The holidays mean extra work for most families. Alas, we don’t get extra time for the extra work. Amidst the holiday rush, it’s easy to lose sight of family nutrition. You need quick, easy, inexpensive recipes that your whole family will enjoy. And here they are.
Here are five one-pot meals that you can prepare in under 20 minutes or assemble and pop in the oven, to greet you ready to eat when you get home. One trick to fast meals is to prepare some ingredients earlier in the week and use them for several meals. I tried the once a month cooking preparation and it wasn’t for me. Once a week cooking prep is more manageable.
Grab and Go Ground Beef:At the beginning of the week, cook 10 lbs. of ground beef on low heat. Season with 1 teaspoon salt,1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 tablespoon basil, 1 tablespoon lime juice. As meat cooks, chop and add to cooking meat:
–1 large onion
–3 green peppers (cored and chopped)
–3 cloves fresh garlic (or three tablespoons minced garlic)
–1 pared stalk of celery
–2 large cans petite diced tomatoes (or 6 large diced fresh tomatoes)
When vegetables are tender, remove from stove and drain juices. Refrigerate in clean container. Divide meat into five portions. You will use this meat to make the following dishes:
Very Vegetable Chili:Combine meat mixture with 1 can V-8 vegetable juice, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 2-3 cans of beans (turtle/black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto, great northern and navy beans all work well; try a variety). Simmer till heated. Serve with crushed crackers, shredded cheese and sour cream (optional).
Spaghetti Supreme:In a saucepan, combine 2 jars spaghetti sauce, meat mixture and fresh sliced mushrooms (optional). Serve over heated linguini or spaghetti noodles.
Speedy Supper Lasagna:Spray glass baking dish with cooking spray. Layer dry lasagna noodles (yes dry; they cook in the oven and there is no need to dirty a pan), spaghetti sauce, meat mixture, shredded mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, fresh or frozen chopped spinach and Parmesan cheese. Make at least three layers of pasta. Add mushrooms if desired. You will use about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of meat, cheese, sauce and spinach per layer for a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake one hour to 75 minutes.
Presto Pizza:Spread pizza sauce, tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce on two premade pizza crusts. Divide meat and arrange over pizza. Top with shredded cheese, mushrooms and pepperoni (optional). Bake until cheese melts.
Wet Burrito Bake: Spray glass baking dish. Wrap meat mixture, plus 1/4 cup of cheese, in large burrito shells. Place folded side down in baking dish. Pour one large (24 ounce) jar of salsa over burritos. Rinse jar and add water to burritos. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Bake until cheese is melted.
Happy, healthy holidays to you and yours!