Friday Five: Quick Meals

Heather says:

What are your quick meals? The meals you make when the meal plan has been thrown out the window and yet people must be fed? These nights seem to happen to us when I don’t plan well, when errands take three times as long as I hoped and everyone is cranky.

Here are our five, usually they end up accompanied by fresh fruit, steamed vegetables, or sometimes *gasp* canned. Avert your eyes if you must, but it happens.

  • Sausage Peppers and OnionsSausage, Peppers, and Onions
    Usually this get accompanied with either a baguette or hoagie rolls. I’ve found that I can cook the sausages from frozen -over low heat- and the dish is so flavorful that nothing is missed. If I plan on having this as the main dish, I always thaw them. It feels like I should do penance when I don’t.
  • Lazy Man’s Frittata
    Well, it’s not an official frittata, it’s just sauteed vegetables and sometimes ham or bacon, with beaten eggs. I keep the pan on the burner until the bottom has set and then I place the pan under the broiler just long enough to set the top and brown it a tiny bit. You can only use the broiler trick if your pan is oven safe, be careful.
    This is amazing if there happens to be any chili around.
  • Cheeseburger Macaroni
    The ingredients for this are on hand at all time. Ground beef is one of the few things I don’t mind thawing in the microwave. Β The kids are happy, it’s filling, sometimes that’s all that matters. You can take the same technique to use up leftover chili, too. -Apparently I have chili on the brain, it must be time to get it on the recipe list here.
  • Fettucine Alfredo
    If I happen to have shrimp or fish or anything that gets blackened and served to the adults. The kids just get a sauteed version, they’re young, they’ll learn.
  • Grilled sandwiches
    Hot ham and cheese is our usual go to, but have you ever grilled a PB&J? It’s almost a shame that something that simple can be so tasty. Β If you want to get fancy make a chicken or patty melt. (It’s just a grilled cheese with the cooked! meat in the middle).

What are your go-to, gotta get dinner on the table five minutes ago meals?

Feel free to link to your own recipes in the comment. Just do one per comment or you’ll trigger the spam filter and I hate going in there. Reading the stuff in the spam filter tends to make me lose faith in humanity.


  1. deneicer1 on December 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Scrambled eggs, pancakes, pb&j, cereal, hot dogs….those are all standbys. It depends upon what we have on hand, of course.

    I freeze hamburger in zip bags so they are flat. They thaw out in a jiffy in a bowl of water. I also freeze all leftover chicken broth and bits of chicken (usually from the crock pot.)

    So….that makes sloppy joes a breeze, tacos easy and one of the other things I make in a jiffy is Chicken and Dumplings with all the leftover broth/chicken containers from the freezer. I also can throw together a mean potato soup in less than 20 minutes because I freeze leftover mashed potatoes.

    When I make lasagna I make two square pans. I freeze one. I also freeze all leftover chili, soups, etc. so I often can take out my own frozen meal.

    We have two adults at home and one picky young teen…so there are often leftovers to freeze and re-do.

  2. Marie @ Awakeatheart on February 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    My go-to quickies are American Pasta Carbonara (linguine, 1 slice bacon, shredded cheddar, egg, garlic, olive oil) or Linguine in red clam sauce (linguine, 1 can diced tomatoes, a bit of tomato paste, 1 can baby clams, garlic, olive oil, dried basil). Both are on the table in under 15 minutes. They're also my go-to meals when my husband is away for the evening and I'm cooking for myself, or when I realize I forgot to take something out of the freezer.

    If I actually prepare ahead and take something out of the freezer for a quickie, I like pan-seared fish with a bit of couscous and sauteed green beans. That's a quick 10 minute healthy meal.
    My recent post On My Mind…My Office

  3. Karen L on February 22, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Question. I usually buy fresh (not pre-cooked) sausages. Could I cook them or parboil them before freezing to have them on-hand for making sausages, onions, and peppers in a needed-dinner-5-minutes-ago situation?

    • deneicer1 on December 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm

      I would think so….the ones in the frozen section get pre-cooked somehow!

