3 Low-Prep, GF, Healthy, Hearty Dinners (+ Ways to Simplify Your Recipes)
Not just recipes, but how to make the whole meal for dinner!
The Lord graciously helped me stumble on some meals that EVEN ME (the woman who moves like a slllllllllooooooooth) can prep in less than ten minutes. I’m tired of reading about 30 minute meals because they take me an hour and a half! So this was an amazing breakthrough for me! Hearty, healthy meals in less than 10-15 minutes hands-on time. Woot! You voted, and this surprisingly won hands-down! So, dinner is served!
Lemon Cream Tilapia, Green Beans & Rice
Thaw your tilapia filets in water in the sink.
Start your rice in the rice cooker and turn on oven. You can also plan on Tex-mati on the stove (which cooks quicker and is amazing!) Or quinoa which only takes about 15 minutes to cook.
When tilapia is thawed, put them in a 8x8” glass dish. Pat dry. Salt and pepper them. Put a dab of butter on top of each one. Pour some heavy cream (maybe about 1/3 - 1/2 cup… because we love cream!) and some lemon juice on top. And pop them in the oven.
Bake @ 375* for about 12-15 minutes.
Start your green beans. If using frozen, just put them in a sauce pan and pour some water over them. When done, drain the water, add some butter and lemon and Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence.
Your rice and green beans should all be done about the time the tilapia comes out of the oven.
Voila! Minimal hands on time. Easy peasy. Scrumptious.
Click here for the inspiration recipe. You can see I cut some corners on an already simple recipe, but it still turned out delicious and quite impressive!
For all the single ladies… just use a glass loaf pan. It’s small and will fit your one filet just nicely. Dab the butter and drizzle a little cream and lemon juice on top. You’re good to go! You’ll be so glad you made a good meal for yourself!
While I highly recommend cooking up double on meals, so you can freeze some for another day… not fish. Just cook what you think you’ll eat that night. ; ) However, if you’re going to make rice, do it! Make a BIG batch and freeze it up in family-meal sized portions or individual meal portions. You’ll be amazed how beautifully rice thaws and reheats! So nice to have on hand!
Milk & Oats Meatloaf & Baked Potatoes
Let me preface this by saying… stop freaking about meatloaf. It sounds so emotionally taxing and hard to make. But try this— Prep this in the morning (BEFORE the hangry meltdowns that begin around 430pm.) It’ll take you less than 10 minutes (maybe even 5 with some practice) and then when you get home for the evening, just pop it in the oven.
Morning or night before… make the meatloaf. Just saran-wrap the top and call it good til supper time.
That evening, preheat your oven and scrub up a few baked potatoes.
When oven dings, just take off your saran wrap, pop it in on a middle rack.
On the rack below, pop in your potatoes.
They’ll both cook about an hour and be finished at the same time.
If desired, add a quick salad or can of peas. And you’re in business.
Dinner is served! Hearty, impressive. They’ll think you cooked forever. You didn’t. It actually probably cost you only 15 minutes of hands-on time… Maybe 20 minutes if you chop onions slowly like I do. Maybe less if you use a chop-chop to cut your onions or just buy them frozen, pre-chopped.
Cook Less Tips:
Just buy groceries to make two. You can prep and cook them both without much extra time spent. Then you can cut up and freeze your extra meatloaf in meal-sized portions. If you’re single, then I dare you to take care of yourself and make a meatloaf! : ) You’ll be so glad you did. Just cut up about 2/3’s of it into those meal-portions and you can pop one out of the freezer down the road when you’re in a pinch.
Also, you can just squirt ketchup or BBQ sauce on top and be done if you don’t want to mix up the sauce in this recipe.
If you need a guide, here’s a good one. If you have egg allergies, you can omit the egg and it’ll turn out just fine.
Sheet Pan Maple-Dijon Butternut Squash & Drumsticks
You can do this with chicken thighs or drumsticks. I bought drumsticks because they were on sale and it turned out quite nice.
Preheat your oven to 450* and line a pan with parchment. (Not required, just makes clean up easier. Otherwise, just spray your pan a little.)
Dump out a bag or two of frozen, cubed butternut squash on to your pan.
Place your chicken thighs or drum sticks on the pan too.
Salt and pepper everything.
I added Garam Masala and some olive oil on the squash, and wow! Good choice. Again, not necessary. But we like it you. You could also try some cinnamon and oregano if you’re feeling kind of wild.
Then just mix up some maple syrup and Dijon mustard. I brushed it onto the chicken only and whatever was left, drizzled onto the squash.
Pop this in the oven and cook about 35 minutes.
Boom diggity. Dinner time. And all you did was dump it on a pan! Way to go, my friend!
Fudge the Recipe Tips:
I didn’t want to make a mess in a bowl like the recipe. I’m sure it’s even more amazing if you follow it to the T. But I walked you through some easy ways to take some shortcuts on recipes you find online. Go by the gist of the ingredients and cooking times and mess around with the prep and flavors!
The brussel spouts in the recipe look killer, but we didn’t have any on hand. You can sub it for any veggie really. Try broccoli, frozen florets would work out just fine. You can also peel and dice sweet potatoes in leu of the butternut squash. It will up your cooking time, but it’s not really that big a deal. Especially if you have some handy.
Also, I filled my pan with a double-batch of this so there wasn’t any room for more veggies anyways. (If you over-crowd your pan, you’ll more like steam your food instead of get that yummy roasty flavor. So get a BIG sheet pan if you double this, or just use two pans!)
I just decided to heat up leftover broccoli. It’d be just as easy to put some broccoli on the stove and cook it up in butter. OR simply say that squash and chicken is good enough and done! : )
Alright, my friends!
Got any corner-cutting tips to share with me and our other Quirky Kingdom friends?? We are ALL ears!! Feel free to also paste your favorite QUICK and LOW-PREP go-to meals in the comments section below. This is our Quirky Kingdom recipe swap! Gotta help each other get through the Holidays, right? : )