The less planning we need to do during the season, the easier life is for everyone. It doesn’t matter how busy our week is, my kids, insist they need dinner every night! I’ve yet to convince them a bowl of popcorn and some apple slices is a well-balanced meal, so instead, I’ve learned to keep a few things stashed in the freezer to avoid the drive-thru as often as possible.
Here are my 5 Go-To Recipes During the Season
Taco meat freezes perfectly and is very versatile. We use taco meat in tacos, over nachos, and as a protein in burrito bowls. I’ll often make a few pounds of ground chicken up and immediately freeze half for the following week.
With growing boys, I’ve learned the best way to keep the cost of tacos low is to add canned beans to the mix. Pinto and black beans are inexpensive protein sources that also happen to be great pairs with tacos!
Here’s my favorite homemade taco seasoning recipe:
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 tsp Onion powder
- 2 tsp Oregano, dried
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes
- 3 tsp Sea salt
- 2 tbsp ground Cumin
Store in a mason jar.
This Kraft Foods version of crab cakes is one of those recipes that’s easy to keep ingredients on hand for and pull out in a pinch. Thanks to Aldi’s gluten-free stuffing mix this is one our whole family can enjoy together.
Here’s my version:
- 2 cans (6 oz each) light tuna in water, light flaked
- 1/2 cup Carrots and Celery combined
- 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp dill pickle relish
- 1 pkg gluten-free stuffing mix
- 1 cup shredded cheese Cheddar or Colby Jack
- 3/4 cup Water
Combine and let sit for 20 minutes. Form mixture into 6-8 patties and place on a baking sheet. Bake 10 min at 350 degrees, flip and bake 5-10 more minutes.
Crock-Pot Chicken and Dumplings
There are a ton of versions of Chicken and Dumplings, I aim for quick and easy with this one. My boys love this meal over mashed potatoes, rice or on its own.
Here’s my version of our Favorite recipe :
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1/2 pepper
- 2 cans (10.5 oz. each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
- 1 broth can water (use the empty can to measure)
- 2 tubes (7.5 oz. each) refrigerated biscuit dough
Combine all but biscuits and cook on low 4-5 hours. Shred chicken and add back to soup. Open biscuit dough and roll each biscuit flat, then cut into 4 pieces. Add cut up biscuits to crockpot and stir until well coated. Cook for another 2-3 hours.
Our family isn’t huge on pasta meals, mainly because food allergies require gluten-free eating and that pasta doesn’t do well as leftovers.
Instead, I’ve discovered that meatball subs add variety to our weekly meals with minimal preparation. While I use gluten-free meatballs, any version will do.
All you need is a jar of your favorite marinara, frozen meatballs, and sub sandwich rolls. You can melt cheese over your meatballs if you prefer.
Serve with steamed veggies or a salad.
Our favorite taco soup is a version of Six Sisters 8 Can Taco Soup. I omit the cream of chicken soup to make this gluten-free.
Here’s my version of taco soup:
- 3 frozen chicken breasts
- 1 box chicken stock
- ½ bag frozen corn
- ½ bag frozen peppers and onions
- 1 can black beans drained
- 1 can pinto beans drained
- 1 can Rotel
- 1 large can of green enchilada sauce or salsa verde
- 1-2 Tablespoons of taco seasoning
Combine and top off with water or additional chicken stock until all ingredients are covered. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with avocado slices, shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.
When all else fails …
Rotisserie Chicken and Deli side dishes are just as quick to pick up as fast food and a much healthier option. If you have the option for Walmart pick up, this can actually be a drive-thru experience for you! Add a few groceries you’ve been meaning to find time to grab and knock out two errands with one trip.
Note: Our family deals with a few food allergies, which makes meals a bit more challenging at times, but it’s also made it that much more important to avoid the drive-thru whenever possible.