Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Of all the Simple Recipes I’ve been sharing around here, this Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole has proven to be the very simplest. Get this: No cooking necessary to make this recipe. A two-year-old could make this. Or a very busy adult. Either one will do.

pizza casserole1

This Simple Meal requires one dish (a crock pot) and thirty-seconds of prep (dump/stir/plug in). Your meal cooks itself.

As you can see from the above picture, I even cheated on my veggie side dish by simply setting out mixed greens and grape tomatoes. Therefore absolutely nothing about this meal took any work or actual cooking.

Now, you can add other cooked meats to this if you want. You can chop in some mushrooms and peppers if you want. None of those tasks take long, but they do take a few more minutes of prep. Sometimes I throw those veggies onto the table as side dishes, along with a can of black olives. Or, in a pinch, sometimes I skip it all and just throw out the mixed greens.

Either way, this meal is completely effortless, very inexpensive, and ridiculously good.

This spring, we’ve found this meal great to throw together before leaving for the soccer field. When we get home, we immediately get to sit down to an awesome, warm dinner. (Spring soccer is cold. I have done this cold soccer season for 15 years. When does it end?! Good thing my kids are worth it. Good thing I have a really great coat, and hat, and gloves, and fuzzy blanket. Good thing I can come home to warm comfort food at the end of my wind-blown, drizzly soccer cheering experience.)

Look how effortless this is —>

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 16-ounces UNCOOKED whole grain pasta
  • 50-ounces pizza or spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 6-ounces pepperoni
  • Optional: additional cooked meat, sliced olives, chopped sweet pepper, and/or sliced mushrooms
Instructions
  1. Stir uncooked pasta and pizza sauce in a crock pot.
  2. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.
  3. Stir.
  4. Top with shredded cheese and pepperoni.
  5. Cook for an additional 10 minutes on low to melt cheese.

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Will your family love this, or what? But trust me: no one will love it as much as you. Because this recipes allows you to cook without cooking. It provides you a great meal without working for it.

And now, if we could all find ourselves such a thing as a Self-Cleaning Crock Pot. (Tip, I soak my crock overnight and everything comes clean easily in the morning. No need to scrub when soaking does the hard work for us, am I right?)

Want to enjoy more Simple Recipes? We’ve got a bunch!

728x90

Make the Simple Recipes even easier!

Join everyone who is LOVING Simple Meals! Your meal plan, recipes, and grocery list will be sent to you every single week. All you have to do is execute to super simple plan. Win back your family time! Eat well. Love the simplicity! Read about it here and join us!

simplemeals300

Stop Eating Salad to Lose Weight!

As the saying goes, I wish had a dime for every person who said to me, “I’m trying to fit into this dress so I’ve started eating more salads.” Or “Why are you eating a salad? You don’t need to lose weight.”

Actually, skip the dime. Let’s go with a dollar. After all, I have a kid in college and will have from now until 2027. Sometimes there will be two in college at once. I can absolutely use all the dollars I can get. Fives and tens are also welcome. And also some Kleenex because that’s a lot of graduations to get through. (I might have already started crying over the fact that I’ve got another guy graduating next spring.)

Stop eating salad to lose weight!

Stop Eating Salad to Lose Weight

Please notice that this admonition doesn’t end with the word “salad.” I have not said, “Stop eating salad.” I’m telling us all that none of us should eat salad as a way to lose weight. Instead…

All of us should eat salad as a way to gain nourishment.

Salad greens are some of the healthiest foods we can eat, and we should eat them every day if possible. (P.S. If you didn’t already know this – the greener the greens, the better they are. Iceberg lettuce isn’t bad for us necessarily, but it’s also not as packed with nutrients as other varieties of lettuce. The basic rule of thumb to follow is to pick the greenest of the greens because the greener it is, the more packed it is with nutrients we need.)

But no matter how green they are, never eat them in an effort to lose weight. Eat them because you know your body can utilize the nutrients they contain.

Why does it matter?

It matters because if you only eat salad in an effort to lose weight, if/when you fall off your diet wagon, you’re likely to think of salad as “diet food” and stop eating it.

It matters because if you are thin, you might not consider eating salad as a necessary option.

It matters because when it comes right down to it, none of the food choices we make should be based on whether or not we need to lose weight. We need to make food choices based on what will best give our bodies nourishment.

Just eat real food, people. (With the very occasional side of fries, because keeping an intentional balance is best and ultimately healthiest, in my research-based opinion.)

