Breathe. Take a few deep breathes in and out, do something nice for yourself, and then do something nice for someone else. Go for a walk for yourself and take your dog along. You’ll both love it. Bake a healthy meal but double the servings and deliver some to an aging family member or neighbor. Your heart will thank you for it.
Today, I’m sharing with you five quick-prep hearty recipes that are easy to make and easy to share so we can all keep in mind what the Christmas season is all about – enjoying life and others in our lives.
Over the next few days, you won’t be reading about furniture makeovers. I want to share with you my love of minimalism and the reasons why I lean toward it. We’ll talk about the hustle and bustle of December, the contrast to that in another country, and even though I refinish and sell furniture, how that all fits together.
But we’ll get to that in the coming days. For today, let’s talk about you and these recipes intended to make your meals easier and your heart a little lighter.
We’ve just come off my favorite American holiday – Thanksgiving. It’s a time where we sit around the dinner table with our families and just enjoy eachother. Then we immediately step into the hustle and bustle of frantic holiday shopping and the need to “get it all done” by December 25th.
I admit that I also got caught in the frenzy of December over the past week, which I’ll tell you more about over the coming days. But, today, I’d love if you just slowed down a little, cooked some good hearty food for your family, and enjoyed today.
Here are my family’s favorites…
RECIPE #1: Lazy Peppers & Rice
- 1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups white rice (I prefer Basmati)*
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 1 can diced tomatoes (with basil)
- 1 tbsp. dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional – these make it spicey)
- 1 8-oz. jar of tomato sauce (I prefer organic Prego with mushrooms)
RECIPE #2: Chicken Pot Pie with Veggies, Stuffing & Cranberry Sauce
- 3 Boneless Children Breasts
- 3 Cans of Gravy (2 Chicken and 1 Turkey)
- 1 Package Stove Top Stuffing Mix
- 1 Can Jellied Cranberry Sauce
- 1 Box of Pillsbury Pie Crust
- 1 Bag Frozen peas & carrots (optional)
This recipe will yield two pies. One with the cranberry and stuffing and one without since my kids prefer these on the side.
Boil the chicken until cooked through – approximately 20 minutes. Set aside 1 to 2 cups of this boiling water to prepare the stuffing mix according to the box directions – which simply involves adding boiling water to the seasoned bread crumbs. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and divide into two glass pie baking dishes. Pour 1-1/2 cans of gravy into each of the baking dishes. If desired, add some frozen peas & carrots at this point.
For the first plain pot pie, unroll one pie crust and place it over the chicken & gravy. Pinch the dough around the edge to seal.
For the second pot pie, layer on the stuffing over the chicken & gravy. Then, layer on 1/4-inch thick slices of cranberry sauce over the stuffing. Unroll the second pie crust and place it over the pie ingredients.
Bake approximately 40 minutes on 350 degrees or until the crust is light golden brown.
RECIPE #3: Sausage & Spinach Soup
- 1 box 32 oz. Chicken broth (low or no sodium variety)
- 1 package of 4, pre-cooked Al Fresco Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage*
- Frozen spinach (about 1 cup); or can substitute kale or collard greens
- Roseamary (a few sprigs of fresh or about 1/2 tsp of dried)
- 1/2 bag of frozen peas & carrots
- 1 can diced tomatoes (plain or seasoned with basil, oregano, etc.)
- optional: 1/2 cup barley (optional) or rice, or small pasta
Add all ingredients to a medium sized pot. Cover, bring to a slow boil, then simmer on low until the spinach is soft. Approximately 20 minutes. If you add the uncooked barley, simmer a bit longer until the barley is soft. If you prefer rice or pasta, cook that separate and add to soup when serving.
Recipe #4: Beef & Vegetable Soup
- 3 lbs. beef (chuck, stew meat, or shank)
- optional: 1 round shank bone (if beef does already include the bone)
- 1 carton beef stalk (low sodium)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tps black pepper
- 1/8 cup fresh parsley (or 1 tbsp dried)
- 5 white potatoes (chopped into small chunks)
- 4 carrots
- 3 stalks celery (including the celery leaves)
- 1 small white onion
- 1 clove garlic
Add to a large pot, the beef stalk, beef, beef bone, paprika, parsley, and back pepper. Simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Add 4 cups water and then add the veggies. Simmer on low for at least another hour or until the beef separates with a fork.
Recipe #5: Baked Ham & Potatoes
- 1 foil-wrapped boneless ham
- white potatoes
- frozen veggies of choice (green beans, peas, corn)
Wrap whole potatoes in aluminum foil and place on bottom shelf in oven. Bake for 1 hour on 400 degrees then turn the oven down to 300 or 375 (whatever the ham package instructions say) so you can bake ham and potatoes together for the second hour. Unwrap ham and place in baking pan. Add 1/4 water to pan, cover with foil, and bake according to instructions on ham package (usually 1 hour on 300 or 325 degrees).
You can put some frozen veggies in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake these for the last 15 minutes.
Another Option for Potatoes
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products I use myself.