Monday, November 05, 2012

Cooking Ten

When we're busy we often resort to microwave dinners or takeout to save time, but I've learned quick home-cooked meals help keep me on track with the work (and keeps my family happy, too.) To give you some ideas, here are ten of the recipes I'll be making in November:

Ten Things to Make for Dinner During NaNoWriMo (or any time)

Beef-Broccoli Stir-Fry: Try this quick to make, healthy version of the Chinese takeout favorite. I often use leftover steamed rice (which I revive with my double-boiler) versus the instant stuff in the recipe.

Cheesy Chicken Bagel Pizzas: I use bagels to make mini-pizzas alot (toast them, top them and microwave them for a few seconds and you've got pizza without using the oven.) This 4-ingredient recipe uses the broiler but also gives you a chance to use up some leftover rotisserie chicken.

Chicken Parmigiana: This is the easiest recipe for this classic dish I know, plus there is no breading involved. I skip the salt as the sauce doesn't need it, and serve with thin spaghetti or linguini.

Classic French Salad: An inventive way to serve tuna Ni├žoise style, and easy to adjust to your family's taste preferences. Dinner salads like this are another all-in-one dish you can pair with some hot rolls or whole-grain bread.

Grilled Roast Beef Sandwiches: This is one of my guy's favorite quick meals; it's as fast to make as grilled cheese but heartier for big appetites. I use horseradish mayo instead of the chile mixture in the recipe and thin sliced Chicago-style Italian bread instead of the rye. Goes great with a hot bowl of vegetable soup on a cold night.

Easy Stromboli A new treat for your pizza lovers. I like to play with this recipe and use different ingredients for the filling: mini-pepperoni, Italian sausage, sliced meatballs or salami are fun to swap for the ground beef. You can also add chopped veggies, different cheeses or whatever you love on your pizza.

Garlic-Chive Baked Fries: These are delicious as a side dish for anything; they're also healthy as you use very little oil and bake them in the oven -- no frying. My kids went absolutely crazy over them. Tip: Slice your potato strips thin (think like the fries at Steak N' Shake) they'll turn out wonderfully crispy.

Golden Burger Spirals: Forget the Hamburger Helper and instead make this casserole; serve with a tossed green salad. It's one of my favorites because the golden mushroom soup and chopped peppers give it an interesting flavor, and ground turkey works as a substitute for the beef.

Steak Soup: For the meat and potato lovers. This one is made in your slow cooker, which means in the morning you toss all the ingredients in and you're done.

Vegetarian Chipotle Nachos: Meatless Monday doesn't mean it has to be tasteless, too. Take out the chips and use the filling in crunchy or soft tortillas for a new spin on the taco. This recipe also makes a filling, healthy snack.


  1. Steak Soup is going in my slow cooker tomorrow. Thanks!

  2. I make extremely large quantities of things that require lots of time in the oven, not so much time in the kitchen, and that can be recycled during the week. Sunday I made enough Sunday gravy to feed the tribe for the rest of the week; we ate it over spaghetti squash (cooked in the same oven that I braised the gravy in) last night, and in a couple nights when I make it again, we'll have it on a bed of steamed green beans. :)

    Tomorrow I'll do a Thai chicken soup in my crockpot, and we'll eat that a couple nights.

    Of course, I would do this even if I weren't NaNoing. While a good, nourishing, cheap meal is at the top of my list of things for me and the mister, I also know if I'm too tired when I get home, there's no way I'm cooking and if we eat out, we blow our budget. Also, eating at home = more time for us to be together, talk, snuggle, and game. :)

  3. Thanks for the nice 10 quick make list. Today I am preparing garlic chive baked fries:)

  4. I can't access the garlic fries recipe as I am not a subscriber to one of the site's magazines. :>(


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