  4. Deirdre on February 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Tuna melts – lots of chopped celery and pickles, cheddar cheese, whole grain bread, and few extra pickles on the side. Always a winner.

    Dressed up frozen burritos – Trader Joe's has an awesome burrito packs that I top with black beans, corn, and onions sauteed with SWest seasons and maybe bell pepper, avocado, etc, whatever's on hand.

    Spaghetti–duh, always a winner. Homemade canned or frozen sauce is the best, but store bought doctored with random veggies and some meat – chicken, sausage, etc. Never fails.

  5. Sandee Hill on February 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    My favorite quick dinner is hamburger stroganoff. The only thing I don't ALWAYS have is sour cream, & I can send the hubby for that on the way home! πŸ™‚ "Brinner" (breakfast for dinner) is another favorite for me and the 13 year old, but Dad doesn't like brinner. Party pooper. πŸ˜‰

  6. Bobbie Laughman on February 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Favorite almost-instant meals:

    Apple & Cheese — cut a yellow delicious apple and some monterey jack or muenster cheese into cubes. This is a favorite for when I have to work thru a meal. I can just grab and nibble as I work.

    Scrambled egg burrito — wrap eggs in warmed tortilla along w/ sour cream and pickled jalepeno slices

    Now, during Real Tomato Season only — toast 1 slice rye or whole wheat bread, spread w/ peanut butter, cover w/ thick slices of HOMEGROWN tomatoes. add salt & pepper. Eat while toast is still hot. Repeat as needed.

  7. Jen on February 22, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I do a lot of breakfast-for-dinner, often pancakes or waffles with bacon. I usually throw in some fruit into the batter to health it up a little.

    A tuna melt is a good go-to, or a "fancy" grilled cheese – maybe it's brie with dried figs and almonds, or cheddar or gruyere with caramelized onions, depends on what's on hand.

    Funny that you mentioned grilled PB&J – I often have PB&J for lunch, and I usually toast it (too lazy to grill it). Not long ago, my 4-year old son finally noticed that his was not toasted and I would toast mine and he asked why I toasted mine. It hadn't occurred to me that he would want his toasted, but he tried a bite of mine and liked it. Now he only wants his toasted. He's a convert.

  8. Paula @ Home Decor on February 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Taco's is something that is fast to make and I usually have cheese, lettuce, onions, hamburger, sour cream, and tortilla on hand. Also, most of the time though, I always cook more than what we can eat at a meal, so there are always leftovers at hand.

  9. Jeanine on February 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Burrito in a bowl! Fajita seasoned chicken from meat section, diced then stif fried (10 mins). 1 can rotelle and 1 can black beans, heated together. Serve this over rice (keep minute on hand if needed) and top with cheese, sour cream or diced onions with tortillas. A favorite and fast and easy to make!

  10. Lucy on February 20, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Bean burritos and a green salad. Maybe bacon in the burritos if there is time.

    Had Sausage, Peppers and Onions last week – YUM!

  11. Faith on February 20, 2011 at 12:51 am

    We have a favorite Go-to meal of Tomato Soup with Butter Beans. You can see the link below to the post on my blog The Home Economist

    We also love to make BLT sandwiches and salads when we need something fast.

    My recent post Tomato Soup with Butter Beans

  12. Jackie on February 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    My go to meal is usually chicken cacciatore type meals. We always have chicken breasts in the freezer. I defrost them and throw them in a pan. Once they're brown I add diced tomatoes and italian seasoning. Let it simmer while I either make some rice or pasta to serve it over. Add some green beans or a salad and you're good to go.
    My recent post What Are We Gonna Do Today!

  13. Jennifer on February 19, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Scrambled eggs and peanut butter pasta. Not in the same meal! Scrambled eggs speak for themselves. As for PB pasta, I can assemble the sauce in the amount of time it takes to cook the pasta. I use 1/4 cup of coconut milk, pb and water, put in a pot and add 1 tbsp of brown sugar, soy sauce, and lemon or lime juice. Maybe add some sesame oil, fish sauce or 5 spice powder, garlic powder, whatever strikes my fancy. Let cook until mixed together and pour over pasta. I usually throw a green vegetable into the pasta pot during the last couple minutes of cooking. Chicken can be added for extra protein. It's a family favorite.