You might find that eating a great salad every day does result in weight loss if that is a need for you. But the bigger celebration should be in knowing that your body is loving all the goodness you’re putting into it. You will feel so much better! You will have more energy!

From now on, no one shall ever talk to me about eating salad to lose weight. Don’t think I won’t start asking for those dimes. Dollars. Kleenex. Whatever.

Are you a salad lover? 

P.S. Check out the cheater way I serve my family salad every day!

Getting Started on a Healthy Eating Path – Here’s Step-by-Step Help.

Of all the questions I get from readers, the one I hear the most is:

How do I get started eating healthy?

It can be overwhelming! Conflicting information is everywhere! There are too many things to change at once! What does healthy even mean anyway? And on it goes.

I want to tell you this basic truth I’ve learned on our healthy eating journey:

There is no one-size-fits-all plan. There is no perfect formula. There is not one right way or wrong way to do this.

What if you just did healthy the way that makes sense for your family right now?

What if?

Even as I look back on our healthy eating journey of the past 10 years, I see changes and shifts and different focus points. What used to work doesn’t work now. Some of what I used to prioritize, I no longer do. What my family needs now that our boys are teens is different than what we needed when they were little.

—> It’s sources like this that have helped me on this journey through the years. This one is my fav so far, giving me more simple ways to make changes based on our current health needs. (Time Sensitive!)

We keep making changes. We keep making improvements. I relax more instead of feeling like we have to do it all perfectly. I now go by these basic principles:

  • Food is nourishment. Let’s eat to nourish, not just to fill a hole.
  • Real food is simple and uncomplicated. Let’s just keep it simple.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Go easy on the sugar.
  • Stick with healthy, real fats (coconut oil, butter, olive oil, palm shortening)
  • Let God be God. Trust Him in this.

To give you a visual on this, here are some pictures sharing sample meals my family eats.

multitasking6

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

alfredo leftovers 2

What are some simple changes you’ve made through the years to make a healthy lifestyle easier?

What is Up With the Price of Butter?

Remember that one time I almost ran out of butter, and I was like, “eh, no biggie” and then I took a nap?

Yeah, nobody remembers that – because butter, buttttttter, BUTTER, but-ter. Laura loves butter. Running out is not okay. (Also, I rarely have time for naps.)

butter_cake

I love butter so much that once for my birthday,
my boys made and decorated me a cake shaped like a big stick of butter.
Best birthday cake ever.
Also, those Cake Boys sure were precious.

I have always watched for sales on butter and stock up when I find one. I almost always have 10-20 pounds in my freezer and about 8 sticks in my fridge. When I need more in my fridge, I send a boy to the freezer to get a couple of pounds for me. My butter needs are always met.

But the rising cost of butter is messing up my bulk purchase, never run out, always have plenty, butter is never a problem, there will always be butter situation.

This favorite of mine hasn’t been on sale for way too long around these parts. Wait – I take that back. It was sort of on sale three weeks ago, but when I went to the store to stock up, they only had three pounds left, which is like a 4-day supply for me when I’m baking and inviting people over to eat. Apparently everyone else in town had already been there and stocked up, thinking nothing of my needs. There was plenty of margarine on the shelves but absolutely not, I don’t think so, no way.

Much ado about butter

So is this what it has come to? Is this what it’s going to be from here on out? Is the cost going to continue to hover at $3.50-$5.00 a pound, or worse, keep rising from here? Ouch.

I can’t find any recent information about dairy prices. An article written about a year ago said that prices were up, but expected to go down. Ironically, the “up” referred to in that article was lower than the prices I’m seeing a year later. That article did make me a little bit more sympathetic to the farmer, helping me recognize that I should probably never complain about food prices because farmers work really hard. God bless the farmer. But also God bless my grocery budget. God bless us everyone. Please pass the butter.

So spoiled American here, working to feed her family well, while appreciating the farmer and staying within budget, and trying not to gasp in fear that there is only one pound of butter left in my house. Apparently I’m going to have to go to the store and pay full price. Wha?!

I am very interested to know what you are paying for butter these days. Has the price gone up here, there, and everywhere? Any dairy farmers among us who can shed some light? How many pounds of freezer do you usually have in your house on a regular basis? 

Make Healthy Choices Easy For Your Family

I’ve told you how much my kids love corndogs. And how I still love Dortitos. And how, if given the choice, my kids would choose the candy over the good stuff.

