need some relatively easy,cheap supper meals

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DammitJanet, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Issue is I dont have a crock pot and I cant stand up long for prep work and the stool Tony got me is useless. Its way too tall for me to even climb up Billy swears he cant eat cheese or milk products even though he eats those little 10 inch pizza's and hot pockets by the truckload. I found 4 boxes of them in the trashcan each of the last two nights! Not combined...each night! Thats a total of 8 pizza's in two days. He wont eat eggs either...swears he is allergic to them but of course he isnt or he couldnt eat stuff like mayo which he does.

    And then Tony wants something with meat in it for dinner. I would be happy trying pasta with just veggies but no, has to have meat. Sigh. I am not a big fan of spaghetti because we had it so much when the boys were growing up but it appears that has to be on the menu because it is fairly cheap even though hamburger is not cheap anymore. I normally buy a bag of meatballs because they tend to come out cheaper and I like them better.

    Tony and I also have an issue with being able to chew things because of our teeth so things need to be really soft. We cant eat steak or pork chops. If I had the crock pot I could do the stew. I just ordered a dutch oven and when that gets here I can do the stew in there. I would be happy with just mac n cheese for a dinner but meat.

    I just need about 4 or 5 go to meals that are easy for me to make.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm doing my grocery list right now. An inexpensive roast does well in the crock pot. I don't bother with the prep- just sprinkle with worstechire sauce, throw in whatever vegies you want (peeled potatoes, carrots, onions), 1/4- 1/2 cup of water and you're done. I know it's not real cheap but for the number of meals you get out of it, it's worth it. I did chicken breasts with white pepper gravy last week and we're still finishing that up. I bought a magazine for crock pot recipes this summer and now that it's cooling off I'll be using it more. I'll be happy to share good, inexpensive and quick recipes as I try them out. I know some people do chilli, plain-ole pinto beans, pulled or shredded BBQ, in them but I haven't tried those in the crock pot yet- actually I have a slow cooker but I think it's about the same.

    If there's anything in particular you want me to look up, I'll be happy to and send you the recipe or post it here.

    I think I might look for one for ham around Christmas.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Tacos... Browning the meat is annoying but other than that, they're easy. Ravioli... I buy bags, you can get meat ravioli. Fairly soft... Also you can put alfredo sauce on it instead of marinara.

    Baked chicken and rice... And as far as the cheese, milk, eggs yada yada - make him buy/cook for himself. UGH.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    This one is going to sound gross...........but it's anything BUT gross, easy and cheap.

    Potatoes washed (don't peel) poke holes like for baking, pop in microwave for a few mins (depends on how many you're using but you're not cooking them all the way just partially) Once this is done slice them like for fried potatoes

    Diced onion

    Hamburger- brown in skillet, do NOT drain the grease......when grease starts being produced toss in the potatoes, onion and let them cook together.

    I know it sounds strange but it's really yummy and fast and cheap. I experimented one night and came up with it. Partially baking the potatoes in the microwave helps make sure the potatoes fry up quickly especially if cooking for more than 1 person.

    cheese burger mac is cheap and easy. If you know how to make mac & cheese from scratch, just fry up about a pound of hamburger, drain and add it to the mac & cheese when it's done. I've never figured out why on earth someone would buy the hamburger helper one myself.

    Sloppy Joe's manwich style :)

    Personally, I'd be cooking for you and Tony and if Billy doesn't like whatever it is, let him cook for himself.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I know I have made this suggestion fifty times...every time anyone brings up easy meals, lol. BUT if you buy a few pounds of ground beef you can prepare a bunch of easy meals in advance. You can make a meatloaf, for example, and let it bake in the oven. Then start cooking the other beef. Brown a bunch of beef, let it cool and pat it dry of grease.
    Divide into freezer bags....enough for spagetti sauce in one bag, enough for tacos in another bag, enough for a casserole in another bag, enough for stuffed cabbage or stuffed peppers in another bag or two. Then if you have more beef make meatballs, cool, pat, dry and freeze.
    Do it on a day when you feel well and you won't have to work in the kitchen for more than the time it takes for the meatloaf to bake. Those sixty minutes will make you life SO much easier. Good luck. DDD
  6. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Here's a few of my tried and true favorites - mostly casseroles.


