Simple Taco Rice Dinner (with a dairy free option)

You know the tried and true recipes you always fall back on? Those are the best, right? Those are the dishes you can make without even thinking. Those are the recipes you always have ingredients on hand for. Those are the recipes that keep us sane and our families fed.

Suddenly I’m finding that my list of such go-to recipes is growing! I love it that there are so many recipes that don’t require much thought or effort to put together. I love it that my family keeps raving about all of these.

And I love it that I’m not compromising one bit with these recipes when it comes to nutrition. I’m certainly not compromising on taste, and not even on the budget. These are happy, happy, happy simple recipes!

Other Simple Recipes I’ve Shared Recently:

Today’s Simple Recipe is Taco Rice Dinner. This goes together very quickly, can be tweaked according to your preferences and food sensitivities. Plus it is absolutely yummy. (My kids don’t care much about the rest of it, as long as it tastes great!) We all love the flavor of this dish.

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Simple Taco Rice DinnerYum

Simple Taco Rice Dinner
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 15-ounces (give or take) salsa
  • 15-ounces cooked black beans
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
Instructions
  1. Boil two cups of water, add rice, turn down to very low heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes until rice is cooked.
  2. In the meantime, brown ground beef in a separate skillet until no longer pink.
  3. Add chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.
  4. Stir together cooked rice, cooked meat, salsa, and black beans.
  5. Serve as-is if you need to avoid dairy. Or sprinkle cheese on top and serve!

simple-taco-rice-dinner

Just like with all the other Simple Recipes, all you have to do is throw out salad fixin’s and some fruit to go with this dish.

TIP: If you didn’t plan ahead to thaw hamburger meat (story of my life!) just do this. It’ll quickly thaw you’re meat and you’ll be on your way!

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Join the fun! Check out our amazing Simple Meals program!

You will love this!

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Simple Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken

I don’t know one person who can do all things well, all the time. Do you? Here’s what I experience and have come to recognize as my normal:

Some days I can work on my website for many hours, edit several photos of food, write three blog posts, and answer 40 waiting emails. I end the day feeling incredibly productive after all I’ve accomplished. But you should (not) see my house at the end of the day. Nothing got cleaned. Our meals were what we would probably lovingly label as “miscellaneous.” And it’s very likely I never got out of my pajamas from the night before.

Then there are the days I get dressed right away, fix a big breakfast for my family, clean up right away afterward, and spend an hour making freezer foods. I’ll spend extra time on history lessons with my youngest, sweep the nasty floor in my kitchen, and help my 16-year old edit an English paper. Dinner will be a favorite. The dishes will be done right after. I’ll figure out what’s for breakfast tomorrow. Great right? Yes. These are great days. They are also the days I completely neglect my website work, answer zero emails, and fall quickly behind on all online duties that need to be done. In addition, those are the days I probably never made it back upstairs to even see the washing machine or remember that laundry needs to be done.

Actually, can we please not talk about laundry on any day ever? Okay.

My point? I can do a lot of things well, but I cannot do them all on the same day. I’ve realized that “getting everything done” is not a thing that ever happens. And I’ve almost come to terms with the fact that “getting everything done” doesn’t actually matter. Almost. (It’s just that the laundry piles and gross floors do get to me, you know?)

I’m assuming you can relate. If not, you can pray for pitiful people like me who find themselves coming, going, and forgetting to come back. The struggle is real.

hawaiian-chicken

It’s recipes like the one I’m sharing today that can make all of us feel accomplished on any day no matter what got done and what didn’t. Meals like this Simple Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken take no effort, but you’ll still sit down at the end of the day and be like, “Wow. I made an awesome dinner. Yay me.”

This chicken recipe has your back. It’s ridiculously easy, but tastes like you worked some sort of kitchen magic.

Simple Hawaiian Crock Pot ChickenYum

Simple Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2-3 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 8 ounces crushed or chunk pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce*
Instructions
  1. Place chicken (frozen or thawed) in the bottom of a crock pot.
  2. Top with pineapple and barbecue sauce.
  3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Shred chicken before serving.
  5. Serve over rice if you like.

