Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quick & Easy Meals We've Eaten Through The Years

I did Meals in Minutes recently, but that was more ease of preparation than how soon they'd be ready to eat. I'd like to share with you some meals we've made frequently through the years that don't take long to put together or finish.

The first one is one my ex had me make after we were married. It wasn't anything I'd ever seen before and I did have my doubts about it. But, you know it's really pretty darned good. It doesn't really have a name, so we call it:

Green Beans and Meat

A similar-looking Cuban recipe still in the pan.
All you need is a pound of hamburger, a can or two of green beans and a 15 oz can of tomato sauce. Brown the meat, add the green beans (my daughter likes French style best) with one can undrained and add the tomato sauce. Meanwhile, fry some potatoes - in fact, you could start the potatoes first if using fresh potatoes. You could also use O'Brien style (cubed) hash brown potatoes or even French fries. Once both things are cooked, we're ready to eat and that's usually in less than 30 minutes.

Another one I like that my mother used to make is:

Ham, Green Beans and Potatoes

Green Beans and Ham - PA Dutch recipe
Now I know where my mother got the idea to put vinegar on her green beans.
This would work for after Easter if you have a large piece of ham left from Easter dinner. Put the ham in the pot along with peeled quartered potatoes and a pound of green beans (preferably fresh or frozen) and cook until the potatoes are cooked through and the meat is hot. The potatoes and green beans will be flavored by the ham and the ham will be heated by the cooking process. Eat the potatoes like you would baked potatoes.

Meat Pie

Spicy Beef Stew
An example of what would work in a meat pie.
I mentioned this in yesterday's post. You could call this "stew pie" because it is made from leftover stew. I have deviated from this in that I have bought a tall can of Dinty Moore stew and a pair of frozen deep dish pie crusts, filled the bottom crust and used the second crust for the top. If you're more adept at crust making than I am and have a large family-sized pie plate, you can make a heaping helping of pie to feed your family (one small pie is enough for three people). This is a great way to use leftover stew. Serve with fruit on the side and maybe a salad.

Meat Sauce for Spaghetti from leftover Pot Roast (or steak)

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce -Wikimedia Commons
I've done this several times. If you have a food processor or a meat grinder, run your leftover meat through to a small grind or mince (cut up into smaller pieces so the processor can handle it). When you have lots of minced meat, put your spaghetti sauce together in the pot as you normally would and add the meat to it. The seasonings of the meat will add flavor to the sauce as will the meat itself and it will be wonderful and meaty! 

Chicken Fingers

The method I used to fry mine, but another blogger's recipe.
When I was caring for my mother, I tried to give her variety, meet her wants as well as her needs and get her to eat chicken more often (she would have lived on beef if she could). She liked fried foods, but was supposed to cut back because of cholesterol. One breast of chicken was too much for her to eat, so I decided to try something new. I was already pan frying some things for her using light olive oil. I had also bought some lemon pepper marinade. So, I took a single chicken breast, sliced it across the grain into multiple pieces, dipped those pieces into the marinade and then into bread crumbs. While vegetables were heating up on the stove, I pan fried those pieces in olive oil to give her the texture she wanted with the healthiest oil I could use without actually deep frying. This turned out wonderful! Not only did we have enough pieces to feed my mother and me, but my daughter stopped by and had some as well - just from one single chicken breast. Of course, we also had two vegetables and a fruit plus bread, but that piece of chicken went a long way and didn't take long to put together.

Shepherd's Pie on the Fly

Another blogger's Shepherd's Pie (actually Cottage Pie because it's beef)
Sometimes we're in the mood for Shepherd's Pie but really don't want to put it all in a casserole and put it in the oven when it's already cooked and ready to eat, so we will make a quick pan full of what amounts to a hamburger stew (hamburger, gravy, peas and carrots) in one pan and mashed potatoes in another and serve them just that way, topping the potatoes with the stew.

Finally, there's our all-time favorite:


Vegan burrito filling, but no recipe in the blog.
You can also use what I make as a hot chip dip, which is how I was introduced to it. I just used it a different way.
Again, I'm using hamburger. Sometimes I add onions or onion powder, but I always add salt and pepper. Once the hamburger is finished cooking, I add a can of refried beans and a cup of salsa. I stir it all together. I used to add shredded cheese in the pan as well, but my daughter has limited her dairy intake, so the cheese gets added during the assembly of the burritos. We put our own burritos together rather than have one person assemble them for us. My daughter likes to add diced tomatoes and lettuce to hers. Since I don't, I let her get those ready. It's really all ready to go in under 30 minutes. You can heat the tortillas in the microwave or individually on a flat griddle. No matter what, it's really good!

Those a few of the meals we rely on to cook up quickly and easily. I hope you like them.


  1. Ok now you have me hungry... Lots of meals are so easy to cook, it's really not necessary to get everything pre-prepared is it.

    It doesn't take long to cook hamburger meat (or mince as we call it in the UK) and to make shepherds pie etc.

    In the UK we eat "Mince and Onions", cooking the ground beef with onions and some herbs, maybe some carrots too, like a shepherds pie without the potato on top, and with lots of gravy in it. Then serve with mashed potato and maybe some dark cabbage - kale, sprout tops, or savoy even. It's great with the mince and gravy poured over the greens and potatoes.

    That's what I grew up on.

  2. Burritos are one of my go-to foods. I can't show your blog to my husband or he would try to move in with you. He loves your kind of cooking!

    I’m A-Z Blogging on Langley Writes about Writing and Langley’s Rich and Random Life

  3. Wonderful post. I love quick and easy meals.

  4. I've never been much on green beans except fresh from the garden, so no green beans n meat for me!

  5. all these meals are making me hungry. and i just ate!
    Great meeting you through the A-Z!


  6. There's a few quick and easy meals in my recipe box that I fall back on. Those are the ones I've been teaching my husband how to prepare now that I've had to go back to work full time.

    Nice blog. (I'm coming from the A-z blogging challenge)

  7. All of your meals look delicious! And like things my family loves to eat. Thanks for sharing!