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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): "No Recipe" Meals That Work in a Pinch

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"No Recipe" Meals That Work in a Pinch

I always envied people who could cook a meal without a recipe in sight. I still haven't figured out how they do that, but I can tell you, I do have a few meals under my belt that can literally be thrown together at the last minute, with no thought or preparation needed. As much as some of us like to plan out our life, sometimes life itself gets in the way of that. Be sure to have these ideas in mind the next time you have no clue and before your kids start the "what's for dinner" chant.

Here are some of the favorite meals our family has thrown together at the last minute with ingredients typically on hand. No recipe needed!

  • Breakfast for dinner. If you have kids, they're gonna love this. Mine like for me to make pancakes (the kind where you just add water), bacon or sausage and scrambled eggs or omelets. To cut down on grease splattering and the mess, I make our bacon in the oven.
  • Instant shepherd's pie. Mix some cream of mushroom soup with a bit of water and mix in ground beef and frozen veggies. Top with prepared mashed potatoes and bake for about 20 minutes on 350 degrees. My kids also like grated cheese sprinkled on top the last few minutes of baking time.
  • Pasta with Sauce. Always keep a few jars of spaghetti, vodka or white sauce on hand. What could be simpler than boiling some noodles and then adding sauce? Sometimes, I don't even heat the sauce...no one has ever noticed.
  • Soup and Sandwiches. The old standy. My kids like their sandwiches grilled in the toaster oven (open face and before you add the lettuce and tomato and such), or if we have grilled cheese, I'll do that on the stove in a pan in olive oil. Mix it up with using whatever cheese you have on hand. No one says you have to use American except for the Kraft people. Or, you can layer a few different kinds depending what you have on hand. We also doctor up canned creamed soups by frying up some small onions in either olive oil or....God forbid...my husband's favorite...some bacon grease! Then add the soup. It gives it a nice homemade flavor.
  • Spinach Shrimp with Pasta. Make your pasta, then steam or cook your frozen shrimp. Drain everything, and add it together with part of your spinach dip you didn't finish from the grocery store. I microwave the dip beforehand, to make it nice and creamy before adding. You can also add some more spices, such as garlic powder.
  • Baked Potato with Chili and Cheese. Microwave some potatoes or sometimes, if I plan a bit ahead, I will bake them on about 350 for about an hour or so. Use canned chili and your favorite shredded cheese.
  • Pork Chops with Cream of Mushroom over rice. Do this dish in the pan or oven, and serve over cooked rice. I make rice by boiling 2x salted water of the amount of rice you need (ie, boil 2 cups water for 1 cup dried rice for a family of four). When water is at a rolling boil, pour in dried rice, stir, cover and turn down to low. Leave pot alone for 20 min. I always try to set a timer so I won't forget. Do this first, then work on the chops. There are also some dishes out there where you mix dry rice, soup, water and uncooked chops. These are even easier, as you just throw everything into a dish and then bake it.
What do you do at home for last minute meals?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Reasa said...

I usually throw a soup together real quick. Some leftover beef roast or chicken with veggies (fresh or frozen) and lots of spices with homemade drop parsley biscuits are in order for the winter. It usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes and dinner is ready. In the summer it is usually a salad with grilled chicken or leftover fried chicken. Lots of cheese and breadsticks make for full bellies.

December 11, 2007 at 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I make a version of that Shephard's Pie at Thanksgiving and Xmas with our turkey leftovers. Put the turkey on the bottom and then layer the leftovers and put mashed potatoes on top and then top everything with gravy. bake in the oven. I even use a thin layer of cranberry sauce as a layer.

December 13, 2007 at 4:04 PM  

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