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burning out! Need quick, tasty meal ideas please!

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I'm burning out trying to do it all! Mom's been living with me for 2 months now and this week is our first week with private, in-home help. I get TWO days from 8:30 - 4:30 this week, and next week I'll have morning help on two other days. While I'll miss our privacy, it will be WONDERFUL to school again, get some rest, GET CAUGHT UP. I even have a handicap bus to take mom out in! It passed inspection over the weekend. So FREEDOM is just around the corner. Actually, I'll be catching up more than I'll be free.


In the midst of all of this, we have been undergoing construction to make our first floor bathroom a full bath, handicap accessible, and we're turning our office into mom's room. The dust and dirt is OVERWHELMING. I just can't WAIT to have my home to myself again!


Dh and I are finding it harder and harder to cook good meals. He's the most awesome cook, and I was the most awesome cook who cooked EVERYTHING from scratch, ALL THREE MEALS, down to the freshly rolled oats and ground wheat. I left that all behind two years ago, but reminisce and dream of recapturing it. We eat well for the most part, but we REALLY need to spend less time in the kitchen. We need quick, tasty meals that aren't too unhealthy (unhealthy once per week is ok) and I'm hoping to get several ideas here. I'll share some of our favorites:


Trader Joes healthy hot dogs with their turkey chili, served with salad and fries or chips


I'll buy frozen white bread dough, thaw it, line it with cheese and pepperoni, or sausage, or spiced chicken.


tacos and salad - too salty. We usually use the meat, tons of veggies, and organic taco chips as a dip. We love taco salads.


ok - those three aren't the healthiest.


One of our FAVORITES is chicken caesar salads with sourdough bread. I'll take chicken breasts and cube them and boil them for about 3 minutes. They'll be cooked and tender and I'll have them marinade in Newman's Own dressing all day. At the end of the day I chop red peppers and other veggies and add lettuce. We buy organic Monterey sourdough bread to serve with our salads, and I make a dipping sauce by simmering olive oil with a few sprigs of my home grown rosemary, then add sea salt and pepper.


Breaded turkey tenders. I take turkey tenders, dip in egg that's had dijon mustard added, then dip in bread crumbs. Serve with favorite sides.


Bagels with cream cheese and Trader Joes smoked salmon, salads.



I've thrown aside almost all meatless meals because of all the work involved, but want to have vegan/vegetarian meals several days per week. One thing I've been craving is my lentil soup with the sourdough bread and salads.


Some nights I'll make a quick veggie platter with hummus or salad dressing along with meats and/or breads.


I need more ideas, please! I will have frozen quickies ready for mom - whose on a VERY strict diet due to health issues.


We serve shrimp platters with cocktail sauce, salads and the above sourdough bread.


We're getting tired of the above. Please help! I absolutely DREAD meals now!



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These are definately not the healthiest recipes in the world, but they are fast and tasty and you'll be able to use your noggin to figure out how to make them healthier. I haven't tried a single one that wasn't very yummy and easy


and if you poke around, you'll find recipes there other than beef, I just don't have that link off hand because I already have a lot of quick chicken and meatless dishes.

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Just the other day dd wanted tacos so I made two large packs of ground beef using one for tacos the other ready for Sheppard pie. Vacuum packed the taco beef mix in portions for our family making several and some individual portions for dd lunch. The pack for Sheppard pie I added onions and peppers cooked than packed in two large portions for Sheppard pie. To make it healthier you could use ground chicken or turkey. So I have several meals almost ready.

When I BQ Chicken or a roast beef. I make extra for example I will cook two or three chickens at a time it doesn't take any extra time to make an extra. If I cook three I use one for dinner and the left over for dh or ds lunch for work. The second will be dinner the second or third night as sands or quesadillas, the third I will vacuum pack and store in the fridge for a few days latter or freeze for an emergency meal. Same goes for a roast beef have it for dinner on night than skip a night than have beef dip or quesadillas. If it is a very large roast and I still have some left over I will put all what is needed for a beef stew except the gravy part and vacuum pack it and freeze it for a latter time so it doesn't seem like left over’s. Or use very little meat beef or chicken and make pizzas using a store bought pizza shell. Don't forget about grilled sands with left over’s they only take minutes to grill.

Once every few month I will cook for two days making things for the freezer so if we are short on time or not feeling well I have most of a dinner ready. I often make my own stuffed chicken breast or cutlets freezing them on cooking sheets before vacuum packing just so I can take out just what I need and reseal the rest.

When ever possible I cook to have left over’s, to use for lunches or as another dinner to freeze for another day. I always have some frozen veggies on hand to cut done on pre time for those busy days; it also saves me from running to the store as often.

I love my vacuum pack it saves room in the deep freeze the food store longer and looks good, no freezer burn.

Dh often works late so I like to have something nice on hand for him, I have salmon or chicken packed in single portions with a tasty sauce, I cook them in the toaster oven with cut up potatoes and veggies and cook them all on one small tray and it always comes out beautifully. You could do the same in a larger oven and save on clean up.

Hope this has helped you

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Another quick idea for cooking ahead... roast a whole turkey or a number of chickens at the same time. Remove the meat, from the bones. make gravy and combine the meat with the gravy in freezer bags (freeze flat). This can be defrosted and heated easily, served on bread as hot turkey sandwiches. A whole turkey or some chickens makes a number of meals, and its really very little work.

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