Save time and headache with these five simple, farm and weeknight friendly meals that are easy to prepare, quick to cook and clean up in a snap.
5:00pm and it’s time to leave the office and head for the homestead. There are hungry critters waiting to be fed. And I don’t just mean the goats, pigs and chickens. Usually by now I have already received a phone call with that most dreaded of questions… ‘What’s for dinner?’
Anyone else hate that question? Yep me too.
Almost as much as I dislike cooking. I confess, I despise cooking. Just call me the kitchen Grinch.
So why the cooking post?
Because I do like food. And my family really likes food and figuring out what to feed the family can seem impossible, especially after a long day of work.
Too bad we can’t eat goat chow.
So, what’s a farm mom with more projects than time and a serious grudge against the stove do?
She hires a chef!
Okay, that one’s wishful thinking.
Almost (mostly) as good and definitely less expensive; she finds simple meals that are easy to prepare, quick to cook and clean up in a snap.
What makes a farm-family and kitchen Grinch approved meal?
- Meals that have a minimum amount of prep work. Because when you are starting dinner after the sun goes down, long and extensive prep work means eating dinner after all the junior farm hands should already be in bed.
- Meals that cook quickly. The quicker the better. I’m pretty sure I am allergic to the silver box called a stove and long-term exposure can’t be healthy. In my defense, I truly believe nobody wants to stand over a stove after working all day.
- Meals that have a minimal amount of clean-up. While I’d rather clean than cook most any day of the week, I still prefer to save my evenings for spending time with the family, reading a good book or writing about quick meals. Single pot meals count for bonus points.
Here are five meals that are easy to prepare, quick to cook and clean up in a snap.
Why only five? My stove allergy limits me to cooking five nights a week max. Those other two nights are reserved for leftovers or pizza. You may want to implement your own stove allergy.
These five simple, farm and weeknight friendly meals will hopefully solve your dinner dilemma. At least until you can spring for that chef.
Always a favorite with the crew and ridiculously simple. Brown 1lb of ground beef, add onion powder and black pepper to taste, stir in a jar of your favorite sloppy joe sauce, we like Manwich, but whatever floats your boat. Cook until heated through and serve on your favorite hamburger buns. Serve with home fries, coleslaw or even baked sweet potato fries.
Looking for something a little fancier. Try this Sloppy Joe with Pickled Okra Slaw from Country Living.
Stir Fry Anything
This is one of my personal favorites because it is so easy and can be made from chicken or steak. At our house we usually use beef tips or stew meat. But cut up chicken works too. Brown about 1 lb of steak or chicken. Drain any grease. I like to add a little diced garlic but that’s totally optional. Add 1-2 bags of frozen stir fry veggies. Or if you are using your own frozen veggies I usually use broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper and onions. If you have some sweet peas or string beans or corn feel free to toss them in. Set the heat on low and steam until done, fork tender is about right. Although hubs likes his veggies a little more ‘done’. Add in your favorite stir fry sauce, follow product recommendations for quantities because these can vary. Serve with rice.
Baked BBQ Cheesy Chicken with Yellow Rice
Believe it or not hubs actually came up with this one and it is so easy.
Place chicken breasts (we usually use frozen) on cookie sheet with a raised lip, cook per package instructions until done. When chicken is cooked thoroughly, remove from oven, brush on your favorite bar b que sauce and add a thick slice of your favorite cheese. We like to use sharp cheddar hoop cheese or a smoked gouda. Both are awesome. Put back in the oven and cook 5 minutes or until cheese is melty. Serve with brown rice and green beans or broccoli. We love sautéed green beans and usually cook that.
Need an awesome and easy recipe for sautéed green beans. Check out this recipe from myrecipes.com.
This is another recipe where you can use steak, ground beef, or chicken. Or make it healthier and use ground turkey. Fair warning, I have no idea if it’s good with ground turkey, we don’t buy it.
Brown your meat, we like hamburger meat. Drain the grease and add your favorite taco seasoning mix. This can be as easy as a pre-mixed packet of seasoning from the grocery or try making your own taco seasoning with this recipe from allrecipes.com.
That’s it. Not even kidding, no more cooking required. Layer the meat over tortilla or corn chips and top with diced tomatoes and onions, lettuce, salsa, cheese, sour cream or whatever other toppings you prefer.
One pot lasagna
Farm kid loves lasagna. But only homemade lasagna without ricotta or as she calls it, ‘that lumpy white cheese’. And I have a great recipe for lasagna she loves. But it is a lot to put together on a week night. This one pot lasagna is a fantastic compromise that we all agree on. And it gets bonus points for being a one-pot dinner.
I use this 15-Minute One Pot Lasagna recipe from Rosemarie Groner at The Busy Budgeter.
I do leave out the red pepper. And I replace the ricotta with cheddar. It’s delicious, quick and one pot. Woot! We usually eat with a side salad and garlic bread.
These five meals that are easy to prepare, quick to cook and clean up in a snap will streamline your evening routine and get you out of the kitchen and working on more important things. Like planning your garden!
What are some of your favorite quick and easy recipes? Does anyone else suffer from stove allergies?
Try these out and let me know how much you love them and if by using them you got to spend more time with the garden catalogs.