Sunday, September 18, 2011

5 Meals/5 Ingredients

With the evenings getting darker earlier, and me trying to fit in running and biking when I can, the dinners are getting a bit hectic. So today, I prepared 5 dinners using 5-6 ingredients with the intention that prepping these meals would be relatively easy and could go from fridge to table in a half hour (45 minutes tops!). Plus, they had to be kid-friendly yet palatable to adults. Tough challenge, but I think I mapped out a good dinner strategy.

Classic Pot Roast
Easy peasy - roast, carrots (or root vegetables), potatoes, chicken stock, seasoning. Toss in a crock pot on low for the day.

Baked Penne Pasta
Penne, sausage, sauce (marinara or pesto), basil, cheese. Boil penne, saute sausage, mix all ingredients together, top with cheese. Freeze in aluminum foil pan. Bake 30 minutes at 350 when ready. Goes well with a side of broccoli or small salad.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Chicken breasts, tortillas, cheese, salsa verde, can of cream of chicken soup. Be creative by adding additional ingredients such as black beans, diced sweet potatoes, jalepenos, or tofu). Boil chicken breasts, then shred with fork. Mix shredded chicken with cream of chicken soup. Layer in tortillas, roll, placing them side by side in a 9x12 baking dish (coated with cooking oil spray). Layer with salsa verde and more shredded cheese. Freeze in an aluminum foil plan. Bake 350 for 20-30 minutes. Goes well with a side of quinoa or brussel sprouts sauteed in olive oil with red pepper flakes and chopped garlic.

Stuffed Baked Green Peppers
Beans or meat, rice, diced tomatoes (I prefer the fire-roasted ones), corn and sauce. Cut tops of peppers and layer in pan. Mix rice, diced tomatoes, corn, sauce and beans or meat. Scoop mixture into peppers. Top with sauce and sprinkled cheese. Freeze till ready. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Leftovers can be turned into Baked Pepper Soup and is great for lunch, too.

Baked Potato Soup
So simple, low-fat and takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Great mix of carbs and protein for post-long runs. Boil 6 cups of skim milk, then whisk in 1/3 cup flour. Microwave 4 large potatoes (prick with fork, wrap in wet paper towel). Remove skin, mash and add to milk mixture. Pour in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese; mix well till melted. Pour in 8 oz reduced fat sour cream. Serve with fresh crumbled bacon, diced onions, shredded cheddar cheese. Goes well with grilled cheese (with pesto spread between the slices) or a good crusty loaf of bread.

Don't forget to season as your taste desire. I love lots of pepper and garlic in everything I cook. So what's your go-to dinner that's quick and easy?


  1. I can make soup from just about anything; it's a great way to get rid of leftovers and, depending on the recipe, can be very quick and easy. But if I am looking for something really easy, grilled cheese and canned soup, particularly tomato soup, is probably the dinner I use most often when crunched for time or when the supplies are low. Your meals above look great.

  2. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is one of my favorite meals. When I want to be fancy, I top the soup with "good" croutons (anything over $1.69, that is)!