*Here’s my  easy Homemade Barbecue Sauce recipe if you’d like to try it!

simple-crock-pot-hawaiian-chicken

Did you see in the recipe how it doesn’t matter if you start with frozen chicken or thawed chicken? I almost always start with frozen chicken, because thinking ahead to thaw chicken is just about more than I can handle. After all, I’m way too busy not getting everything done.

More Simple Recipes

How are your days? Do you often end a day feeling like you didn’t get everything done? Join the club! (And also remember to recognize all you DID get done!)

It’s here! Check out our amazing Simple Meals program!

You will love this!

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Simple Meals Are Great, But What About Simple Snacks? [32 Recipes!]

Many are enjoying our new Simple Meals plans, but as we all know:

Man shall not live on dinner alone. Sometimes he needs a snack.

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Every once in a while, I hear a mom say, “Oh snacks? My kids don’t eat snacks. They just eat big meals.”

I have no idea what to do with that. No snacks? Just big meals? I definitely know that could work for some, but this is not the case for my family. We eat big meals and we still need snacks.

You know it’s not just my kids that need snacks. I’m the mom and I need snacks frequently. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with snacking, though I do believe snacks should be just as nourishing as a meal – not just empty calories to fill a hole.

My current favorite nourishing snack:

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These are amazing for energy and brain function. I like brain function.

Today let’s talk about Simple Snacking options. I’ve made it my goal to provide incredibly simple recipe options for all Simple Meals plans. So in keeping with the theme of simple recipes, here is a list of my easiest snack recipes that will keep your family fed but will not keep you in the kitchen very long!

Simple Snacks RecipesYum

That list contains 32 real food, Simple Snack Recipes that you can feel good about feeding your family!

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Don’t forget the obvious – good ol’ fruits and veggies!

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The more you get to know me, the more you’ll find that I think healthy eating is important. But I think family time is more important. As I said recently in an email:

I want to be with my husband and kids more than I’m with my pots and pans.

I love to cook. I love playing with recipes and making great food for people to eat. But I love my family more, and stress in the kitchen makes me fight being a grumpy wife/mom/friend.

That’s why I’m sharing all these Simple Snacks today. That’s most definitely why I created Simple Meals. I want to make life in the kitchen simple for everyone so family time can be a higher priority.

So, look through the snack list above, and spend a few minutes making one or two. And check this out!

more-snack-ideas-and-recipes

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You get $56 worth of free eBooks with your Simple Meals subscription, and those freebies include a bunch more snack ideas and recipes.

Go Join Simple Meals!!

Share with me. Can your family stay full between meals or do you often need to provide snacks to keep everyone going?

P.S. Sometimes I get out fresh spinach and eat it as a snack straight out of the container. My 16-year old loves to tease me about my weird spinach snacking habit. I don’t even have a come back. It is weird and I admit it.

Related Posts:

Simple Bacon Ranch Chicken

You probably saw the title “Simple Bacon Ranch Chicken” and thought to yourself, “Well, with ingredients like that, you can’t go wrong.” Right? Is that what you were thinking?

simple-bacon-ranch-chicken-1

Indeed. With ingredients like bacon, ranch, and chicken you know it’ll be a great combination of flavors. And did I mention you top it all with cheese? Mmmhmm!

Now let me get you even more excited by letting you know that these four ingredients can be put together in a dish with about 5 minutes of effort. You know that’s my favorite way to cook right now. The simpler the better – healthy whole foods with plenty of time to enjoy family time.

The last time I made this chicken dish, I let it bake while I steamed some green beans, stir-fried some asparagus, and cut up a cantaloupe. Clean up was minimal. The combination of flavors was wonderful.

TIP: If needed, put this together quickly in the morning, cover, and put it in the fridge. In the evening, slide it into the oven for an effortless meal!

