Easy Meals


I may not be a chef, but we all have to eat!


Dinner for us, on a working ranch, where we homeschool, (which doesn't mean we're always home), has to be easy and mostly fresh.

ie I try not to get processed foods.

I use mac and cheese and crescent rolls in a pinch, but for the most part it is all fresh.


Nobody's perfect and for us, our schedules are always changing, so sometimes shortcuts are necessary.


The meals I'm sharing are what get us through the week, and sitting down together as a family, at least once a day!


So I'll be sharing my simple, super easy meals that use what most of us already have in our pantries.


These are meals that I can set and forget on days that dinner prep and eat time, will be tight!


These are our GO TO MEALS!



Chicken Dinners


These are meals I make for dinner or big lunches, and as a PLUS, some of them are Crock-pot Meals!


Teriyaki Chicken

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts frozen or fresh

{The amount of chicken depends on how meaty you want it! Two has fed 4 of us...but If the breasts are small I use three. In other words adjust in both recipes according to how many you are feeding.}


Crock-pot meal night looks like this! Easy Clean-up is a FABULOUS bonus to an easy meal!

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup of white onion chopped

1 cup of honey

1 cup of soy sauce

1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup of water

a few slices of fresh ginger or I sprinkle a little ground ginger


Directions:

Place chicken in the crock-pot first and then everything else on top! Set it on high for 4 hours and when its done either slice or shred

the chicken.


*For dinner, I shred it and serve over white rice with a little of the liquid over it, and serve with sugar snap peas or a salad.

*For lunch, I spoon it on to mini Hawaiian rolls and serve with apple slices or chips



Cheesy Chicken & Rice


2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts frozen or fresh

{The amount of chicken depends on how meaty you want it! Two has fed 4 of us...but If the breasts are small I use three. In other words adjust in both recipes according to how many you are feeding.}

1 box of organic cream of chicken soup 1 box of cream of mushroom

( I get these because there's no MSG. I'm sensitive to it!)

2 cups of cooked rice

1 small bag of shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese


Note: I have used cream of chicken for both boxes...some people don't like mushrooms, it turns out great either way.


Directions:

Place chicken breasts in crock-pot and then pour soups over the breasts and cook on high for 4 hours.

When its done shred the chicken with a couple of forks and mix well.

Then add the 2 cups of cooked rice and bag of shredded cheese... you can use less cheese, we like it cheesy!

Mix all together

And Salt and pepper as desired.


I have served this in a bowl as a casserole or in heated corn or flour tortillas with a cheese sauce on top.



Italian Chicken


2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 breast per person if small

Your favorite Italian salad dressing


Directions:

place in a lightly greased baking dish

lightly pour your favorite herbal Italian dressing over the chicken as a light marinade

Bake at 375 degrees until chicken juices run clear..ie. done!

My ovens vary, but most of the time its about 45 minutes -1 hour


We like this either as a breast per person, or served sliced over white rice and with a side salad or one of our go to sides...I'll list those here too! This chicken is great as a leftover sliced over a salad for lunch too!


SOUP


Potato Soup

I make this a lot in the Fall and Winter months as you can see by this photo from last Fall.


4 cups of russet potatoes chopped up in big chunks

3 cans or the equivalent in boxes of chicken broth

1 white onion

1 block of cream cheese


The Best Soup for those Chilly Nights!

Directions:

Put broth and potatoes in a big pot and bring to a boil until potatoes are tender

then ad the block of cream cheese and blend with hand blender until smooth.


I serve this with french bread and a simple greens and tomato salad with oil and vinegar.










BEEF DINNERS


Sausage Night


I cook up 2 links in a big pot.


Directions:

Fill a large pot half way with water, place links in and bring to a boil.

Cook in the boiling water for 20 - 25 minutes


I serve this sliced over rice with a simple salad


I told you we have rice several times a week!



Chuck Roast


This is another crockpot meal!


1 chuck roast I get a 2lb roast

8 oz of beef broth I use the cartons or I use 1 beer, or 8 oz of red wine. The alcohol cooks out, it's the flavor that's awesome!

1 yellow onion sliced

carrots sliced or mini carrots as many as desired

potatoes cut up as many as desired, I usually do 2-3 small potatoes red, golden, or russet

celery a couple stalks chopped up

2 garlic cloves

kosher salt

coarse black pepper

and sometimes I use garlic and onion salt


Directions:


Place cut up veggies in the crock-pot first.


