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The number one question I get asked when it comes to our way of living debt free is meal planning. I OFTEN get asked how we get out of eating ruts (yes, even WE get stuck in meal ruts). I always send them to Pinterest but the way that site is now, it can be intimidating to navigate. And I’ll say this about it: some recipes that look amazing taste GROSS! So let me save you the time and energy of perusing yourself and I’ll simply post the best ones here. These recipes have been rotated in this house for years and approved by all 3 children. We have nut and certain dairy allergies so I make changes where it’s needed.
I will provide links to recipes and directions unless it’s a recipe of my own in which case I’ll post them here. Side note: I’m on Pinterest and have a board called “EASY COOKING”. Come find me and follow my board (user name “Debra Cadovius”)
Now for the content you’re here for! Please be patient as this will be a long post : )
- Chocolate Chip Muffins – Bakery style muffins. I sub almond milk and will often sub blueberries instead of the chocolate chips. These are a family favorite! (She only gets 12 muffins from this recipe but I get 21 because the kids don’t need something so big).
- Pancakes – Lately I have been using the mix from Costco because it’s so easy. You simply add water. I will either then add blueberries, chocolate chips or other berries. The children love these and I make TONS so I can freeze them. Then they simply toast them. They taste just as fresh and help us save!
- Breakfast sandwiches – I use healthy english muffins, thin slices of cheese, Canadian bacon (or turkey bacon), and cooked eggs to put these together. To cook your eggs, buy one of those large muffin tins for 6 instead of 12. Crack your eggs into your sprayed 6-muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until done. DO NOT assemble your sandwiches until the eggs have cooled or your bread will be soggy. Then wrap and freeze. To reheat, we put them in the microwave for about 1:15 on power 8. Adjust as you need to.
- Homemade Granola Bars – My very own recipe that the kids LOVE.
- Almond Butter – Yes it’s easy and much cheaper. Keep in mind this takes lots of patience.
You will need: 2 cups almonds, a food processor, 1 tsp vanilla, pinch of salt and any other flavorings you’d like. I love a dash of cinnamon in mine or cocoa. Simply dump everything in the food processor and continue for about 45 minutes constantly stopping and scraping sides. I promise this DOES work!
- Granola – Recipe
- Fruit salsa and cinnamon chips – (This is perfect for a party and is always a hit!) Recipe
- Egg and guac toast – Just cook two eggs, spread your fav guac and top on toast. Easy peasy!
- Almond Butter Banana Quesadillas – Spread almond butter on one half of quesadilla and top with sliced bananas. Heat in a frying pan until the outside is a little crispy. YUM!
Main Meals (I use some of these for lunches so I’m lumping them all together)
- Pasta E Fagioli – Recipe – This makes a wonderful freezer meal as well!
- One Pan Chicken and Veggie Dinner Recipe – It’s a family favorite and we gobble it up every single time I make it. There are never leftovers. And it’s a cheap, healthy meal!
- Pot Roast – Everyone has their own way of making it but I’m all about simple yet tasty so here’s mine: Dump in crockpot and cook 6-8 hours on low
- Chuck Roast thawed out, salt/peppered on every side – In a cast iron skillet, sear all sides of roast BEFORE putting it into crockpot. You just want to sear the outside…you’re not cooking the meat here.
- onions, carrots and potatoes chopped
- thyme, rosemary, garlic (about 1 tbsp each)
- Enough beef broth to cover meat. Place all of these in the crockpot and it’ll be super tasty in about 6-8 hours!!
- Pulled Pork – We serve this over rice and along with veggies. Simply put a pork tenderloin roast in the crockpot with 2 tsp of liquid smoke. That’s it! Nothing else is needed. Let is cook on low about 6 hours or until it pulls apart. If you like, you can add some chicken broth to keep it from drying out.
- Egg Roll in a Bowl – Brown 1 lb ground turkey with salt, onion powder, garlic powder and ground ginger. Once it’s cooked, add 2 bags of broccoli slaw and cover so the steam will cook the veggies. That’s it! Super fast, cheap and healthy!! Our whole family loves it!
- Personal BBQ Chicken Pizzas – I use shredded chicken from past meals. Place mini quesadillas on baking sheet and bake at about 350 for 5-10 minutes or until crispy (do not let them burn). Then spread bbq sauce on them, spread shredded chicken and top with your choice of shredded cheese. Bake again until cheese is bubbly. The children LOVE these!
- Burrito Bowls – This idea has endless possibilities. I use ground turkey to keep it more healthy but add whatever you like. Here’s the basic idea:
Add cooked ground turkey/onions, canned corn, canned black beans, cooked brown rice, chopped bell pepper, chopped tomatoes, salsa and guac to your bowl. Then add shredded cheese or sour cream if you like. We also top with chopped fresh cilantro. We all get to make them the way we like so it’s a VERY kid-friendly meal!
- Cheeseburger Pie – Recipe – The kids beg for this one! Again, I use almond milk instead of regular.
- Mini Chicken Pot Pies – Recipe
- Quinoa-omlette – Cook quinoa according to the package. Scramble 1 egg per person. Sautee chopped onions and bell peppers with salt and pepper. Combine all items in a large mixing bowl and serve. IT IS SO GOOD and fast, cheap and healthy!
- Baked Chicken Parmesan – It’s very healthy. I don’t serve this with pasta. We eat veggies/fruit with it. Recipe
- Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon – I LOATHE brussel sprouts until I found this recipe. Holy moly, they are soooo good! And the kids gobble them up! Recipe
- Spatchcock Chicken with Potatoes and Veggies – Recipe –
- Crockpot Taco Soup – Recipe
- Broccoli Chicken Casserole – Recipe
- Taco Casserole – Recipe
- Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken – Place 4 chicken breasts into crockpot and pour your favorite teriyaki sauce over it. Be sure to use plenty so it won’t dry out. Then cook on low 6-8 hours and shred. Serve over rice with veggies.
- Couscous, Chicken and Peas – Recipe
- Fajita Chicken Bake – Recipe
- Roasted Veggies – Recipe
- Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (the children LOVE this) – Recipe
- Roasted Veggie Hash – Recipe
- Orange Baked Chicken – Recipe
- Quinoa Breakfast Scramble – Recipe
- Hawaiian Chicken BBQ wraps – Recipe another favorite of the children
- Honey Soy Chicken Thighs – Recipe
- Copycat Chipotle Chicken Thighs – a family favorite! Recipe
- Honey Lime Pork – Recipe
- Chicken Kabobs – Simply slide pineapple, cubed chicken, onions and peppers onto skewers and cook in the oven on 450 until chicken is done. Or cook on the grill.
- BBQ chicken thighs – Place raw thighs into gallon size baggie and pour your favorite bbq sauce over them. Put in fridge several hours to marinate. Then either grill outside or cook in cast iron skillet.
- Hobos – Place raw hamburger patty on top of chopped veggies on top of a sheet of foil. Then season as you like and top with 1 tsp butter. Fold foil into a packet sealing food. Do not vent. Bake in oven at 375 until meat is done – about 15-20 minutes. Be careful opening packet as the steam can burn you.