    1 lb cooked and cubed or shredded chicken
    1 medium package spaghetti (any pasta works)
    3/4 cup milk
    1 lb. Velveeta cheese
    1 can cream of mushroom soup (any "cream of" soup works)
    4 oz. can sliced mushrooms
    1 can sliced water chestnuts
    1 cup celery, diced
    1 cup onion, diced
    butter or butter-flavored cooking spray for sauteing

    Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and toss in a little bit of oil. Place noodles in a 9x13 casserole sprayed with cooking spray. Saute onions and celery in butter. ( I do it in the microwave- like 2 minutes with a pat of butter until they're soft) Prepare sauce as follows:
    Melt Velveeta, soup and milk together, (again, I microwave in a glass bowl) then add mushroom, celery-onion mixture, water chestnuts, and finally, chicken. (use whatever vegetable you like) Pour sauce over spaghetti. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes at 325 degrees. Serves 4-6 generously.

    Cheeseburger-and-Fries Casserole
    Serve this quick-to-fix, stick-to-your-ribs casserole with a variety of condiments so diners can choose their favorites.
    Source: Midwest Living

    2 pounds lean ground beef (or ground chicken, turkey, venison whatever etc)
    1 10-3/4-ounce can condensed golden mushroom soup
    1 10-3/4-ounce can condensed cheddar cheese soup
    1 20-ounce package frozen, fried crinkle-cut potatoes (any frozen french fry or tot will work)
    Hamburger toppings (choose from catsup, pickles, mustard and chopped tomato)

    1. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef, half at a time, until brown. Drain off fat. Place the cooked meat in the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.
    2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the condensed golden mushroom soup and the condensed cheddar cheese soup. Spread over the meat in the casserole.
    3. Sprinkle the frozen crinkle-cut potatoes over the top of the casserole. (You can also use prepared or leftover mashed potatoes. Spread or mound over top, cut cooking time to 25 minutes)
    4. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until the fries are golden. Garnish with suggested hamburger toppings, if you like. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

    Easy Pot Pie
    1 2/3 cups frozen vegetables,thawed (anything you like but avoid cauliflower, brussel sprouts & broccoli-they can overpower-leftover cooked veggies work too)
    1 cup cut-up cooked chicken or leftover meat - whatever you have
    1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup (any cream of soup works)
    1 cup bisquick (or Jiffy or generic) mix
    1/2 cup milk
    1 egg
    Heat oven to 400°F. In ungreased 9-inch pie plate, stir vegetables, chicken and soup. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into pie plate. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until crust golden brown.

    Makes 6 servings
    Serves: 6 " 8

    4 c. chicken broth
    2 c. water
    1 (4.5 oz.) package long grain and wild rice, seasoning packet reserved (Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice)
    5 T. butter
    4 oz. sliced mushrooms (optional)
    2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
    2 medium carrots, medium dice
    1/4 c. plus 1 T. flour
    1/2 t. kosher salt
    1/2 t. ground black pepper
    Cup or 2 of cooked shredded chicken or turkey
    2 c. half & half (whole milk works too)

    Combine chicken broth and water in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. When broth begins to boil, add rice (BUT NOT THE SEASONING PACKET!)and stir. Cover pan, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

    Meanwhile, place butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Melt butter; when foaming subsides, add mushrooms, celery, and carrot and saute until tender, about six minutes. Sprinkle flour, reserved seasoning packet, and salt and pepper over vegetables, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring for three minutes. Do not brown flour. Gradually add in half and half, whisking to blend. Cook mixture, stirring occasionally, for five minutes or until mixture thickens. Gradually whisk broth and rice mixture into the larger pot, stirring to combine. Stir in shredded chicken, cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. Add additional broth if soup gets to thick (which is definitely will if you make it ahead of time!) or you can serve it like a chicken stew. Serve. Freezes well
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Signorina I want to try that chicken spaghetti, but I haven't a clue what water chestnuts are???

    And........I'm writing these down! Right now, so I don't forget. lol
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Oh, just thought of 2 more family "staples". Family is not all home anymore so I don't make them now. But they were mother in law's tricks and husband and the kids LOVED IT.

    Cheese spaghetti- make just like you would for mac&cheese only using spaghetti noodles, then cut up and add hot dogs. This is also done with reg mac&cheese too.

