3 Fast and Easy Ideas for Weeknight Dinners

July 6, 2008 at 5:23 pm 3 comments

I feel your pain. You return home from work or school after a long day, tired and hungry. You may have children, and at this time of day — what I used to call the “witching hour” — they’re cranky, they want your attention, and you can’t get food into them fast enough. No wonder so many people decide against cooking and grab some fast food on the way home. That first hour home is often the most trying of the day.

Instead of a fat-filled burger and fries, try these 3 easy dinner ideas. They’ll help you get through that tricky first hour home and still get an easy and relatively healthy dinner on the table.

Beef and Cheese Burritos

1 pound ground beef
1 cup prepared salsa
1/2  pound Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
6 flour tortillas, warmed
Optional toppings include shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and sliced black olives

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until beef is crumbly and no longer pink. While the beef is browning, cut the cheese into cubes. When beef is brown, drain fat into an empty can or plastic container – do not pour down the drain. Stir salsa and cubed cheese into meat; heat until cheese is melted.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of the beef mixture down the center of each tortilla. Add toppings as desired. Fold over edges and serve.

Even quicker: If you have 15 extra minutes the night before, brown and drain your ground beef, then cover and refrigerate it. When you’re ready to prepare the tortillas, simply reheat the beef in a large skillet and follow recipe instructions from there.

Sandwich Wraps
There are so many options with this, you’ll be able to please even the pickiest eaters in your house!

1 package sandwich wraps
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli meat (turkey, roast beef, ham, etc.)
1/2 pound sliced deli cheese (cheddar, provolone, swiss, etc.)
Mayonnaise, to taste
Mustard, to taste
Optional toppings include shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, diced pickles, diced onion, sliced red or green bell pepper, sprouts, or whatever fits your taste.

Spread mayonnaise and/or mustard on the wrap. Lay the meat and cheese on the wrap. If desired, microwave for about 20 seconds to heat meat and melt cheese. Fill wrap with optional ingredients. Wrap carefully to avoid tearing.

Lemon Shrimp with Linguine

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bag frozen shrimp (about 8 ounces)
1/2 of a fresh lemon (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
1/2 pound linguine

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; add olive oil and garlic and heat till garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in colander, thaw shrimp under cool running water, as directed on package; allow to drain thoroughly. Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta, as directed on package.

When shrimp is thawed and drained, saute it in a skillet over medium heat until the shrimp is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes – the shrimp will look opaque. Turn the heat to high for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring frequently, to boil off some of the excess water from the shrimp. Reduce the heat to low and add the lemon juice and another tablespoon of butter. Keep warm until pasta is done.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in colander when done. Divide pasta and lemon shrimp mixture on plates and serve.


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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Judy Ferril  |  July 7, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Hi Mary,

    Yummy – lemon shrimp with linguine…that is a must try in this house. You have some great fast and on the table ideas. They also will not intimidate a newbie in the kitchen.


  • 2. Theresa  |  July 7, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Mary,

    You’ve got our number. If I don’t have the meal planned out ahead of time, it’s just too easy to opt for fast food. Thanks for the great recipes.


  • 3. Lisa Kirby  |  July 8, 2008 at 3:33 am

    Hi, Mary,

    Delicious ideas! The Beef and Cheese Burritos sound so fast and easy. I can’t wait to try them.

    Have a wonderful evening…

    Lisa Kirby

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