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3 Easy Recipes for Busy Homeschool Days

easy recipes

Let’s face it. Some days are just tougher than others. Despite the best-laid details in our beautiful planners, there are days that don’t go the way we intended.

On these days, what happens to dinner? I know what happens in my house! I default to easy recipes so I can still get a good, inexpensive meal on the table!

Easy Recipes for Busy Days

There are so many things that can make a day go differently than planned, some sweet and others not-so-sweet.

Perhaps a child wets the bed, creating a new mini to-do list that you just don’t have time for. Maybe a friend drops in for an unexpected visit, and, delightful though it may be, you have to rethink when you’re going to run those errands or complete that special project with the kids. Some days you end up with sick kids, or YOU are sick.

Whatever the case may be, plans need to be adjusted. And often the easiest thing to shuffle is the time it takes to prepare a full meal.

We all know that even the best plans need back-up plans, and I’ve found that to be the case when busy days crowd out the dinner plan. Keeping a list of back-up recipes (and the necessary ingredients) on hand is a natural way to have a back-up plan.

Fortunately, there are easy recipes to make sure that you don’t have to eat into your grocery budget by going out to eat or ordering a pizza!

Today we’re sharing some favorite easy recipes so you can write them down and stash them for those “OH NO!” days. If you have a few minutes, share YOUR easy recipes in the comments! Then we can all have our own little go-to cookbook right here at this post!

Salsa Chicken

This recipe is so easy, it seems like it shouldn’t count as cooking! All you have to do is open a jar of salsa and dump most of it on some chicken in an oven-safe pan. Bake at 350 around a half hour or so (until cooked and no longer pink in the middle; juices run clear).

Make some minute rice or use the Instant Pot for quick regular rice, and add in the remaining salsa to make “Mexican” rice. Put rice on plate, top with chicken, then sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Hamburger Stew

Have some ground beef but you’re going to be gone on a field trip or out running errands and you don’t want to cook when you come home? That’s okay! Use your Crock-Pot!

Brown hamburger with onion and garlic and dump in crock. Add a small can of baked beans, 32-oz of beef broth, and about half a jar of spaghetti sauce. Mix. Dice some potatoes and carrots. Throw in. Add some salt and pepper. Cook on low most of the day, or on high 4 hours. Enjoy!

Cheater Chili

If you are a very plain eater, this is a mild chili that you could add extra spices to his to make it hotter, if desired. (That means this “chili” is also more kid-friendly.) If you are a chili professional, SKIP THIS RECIPE and don’t call us names!

Brown a pound of hamburger with lots of onion and garlic. Transfer to large pot. Throw in small can of baked beans and a jar of spaghetti sauce. Add chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve over baked potatoes, with crusty bread, or even over macaroni.

Now it’s YOUR turn!

The best way to push through the crazy times is by putting our heads together and sharing ideas. That’s where the Well Planned Gal community can truly shine!

Do you have any favorite, go-to, easy recipes you’re willing to share with other busy moms? If so, leave them in the comments! I can’t wait to see what brilliant ideas you have to share!

With five kids in their teen and early adult years, Rebecca shares the many ups and downs of parenting, homeschooling, and keeping it all together. As the Well Planned Gal she mentors women towards the goal of discovering the uniqueness Christ has created in them and their family and how to best organize and plan for the journey they will travel.

  • Jen

    I think I am trying you salsa chicken today, as I look at my full planner! One of our favorites, that turns out delicious every time is easy crock pot roast. Basically put any big roast into the crock pot. Pierce it all over and sprinkle it with 2 T. garlic powder. Add 1/2 c. soy sauce and 1 .5 cups water to the pot, cook on low all day. About an hour before serving, slice or shred beef and place it back in the juices. Always turns out yummy! Good served with rice, potatoes, or even rolled in a tortilla with cheese. 🙂 Look forward to seeing other recipes!

    January 26, 2012 at 8:26 am Reply
  • Kimberly

    This is a comfort food so simple your children can make and so good everyone will love. However, it should probably be made on rare occasions as the fat content is not a point for discussion. Enjoy with caution!

    Potato Cassarole

    One bag frozen Southern Style hash brown potatoes, 2 cups cheddar cheese, 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 1 cup sour cream, 1 stick butter, 2 cups crushed cornflakes.

