Episode 33 - Quick dinner tips

Sometimes, it is really hard to get dinner on the table when juggling all your responsibilities. In this episode, we discuss some tips and tricks for getting dinner on the table quickly.


  1. Crockpot - There are lots of different types of crockpots out there today. You can get a basic crockpot or something more advanced that will even let you brown meat in it. I'm a huge fan of the Instant Pot. It's a crockpot and pressure cooker in one and you can saute in it. 
  2. A list of go-to-recipes - This will help give you ideas when going shopping or you don't know what to make that night. Print recipes you make frequently and that you know your family enjoys.
  3. Semi or minimally prepared foods - These are things like frozen meatballs, bagged salad, and organic canned chicken. If you buy organic food, check out your local Aldi.
  4. Know what your family's likes and dislikes are and plan accordingly.
  5. Extra freezer space so you can make extra and freeze for later.
  6. A good spice selection for the type of meals you eat.
  7. Staple foods like pasta, rice, beans, and potatoes.
  8. Cooperation from your family members helps get dinner on the table faster
  9. Jeff's secret tools - Yellow mustard and burlap bags of rice


  1. Use your weekends well to make large pieces of meat so you have leftovers to repurpose during the week. You can make a huge brisket, like my french onion brisket, and make other things with it during the week that are fast, like beef stroganoff or enchiladas.
  2. When you make something, make a double batch. This is great for chili, lasagna, and casseroles.
  3. Use common ingredients like onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms. These are such versatile ingredients and can be used in many different types of dishes. This also allows you to minimize food waste. You can also throw together different sauces rather than buying lots of different sauces.
  4. Be willing to experiment. Learn flavor profiles. Have fun with it. Check out my pinterest boards for lots of ideas.
  5. Know your schedule. Have a list of all the things you could make based on the ingredients you have on hand. Choose dinners based on your schedule. I found that having a rigid meal plan didn't work for us, but it does work for some as long as you figure your schedule into it.
  6. Buy ground beef, cook it, and freeze it. It will save you so much time.
  7. Jeff's secret tip - rank your favorite foods based on Pi (it doesn't make sense to Kristin either).

Quick Dinner Ideas

Be practical with the time you have. Dinner does not need to be a three hour tour. Simple things like hot dogs with baked beans and carrot sticks is dinner.

  1. Frozen meatballs, placed in the crockpot - you can either make Italian style meatballs or Swedish style meatballs.
  2. Crockpot chicken - Italian style, Swedish style, BBQ, or teryaki.
  3. Stirfry - a great way to use up veggies. You need a meat, some veggies, and a sauce. Try this peanut chicken stirfry.
  4. Grilled sandwiches and soup. Try tortellini soup.
  5. Baked pasta, ravioli or tortellini.
  6. Mini-meatloaf - make your meatloaf mix and shape into hamburger patties. Here is the recipe I use either as mini-meatloaf or crockpot meatloaf.
  7. Hamburg steak - use preformed hamburgers, make a quick gravy, and serve with potatoes.
  8. Sloppy joes - I make my own sloppy joe sauce. It's super easy and so much better than the canned stuff. You must try these with fritos.
  9. Tacos - use precooked ground beef or leftover meat, buy preshredded lettuce and salsa. You can also make taco bowls and eat with chips.
  10. Breakfast for dinner - egg scrambles, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches. If you want to make bacon, cook it in the oven on a sheet pan. Bake 400 to 425 for 10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your bacon, flipping once.
  11. shepard's pie - in our house, we use ground beef, corn, and mashed potatoes. Here is one version I make.
  12. Jeff's bonus recipe - deluxe bologna sandwiches.

Don't make it complicated.

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