Are you ready for some quick meal recipes? Life is so busy, isn’t it? For me, it’s the kids and school, managing my husband’s medical practice, and the dreaded preparation of year-end financial statements.
I feel like the days are never long enough. Cooking tends to go on the back burner when I get busy. Priorities, right?
This week, I focused on a few quick meals that are delicious but super FAST.
Keep in mind, my kids are the most picky eaters on the planet so it’s hard for me to find things they will eat. If at least 3 out of 4 in my family like the meal I cook, it is a successful dinner. The 4th usually makes noodles with butter or a bowl of cereal.
I used to try saying “You will eat what I prepare or starve!” But that didn’t work because both my boys would gladly starve than eat something they don’t want. They got their dad’s skinny genes. So the rule is, I make a meal. If you don’t like it, you can make yourself something on your own.
Quick Meal Recipes I Made This Week
1. Four Ingredient Chili
I LOVE McCormick’s Chili package. Looking at the ingredients, the only thing I wasn’t sure of was thiamine mononitrate which I read is just a synthetic form of vitamin B1. It seems the package is simply a mix of spices which I’m happy to purchase in one efficient pouch.
When I mix sauteed ground beef with a few cans of beans, tomato sauce and the McCormick’s chili package, it turns out delicious every time.
I can make the ground beef in the morning in 5-10 minutes and throw it in a crock pot with cans of various beans, sauce and the spice package.
I mix it up and turn the crock pot on high for a few hours. Then I turn the temperature to low and let it simmer all day until dinner time. Add some cheese and avocado, maybe a little sour cream, and Ta Da. Dinner!
- 1lb ground beef, cooked and drained of fat.
- McCormick’s Chili spice package
- 3 cans of beans (I like pinto, black and kidney but use whatever you like)
- 28oz or larger can/package of tomato sauce (add a little more tomato sauce if you want to add more cans of beans. I use smooth sauce because my kids won’t eat chunky)
- Condiments: avocado, cheese, sour cream
Add condiments to the chili and you have a delicious and healthy meal. My friend, Leila, gave me the great idea of serving this with Fritos to scoop up the chili! Fun way to eat for the kids.
2. Matzo Ball Soup with Edamame or Peas and Egg Noodles
I get my Matzo Ball soup from Bristol Farms, a gourmet grocery store in town. You can find either matzo ball or chicken noodle freshly made at any gourmet grocery. Recently, I even used canned Campbell’s and the kids still loved it.
- Buy a rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast from the prepared food section to add to the soup.
- Make a package of frozen peas or shelled edamame and drain.
- Make a package of extra wide egg noodles and drain.
- Add carrots and whatever vegetables you and your kids like. If your veggies need softening, cook separately before adding.
- Combine and put on low heat until heated through.
- 1lb Gourmet Matzo Ball or Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 package of egg noodles (cook and drain)
- 1 rotisserie or roasted chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 package of frozen peas or edamame (cook and drain)
- optional: carrots (cook and drain)
3. Kimchi Jjgae (Kimchi Stew)
Ok, my kids won’t eat this but I am including it anyway because it is so easy and healthy! And it satisfies my spicy food craving.
I covered the health benefits of kimchi in my Kimchi Fried Rice post (also quick and easy recipe). Do you eat kimchi? A lot of people who “eat clean” do. I’m Korean so I’ve been eating kimchi all my life before I knew about its benefits.
One of my favorite ways to eat kimchi is as a stew. It’s so easy to make, satisfying, healthy, low in calories and filling. If you haven’t yet tried kimchi, I recommend tasting it first before making this dish as it has a very distinct taste. It is spicy, crunchy and kind of stinky. But pickles are stinky too, right?
I bought some kimchi in the yogurt/dairy isle of my local grocery store (Ralphs) and it was good! It comes in a small jar (about 1lb). I recommend making a small batch of this with the whole container of kimchi, rather than storing the kimchi in the fridge. It has a potent smell that tends to permeate throughout the fridge unless you seal it really well.
- Saute some center cut bacon and drain it (or use already cubed and cooked pancetta if you don’t want to cook the bacon).
- Add the kimchi and all of its contents along with enough water to submerge the kimchi.
- Once it is boiling, turn it to a low simmer and let it cook until the kimchi starts to wilt like in the picture (about 20 minutes).
- Add more water if it starts to evaporate.
- Once the color of the broth turns deeper from bright red to more of an dark red, add firm tofu (cut up into squares).
- Add sesame oil and soy sauce
- Let it simmer for another 5 minutes and Ta Da! Kimchi Stew.
- 1lb jar (Kimchi and juice in jar)
- 5 slices cooked, drained, chopped bacon or 1 handful of cooked, cubed pancetta (Trader Joe’s has this) – add more or less depending on your preference. The less fat, the less calories (but you have to have SOME fat for taste so don’t skimp)
- Water (enough to cover ingredients)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 lb firm tofu cut into cubes
- garnish: hard boiled egg and roasted seaweed
- rice (I like brown or multi-grain)
You can put as much kimchi, meat and tofu as you like. Just make sure you add enough water to submerge the ingredients. If you are a vegetarian, omit the meat but PLEASE add some kind of fat to give the soup some depth of flavor. Add more sesame oil or soy sauce based on your preference.
I like to serve my kimchi stew over multi grain rice with a hard boiled egg (eggs go really well wit
h spicy Korean food). Sprinkle some roasted seaweed on top. Yum!
4. Rao’s Marinara Meat Sauce and Angel Hair Pasta
I mentioned Rao’s sauce in my Zucchini Is My New Favorite Food post a while back. I found this sauce many years ago and haven’t used any other sauce in a jar since. It is pricier than other sauces but it’s worth it!
My family likes to have left overs for the next day so I usually dilute the Rao’s Marinara jar with a large Hunts tomato sauce container and it tastes just as delicious. It is so tasty you don’t need to add anything else to the sauce other than cooked ground beef.
- Heat sauce
- Add cooked ground beef
- Serve over spaghetti or angel hair pasta
- Sprinkle some parmesan on top
I said quick meal recipes, right? I wasn’t kidding! Also check out my Favorite Easy, Healthy Recipes. Will you try any of these? Did you already know about Rao’s Sauce? Do you like Kimchi? What are some of YOUR quick dinners you make often? Share your thoughts and let me know if you try any of these.