Oh look. My family is normal! (Normal is relative. Thank you for your support.)

This is why I have to be strategic when putting food on the table for meals and snacks. Yep, sometimes I offer chips. So be it. But in an effort to fill us all with as much nourishment as possible – as easily as possible – these are the tricks I’ve discovered through the years.

How To Make Healthy Choices Easy For Your Family

Healthy Choices Are Easier When There Are Several Choices

I’m not about to become a short-order chef. But when I know I’ll be serving a fruit or veggie one of my kids doesn’t love, I’ll always serve another one or two he does love. Then I don’t have to fight a battle that doesn’t even make sense. After all, even I don’t love every single veggie on the planet (sorry jicima, I tried). 

Serve the Healthy Choices on a Plate

This one may sound silly, but the truth is that the easier I make the food to grab and eat, the more my family will eat. Last week I got out jars and bowls filled with little bits of fruit and raw veggie leftovers from the past couple days’ meals. Had I put them on the table as-is – which would have meant that my kids would have had to reach farther across the table and down into jars to access the food – I know without a doubt that they wouldn’t have eaten as many fruits and veggies. Instead, I dumped everything out of the jars and made a big platter of the fruits and veggies for the table. The munching started even before I was ready to call everyone in for the Potato Soup meal. Bingo. My plan worked.

Assign a Number

Often when there is a plate of healthy grab-and-eat foods, I’ll tell my kids, “You each need to eat at least 8 foods from the plate.” Then Malachi says, “What if we eat 10, is that okay?” Smarty pants. Again, some of the foods on the plate aren’t my kids’ favorites, so they don’t even have to touch those and it doesn’t matter as long as they eat at least 8 (or sure, 10).

Healthy and Delicious Should Happen At the Same Time

What I love about healthy food is that it is so yummy and flavorful – naturally. But if a fruit is not in season, it’s not going to taste as good – so choose accordingly for the best chance at your family loving the food choices. Also, be sure your family doesn’t equate the word “healthy” with “dry, boring, and flavorless.” As for me and my household, we will avoid rice cakes at all cost and instead make delicious and flavorful dishes and snacks with herbs and spices, milk, cheese, meats, fruits, veggies, real butter, sea salt, and coconut oil. Real food is what deliciousness is made of.

Serve the Favorites – the Healthier Way

We all love pizza, tacos, hamburgers, fries, and did I mention corndogs? Sometimes we splurge on the not-so-good-for-you variety. Mostly though, it is less expensive and tastier to make all of these favorites with our own wholesome ingredients. Have you ever made homemade fries? On my stars. And corndogs? We can make those too.

I’d love to hear the tricks you use to make healthy choices easy for your family!

How I {Easily} Get My Kids to Eat More Greens

How I easily get my kids to eat more greens. Easily.

How I Easily Get My Kids to Eat More Greens

This post will obviously be followed by one titled, “How I {Easily} Get My Kids to Eat More Corndogs” since that is also a huge problem most mothers run into. Not to worry. I am here to help.

Man, what is up with kids and veggies? Maybe I’m in the minority, but even with our family putting great choices on the table for almost nine years now, I still see my kids going heavy on the other stuff and skimping on veggies and salads if at all possible. It’s not like they don’t like veggies and greens. I just think for some reason that the main dish is more appealing.

And then there was the night I actually bought corndogs. I know. Sick. But Malachi had earned the privilege of choosing any meal he wanted as a part of our summer reading challenge. He wanted corndogs – the boxed kind. He had read for hours, so I honored his choice and bought some. Beef corndogs, but still. I didn’t read the label because it helps the “food” not be as harmful if you avoid reading the label. Don’t you dare quote me on that because that was sarcastic and we’re really here to talk about eating lots of greens.

I guess the reason I brought up the corndogs was to share that we made the boys eat some peas and raspberries before the freaky corn covered meat on a stick came out of the oven. All of our kids love both peas and raspberries. They ate their obligatory servings – because they had to – then ate their weight in corndogs. I’m glad they enjoyed themselves because that won’t be happening again for quite some time.

Now that you are thoroughly disgusted or perhaps strangely comforted by the fact that I compromised and bought boxed corndogs, let’s get back to talking about the greens. Again, our boys actually like salads, which is why I struggle to understand the following:

When they are making a sandwich for the road, they put like three little pieces of spinach between the thick slices of bread and four pieces of meat and cheese. When they add a salad to their plate at dinnertime, they prefer their pile of greens to be the size of their pinkie toe. Sometimes they spread out the greens just a bit to make the pile look bigger, but I’m onto them. I know a tiny salad when I see one.