    Except for the cornflakes and 1/2 stick butter, mix all together (we also add chopped ham), pour into baking pan. Mix 2 cups crushed cornflakes and 1/2 stick melted butter together and sprinkle on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes. Simple!

    January 26, 2012 at 9:16 am Reply
  • Betsy

    I make the salsa chicken in the crockpot. It’s also great to use the leftovers in soup, burritos, salad and more. It’s sooooo yummy and easy!

    January 26, 2012 at 10:14 am Reply
  • Sarah

    This is one of our favorites: Homestyle sausage and potato skillet from Pillsbury Good for You cookbook–
    Brown 3/4 lb of bulk sausage. Drain pan. Saute a couple chopped onions. Add back in sausage. (This lowers fat; but sometimes I brown it all at once.) Thinly slice 2 lb (about 12) red potatoes (these cook more quickly; but you can use equivalent amount of other potatoes). Add 1 cup water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 thyme, 1/8 tsp pepper and potatoes to skillet. Heat to boiling, Reduce heat to med/low; cover and cook until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and gently stir. Let skillet stand covered about ten minutes (if your family can wait!!!) This forms a slight sauce.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:35 am Reply
  • LeaAnn

    Last night, we had a quick family favorite – Pepperoni Pasta.

    Layer 1lb penne pasta in the bottom of a deep skillet. Top with halved sliced pepperoni, sliced pepperocini, and diced (jarred) roasted red peppers. Pour 3 cups hot water over it and bring to a boil. Continue to boil over high heat for 12 minutes or until pasta is cooked through and water is evaporated. Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Pour over top, mix to combine, and serve.

    It’s not health food, but it’s quick and good! : )

    January 26, 2012 at 10:35 am Reply
    • Ann

      I’m thinking it’s hard to be super healthy and quick all at the same time! 🙂

      January 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm Reply
  • Ann

    First, a snack recipe. My kids refuse to let me go too long without these in stock!

    Peanut Butter Granola Bars
    Combine 3 cups oats and 3 cups Rice Krispies in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan melt 1 stick of butter, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup honey, stirring regularly, but not constantly. Bring to a boil. Boil 2 about two minutes until the mixture is looking for a smooth and starting to thicken, stirring constantly. (I put an oven mitt on my hand because this does pop as it boils!) Add to oat and cereal mixture, stirring until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated. While that cools slightly, line a baking sheet (preferably with sides) with wax paper. Sprinkle your choice of baking chips, nuts, or dried fruit evenly over the wax paper (optional, of course). Drop the mixture onto the wax paper and gently spread evenly across the pan. Then press down firmly (I top it with wax paper and then a towel to keep from burning my fingers). Cut into bars, and then chill in the pan until the bars are firm. Pull apart and enjoy. I store mine in the fridge to keep them firm.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm Reply
    • Tabitha (a.k.a. Penny)

      Ooh, Ann! I am going to make these this weekend! Thanks!

      January 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm Reply
      • Ann

        Hope you enjoy them! Let me warn you – they disappear VERY quickly! 🙂

        January 26, 2012 at 5:51 pm Reply
  • Ann

    Now a meal:
    This one does take time to cook, but only a few minutes to throw together.

    Turkey Bacon Quiche
    Put 3/4 cup pulled chicken and 1/4 cup bacon pieces into an unbaked 8 or 9 in pie crust.
    Top with 1/2 cup shredded cheese
    Combine 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, and 4 eggs. Mix well.
    Pour over meat and cheese.
    Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until eggs are thoroughly cooked and top is golden brown.

    Play with the “filling,” using up to one cup of any variety of meat or veggies you can think of. Another favorite of ours is ham and broccoli.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm Reply
  • Teisha Priest

    Whisk a can of cream of chicken soup with about a cup of milk. Stir in some cheese and whatever seasonings strike your fancy. Add some cooked, chopped chicken and two cups of minute rice. (This is also a good time to add some frozen veggies!) Simmer for six minutes and then remove from heat and let stand for six minutes. Dinner’s ready!

