They say that necessity is the mother of invention and since supper is a necessity in our house I’ve learned to get pretty creative over the years and put together some random ingredients for a last minute supper that impressed even my picky family.
If you’re one of those moms who’s super organized and knows at 8:00 every morning exactly what’s for supper then you can probably skip this post. But, for those of you who, like me, occasionally (ok….maybe more than occasionally) find that supper time sneaks up and you have absolutely no plans for a meal then maybe you’ll find today’s post especially helpful.
I know, I know…If I followed my own advice and faithfully made a menu every week then this would never be an issue, but alas I’m painfully human and, for me, that usually equals less than organized.
The following is a very loose recipe that you can tweak. The amounts you use will be based on what you have in your pantry/frig/freezer. There are no hard, fast rules to this recipe. The goal is simply to get supper done in a hurry.
You’ll need at least one ingredient from the following categories:
-Meat* (chicken, beef, venison, whatever)
-Veggies (broccoli, carrots, green beans, or corn – any combination; fresh, frozen or canned)
-Cheese (hand-shredded block or pre-shredded – sliced might work, but I’ve never tried it)
-Pasta or rice (egg noodles, macaroni noodles, bow-tie pasta, brown rice, or white rice)
-Seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, garlic powder, chili powder, and/or onion powder are few choices)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Brown or cook the meat of your choice (don’t forget to season while cooking). If you’re not using ground meat you’ll need to cut your meat into small chunks.
- While meat is cooking, boil water for pasta or rice.
- Boil, steam, microwave (or whatever) your veggies. If you’re using larger veggies such as broccoli or carrots you’ll want to cut those into smaller pieces as well (don’t forget to season your veggies too).
- Cook pasta or rice; drain and season to taste.
- In a casserole dish combine cooked meat, pasta/rice, and veggies along with any seasoning(s).
- Add cheese and stir to combine. (If you have time you can make a quick cheese sauce, but throwing the cheese in works just fine.)
- Top with a bit of extra cheese.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Here are two examples from my kitchen:
This casserole has rice, leftover chicken, broccoli, carrots, and fiesta blend shredded cheese.
This one has whole wheat noodles, burger seasoned with chili powder, black beans, diced tomatoes, some sour cream, and fiesta blend shredded cheese.
*Kitchen tip: Meat still frozen? No worries! Ground beef and ground venison can be thawed by ploppin’ the whole chunk of frozen meat in a skillet with a couple of inches of water. Turn the stove to medium. The bottom of the meat will thaw within a few minutes. Turn the chunk of meat over. Scrape the thawed meat off the top (which used to be the bottom) while the bottom is heating up. Flip and scrape again. Keep the thawed meat in the pan and stir occasionally during this process. Continue to do this until all of the meat is thawed (add water as needed). You’ll find that the meat is almost completely browned during this process and it’ll only take a few minutes to finish it up. As for frozen chicken (breast, chunk, strips) just put it in a skillet with a bit of water, add seasoning, and cook over medium heat. The chicken’ll be cooked through in no time and you can cut it up for your casserole.
Have any quick, seriously last minute ideas you can share? Feel free to leave them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!