I’ve been working from home for seven years now and one of the best perks about working from home is having more time to cook. I never realized how stressful it was, being a full-time working mom and trying to get a decent dinner on the table before 7 pm, until I had a job with a bit more freedom. Not having enough time to cook all too often results in my family having a lot of take out dinners and many out-of-the-box and make-it-as-quick-as-I-can dinners – which really aren’t very healthy at all.
In addition, as our kids have gotten older, we’ve widened our circle of friends as we meet families from our kids’ various sports or activities. We’re always being invited to get together or BBQs or family meals and I feel like a lot of the time I’m scrambling to put something together for a party to share.
So I’ve become the queen of easy side dishes and easy appetizers! I’ve compiled a list of my favorites here. I should say that I am not an accomplished chef, so trust me when I say these are all easy to make!
Easy Green Beans
- One can green beans
- One beef buillion cube
- Place the buillion cube in a sauce pan and put water in pan until the cube is covered. Dump in green beans. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.
The Best Garlic Cheese Bread Ever
- One loaf of French baguette
- Garlic butter spread (I buy the kind made by the grocery store’s deli)
- Provel cheese
- Cut the loaf of bread length-wise and place it on a cookie sheet. Spread garlic butter on each side of bread and top with provel cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is slightly browned.
Broccoli That Even My Kids Eat
- Two heads fresh broccoli
- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Break apart broccoli into florets. Toss broccoli with oil, salt, and pepper. Place broccoli on foil-lined pan and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425 until slightly crispy (usual about 12 minutes in my oven). Then be amazed that your kids chow them down!
- 5-6 potatoes, sliced
- 2 ½ tbsp. olive oil
- One package dry onion soup mix
- Mix olive oil and soup mix. Toss potatoes with soup and oil mixture. Spray a pan with cooking spray and place potatoes in a single layer. Bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. Flip potatoes and bake for another 15 minutes or until crispy.
Yummy Squash and Zucchini
- Two small yellow squash
- One zucchini
- Balsalmic vinaigrette dressing
- Slice squash and zucchini into strips (or cubes, but I like strips) and put in ziploc bag with dressing. Allow to marinate overnight. I put this in one of those pans that are made to go on the grill. Place the pan on the grill and cook until soft. But if you’re not grilling, you can simply dump the veggies in a frying pan on the stove and cook until soft. The grill is better, but the other way is still yummy.
Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip
- One packet of dry ranch dressing mix
- 16 oz sour cream
- Bacon bits
- Shredded cheddar cheese (I like sharp)
- I don’t have exact amount for the bacon and cheese, I just add until I think it’s done. Mix all together and serve with crackers. This is a fan favorite and people request that I bring it to parties all the time.
- Cocktail Wienies
- Brown sugar
- Cut each slice of bacon into three strips. Wrap a strip of bacon around each wienie, secure with toothpick and place in a throw-away foil pan (it’s tough to clean up on a regular pan). Dump brown sugar on top (and add lots, I mean drench those babies in sugar). Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake
- One sleeve of graham crackers
- One stick butter, melted
- 1/4 cp. sugar
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cp. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- One tub Cool Whip
- One can of blueberry pie topping/filling
- Smash the sleeve of graham crackers (I smash mine a lot. I suppose if you wanted a chunkier crust, you could just … not smash as much). In a bowl, combine smashed crackers, butter, and sugar. Mix together and pat into an 8×8 pan. In separate bowl, mix cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar with mixer. Add whipped cream, mix with spatula. Spread cream cheese mixture on top of graham cracker crust. Dump pie filling on top and chill for at least two hours. Be prepared to eat the entire thing.
- Package of 10 tortillas
- 16 oz. sour cream
- One packet of dry Fiesta Ranch dressing mix
- One small can of chopped black olives
- Mix together everything but the tortillas. Spread the mixture on a tortilla, and roll it up. Once you’ve rolled all the tortillas, cover them and let them sit in the fridge for a while, I usually do this overnight. Once they’ve sat long enough, slice them up into bite-sized pieces.
Coconut Fruit Dip
- Sliced and/or otherwise cut up fruit (I like grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe, and pineapple with this dip, but I really think any fruit would do.)
- One tub Cool Whip
- 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
- Can of Cream of Coconut
- Mix Cool Whip, cream cheese and coconut together with electric mixer until mixed. Dip the fruit!
We’d love to hear some of your favorite, easy recipes!