Dinner in 15 Minutes: Beef Fajita Bowl and tips to make cooking faster and easier

Dinner in 15 Minutes: Beef Fajita Bowl and tips to make cooking faster and easier

One thing I hear time and time again from a lot of busy moms is that they don't have time to cook. They have jobs and children and spouses and homes to maintain and obligations and it just gets to be too much. The last thing they want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen. 

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Put Chuck to Work, Getting all the Bang for Your Ground Beef

Put Chuck to Work, Getting all the Bang for Your Ground Beef

Let's face it meat is expensive. Remember when you could get ground beef for $.99 a pound? Yeah, neither do I. What's a good price for ground beef? Who knows anymore?

Personally I could go months without meat, but my husband I think would wander into the woods to find a wild animal to kill with his bare hands after about three days.

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Bunless Cheddar Burger

Cheese! Glorious Cheese! Remember those commercials? I posted a clip from YouTube at the bottom of this post so you can live it again and again. 

Side note: The video description says the commercial came out in 1987. Wow. Now I feel old! 

Anyhoo- Since we've gone off bread and sugar and anything that makes life worth living, I decided to make burgers. Bunless burgers. Waah, waah waaaaahhh!

Actually, they were really good. It's not the bun that makes the burger folks. Just wrap that bad boy up in some lettuce and move on. It's really good. 

I mixed some fresh herbs and garlic and of course cheese and bam! It was a dang good burger if I say so myself. 

What you'll need:

1lb LEAN ground beef

1 egg

2 cloves mince garlic

1 tbsp onion powder

5 basil leaves

3 tbsp grated or shredded parmesan cheese

A few slices of SUPER SHARP cheddar

Your fixins' we topped our with a beautiful locally grown tomato and some Marie's Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing purchased on the cheap at Publix. 

Fire up your grill and let's get to business of making burgers. 

Combine your first six ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands. 

Place on your grill. I used our George Foreman Grill with removable plates. I love George. 

Once your burgers have reached their (well your) desired cooking temperature place your cheese slices across like an x and let melt a  little. 

Top with all your favorites and wrap in lettuce. 


Look! Burgers even excite those with no teeth to eat them!



Meatball Sliders with Pineapple Sauce

Do you get tired of the same old, same old? Yeah, me too.

I feel like I am making the same thing week after week. So I decided to take a week and make either old favorites or new favorites.

A couple nights ago I wanted to make a sweet and sour meatball. But I didn't have sweet and sour sauce, or anything I needed to make it.

So I decided to experiment, throw things in a pot and come up with something. And it was delicious.

It was spicy and savory and sweet all at the same time.

What you'll need:


1/2 pound lean ground beef

1 cup bread crumbs

one egg

1 tbsp peanut sauce

Pineapple Sauce:

1 can pineapple, drained

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

King Hawaiian buns

Preheat your oven to 350.


In a bowl combine your ground beef, egg, bread crumbs and peanut sauce. Mix with your hands.


Meatballs after baking. But you get the idea about the size, right? Roll into small meatballs. About the size of a quarter or smaller.

Place in oven and bake 20 to 30 minutes.

Warm up a skillet on low.


Drain your pineapple and throw in the blender.


Once blended throw in the blender. Mix in your brown sugar and vinegar.

Let simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes.


Once your meatballs are done place your buns on a cookie sheet to toast.


Then spread with your pineapple mix. Place meatballs on bun and viola!

Stretching Ingredients Part II: Beefy(ish) Cheesy Cornbread

Yesterday we talked about stretching our ingredients out to make a package of ground beef last and last.

One of my husband's favorite meals is cheesy cornbread with some sort of meat in it. The problem is it's usually very unhealthy. So I cut way back on the meat, used far less oil and only used half the cheese. And guess what? He didn't know the difference. (Note, he probably did know the difference, he is just nicer than I am.)

Also, like yesterday you can make 2 and freeze them.

What you'll need:

1/3 pound ground beef

2 cups self rising corn meal mix

2 eggs

1 tbsp vinegar

3 tbs conolia oil

1 cup milk - maybe more

1 -16 oz can of tomatoes or 2 stewed tomatoes diced

1/2 onion

1/2 cup cheese

I used a cast iron Dutch oven. It's the best way to make cornbread, if you don't have one then you will need to grease a pan and preheat your oven to 350. I am assuming you don't have a Dutch oven, so I am going to give you instructions based on that assumption.

Heat a skillet over a medium heat and brown your beef. Then add your onion and tomatoes. Let it all cook for a few minutes, you want well cooked onions.


Next, in a bowl combine your cornmeal, milk, eggs, vinegar and oil. Mix well. You made need more milk to thin out the mix, it should be the consistency of pancake batter.

Add your beef mixture and stir well. Add in your cheese and miz.

Transfer all of the contents to your grease pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

My husband likes to top this with salsa and sour cream. But, it's good on its own. If you feel guilty about all the carbs, serve with a salad. Or, don't feel guilty. ;)

For freezing, make sure the pan is tightly covered in aluminum foil. When ready to thaw let sit in fridge over night and bake for 45 minutes at 350.


Stretching ingredients: Mushroom baked ziti

I love pasta. And mushrooms. And cheese. Why not put them all together!?


What you'll need:

1/3 Pound Ground Beef 

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes, or 2 stewed and chopped tomatoes 

half jar tomato sauce 

4 cloves garlic

4 cups cooked penne pasta (I used a mix of regular and whole wheat)

1 cup shredded cheese  

1/2 onion

Olive oil or cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 350 and get a greased pan ready. 


In a skillet heat your garlic and your onions. 

Once your onions have cooked for a few minutes add your ground beef, brown.  Then add your mushrooms. 

Once all that has cooked down a bit add your sauce and tomatoes. You won't want to overcook your tomatoes since you will bake all of this in the oven. 


Dump your noodles in your greased pan and add your beef mixture. Stir it all together so that the sauce coats the noodles. Sprinkle with cheese. 

You will bake for about 10 -15 minutes. Just enough to make the cheese melt. 

If you are freezing skip the baking part and just sprinkle with cheese, cover and let cool. Then freeze. 

When you are ready to cook let it thaw for a few hours and bake for 30 minutes at 350.