    I wish you lived closer Janet, I'd teach you to make broccoli soup. It's tough to write down because it's one of those "some of this and some of that" recipes with no real measurements but it's easy to learn to do and takes only about 30 mins to make. It's really filling too and great on a chilly damp day.
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Janet, my Grandpa used to love fried bologna on toast with mayo... There's your meat...
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Something I really love to make this time of year are soups. I have on hand, all the time, boxes of vegetable broth as well as some vegetable bullion cubes from knorr. When I have a bunch of items that I don't know what to do with, I make a hodge-podge soup. I cut up all the veggies, sautée them in about two tbs of butter till soft, toss in the cut up or cubes meat of whatever I have, sometimes it's chicken, sometimes it's steaks, or pork loin, or even sausages. Cook the veggies and meat together for a about five minutes and add a box (or two depending on how much you're making) of the vegetable broth, add one cube of the bullion and season to taste. I also have on hand things like barely, rice, orzo or beans and throw in a handful of those. If you have a can of the pillsbury biscuits or some French bread, heat it up and serve. A very hearty and tasty meal that usually last two days and maybe even some lunches if you make enough. Best of all, it's inexpensive, basically cooks itself and it's healthy.
  11. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Lisa - water chestnuts are common in Chinese food. They're not actually a nut or chestnut - they're a vegetable. I've never seen a fresh water chestnut - so I have no idea what they look like straight from nature. I buy them in the can. Whole canned water chestnuts resemble a teeny peeled potato, but they are not potato like at all. They are very crisp but not hard- not unlike raw jicama. They are pretty bland - they have a pleasant taste - but nothing noteworthy. They add nice bit of crunchy texture to softer dishes like this casserole. Straight from the can - they are probably the texture of a blanched carrot or lightly cooked celery not hard - but have a snap - so they are easily chewed. They don't cook down or get noticeably softer during cooking - so I think the texture is why they are in the recipe. Pretty kid friendly -I don't think most people notice them tbh- you've probably eaten them. Cheap too - a small can of sliced water chestnuts is less than $1.
  12. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    How about taking a ride to Sam's? They have frozen turkey and gravy, beef pot roast, all kind of frozen entree's...while you're there get a rotisserie chicken, maybr freeze one. If you are looking for easy, these are great solutions. Also, I am starving when I get home form work so I need to be ready, and husband is a total meat and potato person. Here is an idea. We do this alot. Buy those Perdue portioned and individually wrappred chicken breasts, 5 to a package...and defrost what you need each day, 2 or 3. Slice them up, and throw in a pan with a garlic clove, after a few min. put in fresh or frozen veggies, throw in a pack of soy sauce from the chineese food restaurant, cook some minute rice in another pot, and there....stir-fry chicken and veg.. 10 minutes. We also order out a lot. Some restaurants have lunch specials for 5-7 dollars, get 2 on a day while you're out and re-heat when Tony comes home. Janet, you don't have to re-invent the wheel each night to have meat and potatoes.

    I have a grill pan and cook things like steak and burgers on that...I literally just throw them on, husband hates all seasoning, and then cook everything else in the microwave, a baked potato or frozen veggies. I also put fresh veggies in the microwave, sadly, husband hates fresh veggies. We have 2 different meals most nights. That is so easy and only takes like 10 min.

    How about those bagged salads? Grilled chicken ceasar salad....just slice and cook you own chicken breasts on the grill pan. Add to a bagged ceasar salad, dressing included.

    Buy a crock-pot and throw a roast in there.... just add a pack of lipton onion soup mix, water, and carrots and potatos. That could be 2 night's dinners.

    How about bacon (2 min. in microwave, 2 pieces on a paper plate) eggs, toast, and frozen hash browns? My hungry husband loves this meal for dinner.
  13. bigbear11

    bigbear11 Guest

    Make hamburger patties (a little thicker and smaller than for a real burger). Have a can of cream of mushroom soup (make w water if allergic to milk) simmering in a pan. As the patties finish, put them in the soup and let it simmer for 30 mins or so. Super easy and very good. We do all the time with mac and cheese or scalloped potatoes. The mushroom 'gravy' is great. Can add onions if you like.
    This one of our go tos.

    I also second DDD's suggestion. Some time when you feel good take the time to pre prep some stuff. I keep cooked shredded chicken ready in the freezer at all times. Cooked hamburger would be great to do to if standing that long is issue.

