Desperation Dinners


I found this picture on our computer and I’m pretty sure it’s JLD’s room service.

From time to time, I am swindled into a certain chicken establishment during lunch time.  Especially for the preschool crowd.  And I do think it is delicious (two strip kids meal — perfection).  But fast food for dinner is one thing I avoid.  Possibly because I know if I do it once, every other thing I offer will be viewed though a breaded and fried lens? And I know I can never compete on that varsity playing field.

As much as I enjoy cooking, and more importantly love meal planning, (planning anything – yes!) my batting record is hardly 100. On my very best days, (angels are singing and rainbows are beaming) I have done some/most of my dinner prep while said preschoolers much on lunch. But sometimes I need quick, and I need it now. Here are three things I have turned to that are made with ingredients I almost always have on hand.  Less time than it takes to drive to CFA, wait for your food and get back home.  No rainbows needed.


3-5 cans of beans of your choice, depending on family and appetite size.  I like, pinto, kidney and black beans for this)

1-2 can tomatoes

1 package chili seasoning (if you don’t have this on hand substitute 1 t paprika, 1 t chili powder)

1 package ranch (optional but awesome)

2 T cream cheese (optional – weird but awesome)

side salad if you can swing it

Add everything to pot (not the salad, obv) and heat to boil, simmer about 5 minutes.

Serve topped with cheddar cheese with any kind of bread you have on hand.

If you have any salad greens on hand your family will eat with dressing, double down.

I first saw the idea of using ranch and cream cheese in chili here and love it.

Click below for more ideas

Scrambled Eggs and Fried Potatoes



Spinach or other cookable green sliced into thin strips (optional)

Cheddar cheese (optional)

Salsa (optional)

salt, paprika, parsley or other spices you like on potatoes

1.  Fine Dice your potatoes (if the pieces are too big they won’t cook in time) Heat largest pan you have on medium high heat with a good glug of olive oil.  Scrape potatoes into hot oil and sprinkle with salt, paprika and parsley.  Cover for 5 minutes to hasten the softening process. Leave to cook while you prepare eggs.  After 5 minutes take lid off and stir.  Continue cooking. Stir just often enough to prevent burning.  Browning is good.

2. Turn on high heat to get your pan hot.  While heating, crack about 1.5 eggs per person into a bowl and whisk well. Add about 1/2 T of butter to pan and swirl.  Add eggs and after 10 seconds,  start stirring around with plastic spatula.  If your family will take it, add a few handfuls of spinach, a few pinches of cheese and a scoop of good salsa.  Give a few good stirs to mix ingredients.  Remove from heat when they look not quite done — they will continue to cook.

Plate and serve.

Nachos (great meal when you have a group of kids’ friends over and you’re not sure how picky they are)

Tortilla chips

Shredded cheese

drained black beans (or you can serve heated refried beans on the side)

optional but pile on if you can:




sour cream

1. Spread chips on cookie sheet and cover with cheese and drained black beans.  Turn on broiler and place chips in oven until cheese has melted.

Plate and allow everyone to top as desired.


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