Favorite Go-To Dinner

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    Debra Smouse

    I love cooking -and food.  But, of course, there are nights when I’m tired and want something quick & easy – but still nutritious and delicious.  What are your go-to meals?

    Debra Smouse

    In our house, it’s something I call “Chicken in a Pot”

    Take a boneless, skinless chicken breast and cut it into bite sized pieces. Heavily season it (garlic powder, freshly ground pepper, All-Purpose Seasoning from  Simply Organic).  Completely cover the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and turn the heat on high. Sear it the chicken in the olive oil until the outside of all the pieces are browned and the chicken begins to easily break into smaller pieces.  Turn the heat down to low and add a can (or two) of Petite Diced Tomatoes. (I buy salt free).  Simmer on low for 10 minutes or so.  You can serve it as is – or add some green stuff by tossing in a small container of baby spinach and turn the heat back to medium and put the lid on the pot until the spinach just begins to wilt.  STIR well and turn the heat off.

    Sometimes, I serve it with whole-grain pasta, sometimes brown rice, sometimes a baked potato.


    My newest go-to “lazy” meal is insanely simple:  4 chicken or turkey breasts, 1 can Light Creamy Potato with Bacon & Cheese soup by Progresso, 1/2 cup Fat Free sour cream. Place breasts in 9×13.  Combine soup & sour cream in a bowl. Pour over breasts.  Top with cheddar if desired (whatever fat content you choose). Bake, covered, for 45-60 minutes at 350ºF. I serve it over brown rice or whole grain pasta with a veggie.  The entire batch of gravy is only 5 or 6 Weight Watchers Points+ so when you divide that by four, that’s a lot of flavor for not a lot of points!


    Stir fry with quinoa. Whenever I cook quinoa I do it in large batches then freeze them in one cup snack size baggies. I use these for a quinoa and kidney bean pattry recipe, and for quick dinners like stir fry quinoa.

    Quinoa tastes soooo good if you fry it after cooking! The nutty flavour comes out and it gets a nice crunch. For a quick dniner of stir fry with quinoa, I usually cheat by buying a bag of precut fresh stirfry veggies, but not frozen. Toss frozen quinoa in a frypan on low heat with a good amount of coconut oil, let defrost in low pan (alternatively you can microwave to defrost), then turn up heat to med high and season with papricka, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, or whatever spices you like, tossing often for 5 minutes until a little crunchy and browned. Use more oil if needed. Set aside, then chuck in your veggies on med high heat, more coconut oil, crushed garlic and diced onion or green onion if not in your mix. Toss and fry for 3-5 minutes until bright and steaming but not floppy and overcooked (the more raw the better!) I splash juice of a quarter lemon, bit of soy sauce or balsamic vinegar once off the heat. You can either mix it all up or serve the veg on top of the quinoa, a sprinkle or seeds or nuts on top is a nice finish.

    Optional addition is meat of course, sometimes I will bake a fish fillet while doing the above, or I will fry tofu, or use a leftover meat up.

    If you use precut stir fry veggies, and keep one cup portions of quinoa in the freezer, this is super quick, no more than 10-15 minutes and only using one pan 🙂

    Its also nice for a big dinner as you can never eat too many veggies, and its a great way to use up veg.


    If you can let the quinoa defrost in the fridge while at work for the day, even better!


    For me, I like to grill chicken on the weekends to be able to make quick and easy meals during the week. My go tos are typical-

    – Adding the grilled chicken to soup
    – Making healthy wraps
    – Cooking peppers and onions, adding salsa and eating over rice

    On occasion, I’ll make an egg white omelet and add the chicken to make my own chicken fajita omelet. Delicious!


    Wow, these are all far beyond my own definition of easy! For me, “easy” = microwave a frozen meal. I have neither the patience or interest to cook, definitely a side effect of living on my own. 😛


    I was a bachelor for over thirty-five years so my oven was usually a charcoal grill. Even on days when it poured down rain or it snowed, I would continue to grill. I prefer lamb, veal chops or bone-in fish with a simple side dish as rice or fresh vegetables. I like to marinate my lamb or veal in a storage bag placed in the refrigerator, a cheap Italian Dressing does wonders.

    ~~ Chili beans on top of scrambled eggs done in a fry pan is excellent.

    ~~ A grilled cheese sandwich with bean sprouts or sliced tomato

    ~~ Skllet cornbread cooked in a cast iron, thinner than the bulky size most people bake

    ~~ Fresh baby spinach with tomato, black forest ham and some swiss cheese spread over the top is delightful

    ~~ Prefer oatmeal as a hot cereal, raw honey with cut up banana and enough whole milk to cover the top of the cereal.

    ~~ Raw peanuts, cashews or salted almonds as a snack

    ~~ Winesap apples that are so firm you may need a knife to cut them into pieces

    ~~ A good tasting hot sauce, with a bit more body than your common Texas Pete. Chipolte and harbenaro are my favorite peppers to look for when
    selecting a sauce for seasoning.

    ~~ After or during your meal a tall glass of sweet tea or a nice micro-brewed beer will allow the flavor of the meal to kick in much better

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