5 Easy Dinner Dishes For Those Busy Nights

August 30, 2020

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Our girls start school tomorrow, and whether you’re home-schooling, the kids are actually in school, or a little of each, schedules will be tight and meal times can be stressful. So here are 5 dishes – mains, sides, and even a great dessert – cooked in foil packets or a dutch oven. They’re all delicious, can be assembled in advance and cook while you help your kids with homework (or, maybe catch up on your show, because you deserve some time, too).

Recipes in this post:

Shrimp & Sausage JambalayaSeafood Bake
Potatoes with Bacon & KaleTender, BBQ Ribs
Lemon Berry Cobbler

Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya
A simple take on one of my favorite Southern classics. Lots of flavor, and it eats like a whole meal – no sides needed.

Seared Pork, Roasted Vegetables & Basil Dressing

Seafood Bake (with Avocado Butter Sauce)
One of the messier dishes, but also delicious with loads of vegetables. Sub out the crab for more shrimp, or go shellfish-free by doing all sausage. This is a recipe from my keto days, so this one is also low-carb and keto-friendly.

Arugula & Prosciutto Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Potatoes with Bacon & Kale
One of the most crowd-please sides. The heaviness of the bacon is balanced with the kale (or should I say the grass-flavor of the kale is toned down by the bacon) and this dish can sit alongside just about anything else you have planned.

Potatoes, bacon & kale foil packet dinner

Tender, BBQ Ribs
We still have some time left in grilling season, but this is a great one to have in your toolbox year-round. The ribs are so tender, with a lot of flavor. Also, it uses my barbecue sauce which, if you haven’t tried yet, you should. It’s a winner.

Lemon Berry Cobbler
This is such a good dessert and can be cooked all kinds of ways. Foil, dutch oven, cake pan. The fresh berries really lighten up the cake and who doesn’t love a little scoop of ice cream.

Lemon Berry Cobbler


Of course these are all recipes I’ve shared long ago, and it’s interesting to see how our diets have changed over the years as we’ve learned more about Jules’ health conditions. But just because we can no longer enjoy a few of these doesn’t mean you can’t! So give them a try and let me know what you thing.

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What do you think?

  1. May I be bold and ask for a Chris Cooks tab on the website? I love the recipes and his demeanor as he shares his recipes on video. He’s very natural, confident, and calming. It encourages me to enjoy the process of meal prep as much as he does :)

  2. Kylie says:

    Help! Currently putting together the Jambalaya – how long and at what temp would you recommend cooking in the oven? Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!! Can’t wait to try the others.

  3. Kristin says:

    I made the potatoes last night after I saw your post–delicious! I used swiss chard instead of kale because it’s what I had at home and it worked great. Thanks!

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