Super Suppers for Wild Weeknights: Tips to Forgo Fast Food During the Week
By Jennie Bradford Curlee
These days every family is busy. Whether you’re heading from ballet to piano or camping out at the soccer fields for an evening of games, Mississippi families have schedules that are fully packed. With such demanding agendas, it’s often supper time that suffers as we opt for drive-thru instead of preparing healthy weeknight meals at home. If you find yourself stuck in the fast food furrow, try adding some of these super simple meals to the rotation and enjoy the slower pace that comes with sitting down to supper together.
Fix It and Forget It
A slow cooker can truly change your life. It cooks meals low and slow, taking six to eight hours to complete the cooking process. Most recipes just require placing everything in the cooker, turning it on, and, voila – dinner is served. If your job won’t let you run home during the day to start it, Black and Decker has a six-quart Wi Fi-enabled slow cooker that can be started from a smartphone app.
3-5 pound chuck roast
Dry ranch dressing mix packet
Dry Au Jus mix packet
Stick of butter
Place the chuck roast in the slow cooker. Sprinkle ranch and au jus packets on top of the roast. Place stick of butter and 5-7 peppers on top of that. Cook in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with baked Vardaman sweet potatoes for a perfectly Mississippi meal.
Ready in an Instant
In the age of technology, we all want something in an instant. Meals are no exception. Instant Pots cook food, with or without pressure, at high temps for instantaneous supper success. For the busy family looking for a healthy weeknight meal, these cookers are everything.
Instant Pot Sloppy Joes
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1-8 ounce can tomato sauce
1-6 ounce can tomato paste
½ cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Place the ground beef, onion, and garlic in instant pot. Turn to sauté, brown meat, and drain grease. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook on manual, or pressure-cook on low, for five minutes with the valve closed. Quick-release the pressure. Stir and serve on hamburger buns with a fresh fruit salad.
Sometimes, all you need is a big pot of soup to make everyone happy on a wild weeknight. Prepare the soup on a Sunday night and place it in individual containers for ease at supper time during the week. Throw in a grilled cheese, chips, or cheese quesadilla and dinner is served.
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cans corn with red and green peppers
2 cans black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can diced green chilies
2 packets dry ranch dressing mix
2 packets taco seasoning mix
Brown ground beef and onion. Drain grease. Add all other ingredients to soup pot. Fill pot with water to cover ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with grilled cheese or corn chips, sour cream, and shredded cheese.
BONUS: For the best grilled cheese on the planet, pick up a loaf of homemade bacon bread from Simply Sweet by Margarete in downtown Tupelo (189 S. Green Street, 662-840-3290). You will never be able to eat a grilled cheese on regular bread again.
With so many easy options for quick meals during the week, say goodbye to the drive-thru and hello to the dining room table in 2019. Your family will thank you.
Jennie Bradford Curlee is the director of public relations and international sales for the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau. She loves her Wi-Fi-enabled slow cooker and enjoys finding new ways to use it to impress her family after long nights on the baseball field.