Simple Bacon Ranch ChickenYum

Simple Bacon Ranch Chicken
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4-6 chicken boneless breasts or thighs
  • ½ pound bacon
  • ½ cup ranch dressing*
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
Instructions
  1. Lay chicken pieces in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Spread ranch dressing over the chicken.
  3. Lay strips of uncooked bacon over the ranch-covered chicken.
  4. Sprinkle cheese over the top.
  5. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 25-45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

*Find my Ranch Dressing recipe here.

simple-bacon-ranch-chicken

Want some more Simple Recipes? Here are others I’ve shared recently:

Those simple recipes are just the beginning. We’re taking it all to the next level so that not only are our recipes easy and nourishing – you don’t even have to think about what to prepare or purchase! Jump in with all the others who have joined…

Simple Meals

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Here’s what Chelsea said about Simple Meals: I signed up for this and I’m very excited about it. It takes me about 4 hours each time I menu plan and make my list but for .81 per week, you do it for me. It’s a small price to pay for my busy family to eat well thought out, whole foods. I compared prices and recipes to other services before signing up and this was the best fit by far. Thank you!!

That is exactly what I was going for when the idea of Simple Meals came to be!

Check out Simple Meals, take advantage of the lovely coupon savings, then promote it yourself so you can earn some great referral money!

Simple Italian Beef and Broccoli Skillet

I’m working my way out of a job. Don’t feel sorry for me. This is grand.

beef-and-broccoli-skillet

Here’s what’s going down:

I used to spend so much time every day putting together big meals. I’d make big meat and potatoes meals, with veggies and some sort of homemade bread like cornbread. At the end of every meal, my sink would be piled with dirty dishes that would take quite a bit of effort to wash up. By the time that meal detail was behind us, it would be time to turn around and start over.

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Three times every day.

Now, you know me. You know how much I love to cook and bake. But all the effort and all the dirty dishes was taking away the joy.

Can I tell you something? Unless it’s Thanksgiving, it should NOT take longer to cook and clean than it takes to actually enjoy eating the meal you’ve lovingly prepared. No way, thank you very much. It’s deflating to spend an hour (or more) cooking a meal, then to watch my family devour it in fifteen minutes, then have to get up and scrub down a crusty kitchen.

There is more to life than cooking and eating (says the girl who loves food).

That’s why Simple Meals was born (this rockin’ service you need to check into). That’s why Simple Recipes keep popping up here on my blog. I’ve been on a mission to find and experiment with recipes that are incredibly simple to make and clean up after. They are nourishing and delicious, but painless to plan for and prepare. (Then I’ve gone even farther to put everything together in a super simple meal planning option so you don’t even have to think about what to cook. You’ll love this!)

This Simple Italian Beef Skillet recipe I’m sharing today is the definition of simple. Make the entire meal in one skillet. (Actually, I did make rice in a separate pot to fill my men and help this dish go farther. I ate mine without rice though. I was in it for the meat and veggies.)

This recipe takes four ingredients. It takes five minutes of prep. You put it all in a skillet and let it cook itself while you do any number of other things you need or want to do.

Simple Italian Beef and Broccoli SkilletYum

Simple Italian Beef and Broccoli Skillet
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1-2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 3 Tablespoons dry Italian seasoning mix*
  • 1 medium head fresh broccoli
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Stir ingredients together in a skillet.
  2. Cover and let meat cook on low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve with rice if you like.

simple-italian-beef-and-broccoli-skillet

*Click here for our Italian Dressing Mix recipe.

Can I give another plug for this amazing Cast Iron Skillet? What would I do without mine? Want another easy skillet recipe? You’ll love Simple Skillet Taco Pasta.

Want some more Simple Recipes? Here are others I’ve shared recently:

Let’s hear it for less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying family!!!

If you haven’t already, you really need to join our amazing Simple Meals program. Get all the details here!

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Simple Creamy Chicken Stew in the Crock Pot

If you want something that meets all the criteria for nourishing comfort food, this Simple Creamy Chicken Stew is what you’re looking for.

I love that the ingredients for this recipe can be quickly put in the crock pot in the morning. Of course, since we are home most of the day, the delicious smell of this cooking stew almost kill us. (Life is so hard.)

chicken-stew

Probably one of my favorite aspects of this stew is the creaminess. The ranch dressing mix gives it wonderful flavor, and of course, the potatoes and carrots make this meal filling and nourishing. I love this stew! Whenever there are leftovers (rare, but hey, it does happen sometimes), I am so happy. Warming this up on the day after I’ve made it makes for such a happy lunch.

