Need Few Ingredient Meal Ideas

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-01-2008
Need Few Ingredient Meal Ideas
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 8:52pm

Hi, ladies. I briefly mentioned this in another post, but am officially soliciting ideas. For 1 weekend a month, DH has to go to Drill for Army Reserves, and our 6 month old DD and I go with him. We're almost 4 hours from home, but it's the town we used to live in and a lot of our family is still there. We stay at his grandma's house and find ourselves eating out far too frequently (it used to be every meal from Friday dinner to Sunday dinner!). The last few times we've gone to the grocery store and picked up a few items to make meals at the house. They offer for us to eat their food, but we already feel like we impose (is that the word I'm looking for?) on them being that we're there every month and all. So I'm trying to figure out some cheap meals we can have while there but we will be buying all the ingredients (except like spices and butter and such, we don't have a problem using those!) so they need to be meals that don't require much to make. We have full use to the kitchen so that's not an issue. We just prefer it to be quick and easy and inexpenive. Here's what we've been eating:

Hamburgers and Potato Chips
Hot Dogs and Macaroni and Cheese
Frozen Pizza

Thanks in advance for any ideas you might have!



Avatar for monkeesmom
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 9:19pm

Homemade macaroni and cheese

What you need:

Elbow macaroni



Onions or onion powder


Bay leaf

Salt and pepper

Shredded chedder or jack cheese or a combination (and my friend swears by adding velveeta for creaminess)

Make a standard white sauce, add cheese...combine with cooked elbow macaroni. Put in a casserole dish, additional shredded cheese on top. Bake in a 350F oven until bubbling and cheese on top is slightly browned. YUM-O

Cuban black beans and rice

What you need:

1 can on black beans

olive oil

chopped green or red pepper, chopped onion, minced garlic

bay leaf

cumin powder


salt & pepper to taste

white rice

Saute onion, pepper and garlic in olive oil until softened and fragrant. Add beans, a tablespoon of cumin powder, a bay leaf, salt & pepper to taste, a splash of vinegar. Bring to a boil, lower to simmer and cook for at least 15 minutes - adding water as needed to make some broth. Serve over cooked white rice.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2005
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 10:00pm

I love this crockpot recipe:

1 lb pork tenderloin (I buy the super cheap butt roast for about $4 at WM)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup thick salsa like Pace (I buy store brand)

put ingredients together in crockpot and cook on low for 8 hrs.



iVillage Member
Registered: 12-20-2006
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 10:15pm

I make baked ziti:

1 jar spagetti sauce\
7 oz or so of ricotta
2 cups mozerella
2-3 cups uncooked ziti or penne noodles

Boil the noodles until almost al dente. Drain the noodles and mix in the ricotta and 1/2 the mozzerella. Pour 1/2 the pasta sauce in the bottom of an 8X8 or 9X9 baking pan. then layer on the noodle/cheese mix, then the rest of the sauce. Finally top with remaining mozerella and bake at 350-375 for about 40 minutes (until edges are bubbly).

You could also make tacos or soup from a mix (Beark Creek makes great mixes)

Buy a rotisserie chicken precooked from the grocery store and just heat sides (like baked beans)


I'll try to think of more. GL!


mom to Maggie and Andrew

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-01-2007
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 11:54pm

Here is a super easy, inexpensive recipe for homemade macaroni & cheese.

2 c dry macaroni

1 can Cheddar Cheese soup

1/2 soup can of Milk

1/2 c sour cream

Salt & Pepper

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Cook the macaroni, drain. In the same pan, add the can of Cheddar Cheese soup with

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2007
Wed, 01-07-2009 - 12:20am

I have a recipe book called "The Four Ingredient Cookbook" where every recipe has 4 ingredients. I love it! Once I get the meat I usually have a lot of the other ingredients already at home. If there's a bookstore around (especially a discount one) I highly recommend this cookbook.

Some easy things I like to do: (sorry my recipes are very casual, that's how I cook)

Pour a jar of salsa over some chicken and bake it. Towards the end of baking, sprinkle with cheese and finish baking. Serve over rice.

Chicken foil wraps
box of stuffing mix
can of cream of chicken soup
can of cream of mushroom soup
bag of frozen peas
4 chicken breasts (or a bunch of tenders) fresh

add the water to the stuffing mix and set aside
mix the soups with a little milk (just thin it a bit)
put each breast in the middle of a square piece of foil
cover with some stuffing
top that with some peas
pour some soup over it
bring up the sides of the foil
put them on cookie sheets
bake at 400 for 30-45 min or until the chicken is done

This may seem like more than a few ingredients but it's soooo easy and makes a lot:

King Ranch Chicken
2 cans chicken breast white meat (the other option is to cook 1lb. of bnls sknls breasts and chop up. I think the cans are just so much easier)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cans Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilies)
Corn Tortillas
Shredded Cheese

Mix the chicken,soups and rotel
Layer the mix with the tortillas in a 13 x 9 cooking dish or large casserole dish
top with cheese
Cook at 375 for about 25 min or until heated thoroughly

My dh just loves it and it's one of my faves to make and eat!

Also, it's always easy to chop up some good veggies (maybe a little meat) and throw them and some cheese in with some eggs and scramble it up. Make some bisquits or put it in tortillas. We do this as a healthier alternative to pancake dinner but when we want breakfast for dinner. If you make bisquits you will usually always have what you need for homemade gravy too. Milk, flour, salt and pepper, oil or grease. Easy and so yummy.

Photobucket Thanks to Andie for my siggy!


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-21-2003
Wed, 01-07-2009 - 7:12am
You could also check 1st with your library to see if they have that cookbook mentioned. That would give you a chance to preview it to see if it is something you would maybe use. I also have it (received long ago as a gift) but haven't used it for awhile. Maybe I need to pull it back out for some new ideas.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-11-2008
Thu, 01-08-2009 - 6:35pm

Can you use their freezer? You could do something like make a big batch of chili and freeze half to have on hand the next time you go.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2004
Thu, 01-08-2009 - 8:47pm

I love this- it's super easy & even the kids love it :)

Goulash: (this does make a bit but is awesome as leftovers and can a be frozen)

2cups elbow mac. cooked acording to pkg (we make it with 3 cups so it goes farther)

1lb ground burger

2tsp chili powder divided ( you can add more or less to your taste)

1tsp onion powder

2 cans tomato sauce

Brown burger with 1tsp chili powder and onion powder.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-2006
Fri, 01-09-2009 - 10:15am

I was going to say the same thing as Laura - make a double batch of a few things that can easily be reheated and take that with. Even if it's just a part of the meal - make some awesome spaghetti sauce with meat &/or veggies and take that, then just make the pasta. A good soup, stew, or chili is easy to reheat. Make a small pan of lasagna and bring it with to be baked.

There's a white chicken chili season packet out there (McCormick's maybe?) that all you do is add chopped chicken and a can of white beans. We usually then add a can of diced tomatoes (with green chilis if you want extra zing) and it's very tasty.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1997
Sat, 01-10-2009 - 10:32am
Tuna casserole is good, chilli, turkey tetrezini, any kind of hearty soup mastacolli and meatballs, stir fry over rice, pancakes or waffles, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, some kind