Dinner Made Simple

Cooking at home is better for our health and our waistlines, but let’s face it: if a meal isn’t easy, it’s just not going to get made as planned in the midst of a hectic week. We’ve pulled together a cozy selection of hearty fall meals that work well for life-simplifying approaches like make-ahead meals and slow cooking.

Minestrone Soup

3 Guiding StarsThe trick to making this hearty soup in no time flat is to rely on frozen ingredients and low-sodium canned options. Prep your onions and garlic for the week when you come home from grocery shopping – all that remains is to combine everything and let it simmer. (3 Guiding Stars)

Quick Southwest Skillet

3 Guiding StarsThis yummy dish also relies on the freezer and/or can openers for speedy prep. Let the family customize it by serving salsa, hot sauce and plain Greek yogurt as optional toppings. (3 Guiding Stars)

Bean and Cheese Quesadilla

2 Guiding StarsMake this dish even simpler with the help of a Guiding Stars-earning fresh salsa from your produce section, or chop the veggies in advance. If your ingredients have been prepped, this is a yummy 5-minute meal that everyone will love. (2 Guiding Stars)

Chicken Sausage Hobo Packets

2 Guiding StarsThis meal pairs particularly well with the Minestrone Soup about – prep the cabbage all at once for both meals. If you’re not camping out, just toss everything into a casserole dish or even a slow cooker so you don’t have to mess around with making individual packets. (2 Guiding Stars)

Black-Eyed Pea Curry

2 Guiding StarsMake this curry ahead in a big enough batch to get 2-3 meals out of it–this is one that tastes better if it sits for a day or so anyway. Make a big batch of brown rice at the same time and you’ve got a delicious, comforting meal that can be reheated in minutes. (2 Guiding Stars)

Slow Cooker Mushroom Bolognese

2 Guiding StarsSlow-cooked food affords the decadence of flavor long cook times provide with the convenience of a microwave. If you buy pre-sliced mushrooms and have prepped your savory veg for the week in advance, this dish will take five minutes to assemble. (2 Guiding Stars)

Skillet Chicken with Apples and Sage

1 Guiding StarOnce again, this dish takes good advantage of prepared onions and peppers. Apples are cooked with their peels on – definitely a time saver. And with the savory apple pie lusciousness of this skillet, you’ll be well pleased with this simple meal. (1 Guiding Star)