  14. Stephanie on February 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    My quick meal is bbq chicken sandwiches made with canned chicken. I use my own home canned chicken, but you can also used store bought. Warm up the chicken, stir in bbq sauce and serve on tortillas or buns. Can also be made with canned pork or beef.

  15. @MrsBYork on February 18, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    My quick'n'easy supper is curry – yes, it's a long-ish ingredient list but it's all stuff that I always have in & needs minimal prep. The simmering time is just long enough for a quick bath (or washing the dishes!)

    Fry a sliced onion, add a teaspoon each of mustard seed, cumin seed, coriander seed, fennel seed, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric & chopped chilli (the stuff in a jar is great!) Throw in a can of tomatoes or passata, whatever meat and/ or veg you want to use up, a couple of ounces of creamed coconut & enough water or stock to cover. Simmer 20 mins or so (enjoy that bath/ get those dishes clean!), stir in a couple of tablespoons of plain yoghurt to fancy it up a bit, and serve with rice or bread (I always keep some naan bread or similar in the freezer, they defrost in a couple of minutes under the broiler.)

    It sounds – and tastes – a lot more complicated than it is: having made it regularly for a while I can get it prepped in as little as 5 minutes, yet it's tasty enough to serve for friends.

  16. Tracy on February 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Y'all forgot about stone soup. πŸ˜‰ Canned tomatoes, some canned beans, frozen or canned veggies, left-over meat if available, some herbs. If you want to get fancy, you can saute some onions, celery and carrots at the beginning before adding the broth/water.

  17. Karen L on February 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Rice and beans. I can do it in my sleep. I often have left-over rice in the fridge but if not, the rice cooker does the trick.

    Saute a chopped onion, two chopped celery stalks, and some minced garlic. (two out of three ain’t bad). Drain and rinse a can of beans (usually chickpeas or lentils in my house) and add to the pan. Add some rice. Add some grated cheese, once it melts, stir and serve.

    Seriously desperate? Breakfast cereal, scrambled eggs, and fruit – maybe even fruit smoothies.

    • Karen L on February 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      Forgot to add that I like to put some cayenne pepper in with the sauteing veg.

  18. Jenny King on February 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Freedom (french) toast or pancakes and eggs
    bean burritos (from frozen homemade beans)
    grilled tuna sandwiches
    Hamburger gravy on rice (rice cookers make this easiest)
    chili dogs

  19. Nancy Cox on February 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Spaghetti is quick for me, too. I make a big batch of sauce and freeze them into containers, then microwave thaw. I also make a big batch of meatballs and freeze them in a big ziploc bag, them heat in the microwave when I need them.

  20. Carol Shive Mirek on February 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Pasta/spaghetti and sauce. I always have homemade sauce in the freezer. French toast, with maybe some breakfast sausage, or pork roll. And on those real bad days I feed the kids frozen mac and cheese with veggies πŸ™‚

    To save my sanity I take one night off from cooking completely. The kids usually get their treat of happy meals, and I get a night without dishes. On those night me, Mom and Hubby will eat leftovers, or fend for ourselves. There is never a shortage of food to eat in this house.

  21. Hallee the Homemaker on February 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    The problem with the way I cook is that there is rarely anything quick on hand. But, when I make pizza, I double the dough recipe and freeze it, and double the sauce and freeze it. I can quickly thaw the dough in warm water.

    I almost always have macaroni (it's one of the pastas I don't make homemade), hamburger, and tomatoes on hand – a quick casserole works.

    Beef sausage and peppers with brown rice. I could personally live on that stuff.

    My recent post A Birthday Tradition

  22. Renee on February 18, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I make Sausage and Peppers all the time as a go to. I sometimes "beef" it up by adding some pasta and a can of diced tomatoes to the mix. Other quick go tos are: Tacos – just thaw some ground beef and always keep tortillas in the freezer, regular old spaghetti – I always make a big batch of sauce and keep containers of it in the freezer to defrost and serve with pasta. And of course, leftovers one day a week make life easier that day!

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