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Sometimes, we all need a little help thinking of what to make on weeknights.  Some want just veggies, there might be a picky kid at the table, maybe you want to create some color on the plate, or any number of particulars on any given night!  We’ve got meal ideas for all of the above and more.  It’s September, school’s in session, fall is near, and so enjoy and try any or all of these:

Chili with Broccoli Cornbread Mad Dash Mixes has an amazing chili seasoning pouch, so I used that for the chili.  But you could make any chili you like.  The broccoli cornbread is the recipe below, which was amazing.  This is great for the night when you want to feel cozy and comforted, even if the weather is still hot and humid…

  • 1 8.5 oz corn muffin mix

  • 1 10oz frozen broccoli thawed

  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar

  • 1 small chopped onion

  • 2 large eggs

  • ½ c butter melted

Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the center.  Stir the eggs and butter, blending well, then add to broccoli mixture, stir til moistened.  Spoon into lightly greased muffin pans.

Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes til golden.  Let stand 2-3 minutes before removing from the pan.

Enjoy with your chili!

Chicken tortilla soup

  •  
  • 2 cups zucchini diced

  • 2 cups frozen carrots and peas

  • ½ c white onion diced

  • 2 cups shredded chicken

 

Base:

  • 1 32oz can diced tomatoes

  • ½ c white onion roughly sliced

  • 1 cup packed cilantro

  • 2 large cloves garlic

  • 2 cups chicken bone broth (one carton)

  • Salt to taste

 

 

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Open Philly – I really meant to make an open-faced Philly on bread, but somehow curbside sent me frozen eggplant steaks.  So…I used them for the base and piled the Philly toppings on, and it turned out delish!  Mine was vegetarian, and he got the meat.  The eggplant and steakums cook so fast, this is great for a night when speed is the need…

  • Frozen eggplant steaks

  • Steak Ums (frozen Philly meat)

  • Green pepper, sliced

  • White onion, sliced

  • Provolone cheese

 

Grill the peppers and onions, then melt provolone on top.

Rio Ramen – We made this years ago, and I had forgotten about it.  We had a 7-year old at our table that requested Ramen Soup, so we jazzed up ours and we were all happy.

  • Ramen noodles (beef) – one pkg per person

  • Ground meat

  • Lettuce

  • Tomato

  • Cheese

  • Avocado

  • Salsa

Read the directions and cook the eggplant and steakums, then just start piling and serve!

This was SO GOOD – you can add a bit of marinara if you like – which tastes amazing.

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Cook the noodles according to the directions and drain. The kids can just have the noodles in a bowl with the seasoning packet mixed in. For the adults, place the seasoning packets in the meat and cook til browned, and drain.  This goes on top of the noodles, in a bowl.  Top with the rest, and you’re done!  Serve with tortilla chips.

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Spaghetti Revisited – I like spaghetti, but I wanted it jazzed up a bit.  I had a package of Italian seasonings and had read that one can place several tablespoons of the seasoning in a skillet with olive oil, then place in the spaghetti and give the pasta so added pizzazz.  It worked.  This recipe was also partly for us, and partly for the kid.  Delicious meal with greens on top.

  • Spaghetti noodles

  • Ground meat and favorite pasta sauce

  • Italian seasonings (a mix of all kinds) – 5 T

  • Broccoli (the kind you steam in the microwave)

 

Cook the meat and the spaghetti in two separate pans.  Cook the broccoli. After the meat browns, remove and set aside in a bowl.  Add the seasonings into the same skillet with olive oil and cook for just a minute to bring out the flavors, then toss in the drained and cooked spaghetti.  Stir to coat the pasta with the seasonings.  Meanwhile mix your sauce in with meat, and heat.

Assemble in bowls with spaghetti, the meat sauce, and the buttery broccoli on top.

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Chicago Hot Dog – I’m not hot dog fan, really.  But it’s not all about me all the time, imagine that!  The boys wanted hot dogs, so I like toppings – so a Chicago dog it was!  Great for an easy weeknight meal for the boys…and for you.

  • Franks (I like Nathan’s brand)

  • Tomatoes

  • Pickles

  • Onions

  • Mustard

  • Ketchup

  • Hot dog buns

  • Grated cheese

Cook the franks however you want to – I cooked mine in a skillet.  Meanwhile, slice pickles longwise, grill the onions if you want, slice the tomatoes and prepare the buns.  I sliced my frank in half lengthwise.  Just tastes better that way, to me.  Top the dog for those that want the pile, and make it plain for those that don’t.

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Chef Salad with Lillian – I recently bought Lillian’s Salad Dressing and oh my goodness, it’s amazing.  It’s the star of this show.  It was a night I wanted something healthy and refreshing, while we watched a lighthearted movie on TV.  With homemade croutons on top!

  • Lillian’s Salad Dressing

  • Grain bread cut into cubes

  • Salad greens and fresh spinach

  • Thinly sliced turkey

  • Grated cheese

  • Cucumber

  • Olives

  • Avocado

  • Nuts and dried cranberries

 

Using a large salad bowl, toss in the greens and spinach.  Top with all of the salad toppings, except the bread.  In a skillet, grill the cubes of bread in butter until browned and crispy.  Pour in the dressing and toss the salad.  Then sprinkle the croutons on top.  The best ever…

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Snack Box – If you’re up to an outdoor picnic in the evening in a park, this idea is for you.  We purchased these craft boxes from Michaels – this big one – and a couple of small ones.  This big one is what we used for listening to music on the green, and we just placed the dividers inside, so that we had eight sections.  Then we filled ‘er up…

  • Strawberries

  • Blackberries

  • Dark chocolate

  • Dips

  • Nuts

  • Carrots

  • Cucumbers

  • Olives

 

Just slice and place each item in a space in the box (place paper towel under anything that might be juicy, and place little cups for dips).  Add a picnic blanket and pita chips and tortilla chips, and you’re done! Oh, and cute paper plates…

WHICH ONE WILL YOU TRY? DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT OUR OTHER TIPS STORIES.
A Week's Worth
by Marcy Lytle