How I easily get my kids to eat more greens

Proof that my boys like their greens:

taco salad1
That is a serving bowl, not a cereal bowl. It is chuck full. The contents of said serving bowl were consumed entirely by one person. Our family ate this amount x5 last Friday. I rest my case.

See, when I make a salad as a main dish, adding meats and cheeses, my kids will eat giant bowls full and sometimes go back for more. We go through entire packages of mixed greens in one meal in this way.

The moral of this story is this: I shall be serving salads as meals as often as possible. Bring on the mixed greens and spinach tossed together with taco meat or bacon. This is how everyone wins. We are filled with nourishment, and it is more delicious than a corndog.

Our favorite Main Dish Salads

What are your favorite main dish salads? How does your family do when it comes to eating greens? Last and certainly least, when is the last time you bought a box of corndogs?

The Post Where I Tell You How Much I Spend On Groceries Every Month

Ever curious how much I spend on groceries?

I don’t usually like to share the specifics of numbers any more when it comes to budgets, especially with groceries. Why? Because grocery prices are not apples to apples (see what I did there?) from one part of the nation to another. Plus I have international readers. Plus I have readers with young children, readers with many children, readers with no children, readers with adult children…just all sorts of readers. We all live in different places with different food sources and different situations.

So talking about grocery budgets and comparing numbers is not always beneficial.

Still, people are often very curious about how much I spend on groceries to feed my growing family full of teenage boys. I don’t blame them. Whether it makes sense or not, it is kind of fun to talk about grocery spending and compare notes about what works for people. Especially if any of us can gain insights on more ways to save money on healthy food purchases.

So here’s the big fat truth about my real food grocery budget as I feed a houseful of growing teenage boys. There is a comma in this monthly line item. I used to feed the six of us for less than $500/month. Then our boys doubled in size and so did the amount of money it takes to keep them fed.

The truth about how much I spend on groceries

Our current monthly grocery spending ranges from $900-$1,200.

Ouch. But not.

I mean, that’s a lot of money every month on food. But it’s food. The really good kind. My family is eating it heartily and staying relatively healthy. Because we homeschool and work from home, we typically eat all three meals at home each day, every day of the week. When I average it out, I see that we are spending between $5-$8 per person per day to eat very well.

Could I cut back on our grocery spending? Yes, but not by much. I’m not just throwing food into my cart at random. I’m carefully price-matching each week, strategically buying in bulk, cooking from scratch – doing everything I can to spend wisely and frugally.  We just eat…a lot. Plus, we love to have people into our home for meals. Our grocery money is money well spent, and I’m thankful.

groceries819Last week’s grocery run cost $78. Most of this food was price-matched. Not bad, eh?
Yeah well, the week before that I spent about $500 between Bountiful Baskets, Azure Standard, and Amazon.
Cha-ching.

Now let’s not even talk about car insurance for teenage boy drivers. That is a whole ‘nother conversation and it isn’t pretty, nor is it fun like strawberries and beef roasts. Boo, hiss, car insurance. I curl up into a ball at this subject. Please, let’s go back to talking about happy things like green beans.

So speaking of green beans, and gardens, and other ways of saving money on groceries – which we were so obviously talking about…

The verdict is still out on whether or not our budget will see a big difference with our oldest son moving out and eating most of his meals in the college cafeteria. So far there’s not been much change – but I do predict that our spending average will go down a little bit. I mean, just last week I only had to double our pancake recipe instead of triple it, so that right there was a $1 saved. I think I’ll start saving for a cruise. Or just apply that dollar to his college tuition.

Below is a list I posted about a year and a half ago about ways I save on real food groceries. I can’t imagine what our budget would be if I didn’t continually work to save money in these ways. There would definitely be a 2 in front of the comma. Have mercy.

Ways I Save on Real Food Groceries

I’m working on some posts which highlight some of our lower cost, real food meals. But while my goal is to save money where I can and to be wise with my spending- my bigger goal is to nourish my family with good food. So bring on the wholesome goodness! In large quantities. Frequently. (said the mother of many teenage boys)

Want to share your grocery budget numbers? Have you seen your grocery spending increase as your kids got older? For those of you on the other end, have you found it difficult to adjust to buying less once your kid leave home? I will not even know how to cook in small quantities a few years from now. An 8×8 inch dish? Yes, I think I have one of those in the back of my cupboard.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2016 update!

