It may be silly that I'm even posting these recipes, but for the record I believe it is OK to not be a master chef and to make some Plain Jane meals that are more semi-homemade than actually homemade (it's actually more like home-assembly than homemade). It makes life quite a bit easier, takes some of the pressure off to not have the perfect pinterest-worthy meal every night, and it still save some money cooking dinner at home rather than going out.
Plus, there is value in having meals made at home - even if they aren't anything special - and satisfaction that comes from cooking for my family. I believe home cooked meals are part of what makes a house feel homey and contributes to the safety and security a child feels in their home. I believe this!
In order to be more successful at cooking at home, I believe in having some quick, easy, go to meals that don't take much skill in the kitchen and can be throw together without much effort. This makes it easier to stick to my goal of cooking at home even on those days when life is crazy and the baby won't let me put him down long enough to boil water. :)
Someday I may get a little more creative and elaborate in the kitchen, but not this day.
Here are two super easy (like super super easy) meals that are in my freezer and ready to be thawed and cooked for dinner any day or to give to a family in need of a meal.
Frozen Spinach Mozzarella Ravioli from Costco
Pesto from Costco
::optional::add cooked veggies of your choice and/or cooked chicken.
::to freeze:: place half of the bag of ravioli in Ziploc gallon freezer bag (Ziploc works much better than generic brand). Pour 3/4 cup of pesto into a small Ziploc bag. Place sauce bag into larger Ziploc bag with ravioli and freeze. Thaw sauce in warm water before stirring with cooked ravioli.
My kids prefer their veggies separate from the main dish, so I keep this meal super simple - just ravioli and sauce - and then serve with asparagus, broccoli, and/or salad or whatever veggie I have on hand. Usually ends up being our green meal :) Sometime we have bread with it too because I love cooking it and we love eating it :)
Another easy go-to is -
1 (16 oz) package of rotini pasta (any small pasta works - penne, ziti, bowties, etc)
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (or homemade sauce)
1/2 lb cooked ground beef (optional)
::optional::add cooked veggies of your choice - tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, etc.
Cook pasta as directed. Toss with sauce, cooked meat and/or veggies, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 parmesan cheese. Spread evenly in 9x13 aluminum pan. Top with additional parm cheese and mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and freeze. When ready to eat, thaw and then cook at 375 degrees for approximately 40 min.
Again, we prefer veggies separate so I keep this meal pretty simple and then serve with veggies on the side. Cutting back on meat and cheese saves money - a little goes a long way in this dish.
**This is a great dish to serve a lot of mouths pretty inexpensively. Often I find pasta and sauce on sale for $1 or less each.
Knowing that my kids prefer vegetables separated from the pasta (they are not fans of casserole or anything with lots of ingredients mixed together) has really helped from wasting food. Some may argue that I should teach them to eat it. Maybe that's true. But when I'm trying to save money, not wasting food is a big part of that. If I know that there will be food left on their plate because it's all mixed together, but I can get them to eat their fruits and veggies by simply serving them separately, then I'm going to separate them. No brainer.
Here are some super easy non-recipes for you :)
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Thanks for stopping by!