Easy Meals in Minutes: Recipes, Tips & Tricks!

Soup is one of those meals that you think would take all day to prepare. But, you can easily make a delicious soup in about 30 minutes with a couple of short cuts. Buy using ready-made broth, you can easily whip up your favorite soups in no time. My family loves soup, and all different types of soup. And because we are a family of five, I buy bulk and shop Costco. I was happy to find that Costco now sells organic broth in the cartons. They are great to have ready-to-use when you need to deglaze your pan, make a gravy, or make soup.

One of my favorite soups is Chicken Tortilla Soup. Making it’s because you can eat tortilla chips with it? Another great short-cut to make this soup so full of flavor is to use salsa (I used Newman’s Own) and any leftover chicken you have in the fridge. Even a store-bought rotisserie chicken will do. Garnish with your favorite toppings, like avocados, cilantro, cheese and sour cream, and you have a fun meal customized for any picky palette. For the full recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup, click here.

Another great family meal is our favorite Friday-night-go-to-meal, spaghetti. I make it with my own homemade marinara sauce, but many families prefer store-bought. It’s faster and come one, you can choose from hundreds of different flavors, too. But instead of using to pots, this recipe is for one. One-Pan Spaghetti I call it. By breaking up the noodles, you can cook both meat, sauce and pasta in the same pan. Top with cheese, pop it in the broiler to brown a little and your family will be begging for more. For the full recipe for One-Pan Spaghetti, click here.

And my final tip for using short cuts to help get dinner on the table is store-bought pizza dough. And it’s not just for pizza, either. They are great for calzones! You can make two big calzones with one pizza crust. And you can get real creative with what you stuff inside each calzone. For the FoodBuzz Family Bites challenge (sponsored again by Newman’s Own), I used chicken, broccoli and Newman’s Own® Alfredo Sauce to make these Chicken Alfredo Calzones. Because calzones aren’t just for tomato-based sauces. For the full recipe for Chicken Alfredo Calzones, click here.

Don’t stress over dinner. Yes, I cook homemade meals practically every night for my family, but I burn out, too. Having some of these short-cuts in the pantry or fridge, gives me a break from the stress and chaos that cooking dinner for five can cause for me. But most importantly, think out of the box. Get creative with dinner time. If your kids are used to the same-old same-old, they are not likely to try new foods and they can easily become picky eaters.

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