You know those days when the hubs comes home from a long day at work and he’s only got one thing on his mind?
Nooo, not that! Get your mind out of the gutter, woman! I’m talking about the other thing men think about once every five seconds: food!
You know how it goes: You’ve spent the day chasing after naked babies who think diapers are optional and who think unraveling entire rolls of toilet paper is hilarious, scrubbing up whatever’s ingrained in the carpet underneath the high chair (and determining whether or not it’s the same thing that’s ingrained in your hair), gluing your porcelain vase back together, quelling temper-tantrums, kissing little bumps, patching little boo-boos, preventing doody-diaper disasters, and, if you’re lucky, doing a little bit of laundry and cleaning, when your husband has the naivete to come home at 5:00 and exclaim impatiently with his first breath through the door, “I’m starving, what’s for dinner?!”
What’s for dinner?! I don’t know what’s for dinner, honey, but I do know with that attitude you’re going to be eating this doody-diaper in about five seconds.
Hah, juuuust kidding. The poor guy has no idea it’s been one of those days. While you’ve been dealing with mom stuff all day, he’s been dealing with man stuff, and neither of you had the time to deal with that annoying daily dilemma, “what are we doing for dinner?”
Enter the following EASY recipes. These have become my go-to recipes for those days when fancy-gourmet-dinner just didn’t make it onto my to-do list. They’re super fast and easy. They’re healthy. (Healthier than that last-minute delivery pizza or Chinese take-out you were going to order, anyway.) They’re satisfying (ie: man-appetite-approved). They’re made from stuff you probably already have in your pantry. And best of all, they’re different! Read: not grilled chicken or your mama’s meatloaf. Hooray!
So, don’t panic the next time 5:00 rolls around so fast. Make these dishes on those days and you’ll still have plenty of time and energy left for that other thing you thought I was talking about. 😉
Fast & Easy Recipe # 1:
Southern Living Ham Greens and Cornbread Bake (This one’s my all-time favorite easy recipe!)
4 cups cooked, chopped ham (about 2lbs)
2 tbs vegetable oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 – 16 oz. package frozen chopped collard greens
1 – 12 oz. package frozen vegetable seasoning blend (onion, green pepper, celery)
1 – 15.5 oz. can jalepeno and bacon seasoned black eyed peas, drained
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper (optional if you don’t like spicy stuff)
2 – 7 oz. packages Martha White sweet yellow cornbread mix
Saute ham in hot oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat, 5 minutes
Add flour, stir and cook 1 minute
Gradually add chicken broth and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes until mixture begins to thicken
Bring to a boil
Add frozen collard greens, frozen vegetable blend, black eyed peas, and red pepper
Return to a boil and cook, stirring often, 15 minutes
Pour into a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish
Make cornbread mixture according to directions on back of package (don’t forget to double everything since you’re using 2 packages for this) and pour the batter evenly over the ham mixture
Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, or until cornbread is golden and set.
- To make this recipe super easy, you can buy pre-chopped cooked ham. It’s in those bins in the middle of the meat isle in the grocery store. If you do have time to do a little more work, you can chop up leftover ham or buy a small sliced ham and chop it up — it does have a little more flavor this way.
- This recipe calls for a can of jalepeno and bacon seasoned black eyed peas. I have yet to find this in any store in my area. So what I do is buy a can of regular black eyed peas and a small can of diced jalepenos. Then I just add a small spoonful of jalepenos when I’m adding the other vegetable ingredients. This way I can control the spicy. I love being able to taste the jalepenos! If I feel like doing a little extra work, I fry up some bacon, crumble it in, and even sometimes throw the bacon grease into the pot too. That adds a nice burst of flavor into this already delicious medley. Other times if I’m in a hurry I just leave all that stuff out, and we have a less spicy meal.
- The frozen vegetable seasoning blend is also sometimes difficult to find. Where I live it’s frequently out of stock. Alternatively, I buy a frozen bag of chopped onions and a frozen bag of chopped green pepper, and use half a bag of each in the recipe.
- You will probably have leftover ham and leftover jalepenos. Use these the next morning to make a yummy omelet!
- If you don’t like spicy food, just leave out the red pepper flakes and jalepenos. It still tastes great without that stuff. (I know this one’s obvious but I thought I’d mention it.)
- Make sure you buy sweet yellow cornbread mix, not regular cornbread mix. It does make a difference. Of course, I have a huge sweet tooth.
- Leftover collard greens make a tasty and healthy vegetable the next day when cooked with some bacon, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes.
- As always, buy store brand ingredients and save big bucks!
Fast & Easy Recipe #2:
Better Homes & Gardens Pork Chops with Chili-Apricot Glaze (I usually double this one)
1/4 cup apricot jam or preserves
1/4 cup chili sauce
1 tablespoon brown mustard
1 tablespoon water
4 boneless 1-inch pork chops
1. For glaze, cut up any large pieces of apricot in jam or preserves. In a small saucepan combine jam, chili sauce, mustard, and water. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until heated through. Remove from heat.
2. Trim separable fat from pork chops. Place chops on unheated rack of broiler pan. Broil 4-5 inches from heat for 8 minutes. Turn pork chops. Brush generously with glaze. Broil 8-12 minutes more or until centers of chops are just slightly pink and juices run clear. Spoon any remaining glaze over meat.
Enjoy with leftover collard greens!
Fast & Easy Recipe #3:
Cheesy Chicken and Asparagus Bake (This one’s sooo easy!)
1.5 pounds fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
One 10 3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Grease a 9×9 inch baking dish.
Place the asparagus on bottom.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium, add the chicken and brown on both sides. Season with salt and pepper.
Arrange chicken over the asparagus.
In a bowl mix soup, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Pour over chicken.
Cover with silver foil and bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and let melt for about 5 minutes.
Serve over brown Minute rice and enjoy!
Fast & Easy Recipe #4:
Better Homes & Gardens Hearty Sausage, Beans, and Greens (another favorite!)
1/2 lb hot or mild Italian sausage links, bias-sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 – 19oz. cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans) rinsed and drained
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine or more chicken broth
2 tablespoons snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried crushed thyme
2 cups escarole or fresh spinach
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a large saucepan, cook sausage and onion over medium heat 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Drain off fat.
Add the beans, chicken broth, wine/chicken broth, and thyme.
Bring to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Stir in escarole or fresh spinach just until heated through.
Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese if desired.
- I have no idea what escarole even is. I just use an entire bag of fresh baby spinach from the grocery store and it’s the perfect amount, tastes great, and it’s sooo good for you!
- If you like things spicy, use hot Italian sausage or use mild sausage and add red pepper flakes into the pot.
- Can’t find cannellini beans? I’ve made it with Navy beans and Great Northern beans before, it comes out just as good!
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)