Then, sprinkle a lot of kosher salt and coarse black pepper and any other seasonings in a low rimmed bowl to make a rub. Then I rub all sides of the meat.

Then place it in a hot pan and sear all sides to caramelize the sides.


Then, I make small slits in the meat and insert the sliced up pieces of garlic.


Place the meat on the bed of veggies and pour liquid over meat and veggies.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. It makes the meat very tender and fall apart!


I serve this with french bread.

Sometimes, I serve it over rice and the juices work like a gravy!


Ground Beef Meals


These are few of our Go To Ground Beef Meals!

Smash burgers! If you've never heard of them, look it up! They are done in a cast iron skillet and AMAHZING!!!


Taco night, (I always keep two boxes of taco shells in the pantry for taco lunches or dinners)

The shredded cheese and tomatoes work for this in a pinch meal!


Mac and Cheese dinner with ground beef drained and added, then salt and pepper! Always a great lunch or fast dinner, and no msg like the box skillet meals. I have added peas too..but my teenagers like it without, and a side veggie instead.


Easy Meatloaf


1-2 lbs of ground beef

1 egg

1/2 -1 small can of tomato paste (see what the moisture level is like)

1/4 cup of itallian bread crumbs (I have left this out for a wheat free meatloaf)

chopped onion and celery to taste.

I have left out the celery too. I have one teenager that still thinks greens might be poison...EYE ROLL...it is what you like!

shredded mozzarella about 1/4 cup

Mix it all together with your hands, and it should be the consistency of an uncooked hamburger, not too wet.


Then place in a lightly greased loaf pan and cook for 1 hour or until cooked all the way through. The last 5-10 mintues, sprinkle the mozzarella on top and let it melt and lightly brown. Sometimes, (if I remember LOL), I make slits in the meat before I sprinkle the cheese, and it will melt down into the meat loaf.


This is a good way to check if the meat is done too!


I serve this with a salad & twice baked potatoes, roasted cauliflower, or roasted brussel sprouts.


SIDES


Twice Baked Potatoes


It sounds hard, at least it did to me in college, and then I realized it is so easy for a fast side that you can prep ahead of time!


For a family of 4 I make 1 potato per person which equals 2 halves...if there are leftovers they are easily reheated the next day by microwave...we rarely have leftovers!


Russet potatoes washed and dried

half and half

butter about 4 tablespoons for 4 potatoes

green onions (whites chopped, chive or green part for garnish)

shredded cheddar cheese or colby jack


Poke holes with a fork at least twice, one on each side for venting while cooking.

Take butter and rub each potato and then sprinkle with salt and pepper like a rub.

Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.

(If serving the same night keep the oven on..

If later heat the oven to 350 degrees)


Then, let them cool. These can be stored in the fridge for later!

Once cooled to the touch, cut lengthwise in half and gently scoop them out into a mixing bowl.

Place the open halves on a cookie sheet


To the mixing bowl of potato, add butter and half and half as needed, salt & pepper to taste , chopped onion to taste, and mix with hand mixer or fork to be a lumpy mashed potato consistency. It should be a fairly thick consistency.


Scoop contents back into the potato halves to make slightly mounded halves. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and place back into the oven until cheese is melted.


I have cooked up bacon to place on top as well. Then garnish with chives when they're done!


This makes a great lunch with a salad too!



Cauliflower

I wash it well, cut it up and place in a mixing bowl and drizzle it with olive oil and salt and pepper, to cover all of them well.


I place the florets on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees.

When they lightly brown, I flip them and brown on all sides, and serve warm.


Brussel sprouts


Cook up 4 -5 strips of bacon in a pan until slightly crispy.

Save a little less than half of the grease, and roughly chop up the bacon to bite size pieces and set aside.


1 bag of brussel sprouts. I have used fresh and frozen.

Boil them until tender.


Place the drained and cooked brussel sprouts in the bacon pan with leftover bacon grease and reheat, while coating the brussel sprouts. Then add the bacon pieces to warm them. Once the brussel sprouts start looking caramelized, then scoop and serve!



Thank you for stopping by the ranch!

I hope this post helped with adding a few new recipes to your Go To Easy Meals!


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