Simple Creamy Chicken Stew in the Crock PotYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Creamy Chicken Stew in the Crock Pot
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 4-5 small potatoes (I prefer red or gold)
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 Tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix*
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken, potatoes, and carrots into bite-sized pieces and stir together in a crock pot.
  2. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a bowl combine cream, sour cream, chicken broth, and ranch dressing mix.
  4. Pour mixture over the chicken and veggies.
  5. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-7 hours.
*I highly recommend this Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix.
simple-creamy-chicken-stew-in-the-crock-pot

You’ve been trying all the new Simple Recipes, right?

Simple Cheesy Baked Chicken

This Cheesy Baked Chicken recipe is unbelievably simple!

I was skeptical at first. I thought it might turn out boring or dull, dry or flavorless. Turns out, the flavor is perfect, the chicken is juicy, and then there’s the cheese. Cheese makes everything better.

easy-cheesy-chicken

 

In keeping with the Simple Recipes theme we have going on here, this recipe can be made with about five minutes of effort. While the chicken is baking, you can quickly make some veggie side dishes. We first enjoyed this chicken with fried sweet potatoes, tossed salad, and buttered peas. It was crazy easy and so, so delicous.

Simple Cheesy Baked ChickenYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Cheesy Baked Chicken
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or Colby jack recommended)
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in a baking dish.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle with garlic powder and salt.
  3. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle cheese over the chicken and bake for 10 minutes more or until cheese has melted.

simple-cheesy-baked-chicken

Allow me to put in a word again for using boneless chicken thighs instead of boneless chicken breasts. The thighs have more fat in them, so they are always juicier and more flavorful. I’ve found the price for thighs to be about the same, if not better than what I’ve found for breasts. I’m also enjoying the fact that I continue to find a natural brand of chicken marked down for quick sale at the store. I know it’s not the best of the best when it comes to chicken, but it is at least better than the worst. (You like my logic, there?) I grab all the marked down packages I find, often getting 2-pound packages for about $3.00, and freeze them for when I need them. What a huge money saver!

Have you been enjoying all the new Simple Recipes I’ve shared here lately? They’ll keep coming, because I’m on a roll and this is fun! Here’s the list of what I’ve shared so far:

It’s here! Check out our amazing Simple Meals program!

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20-Minute Taco Soup Your Family Will Love

I’m going to start this post off by saying that this soup can be made from start to finish in about 20 minutes, but it actually only takes about 5 minutes of effort on your part, so you can be even happier about this Taco Soup than you were when you first saw the title.

quick-taco-soup

The Simple Crock Pot Chicken Soup with a Kick recipe I shared a couple weeks ago has been such a hit that I decided to try the same idea, subbing hamburger meat for the chicken. You know me. I love me some beef.

You guys, adding beef to this soup was a very, very good idea. The soup came together very quickly and my family loved it like crazy. I served it with homemade applesauce (because applesauce is what October is made of) and carrot sticks (because I needed to quickly throw out a veggie to compliment this meal before we left for a soccer game).

The very next day, I made this soup again because at the last minute it was decided that our oldest son, Asa, and a couple of his college buddies were going to come have dinner with us. I quickly thawed some hamburger in hot water like this (best trick ever!), made the soup, sliced some peaches and strawberries, cut up some sweet peppers, and set out a buffet.

Everyone who has tried this Taco Soup loves it, and seeing as it only takes a few minutes to make, I see myself falling back on this recipe often this winter!

Why shouldn’t you make this soup in the crock pot like the chicken version? Because it’s not necessary and will not save you time. The chicken soup does best in a crock pot because you can dump the chicken in while frozen and the crock pot will thaw and cook it and after a few hours you’ll have soup. For this hamburger version, you simply need to brown the meat, stir in the other ingredients, let the cheese melt, and serve it right away.

This soup and the Chicken Version are about to become your frequent dinner guests.

20-Minute Taco SoupYum

5.0 from 3 reviews
20-Minute Taco Soup Your Family Will Love
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 16-ounces salsa (more or less is fine; mild to hot is fine - your preference)
  • 32-ounces (1 quart) chicken or beef broth
  • 8-ounces cheese (Colby jack or cheddar)
Instructions
  1. In a medium to large sized pot, brown the hamburger meat until no longer pink.
  2. Stir in salsa and broth and heat with the meat.
  3. Cut cheese into small chunks and stir into the soup, whisking until melted.

