Sunday, April 26, 2009

Easy meals

Here are a few meals that I "created" recently which were very quick and easy. I know that I am always looking for easy tips so thought I'd pass these along.

1) Easy dinner

One of our favorite easy dinners is "taco bar"--it's a hit with everyone. I tend to leave out the tortilla and put all my taco ingredients on lettuce to make a taco salad. Abel will eat his on torts and have a salad on the side. Lucas is hit or miss and sometimes just eats the ground beef mixed with some cheese. I've also found this to be a very easy and popular dinner to take to friends in town who have just had babies because everyone in the family can put together their own meal.

Here are some ideas for ingredients:
  • Ground beef, browned mixed with a packaged taco seasoning or whatever you want to throw in. And--drum roll, please--here's my big tip and real reason for including this entire meal in this post. Recently, I've been adding a can of beans to the taco meat! So far, I've added black beans and kidney beans (two different attempts). I know beans are really good for you, but struggle with ways to incorporate them into meals. Lucas has consistently turned his nose up at them. But, when combined with the meat and seasonings, no one notices! So, not only do we incorporate beans into the meal, but we also make the meat go further! One note, if you are using canned beans, be sure to rinse them to get rid of all that unnecessary sodium.

  • Shredded cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced onions
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole or plain avocados
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Corn

2) Easy lunch or side

Yesterday I offered to take in a "light lunch" for a meeting that was taking place right after church. I knew one vegetarian would be attending. So, my challenges were that it needed to be something I could make ahead, something that could be served cold, something that was vegetarian. And, I thought we'd have about 5 people there but more could have decided to come at the last minute, so I couldn't just pre-make sandwiches. Late Saturday night, I came up with what turned out to be a really easy and delicious light lunch!

1 package Bertolli Spinach & Cheese Tortellini
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 jar sun dried tomatoes in oil (I chopped them up a bit more)
1 can artichoke hearts (again, I chopped them up a bit more)
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Prepare the tortellini as directed. Drizzle with EVOO, add the sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and Parmesan cheese. Mix and chill.

It worked out perfectly. Not only did it fit all the above criteria, but it was loaded with great veggies. I even have some leftovers which I brought for lunch today and can not wait to eat!

Bon appetit!


  1. I can attest that the taco bar is delicious. Thanks for the tortellini idea! Did you ever post your mom's mac and cheese recipe? I am always on the hunt for a good home-made mac and cheese dish.

  2. We do the same thing but with taco salad. And I love your tortellini salad idea! Totally going to use this recipe! Thanks! :)

  3. I really like the light lunch IDEA-
    and my son LOVES tomatoes-

    you just inspired a post...

  4. Great suggestion to compile a taco bar for a new baby's family - I need a new "new baby" meal to add to my repertoire....


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