    January 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm Reply
  • Peggy S

    A favorite of ours is Taco Casserole

    1 lb. ground beef, browned.
    1 can tomato soup
    1 cup salsa,
    1 cup milk
    2 cups frozen corn, cooked
    1 packet taco seasoning mix. (or garlic, chili powder, onion powder and cumin)

    Mix altogether and add cut up squares (1 in.) of tortillas. Mix altogether, cover with cheese and bake 20-30 minutes till cheese is melted and bubbly. Or, if you are in a hurry, you can skip the baking-which we OFTEN do! 😉

    January 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm Reply
  • Elise

    I make fish tacos for a quick meal. We buy the “raw” tortillas at Costco that you just cook in a pan for about 30 seconds each side. While I cook the tortillas, I have fish sticks going in the oven. When done you can top with cheese, avacado, salsa, or whatever you have on hand. Quick easy and a variation of fish sticks with mac and cheese when that gets old.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm Reply
  • Tabitha (a.k.a. Penny)

    NO JENNY! You are not one of those spaghetti sauce/chili people, are you? Oh well… I guess we can still be friends. LOL

    I love quick simple meals and very rarely cook anything complicated. I also do a lot of Cook 1X a Week stuff where I cook everything in 90 minutes one night and then just reheat for the rest of the week.

    Here are two of my favorites ~
    Chicken & Vegetables with Pesto
    Chinese Stir Fry

    You can find my other quick stove-top and microwave recipes in my Recipe Box.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm Reply
    • Jenny Herman

      Tabitha, If I told you we did not even EAT chili growing up, you would understand. 😉 Thanks for sharing your recipes!

      January 26, 2012 at 6:32 pm Reply
  • Paula

    My kids favorite is Mexican chicken. Toss a bag of frozen, boneless chicken in the crock pot. Cover with a jar of salsa, 2 cans of black beans and two cans of creamed corn. Let it cook for about 4 hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low. When you are ready to eat, add a jar of white Mexican cheese. (it’s a white plastic jar, comes with either the cheeses or in the enthic aisle.) Serve with lots of tortilla chips for scooping. mmmmmm……Think I will go make some now!

    January 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm Reply
  • Jenny Herman

    Thanks everyone for sharing! Feel free to come back and let us know how these worked! I hope more people will stop by.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm Reply
  • Geo

    My wife has been cooking chicken in an oven bag with a 60 calorie seasoning, almost seems like breading… Yum

    All these recipes sound great! Beats eating out for sure!

    January 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm Reply
    • Geo

      Tonight we had Garlic Parmesan & Italian Herb. It’s Knorr Roasters, Roasting bag & Seasoning blend for chicken. So simple… It taste great and has just a hint of a breading texture. And only has 15 Calories per serving!!!

      February 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm Reply
  • Stephenie

    Easy Cream of Chicken Soup

    2 T. butter or margarine
    3 T. flour

    Melt butter and add flour. Add 1 c. milk or half and half and stir over low heat until thickened.

    Add three cups chicken broth and 1 can chicken breast. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until hot.

    January 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm Reply
    • Jenny Herman

      Stephenie, This is great to have, especially for those who have food allergies. Now they can make their own. Thanks!

      January 27, 2012 at 8:30 am Reply
  • Inez Aultman

    I put chicken pieces bone side down in the slow cooker (or you could do it on 325 in a covered dish in the oven). I sprinkle this with a little season salt and some thyme. I top this with scrubbed potatoes that have been cubed and tossed with a couple tbs. oil and water and my sub for ranch seasoning. (Onion and garlic powders, salt and parsley) Add no liquid.

    Go away.

    Come home to a kitchen that smells like a grandma has been there.

    Sometimes I spread everything out on a big jelly roll pan and give it a little toasting under the broiler. Very yum.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm Reply
  • Inez Aultman

    ONE DIRTY DISH MEAL. Get a 9×13 casserole. Into this pour 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce. Then rinse the jar out by putting another jar of water in the pan. Add 1 lb uncooked lean ground beef (94% or thereabouts) and mush it up with a potato masher. Add the better part of a pound of penne pasta or similar. Stir in 8 oz shredded mozzerella. Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover and top with a little more cheese and bake until bubbly. Viola. One Dish. Truly.

    I usually toss in a little more Italian seasoning and garlic, but we like garlic!

    January 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm Reply
  • Nancy

    This is a dinner. Take a bag of pre-cooked chicken for fajitas and add a whole onion and red bell pepper (diced). Cook in skillet until veggies are tender. Serve over brown minute rice, or stuffed in a flour tortilla with shredded cheese. I usually get two meals out of this by cooking extra.

    May 18, 2015 at 5:22 pm Reply

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