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Simple meals for an extra-busy work week

Published October 13. 2010 05:00PM

It's been a rough week. Between work and "play" (we're remodeling our bathroom), there hasn't been much time to shop for groceries, let alone cook.

To prevent a last-minute scramble for dinner or ordering takeout every night, I knew we would need a plan this week to keep us well-fed with fast, simple meals.

It didn't take long to come up with this list of simple meals, jot down a grocery list, and feel ready to face our first hectic week of remodeling.

Grilled cheese: An all-time favorite for kids, grilled cheese can be a fun meal for adults, too. All you need is bread, cheese, and a few fillers to make this meal surprisingly satisfying.

My husband requested a few grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. I added sliced tomatoes and onion to my sandwiches at least I tried to eat my vegetables! Add a bowl of "chunky" or "hearty" tomato soup to make this a great meal for a cold autumn night.

Spaghetti: One pot, a stovetop, and 12 minutes. That's all you need to make a hearty bowl of spaghetti. We ate our spaghetti with a salad and bread. After a long day of hard work, there's really nothing better than a piece of buttered bread and warm spaghetti sauce.

When I'm feeling adventurous, we add cooked vegetables to our spaghetti. I like carrots, peppers, onions and cauliflower, cut up and boiled for a few minutes and then tossed in pasta sauce.

Bratwurst: This is my husband's favorite meal, and he would eat it every night if I allowed him to do so. Why bratwurst? It takes about the same time to cook as hot dogs on a grill or stovetop, but they are a bit more flavorful and more filling. We ate cut-up apples with our bratwurst.

Breaded chicken: By midweek, I knew we would be craving a "real" meal.

Breaded chicken is another go-to meal for us. It's fast, simple and cheap, and it tastes pretty good. Preheat a non-stick pan and a small amount of oil over medium heat. Once the pan is warm, dip thinly-sliced chicken breasts into Italian dressing.

Next, dip each chicken piece into Italian-flavored bread crumbs. Carefully add the pieces to the non-stick pan. After a few minutes, flip the chicken. Serve with rice or potatoes; we prefer Mexican rice.

Frozen pizza: I was tired. It was a long week. After ripping out our bathtub, I reached for a frozen pizza. Less than 20 minutes and $5 later, dinner was on the table.

The results

We didn't have the healthiest dinners this week, but at least we didn't go to bed hungry or spend $20 a night on takeout. With all of the hard work and time we put into remodeling, I'm going to call this week a success.

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