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Lazy Weeknight Dinners

As much as we love cooking elaborate homemade dinners, there are some nights that we simply cannot do that because either we are too busy, too lazy, too tired, or simply just don’t feel like it. So, what do you do on those days? Here is a list of some of our easy, weeknight go-tos that are for the most part pretty easy and quick to cook. Most of these are just thrown together and need no recipe, but there are a few that have recipes scattered on the blog.

On the grill:

  • Marinated Hot Dogs: served with fries, chips, or any mac and cheese
  • Bratwurst: served with fries, chips, etc…
  • Hamburgers: any side dish will do
  • Grilled Chicken: any side dish will do
  • Steak Tips/ ribeyes: served with fries/ baked potatoes/ roasted potatoes 1 or 2mac and cheese/ rice-a-roni, and broccoli/ corn/ salad

On the stove:

  • Tacos
  • Pasta with meat sauce: serve with garlic bread
  • Pasta with sausage
  • Comfort pasta: Pasta with butter and cheese
  • Ravioli/ tortellini
  • Shredded turkey with gravy served over rice and corn
  • Comfort food – literally cooked ground beef added to rice-a-roni
  • Kielbasa: served with sauerkraut, pierogi or broccoli au gratin rice a roni
  • Homemade chicken fingers and salad
  • Adult grilled cheese
  • Quesadillas
  • Steak and Cheese sandwiches

In the oven:

  • Steak pinwheels (store bought): see steak tips for sides
  • Homemade pizza
  • Meatloaf: served with beef gravy, and potato/ mac and cheese/ rice-a-roni, and corn/ broccoli
  • Fish and chips
  • Corned beef casserole
  • Calzones
  • Frozen pizza

Quick Mini Meatloaves

This a quick weeknight meal. The mini loaves can be frozen individually and then taken out to defrost a day before.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves

Total Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: About 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 2/3 cup BBQ sauce
20 oz Ground turkey (one package)
20 oz Sweet italian turkey sausage (one pacakage)
30 Saltines, crushed (About 1 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup Parsley, chopped
2 Large Eggs
5 TBSP Whole Milk
3 cloves Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper
2 TBSP Vegetable Oil

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, with oven rack in middle position

  • Cook the BBQ sauce in a small sauce pan over medium heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Mix together the Turkey, Turkey sausage, Saltines, Parsley, Egg, Milk, 5 TBSP thickened BBQ sauce, Garlic, Salt, Pepper.
  • Form mixture into 5 equal loaves. (Freeze extras at this point)
  • Heat oil in an oven-safe skillet at number 6 -7 (medium-high).
  • Brown the loaves in the oil on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Top each loaf with around 1 TBSP of the thickened BBQ sauce.
  • Transfer the skillet to the oven, then bake until the loaves are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Serve with the remaining sauce.

Chicken Divan

A cheesy, chicken, and broccoli classic!

NOTE: This recipe requires a little bit of hands on time at both the beginning and towards the end.  Read the instructions all the way through before cooking.

Total Cook Time: 20-30 minutes hands on prep, 4- 6 hours on low, + 30 minutes.

Ingredients:
3 TBSP Vegetable Oil, divided
1 Onion, minced
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried Thyme

2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
3 TBSP All-purpose Flour
1 cup Low-sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp dry Mustard
2 lbs boneless skinless Chicken Thighs, trimmed
2 cup Instant Rice
4 oz (1 cup) Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 oz (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, shredded
12 oz Broccoli florets, cut up

FOR THE TOPPING:

Either:
2 slices White Bread
2 TBSP Butter
salt and pepper

Or:

Italian Panko breadcrumbs (to cover)

Cheddar cheese (to cover)

Directions:

  • Heat up 2 TBSP of oil in a skillet. Add Onions, Garlic, and Thyme.  Cook until onions are softened and browned, about 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the Flour and cook for 1 minute.
  • Whisk in the broth, scraping up browned bits, and smoothing out lumps. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Stir in Heavy cream and Mustard.
  • Season the Chicken with salt and pepper then nestle it into the slow cooker coating both sides evenly in the sauce. Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on low.
  • Break up the chicken into bite size pieces with a wooden spoon.
  • Stir in Rice, Cheddar, Parmesan, and 1 tsp Salt.  Cover and cook on HIGH until the rice is tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  • Microwave the Broccoli with 1 TBSP of oil until tender, about 4 minutes.  Stir Broccoli in to the slow cooker and allow to heat fully through, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the breadcrumb topping: pulse the Bread slices in a food processor until coarse crumbs.
  • Melt the butter in a skillet.  Add the Breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Stirring often, toast them till lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Top the casserole with the breadcrumbs.
  • Place casserole under broiler until browned.

Corned Beef or Tuna Casserole

Two simple comfort foods from my childhood. Both are easy to make, easy to eat.

Corned Beef Casserole
1 can corned beef OR 1 large can of Tuna
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 box macaroni
2 tsp Onion Powder

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Cook the macaroni according to package instructions.  Drain.
  • In a large casserole dish, mix together all ingredients.
  • Bake for 30 mins till heated through.

Hamburger Tater Tot Casserole

This is a great recipe.  I owe the Cutting Edge of Ordinary for this one.  As they say… this stuff looks like dog food but tastes delicious! I made a few alterations just based on personal taste.

Human Dog Food Casserole

Total cook time: 1 hr 15 mins (plus you need to defrost the tater tots and corn)

1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 TBSP Crushed Red Pepper

1 can condensed Cream of Mushroom soup
2 oz (4 TBSP) Sour cream
1/2 cup Milk
8 oz. (2 cups) Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded. Divided into 1 cup increments.
1 lb bag frozen Corn, defrosted
1 bag Ore Ida Crispy Crowns, defrosted

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x13 inch pan.
  • In a skillet cook the onion until softened, about 5 mins.
  • Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook another minute or so.
  • Add the hamburger and cook until browned.  Drain the mixture and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together soup, milk and sour cream till well combined.
  • Mix in the hamburger, cheddar cheese, and corn.
  • Layer half of the crispy crowns on the bottom of the casserole dish.
  • Top with the hamburger mixture.
  • Then layer the remaining crispy crowns on top.
  • Cover with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 30-35 mins until golden and crisp on top.