    Here is also a GREAT fast easy chilli recipe... Tried it at Publix one day and immediately made it that weekend. Love it!!
    1 Onion, chopped
    1.5 pounds ground bef
    3 tbsp Chili powder
    1/2 tsp seasoned salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1 10.75 oz can condensed tomato soup
    1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (undrained)
    1 10 oz can rotel tomotoes/green chiles (undrained)
    1 16 oz can chili beans (undrained)
    1 15 oz can black beans (undrained)
    Brown beef in pan... drain. Mix beef and seasonings together and throw everything in a pot. Stir. Bring to boil stirring often. Let simmer for 20
    minutes and enjoy!
    It doesn't get much easier than this!!! We actually use some of the spicier versions (like hot Rotel) and use another can of chili beans rather than the
    black beans but this is the basic recipe.
  14. MyFriendKita

    MyFriendKita Member

    husband and difficult child both like smoked sausage (the skinless kind is more tender), cut up into pieces, add some potatoes, carrots, and either cabbage or green beans. Cover with water and boil until the vegetables are tender. I usually make it with cornbread, but you could do some brown-and-serve rolls instead to make it easier.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I need to do the pre-done hamburger. I used to do that all the time when I worked. Of course I also used to buy hamburger by about a hundred pounds when it went on sale for 89 cents or 99 cents a pound then I spent a whole Saturday just cooking it all up and bagging it up and putting it in the freezer.

    Step...I have to laugh at the fried bologna. He says sandwiches arent dinner, they are lunch. He has fried bologna and eggs for breakfast. Once in a blue moon I can get away with breakfast for dinner but not often.

    Now I have to say that lately we have been eating out (or ordering in) way too much or eating just junk like frozen dinners and I am sick of it. Thats why I am asking this. I am starting to feel just a tad better so I think I can manage more. I think if I try more and make reasonable efforts most nights that if I really do have an off day he will be more understanding. I do wish I got more help in keeping the kitchen clean though. Billy doesnt work near the amount of time that Tony does and he really could do more.
  16. bigbear11

    bigbear11 Guest

    Another thing that helps us at least is leftovers. My husband is wonderful about that (thank goodness). Make large pan of something and then have leftovers for 3 or so days or divide it and freeze half.

    Another easy thing to make is lasagna... the recipes where you dont have to precook the noodles.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You know, I knew most of this but had got so lost with my memory and stuff that I would just sit in the kitchen and stare or go through the grocery store and not be able to even think about what I wanted to eat anymore. It was so much easier to just say...go get a hamburger or chinese. I dont like pizza unless its made with alfredo sauce because I am so sick of tomato sauce. So many years of $5 Little Ceasers Pizzas.

    I am actually thrilled with the pot pie recipe because Tony has taken to bringing home frozen pot pies which I hate. I hate pies in general because I dont like pie crust. But he does so I am just left having to throw out the crust and eat the little bit of stuff that is inside a pot pie. With that recipe I can make my own and put biscuits on top. I should have thought of that before because I make a chicken and dumpling meal with bisquick. I saw on one of the Food Network shows how to make real pot pies but they used pie crust. I like the biscuit idea better.

    I have to admit that I do take as many shortcuts as I can. I am always on the lookout for those packages of precooked chicken that is sliced up. I will buy all they have on sale when I find it and freeze it. Sometimes I find them on sale for 1.50 a pack for 8 oz. Thats enough chicken for me to make chicken alfredo. I just chop it up some more.

    I havent made a meatloaf or a lasagna in a long time.
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Can you find an area to sit down where you prep food? Tony or Billy should be able to help with that.
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well that was the idea behind me begging for the stool for so long. Now I cant even go there. I know Tony messed up the buying of the stool on purpose because he has a very good eye for measuring things just by eyeing them. He bought a stool that was the same height as the counter top. I cant even climb up on the It also has a rectangular seat which is the most uncomfortable thing to sit on. His answer was for me to sit on it like a horse. I actually tried and ended up with bruises on the inside of my thighs which lasted for two weeks. He can sit on it just fine but he is 6 inches taller than me! But even if I could sit on it, I would still be bent over from the waist constantly to cut anything on the counter. I think that would drive me just as nuts as standing up. I think I need something that puts me at just about where my butt would be. Maybe 26 or 28 inches high. Not 36 or 40 inches tall. He actually got full sized bar stool. My wheel chair is slightly too low. I cant reach into the sink or the top of my stove. I have bought a kitchen table that I could use but I would have to remove the island that is built into the middle of my kitchen. I would love to do that.
  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I see what you're saying. I used to work for a man who had to use a wheelchair 24/7 and he had to remove thecabinets below the sink, lower the sink and counter a couple of inches, and get more lower counter and shelf space to use his kitchen. Also, they had to relocate the dishwasher in order for him to access it. Now once all that was done, he could do anything anyone else could in a kitchen. It's a costly ordeal but there are groups or agencies that help with that when a person is permanently physically disabled. Have you looked into that since it appears Tony doesn't have time to do it and any new stuff could be add up $$ ?