If you aren’t much of a cook, but you feel the need to feed your family healthy, home-cooked meals, it’s essential that you find recipes for quick and easy meals. That way, meal time isn’t super overwhelming but you are still accomplishing your goal to feed your family well. If you are starting to create a new simple meal plan like we discussed last week, this post of quick and easy meals might help you fill in a few gaps in your plan. 😉
The weather has cooled down, and warm comfort food is calling our names. The fall season always has me searching for soup and chili recipes. The great thing about these types of recipes is that it’s simple to make enough for to eat for lunch throughout the week. In the summer, a salad of some sort is easy to whip up and actually sounds good, but when the weather cools down, I’m looking for something hearty and warm to eat. But who has time to make soup at lunchtime?!
What Makes a Meal Quick and Easy?
These are the criteria I look for in a recipe that claims to be a quick and easy meal:
- A quick and easy meal must be prepared in under an hour.
- A quick and easy meal must use ingredients I usually have on hand or are easy to find.
- A quick and easy meal must only require kitchen tools I already own and skills I already attain.
Bonus: if a quick and easy meal can be made ahead and/or used throughout the week!
A Few of My Favorite Quick and Easy Meals
There are some quick and easy meals that I make that I’m not even going to bother giving you a recipe for…they’re that easy. Some simple recipes that take little to no effort involve putting meat and your favorite sauce in a slow cooker. Try chicken and salsa or BBQ sauce. Then, all you have to do is cook up a favorite veggie for the side and dinner is done. Another one to try is smoked sausage. Because it’s precooked, you really can just heat it through with BBQ sauce or sub it into a recipe you already make.
I’m not going to lie, I find most of my best recipes by searching Pinterest. I’m not a natural cook…I have to follow a recipe. I’ve tried many recipes from Pinterest that have failed, but here are a few tried and true recipes for quick and easy meals that our family loves.
Easy Taco Pie
One of my and my husband’s favorite recipes is Taco Pie. It’s delicious, preparation only takes about 10 minutes, and we can have it for lunch throughout the week. I make it ahead when I have the time, then we simply cut a slice to eat for lunch each day.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3 Tbsp taco seasoning
- 3/4 cup water
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Optional toppings: lettuce, salsa, sour cream, avocado, tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a glass or ceramic 9-inch pie pan.
- Brown ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink.
- While the ground beef is browning, whisk eggs, cream, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Add taco seasoning to the ground beef and stir until combined, then add water, reduce heat to medium low and cook a few minutes longer until sauce has thickened.
- Spread the ground beef in bottom of pie pan. Pour the egg mixture over beef.
- Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese and bake for 30 minutes (or until the center is set and cheese is browned.)
- While the pie is baking, prepare your desired toppings.
- Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe adapted from All Day I Dream About Food
Slow Cooker Carnitas (Pulled Pork) Tacos
This one is a family favorite for sure- all three of my kiddos like it! It’s prepared in the morning in about 20 minutes, then cooked in the slow cooker all day so it’s ready at supper time. Bonus: this recipe makes A LOT of pulled pork with minimal effort, so when I make it once, I actually have enough for our family of 5 to eat this for three suppers! I simply freeze the leftovers in two separate Ziploc bags so they are ready to be defrosted and reheated whenever we are craving tacos again. Which is often.
- 6 lb pork shoulder
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- plenty of salt and pepper
- ½ onion, chopped OR 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 jalapeño, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- juice and zest of one orange
- corn or flour tortillas
- Optional toppings: lettuce, salsa, sour cream, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, limes, hot sauce
- Rinse and dry the pork shoulder.
- Mix the cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- Rub pork with olive oil, then rub the spice mixture all over the pork. Place in slow cooker.
- Mix together the onion (or onion powder), jalapeño, garlic, and orange zest. Spread on top of the pork.
- Squeeze the orange juice on top of the pork and place the orange rinds in the slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 6-10 hours (depending on the size of your pork shoulder) or until it shreds easily with a fork.
- Take the pork out of the slow cooker and shred the pork with two forks.
- Add pork to tortillas and top with desired toppings.
Recipe adapted from Bowl of Delicious
Baked Potato Soup
I love this recipe in the fall because it’s warm and hearty, and I can use leftovers for lunch the next day! This quick and easy meal is also made in the slow cooker, freeing up my evening for spending more time with my family.
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 2 cups water, divided
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 cups mashed potato flakes
- 1/2 lb sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 3/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup half-and-half
- Optional topping: 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in flour, then gradually stir in 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a slow cooker.
- Add the broth, potatoes, potato flakes, bacon, pepper, salt, onion powder, basil, thyme, and remaining 1 cup of water. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours (or until potatoes are tender).
- Stir in the half-and-half. Heat through.
- Serve and top with cheese if desired.
There you have it! Three of my family’s favorite quick and easy meals for fall. I hope you saw one that sounded good and give it a try in the coming weeks. 🙂
What are some of your favorite quick and easy meals for fall? Share with us in the comments!