Schools are getting back in session; sports practices and games are filling in afternoons and evenings; work schedules are getting more hectic as summer winds down and yet, everyone still expects dinner on the table.
So – to keep things simple and easy while we all adjust to this new busy, we have a week of recipes that have 5-4-3-2 ingredients this week. These recipes all include a few ingredients that you likely already have and always have in your kitchen (see “Kitchen Staples List” below).
Let me know how these ideas work for you and your family – and hopefully they give you a few new ideas to incorporate into your meal plans, and keep things interesting for all!
- Garlic Powder
- Lemon Pepper
- Italian Seasoning
- Olive Oil
- Non-Stick spray
Spaghetti and Meatballs (serves 4) –
- 1lb pasta, any shape, macaroni or larger
- 1 – 28oz can of tomato puree, sauce or crushed tomatoes
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced in garlic press
- 1 – 12-16oz bag of frozen meatballs (any meat you prefer
- 1t Stevia or White Sugar
Boil pasta in salted, boiling water. Meanwhile, in a deep skillet, use 1T olive oil and heat over medium/high heat. Put meatballs in to brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. When you turn the meatballs for the final time (3-4 sides), add garlic, 1/2t of the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste and let warm through, approximately 2 minutes. Turn heat down to low/medium and pour in canned tomatoes of choice and stir until starting to bubble. Once it starts to bubble, turn heat to lowest heat setting and let simmer until meatballs are warmed completely through. Once warmed through and simmered, approximately 7-10 minutes, stir in the stevia/sugar and taste to adjust seasoning. Place cooked pasta into warm tomato sauce and toss to coat.
Chicken and Vegetable Skewers (serves 4) –
- 1lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast or Chicken Thighs
- 2 Bell Peppers (any color)
- 1 Large Red onion
- Italian Dressing Packet
- 1c Grains – rice, farro, quinoa
Cut chicken into 1.5″ pieces and put into a gallon zip top bag, add 2T olive oil and the Italian Dressing packet and let marinate in fridge for 30 minutes up to 24 hours. Cut peppers and onion into 1.5″ pieces.
Preheat grill or oven to 400 degrees. Using skewers (soaked if they are the wood skewers), thread a piece onion, then pepper, then chicken, then repeat this two more times (3 of every item), ending then with an additional onion and bell pepper. Place skewers on sheet pan and place in the oven for approximately 6 minutes per side or on the grill for 4-5 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through and vegetable are slightly charred.
While the skewers cook, steam your grain of choice. Plate the grain and top with a skewer of chicken/vegetables.
Sheet Pan Shrimp “Boil” (serves 4) –
- 1lb Shrimp (41-50ct, 16-20ct work best)
- 2lbs red potatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 pkg Gilbert’s Andouille Chicken Sausage, cut in thirds
- 1 Large Red Pepper, cut into 1.5″ pieces
- 1-2T Old Bay Seasoning
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Defrost shrimp, you can peel or leave the shells on, up to your preference, if you leave the shells on, it will be more like a peel and eat shrimp situation. Sprinkle with 1T of Old Bay seasoning
Spray a large sheet pan with non-stick spray, and place potatoes on the sheet pan. Drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, until potatoes are just getting tender. Take the pan out of the oven, and place the sausage and pepper pieces on the sheet pan and drizzle more olive oil (on potatoes as well if they look dry), salt and pepper on the new additions. Bake for 8-10 more minutes. Add shrimp and bake 6-8 more minutes until shrimp is cooked through and pink, potatoes are fork tender, sausage are browned on all sizes and peppers are a bit charred/soft.
Sheet Pan Nachos (serves 4)-
- 1lb ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 1 bag of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- 1 container Pico de Gallo (fresh made from store or kitchen is best for this one)
- 1 bag of tortilla chips or tortilla strips
Turn on the broiler. Cook ground meat in a skillet, remove fat from pan. Add taco seasoning and 1/4c water and simmer. Lay the tortilla chips on the cookie sheet. Top with cooked meat and shredded cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and chips are warm. Take out of the oven and top with pico de gallo and some crushed tortilla chips. (If you’re feeling ambitious, you can add a few more toppings, but we’re keeping things simple here!)
Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats (serves 4) –
- 4 zucchini
- 1lb ground chicken breast
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 jar (or homemade) tomato sauce
- 1 bag of shredded Mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400. Cut zucchini in half and scoop out seeds. Bake, cut side up, for 10-12 minutes until softened. In a skillet, heat 1T of olive oil, and sauté the onion for 4-5 minutes until softened. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add ground chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through. Season again with some salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stir in tomato sauce (enough to stir and cover, do not over-sauce) an simmer for 2-3 minutes to heat through. Pull zucchini out of oven, and place chicken mixture in the well of the zucchini (it’s ok if it overflows a little bit) and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted.
What are your favorite meals on crazy weekdays? How to you keep food on the table that isn’t from a drive-thru? We’ll be sharing recipes with fewer and fewer ingredients all week – stay tuned for more! If you need any additional ideas or have any questions – please comment below or reach out to me via email.