What to serve with this 20-Minute Taco Soup:

  • Tossed salad
  • Fresh fruit
  • Applesauce
  • Raw veggies

Consider adding to your bowl of 20-Minute Taco Soup:

  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Sour Cream
  • Sliced Olives
  • Black Beans
  • Corn

20-minute-taco-soup-your-family-will-love

Don’t miss our other Simple Recipe ideas shared here so far:

This series has been so much fun so far and I’m excited about more new simple recipes I’ve been playing with to share. More to come!

It’s here! Check out our amazing Simple Meals program!

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Simple Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken Legs

Everybody come get yourselves some Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken Legs.

sweet-and-sour-chicken

A meal like this is one of my favorite to prepare. It goes something like this:

  1. Plop some chicken in a dish.
  2. Mix up 5 ingredients to spread over chicken.
  3. Put the chicken in the oven and walk away.
  4. Just before dinnertime, throw frozen veggies in a pot to steam.
  5. Get out salad stuff.
  6. Ring the cow bell.

If you don’t have a cow bell, I guess you can still make this chicken.

Ringing the cow bell (to alert the men in the field that dinner was ready) was one of my favorite things to do at Grandma’s house. I’ve decided that I need one for my house. My men aren’t out in the field, but they are often wearing headphones. Perhaps they could hear a cow bell better than they hear my sweet (but wimpy) voice calling them for dinner?

Either way, check out how easy this new recipe is:

Simple Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken LegsYum

Simple Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken Legs
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds chicken legs (other pieces work fine too but may require more baking time)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Lay chicken legs in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Mix honey, soy sauce, ketchup, and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat briefly to melt honey and to make sure ingredients are well combined.
  3. Spread mixture over chicken legs.
  4. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Turn chicken over in the sauce, cover, and cook for 15 minutes more.

Be sure the soy sauce is gluten free if this is a need for you!

simple-sweet-and-sour-baked-chicken-legs

You will love this simple main dish!

Don’t miss our other Simple Recipe ideas shared here so far:

It’s here! Check out our amazing Simple Meals program!

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Simple Skillet Taco Pasta

Today I have for you: comfort food in a cast iron skillet. It’s simple, it’s quick, it’s delicious. It’s Simple Skillet Taco Pasta.

skillet-taco-pasta

First, a word about Cast Iron Skillets. I highly recommend that we all have one (or two). Mine takes the place of what used to be Teflon in my kitchen. Cast iron is crazy healthier to cook with and when oiled or buttered well, it is delightfully non-stick. I use mine at least twice every day – for eggs, for meat, for dishes like this Skillet Taco Pasta. (This one is the Cast Iron Skillet I recommend.)

So back to this new, simple recipe. (More Simple Recipes here.)

How nice is it that this entire dish can be made in one big skillet? Obviously, you will get out salad makings and steam a vegetable to go with this. Obviously. But that will be easy and take a look at how easy this main dish recipe is:

Simple Skillet Taco PastaYum

4.5 from 2 reviews
Simple Skillet Taco Pasta
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound hamburger meat
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 16-ounces salsa
  • 1½ cups water
  • 8-ounces whole grain pasta, any shape (gluten free works great too!)
  • 8-ounces shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, brown hamburger meat until no longer pink.
  2. Drain excess grease if necessary.
  3. Season meat with salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder.
  4. Stir in salsa, water, and pasta. Bring to a boil.
  5. Turn down heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  6. Turn off heat, sprinkle cheese over the mixture in the skillet, and put the lid on for 2 minutes to melt the cheese.

simple-skillet-taco-pasta

This recipe has been a huge hit with my family. Leftovers (if there are any) taste even better because of all the yummy flavors settling in to the pasta and meat.

This meal is practically effortless. Clean-up is a piece of cake (though not literally, bummer for that). And if you need this dish to be gluten free, simply use your favorite GF pasta.

Tell me how much you love cast iron. Do you use it often at your house? Need a Cast Iron Skillet?

This post contains affiliate links.

It’s here! Check out our amazing Simple Meals program!

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