I still spend a significant amount on groceries every month because of all the very starving teenage boys at our house. But to my surprise, I’ve noticed significant grocery savings while following our Simple Meals plans. I love this so much. I mean, I knew it would save money, but this much?

facebook_cover_photo

From Frosty Freezers to Defrosted Freezers to Full Freezers

It may not look like much of a difference to you when you see my pictures, but trust me on this one. My freezers were completely disorganized and full of frost. I didn’t know what I had in there, much less where anything was.

Before I show you my before and after pictures, let’s establish this right away: No one ever accused me of not having enough food on hand. No one ever said, “Laura I think you should really consider buying more than one pound of meat at a time.” No one ever said, “Have you ever considered buying in bulk?”

“I sure hope the Coppingers can find something to eat today,” said no one ever. I’m thankful for the abundance, and you’ll read more about how we afford full freezers below.

Instead, this is what people say:

“If ever there is a food crisis, we will go to Laura’s house.” and “What are you guys, carnivores?!” and also “I would never have time to do all that freezer cooking.”

That final statement always makes me bang my head on my freezer since time is something I often feel that I am severely lacking and freezer cooking is what saves my meals (and ironically, my time).

So how do we afford to buy so much at once? True statement: We can’t afford not to.

Buying meat, cheese, nuts, grains, and butter in bulk and when we find good deals is the only way to feed a family full of teenage boys (and guests) without breaking our bank. If it’s a good price, I buy a cartful – which is a lot of cost upfront but saves $1,000’s in the long run.

How do I find time to do freezer cooking? I make time, spending an additional two hours or so here and there to save a dozen or more hours of cooking later. Or my favorite tip of all, when I’m making one casserole to eat at dinner, I typically make an additional one or two while I’m at it. Same effort, same amount of dishes, twice or three times the eats. It only makes sense.

So let’s take a look now at my freezers, and then let’s encourage Laura not to buy any more meat for a while. Seriously.

First I will show you (because I love splashing my disorganizational skills all over the internet) my two frost-filled, haphazard freezers in which one can only hope to reach in to grab a chicken and actually come away with a chicken.

Freezer #1

freezer1

Freezer #2

freezer2

Operation defrost and reorganize the freezers began Saturday afternoon.

Half the fun of this project was actually discovering that I had over 12 prepared freezer meals scattered all over the place. Thinking a better idea would be to put them all one one shelf so I’d know just where to look, I…you know, put them all on one shelf so I’d know just where to look. Brilliance. I’ll be saving these meals for the first few weeks of school/soccer season. This is what sanity is made of.

I put all the chicken on the top shelf, all the beef on the second shelf, all the butter in the door, and all the frozen fruits and veggies on aisle 4.

freezer4

Freezer #2 then only contained only our lamb meat, nuts, and a couple packs of cheese.  But wait. There’s more.

freezer5

On Tuesday, Matt picked up the grass-fed beef we had ordered from local farmer friends. Did we need to order beef right now? No, we still had some. But our friend’s cows were ready right now…and later would be too late. Saying no now would have made us run out of beef before next spring/summer, so we ordered before we needed it. I think we’re set on beef for a while. Although we will go through this faster than many would think. You’ve seen teenagers eat, right?

freezer6

In other freezer cooking news, I made a batch of Whole Wheat Pizza Crusts for an easy lunch once school starts. I also cooked 3 pounds of hamburger meat (seeing as I had some to cook). We’ll use it on the pizzas and for other easy meals.

pizza crust for freezer

I have more to share about how I used my Eat Right Away Beef and Chicken Slow Cooker Editions (my fav so far!) to make many meals in a tiny amount of time – but that’s another post for another day.

I also planned to make a bunch of muffin batter for the freezer, but I am completely out of eggs (and beef is a poor substitute). We will be getting several dozen eggs today from our friend with chickens, then the muffin-batter-for-the-freezer plans will commence.

So now you tell me about your freezer(s). And about your beef. And about your eggs. And about your experiences in watching teenagers eat.

The First Thing I Did When I Got Home From Camp – Plus What I’ll Be Up to This Week

I bet you can guess. What’s the first thing I did the moment I got out of the van after being at camp for two weeks?

Okay fine. I went potty. But after that? Well, yes I started a load of laundry. But then??? Well I filled a glass of water to make sure I was hydrated.

But none of those count. What’s the really first thing I did after being away from my kitchen for two weeks?

groceries725Home from camp!

