I thought it might be fun to share some of the ideas for quick meals that I rely on for feeding my family. I have to keep a big repertoire of easy and fast meals for the many, many nights when we have to leave the house early for an evening church function.
I’ll tell you right now, some of those meals involve frozen foods. Do not judge until you have walked a mile in my moccasins, which I purchased at Walmart.
Every Wednesday night Chris has to leave for church band practice at 6:30, and most weeks I go with him. And right now we’re practicing almost every night for a skit that’s part of our church Christmas program. We are committed, even though it means missing my favorite a cappella singing competition on TV. And we missed the entire season of Hell’s Kitchen thanks to our schedule.
On these busy nights, I can’t try my skill at new meals or meals that take a lot of time to prepare. I save those meals for the nights when we’re home all evening, or for a Saturday when I can cook during the afternoon. Instead, I fix meals with just a few ingredients, many of them already prepared. Lately I’ve been able to work in some fresh foods and foods made from scratch but made ahead of time.
One thing I have to be careful about is not serving these quick meals too often. We’ve soured on a couple of old favorites because I made them too often. Take hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls—I made crescent dogs so often a few years back that they began to sound distinctly nauseating, and we didn’t eat them for about two years. But, enough time having lapsed that I now find crescent dogs appealing again, I have recently worked them back into the rotation, largely because a hot dog is one of the few things my sons will eat. But now we eat them on a tolerable cycle of about once every six to eight weeks.
One of Chris’s favorite quick entrees, which we are not yet sick of, is a chicken and bacon sandwich made with a frozen chicken patty. A plain patty on a bun wouldn’t be much fun. But a patty on a really good roll, with bacon and cheese and tomato and ranch dressing or barbecue sauce—that’s worth eating.
The boys won’t eat the chicken sandwiches, but they like the bacon, which Neeley calls “macon.” He also likes to eat the top off my sandwich roll. I can give him his own, but that’s not as fun as eating the top off of mine.
This weekend I made and froze some ciabatta, which I’ll thaw next week for this meal. And because I don’t really want Neeley to eat the top of my ciabatta, I may have to distract him with a decoy roll that I can place on my plate and pretend to want to eat myself.
Here’s how I make them:
Chicken and Bacon Sandwiches
Frozen breaded chicken patties (Tyson patties are good quality)
Sandwich bun (I like using homemade ciabatta, but we’ve also used regular hamburger buns)
Bacon (I use Oscar Meyer ready-to-serve bacon because it’s quick and not that high in calories)
Cheese (I used a half slice of processed white cheese or any grated cheese)
Sliced tomato (I’ve been getting beefsteak tomatoes through the Nebraska Food Cooperative)
Any other veggies you like
Sauce (I use barbecue but Chris uses ranch dressing)
Bake the chicken patties are directed on the package. A few minutes before the patties are done, fix the bacon as directed on the package. When the patties are done, top with cheese and put them back in the oven for 2–3 minutes.
Spread sauce on the sandwich buns. When cheese is melted on the patties, take them out of the oven and lay a patty on each bun. Top the patty with bacon and then with tomato. Serve with chips, baked French fries, salad, beans, or any other vegetable or fruit you like.