When Jared and I first got married, I really enjoyed finding new recipes and improving my cooking skills. But it took me a few months to get to the point where I had enough experience and confidence to come up with resourceful, last-minute meals without getting flustered and overwhelmed. If you’re like me when I was first married, or if you’re just looking for some new ideas for quick dinners, then this post is for you! These are some of my favorite recipes that are fairly easy and quick, and of course delicious!
Jared and I love pizza! We have it about once a week. It’s not the quickest meal to throw together, but it’s one that you can do without much planning. The recipe I have only needs to rise for 20 minutes, and it only bakes for about 15 minutes, so it’s easy to pull together in under an hour! I usually make the dough, and while it’s rising I preheat the oven and gather together sauce, cheese, and toppings. I’ll put the recipe I use below!
Pasta is both cheap and easy… and there are so many ways to make it! Sometimes I’ll add cheese, butter, a splash of milk, salt and pepper, and some sort of meat if I have any. Or I’ll cook some mince (ground beef) on the stovetop with an onion and a bit of oil, add a can or two of diced tomatoes and some seasoning, simmer for a few minutes, and then add the pasta. If you have a bit more time, throw it all in a pan, cover with cheese, and bake at about 200C (400F) until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Once I fried up some spinach and cherry tomatoes with a bit of oil, and then added some vinegar and salt, and threw those in with my pasta, along with some cheese. There’s so much you can do with pasta… it’s really up to you!
- Mexican Mince and Rice
Put some rice on to cook. On the stove, heat some oil in a frying pan and add a diced onion. Cook for a few minutes and then add your mince (ground beef). Add some taco seasoning and a can or two of diced tomatoes, and serve over rice, along with a salad or steamed veggies.
- Roasted Chicken Drumsticks and Potatoes
Slice some potatoes into wedges or cubes, and toss with some oil and seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika and parsely is a combination I use a lot!), along with your drumsticks. Line a baking sheet with baking paper (I recently started using baking paper and I’m never going back! It makes cleanup so much easier!) and lay out your potatoes and chicken. Bake at 200C (400F) until the potatoes are soft and the juices from the chicken are clear. I usually check mine at around 20-25 minutes, and then go from there! Serve with a side of steamed veggies, or if you really want to be efficient, add chopped broccoli and carrots to the potatoes and chicken and bake it all together!
- Stir Fry
Slice or grate any veggies you like… carrots, broccoli, capsicum (bell pepper), onion, etc. If you’re using meat, heat some oil in a large frying pan and cook your meat with a bit of salt, pepper, and seasoning of your choice, until cooked through. Add your veggies and a bit more oil if necessary and cook, stirring, until soft. Seasoning here is up to you. Add some soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger for an asian stir fry. The other night I added Moroccan seasoning and then added some lemon juice near the end. Serve with rice or pasta, and there you go!
- Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
I found this amazing and simple recipe for tomato soup that can’t be beat! Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan or medium pot. Add a quartered onion, two cans of diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups of water or prepared chicken stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20-30 minutes and then use an immersion blender to blend until mostly smooth. While your soup is simmering, prepare the cheese and bread for your sandwiches, and cook them when the soup is nearly done so you can serve both hot!
Now for the pizza recipe… my mom has used this for ages, and it’s super easy and simple to make!
2 ¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup warm water
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Mix in the vegetable oil and water. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 230C (450F). Punch dough down. Roll out into desired shape and place on baking sheet. Cover with tomato puree, cheese, and toppings of your choice! Here are some ideas: cooked chicken, sliced lunch meat, fresh basil, capsicum, tomatoes, olives, pineapple. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then slice and enjoy!
What are your favorite go-to meals?