Ahhhhh, yes. I made a big price-matching list and headed to the store. The fridge was all but empty, we’re craving more fresh produce, and I’ve missed cooking. I loved the break (especially from the dishes!) – but I am so excited about being back in my kitchen!

I must admit that our three teenage boys are still at camp for another week and a half which means that I might have over-purchased just a wee bit. All you see in the picture up there? That’s just for Matt, Malachi (age 10), and me. We’re that hungry for freggies. I couldn’t hold back.

Case in point: Matt washed one of the containers of blueberries as soon as I gave him permission (aka, as soon as I got a picture taken – it’s a food blogger thing). I snagged a few of the berries as I scrubbed refrigerator shelves and put away groceries. A few minutes later, Matt appeared with the blueberry container and a grin. The blueberries were almost completely gone. The guy ate an entire pint (minus the 17 little berries I ate) in about 5 minutes. We’re craving this stuff, I tell ya.

Cravings aside, I would not have gotten 6 pounds of strawberries and 6 pints of blueberries for just the three of us – but I was able to price match them for just $1.00 each. Who can pass up filling the cart when they’re only a buck?? If we can’t finish them before they go bad, we’ll just freeze them for muffins and smoothies. It’s too easy.

So here’s what I’m thinking. I’m thinking that while I still just have one boy at home and therefore don’t need to prep large meals – I’m going to do some freezer cooking this week. My list is too long, which means I won’t likely get around to all of this since I have so much other work to catch up on after being away for two weeks. But here’s my crazy-lady list nonetheless:

1. Defrost the freezer.

We’re getting a quarter of grass-fed beef this week, so that along with putting prepped food in the freezer means I need to get rid of the terrible ice build up I’ve been ignoring for way too long.

2. Make a few batches of Strawberry and Blueberry Cream Muffins – freezing the batter to bake fresh later. (Read more about this wonderful freezer tip here.)

3. Work through my Eat Right Away Beef and Chicken Slow Cooker Editions to get easy meals in the freezer ready for upcoming school/soccer/busy days.

4. Make Whole Wheat Pizza Crusts for the freezer so the boys can quickly make their own pizzas on busy days.

5. Make and freeze Chicken Fried Steak Strips with the beef we’re picking up from the butcher.

6. Stop making this list before I become overwhelmed.

There are too many great freezer cooking ideas. I made myself stop adding to the list so I don’t overwhelm myself. I’ll take pictures of my progress throughout the week and share an update with you soon!

What are you going to be doing this week?

Why I Rarely Make Big Meat and Potato Meals (Plus 9 of My Family’s Favorite Real Food, Real Simple Meals)

My true confessions about meat and potato meals…

You know what I love about mashed potatoes? Eating them. Otherwise, I am so over mashed potatoes. Therefore, I kind of stopped making them.

Why did I stop? It’s not like they’re difficult. My family loves them. They make a filling side dish. They are a real food. And above all, we can stir lots of butter into them. Why wouldn’t I make them more often?

Because, this:

why i don't make big meals

I decided to make mashed potatoes a couple weeks ago since I had pretty much avoided the task since Thanksgiving. The family was thrilled. But making a meal of lamb chops, mashed potatoes, gravy, a veggie, another veggie – well by the time it’s all said and done – I had spent a very long time in the kitchen and had a sink and counter full of dirty dishes. That’s just one meal, people. (Except for the muffin tin and probably like, a spoon.)

I’m convinced that this is why so many people don’t enjoy cooking. Am I right? It takes too long. There are too many steps. There’s too much clean up. You know what? I don’t enjoy it either when it looks and feels like that.

Well, I’m not here to tell you what to do (except for never eat margarine). But as for me and my house, we’re only going to make mashed potatoes for special occasions. Otherwise, we’re going to stick with simple meals that don’t require many steps. Fast (real) foods that don’t dirty many dishes. Real food made easy.

Real Food, Real Simple Meal Ideas

Here, I’ll list a few of our favorite Not-So Meat and Potato Meals:

Instead of mashed potatoes, I’ve been making a lot of baked potatoes recently. I love this because they are so versatile and easy. Here’s a post detailing what I do with leftover baked potatoes.

taco potato skillet 3

‘Fess up. How often do you make mashed potatoes? (The real kind, not from a box. Don’t get me started.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you love the idea of keeping your meals simple and good, you will LOVE Simple Meals!!

simplemeals300