal made with hamburger, spaghetti sauce, and elbow macaroni is a crowd pleaser and can be prepared in 25 minutes from start to finish.
1 pound of hamburger
1/2 box elbow macaroni
1 28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce (my favorite is Ragu but use any brand you like)
Brown hamburger meat in a large skillet while cooking macaroni in a stockpot or very large saucepan according to package directions. When hamburger meat is done, drain off fat. When macaroni is done, drain and return to the pan when completely drained of water. Add hamburger meat to pan and mix macaroni and hamburger meat till well dispersed. Add ½ of the jar of spaghetti sauce, a sprinkle of garlic powder, a sprinkle of oregano, and salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Allow it to simmer on low for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow all ingredients to mix together. Serve immediately.
Serve with tossed salad and rolls for a healthy and nutritious meal.
To make this meal extra healthy:
Use ground turkey instead of ground hamburger.
* I received this recipe from my mom, Carol Favreau. She gave me permission to share it with you!
2) Easy Chicken and Gravy
This meal is easy to make and when it's ready you can smell it throughout the whole house. This is my go-to meal if I want to bring a meal to someone who is sick or has a new baby. People love it and I get frequent requests for the recipe.
4 boneless chicken breasts
2 cans of cream of chicken soup (any brand)
½ package of any brand onion soup mix
Rinse chicken breasts and place flat on the bottom of a 9 by 12 baking dish. Pour cans of soup, undiluted, over the chicken breasts and spread evenly. Sprinkle onion soup mix all over the chicken breasts. Cover with foil and place in an oven preheated to
375. Bake for 40 minutes. You will be able to smell the chicken when it's done.
This dish makes its own gravy so serve with potatoes and canned or frozen corn. The best and easiest potatoes for this meal is the sliced and boiled Irish potatoes in a can. Just heat up with butter and salt and pepper on the stove, and serve covered in the gravy. Yum!
* I received this recipe from my friend Denise Hunt
3) Hamburg and Vegetable Soup Goulash
My grandfather created this quick and easy vegetable soup meal. He used to cook for my grandmother and aunt and this was always a standard meal in their home.
1 pound of hamburger
1 can Campbell's Vegetarian Vegetable soup
1 pound bag of egg noodles or mashed potatoes
Brown hamburger in a large skillet. When browned, add the can of vegetable soup and 1/2 a can of water. Simmer 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
While that is simmering, prepare the egg noodles according to the package directions, or prepare the mashed potatoes. When they are done, serve the hamburger mixture over the noodles or mashed potatoes.
This is a great meal served by itself with french bread.
To make this meal extra healthy:
Fresh vegetables can be added to the vegetable soup and hamburger mixture and simmered together. It's best to add vegetables that will cook quickly such as mushrooms, zucchini squash or spinach.
Tacos are a great quick and easy meal, especially if you set the add-ons up in a serve yourself style. That way your family can pick and choose what they want to eat on their taco.
1 pound of ground Hamburg
1 taco dinner kit
1 large tomato
1 head of lettuce
1 package of shredded cheese (mozzarella or cheddar works best)
1 small can of sliced black olives
Brown Hamburg in a skillet. Following the directions on the package, add taco seasoning mix and water. While the hamburger meat is browning, put the taco shells on a cookie sheet and warm in oven ( see package for temperature). Slice the lettuce into shreds and put on a plate. Chop the tomatoes and put on a separate plate. Pour the shredded cheese into a bowl. Put the olives in a bowl.
Next line all of the plates and bowls filled with ingredients up on your kitchen shelf.
When the hamburger mixture is done, take the taco shells out of the oven and spoon into the shells separately. Lay them out on a large platter. Call your family and ask them to go down the line and prepare their tacos with the ingredients they prefer.
Tomato soup or a side of refried beans go well with tacos.
If you have a vegetarian in the family, they can just use the cheese as the main filling, and add extra cheese, or use the refried beans as a filling. Either way, they will get protein without eating meat.
Pizza is an old stand-by for busy moms but I am not talking about the kind you buy and take home and eat. I am talking about purchasing the ingredients and bringing them home to prepare. If your children are old enough (ages 8 and up) they can actually prepare most of this meal on their own.
1 Large Boboli pizza shell
1 jar of pizza sauce
1 eight ounce package of shredded mozzarella cheese
Additional items may be added such as:
Hormel sliced pepperoni in a convenient package
Sliced canned mushrooms
Pineapple slices and ham (Hawaiian pizza)
Remove Boboli pizza crust from the package and place on a cookie sheet. Add the pizza sauce and use a spoon to spread the sauce over the whole base of the pizza crust. If you are choosing to add any other items such as vegetables or meat, add it next, dropping it on the pizza to cover the whole crust. Add shredded cheese and make sure to cover all of the added ingredients with cheese.
Bake according to package directions. Allow to cool a few minutes, then slice and eat.
Accompaniments: Pizza is great by itself, especially if you have added vegetables, but if not, serve with a tossed salad.
To make this meal extra healthy, or if you are feeding a vegetarian, do not add meat. Just the cheese pizza or cheese and vegetables will be healthy. If you are feeding both a vegetarian and meat eaters, make half of the pizza with cheese/vegetables and the other half can have meat on it. If you have a large family, make 1 cheese and vegetable pizza and the other can have meat.
Easy Meals Poll
Which one of these meals would you like to make and eat with your family?
© 2018 Karen Hellier