Help!! I need some time saving dinners!

Steph - posted on 04/27/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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Soccer season is upon us and all three of my daughters are playing. Life is going to go from busy to crazy busy!! I need some quick, easy ideas for dinner that will save me time and help me avoid going through the drive through multiple times in a week. My creativity is asleep right now. I need some fresh, new ideas. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!!

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Tammy - posted on 02/19/2012

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Are you looking for dinners that you can eat on the go or out of the cooler in the car. Or dinners that are ready when you get home and you can just sit and eat.



Dinners to eat out of the car. My son plays travelling baseball so we are on the go as well. I bake chicken breasts during the week and cut them up with kitchen scissors into strips. Pack them in a reuseable container with some ranch dressing or BBQ sauce and tortilla shells and a bag of shreadded cheese. You have the makings of a chicken wrap. Add a bag of prepared carrots (baby or full size) and some water bottles and you have a full meal.



I also have one of those small propane grills that we pack during baseball seasons. We then can premake hamburger patties. Take mustard/ketchup and hamburger buns and inbetween games we have a picnic instead of hitting the fastfood joints for lunch. This also works with brats. Just pack a vegetable such as pea pods or carrots or radishes and some fresh fruit and some water bottles and you have a meal.



For meals at home. You need a good slow cooker and start thinking ahead of your busy nights. Some ideas for that is:

BBQ Beef - we take a roast and pressure cook it. Shred it apart and add BBQ sauce and a little brown sugar. Mix throughly and put in reusable container. This will keep for about a week. On the night that you need dinner ready when you get home. Just place the contents in the slow cooker when you leave the house with a cup of water and let it simmer all day. Hot sandwiches meat is ready when you get home. cook up some fries; tator tots or go the easy way with chips and a glass of milk



Speghetti - Put the frozen meatballs and speghetti sauce in the crockpot to simmer all day. Place a large pot of water with a lid on the stove and cut and butter your garlic bread and cover with aluminum foil and place in the fridge.

When you get home; your first trip in the house you need to start the burner for the water; and turn on the oven and take the cookie sheet with the bread out of the fridge and place on top of counter.

Now you can unpack the car. Once the car is unpacked place the noodles in the pot with a teaspoon of olive oil. (this keeps the noodles from sticking together) and place the bread in the oven. Now you have time to unpack the sports bags; start a load of laundry and clean out the cooler. Being sure to stir the noodles inbetween each chore. In 10-15 min your noodles and bread will be done.

Spoon the noodles on the plate cover with the sauce and meatballs that have been in the crock pot all day and place some toasty garlic bread on the side. Pour a glass of milk and enjoy dinner with your family. Total time from when you walked in the door is 30min. Car is cleaned out and laundry is started. You are ready to relax for the evening.



I have alot of other things that works for us if you need more ideas.

Madi - posted on 07/23/2009

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Whoever invented the slow cookers pretty much deserves the noble prize in my book, because those things are AWESOME.
I like to make big casseroles when I have a lot of free time and freeze them, so the days I don't want to cook you just throw one of those in the oven. I also like frozen lasagnas you get at the grocery store. Although those can be some what expensive! The hamburger and chicken helpers are good too! kraft.com is a pretty good website as well. I have made a lot of good simple things from there.
Also have you ever tried making foil dinners? You can do tons of stuff with that. Those are nice because you just throw raw ingredients in foil and, grill them or put them in the oven :)
I have some really simple things that are super cheap, easy, and way filling if you want to message me about them!

Wendy - posted on 07/04/2009

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The crockpot is a life saver! Definitely use it to its full potential! I also have a breadmaker which I use for everything that requires dough being made as i just have to throw in the ingredients, choose the correct setting and let it do the work while I tend to other household chores or the family! Making a huge pot of soup and freezing most of it in containers works wonders as well. I also make cookie dough for treats, drop the cookies onto a wax paper covered pan, freeze them, and once they are frozen, bag them. and voila, whenever you need a snack for the kids or guests (or yourself!) you can pull out however many cookies you need (write the oven temp/cooking time on the freezer bag/container) and there you go - home made delicious treats!

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These are my favorite crock-pot recipes. I make them often. You can also just choose a veggie, a meat and a sauce. For example, yesterday I put some cubed potatoes in the bottom, dumped in some Mrs. Dash, put two pieces of frozen chicken on top and dumped some italian dressing in. Cooked on low for 6-8 hours. Quick and easy! I have a crock-pot cookbook called Fix It and Forget It. I really like it. The recipes are simple, easy and there are a lot to choose from. Hope this helps!



Chicken Parisienne



6-8 medium chicken breasts

2 – 10 ½ oz. cans cream soup (mushroom, celery, or chicken)

2 c. sour cream mixed with ½ c. flour

Salt & pepper to taste

Paprika to taste

½ c. water



Place chicken breasts in the crockpot. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Mix soup and water. Pour over chicken.

Cook on low 6-8 hours, mix sour cream with soup and add at the beginning.

Cook on high 3-4 hours, mix sour cream during the last 30 minutes.

Serve over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes.





Saucy Meatballs



12-15 frozen meatballs (I like the Meijer kind)

1 (10 3/4 ) can cream soup – chicken, celery or mushroom

1/3 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)

1/2 onion, chopped

Salt & pepper to taste



Put meatballs in the crock-pot. Add the chopped onion. Pour in can of cream soup, sour cream (or plain yogurt), and milk. Sprinkle with nutmeg, salt & pepper. Cover and set on low for 4 -6 hours.

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I make my lasagna in bread pans & freeze them. One bread pan can feed 4 & then the pieces are thicker.

Tiffany - posted on 06/20/2009

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Every Friday night is "breakfast for dinner" which consists of pancakes or waffles for dinner because we do not eat meat on Fridays. It's super easy and quick. Everyone loves it and I add blueberries and extra fruit on the side to spruce it up a bit.

