Feed Your Family Fast for Less!
Easy, Economical, Kid-friendly Meals in Minutes
What's for dinner? As a busy mom of seven, I needed to come up with some easy dinner recipes that could be prepared quickly and economically. I will share some of my recipes for my kid-friendly, cheap, easy meals. Many of these can even be prepared ahead of time and thrown into the freezer for future use. Most have just a few ingredients and can be prepared with staples from your pantry. I hope you're hungry!
Thanks to doortoriver for the photo!
Easy Baked Ziti
Everybody loves Ziti (even the baby!)
16 oz box ziti or penne pasta (I use whole wheat)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 8 oz. package of shredded cheese (I use Mozarella or Italian Blend)
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion (optional)
1-2 cloves fresh garlic (optional)
Brown the ground beef and drain off any fat. If using onions and/or garlic, chop onions and press garlic and add to beef as it is cooking. Add sauce to the ground beef. Cook noodles according to package directions. Stir noodles, ground beef and sauce mixture and the cheese together and dump into a 9x13 baker. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. This freezes very nicely for future use!
Quick Shepherd's Pie
1 lb ground beef (can cook w/ chopped onions if you want to add flavor)
1 clove garlic
1 lb frozen mixed veggies
Instant Mashed potatoes--I make 10-12 servings according to package box
(milk and butter to make mashed potatoes)
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1 can chopped tomatoes (I use seasoned ones)
Brown the ground beef and press the garlic clove into the meat as it is browning. I use my garlic press a lot to add flavor to any and every dish! While meat is browning, make mashed potatoes according to directions on box. When meat is done, pour in the bag of frozen veggies and mix together. Add salt and pepper as desired. Dump all of this into a 9x13 baking pan. Scoop mashed potatoes on top of mixture and spread evenly to cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. It's a 1 dish meal! You can add other seasoning as desired to the meat & veggie mixture such as oregano, fried onion, Italian Seasonings, etc. My kids like it plain so I don't add a lot of extras.
Quick and Easy Chicken and Stuffing
l to l 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 box stovetop stuffing
1 can cream of mushroom (or cream of chicken) soup
1 8 oz. container sour cream
Cut the chicken into small chunks and place in bottom of your baking dish. Mix soup and sour cream and pour over the chicken. Stir them a bit to mix things up. Mix stuffing with the amount of hot water listed on the box. (I just use hot tap water.) Distribute stuffing over top the chicken mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until chicken is done. This meal also freezes well and is a great one to take a friend in need. (I usually buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts when they go on sale for about $1.79 lb. I buy large quantities and divide them up into meal portions then freeze them for later.)
You need a great baking pan! - I make almost all of my meals in a 9x13 baking pan
Here are some great baking dishes for your quick meal!
I make almost all my recipes in a stoneware baker. They cook evenly and the pan helps the food stay hot if my husband is running a bit late for dinner!
Kid-Friendly Stir Fried Rice
3/4 lb frozen peas
16 oz. kielbasa (I usually use turkey because it is lower in fat) or 10 pack hot dogs
2 cups rice (I use brown rice)
salt & pepper to taste
Cut kielbasa into small chunks and fry in 12 inch skillet. (You can use a pack of hotdogs instead of the kielbasa.) While that is frying, heat the peas and make rice. I have used Instant rice or regular rice--whatever I have in the cupboard. When the kielbasa is fried, push it to the side of the pan and scramble the 8 eggs in the skillet. Mix the meat and the eggs together, add the rice and the peas and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir fry all of it in the skillet until it is well combined and heated through.
These tools make cooking easier!
I use my covered 12 inch skillet daily in my kitchen. You can make everything and anything with this pan!
Fresh garlic tastes so much better and adds just that extra bit of zing to your recipes!
Here's why I need some quick, easy, kid-friendly meals!
Six of these lovies are mine, the other 3 are visiting. I often have up to 9 or 10 kids (mine plus their friends) to feed at any given dinner time. So these recipes are tried and true!
The Most Important Kitchen Tools
If you don't have anything else, you need a great 9x13 pan and a great 12 inch skillet!