Cooking On A Budget: Dinner In An Hour Or Less

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dinner In An Hour Or Less


Some kids have gone back to school in parts of the country and by September all kids will be back in school. Even though my kids are fully grown I still vividly remember the panic I felt to get dinner on the table when I did not get home from work until after 5 p.m.

It was worse when the kids were little and in grammar school. With daylight savings time it was dark outside when I left work so my mind was racing about getting the kids fed, bathed, loved and off to bed and dinner had to be something good. Often I forgot to take a protein out of the freezer which made it worse. Does that sound familiar to you?

My saving grace though was cooking ahead on the weekend. I would spend most of a Sunday making spaghetti sauce, soups and anything I could cook later in the week or put in the freezer that was easy to pull out and stick in the oven.

Well never fear, cooking on a budget is here. I've gone through my posts and come up with dinners that you can have on the table in either 45 minutes, 30 minutes or just about an hour. Also these recipes are fairly inexpensive to make but there is no sacrificing flavor. They are all delicious and pretty much kid friendly family fare.

Beginning at the top and going from left to right, I've provided the links to these wonderful family recipes. There is also a bonus at the bottom of the post. Three delicious meals that you can make ahead on the weekend and cook during the week, or assemble and freeze and pull out to cook when you need a dish.
  1. Parmesan and Panko Pork Cutlets
  2. Tex-Mex Goulash
  3. Cavatelli with Sage Parmesan Sauce
  4. Philly Cube Steak
  5. Weeknight Cajun Chicken
  6. Roasted Red Peppa Sauce (over ravioli)
  7. Sausage, Egg and Cheese Frittata
  8. Weeknight Quickie: Sausage, Peppers and Onions
  9. Breakfast Sausage Muffins

Make ahead bonus meal recipes
If you are anything like I was back in the day, it's so important to try and plan and shop to save money and still put out good meals for your family. I know that is getting more difficult to do. I also think if you take some time on the weekend to cook some meals ahead, or make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce that it will certainly pay off for you during your busy work week. And don't forget that you will be ferrying children to practices so having a game plan for the week is necessary.

The first recipe is for garden fresh stuffed peppers. They can stay in the refrigerator for two days and you can cook them during the week. Or you can cook them, allow them to cool down and put them in containers in your freezer.

Next we have sausage and spinach stuffed shells which you can make ahead and freeze them without cooking them. Pull them out when you need something for dinner. Transfer to an oven proof casserole dish if you did not freeze in that and bake. If you freeze in the casserole dish, you MUST let the dish come to room temperature otherwise the glass may shatter in the oven. So I suggest you freeze in plastic containers then transfer to a baking dish.

Now you can create Traditional Beef Shepherd's Pie on the weekend for a make ahead meal. It should last well for 2-3 days in the refrigerator and when you are ready pull it out and bake it off.

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