Amy - posted on 06/18/2009

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Hi! I know you asked this awhile ago, but it's never too late to add quick dinner ideas, right? There's a great book called "Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer!" that has tons of easy to make meals. I mean, enchiladas, chimichangas, cinnamon rolls, chili - everything! You assemble all of the ingredients, then freeze. When you want to serve it, you thaw and cook. That way the food doesn't get all mushy from being cooked, then frozen, then reheated. On the Amazon customer reviews, a lady said she made 15 meat meals in 3 hours. I'm impressed!

Also, and I know this is going to sound weird, but I promise, it's delicious! I went to a pampered chef party, and they made chicken fajitas in the microwave - in 15 minutes!! They cut the peppers and onions and put them in a stoneware thing, then put 4 chicken breasts on top and seasoned them with fajita seasoning, then covered it with another stoneware, and cooked it for 15 minutes. It was really good! I like the grilled taste of fajitas, though, so I haven't made them again, but I have made chicken breasts over and over that way. I make all different kinds, but my favorite is garlic-basil. I also don't have the stoneware, so I just put them in a glass pyrex (I've also used a silicone baking thing, and it worked great) and covered it with Press-and-Seal instead. I put the chicken breasts in the pyrex, season them with salt, pepper, garlic, seasoned salt, onion powder, and basil. Then flip them over and season the other side. Then I put about 2 tablespoons butter in it (not melted or anything, just put it in the bottom), and cover it, and cook it for about 3.5 minutes per chicken breast. It is seriously REALLY good! While it's cooking, I'll make some Rice-a-Roni and steam some broccoli, and in about 20 minutes from start to finish, you've got a great meal!

Linda - posted on 05/03/2009

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Hi Steph, I saw on the today show, that you can make your dinners planned out on paper for the week, then make them and freeze them, then the day you are ready for them just let them thaw out while you are out and just pop them in the microwave when you are ready it saves money, time, and sanity! :) some foods can even be frozen up to six months. (Not that i would do the six month thing, LOL) but i would do it for the week. :) good luck!

Carissa - posted on 05/01/2009

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Have you considered getting a subscription to Everyday Food? I have found so many quick & easy recipes in there that have become part of the rotation. When I think of it, most of their recipes have less than 10 ingredients and are done in about 30 minutes. They even include a list to make grocery shopping easy.

I think it is so important to keep a well stocked pantry and freezer. I always keep pasta on hand and chicken sausages in the freezer. When all else fails, I can defrost the sausage, fry them up, zap some broccoli, boil some pasta, toss it together with a can of sauce and call it dinner.

Leanne - posted on 05/01/2009

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When I'm having a busy day i get my slow cooker out, I just pop my dinner in, and go back to it that tea and its all cooked.

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We do a weekly PB&J night, and sometimes a milk & cereal night. If it's healthy enough for breakfast or lunch--which sustain you through the majority of your activities--then it's healthy enough for dinner!

Tara - posted on 04/27/2009

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I'd definitely say crockpots are wonderful things :) Also, if you have a chance to make and freeze things like hamburger, rice, etc, you can just grab what you need for some recipes out of the freezer and toss it into what you are making. I like www.allrecipes.com - you can search for whatever ingredient you want to use, and they have a lot of really good, quick recipes as well.

[deleted account]

I have three kids of my own, although two are 3 year old twins who don't do anything but preschool right now. However, i am a big believer in cooking a little extra when I do cook so I can eat leftovers some nights. And, cooking a little extra of something like chicken so I can use it in another recipe. For instance, if I cook a package of chicken in olive oil and pepper on the stove (slice the chicken breast lengthwise for thinner pieces to make more out of it) I can use some of that for chicken fajitas later in the week, make spaghetti and veggies to go with some of it that night and freeze a little of the rest to grab later on. I do the same with ground beef - hamburger helper, taco meat, spaghetti meat.....

Are you home usually in the afternoons? Throw a pork loin or beef roast in the oven and let it bake all afternoon. Make veggies and boxed potatoes (if you don't have time to make real ones) and there ya go.

If you like pork I do a couple varieties with pork loin. 1. Put it in a baking pan, cover with little water, burgundy wine, caraway seed, pepper, little garlic and heavy salt. Bake until done. 2. Cut part of a pork loin into smaller pieces and put in a large covered pan on the stove with 2 cans of chicken broth and some pepper and season salt. Cover and let cook. Keep adding chicken broth as the other cans cook up, as meat starts to fall apart, season again if necessary. Cook until done. 3. Part of a pork loin and cut small pieces. Smash until thin. Coat in seasoned salt, pepper. Then dip in flour. Then eggs and milk combo. Then bread or cracker crumbs. Fry in a pan until brown and then put on a sheet to throw in the oven to finish cooking and crisp up. And while you are frying and baking you can make the sides. I use that same recipe for fried chicken.

Enjoy.

Steph - posted on 04/27/2009

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Great idea. I do have a crockpot, but I don't use it that much. I tend to forget that I have it. Where do you get recipes? Or do you just experiment? I don't know how brave I am, but I am willing to try. Thank you!

Jinglebones - posted on 04/27/2009

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try the web site www.recipezaar.com - you can just put in what you're looking for i.e. quick chicken casserole and you get great ideas from fancy to not. I recommend this site to every mom I know - it's fabulous.

Emily - posted on 04/27/2009

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Do you have a crockpot? If not, I would seriously suggest you get one! You can just throw some ingredients in there in the morning, let it cook all day, and when you get home its ready! I make tons of easy meals in my crockpot. Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken Soup, Beef Stew, and so much more!

If you dont like the crockpot idea, tacos are pretty easy to make. or chicken salads.

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