Cooking from Scratch Made Easy

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This Cooking From Scratch post is sponsored by Pillsbury and My Blog Spark but all opinions expressed are mine alone.

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My kids have more activities to keep them busy than I can keep up with.  Every day after school we tackle homework and whatever extracurricular activity is scheduled for that evening.  Occasionally that means my husband and I are taking different kids in different directions and don’t get to eat dinner til 7 PM.  I like that my kids are active but I refuse to eat takeout and/or delivery on nights that we are busy.  You might think that cooking from scratch is impossible on busy nights but I have learned a few ways to make cooking dinner for my family a little bit quicker.  Cooking from scratch is much healthier and cheaper than hitting the drive through and you get to control the ingredients you put into your meal.  Sometimes, cooking from scratch requires a bit of advanced planning, though, to make it work for a busy night.  Here are a few ideas on how you can make cooking from scratch a little bit easier:

Cooking From Scratch Made Easy

cooking from scratch

1.  Homemade soups are much healthier than the canned variety and are an incredibly easy, one pot meal.  Skip the canned stock, too, by making up a batch of homemade stock and freezing it back on the weekends.  Just add leftover bones from your latest roast, a few chunks of veggies like onion and carrots, and some herbs and seasonings.  After a few hours of simmering you will be left with a low sodium, flavorful stock that you can freeze back in plastic containers or zip to lock bags for the next batch of soup you want to cook from scratch on a busy night.

2.  Making a casserole? Try making TWO!  If you invest in a couple of extra glass pans with fitted plastic lids it is easy to make up one extra casserole or pan of lasagna on a Saturday afternoon.  Freeze one back for a night when you just don’t have time to cook.

3.  Do the dicing and chopping ahead of time:  If you dice up several onions, bell peppers, celery stalks, carrots, etc you will have a lot less work to do the next time you pull out your favorite recipe.  Use a hand held chopped to really get things going quickly and then store the leftovers in the freezer so you can cook from scratch without getting out your cutting board again.

4.  Throw an extra chicken breast on the grill on the weekend.  I love having leftover chicken in my fridge because it is so incredibly versatile!  If you have the grill on anyhow, throw one or two boneless chicken breasts on.  Use them on top of homemade pizza, in a stirfry, or as a top your own salad addition.  All of those meals are much quicker when you don’t have to worry about cooking the meat first!

5.  Realize that semi homemade is still okay:  Some things can be made quickly from scratch and others cannot.  I learned long ago that ALMOST homemade is still better than fast food and takeout.  I do not roll out my own homemade pie crusts when I make a quiche and I do not make my own pizza dough when I make homemade pizza.  I COULD…but I rarely have that kind of time during the week.  Thankfully, you can buy some great premade pizza crusts at the grocery store, including the Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain.


Making homemade pizza is a great way to use local and seasonal ingredients in your dinner.  It is also very easy to make up your toppings ahead of time to help make dinner preparation quicker.  With previously diced peppers and onions along with some leftover grilled chicken, I have a balanced meal for my family that is filling and quick to make.  If you want a few ideas on how YOU can prepare homemade pizza for your family check out the Farmer’s Market Pizza Ideas from Pillsbury.   Also make sure to get the online coupon for $1.50 off one package of Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust.

The GiveawayArtisanFreshIgredients_PrizePack

Want to try the new Artisan Pizza Crust and make your own Farmer’s Market Pizza?  My Blog Spark would like to give one of my readers a prize package that includes:

  • A VIP coupon for one FREE Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain
  • 15.5″ Farberware Pizza Pan
  • Food Chopper with Storage Containers
  • Silicon-grip Oven Mitt
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Disclaimer:  In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials.”: I received product samples  in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. Some of the links in this post may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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  1. For a quick dinner, we love to throw hamburgers or hotdogs on the grill! Samantha D dull2000 at cox dot net
  2. Michele Brosius says
    My favorite quick go to dinner is quesadillas. I always have tortillas on hand and can fill them with any veggie or meat or both from the freezer.
  3. some spaghetti:)
  4. My go-to meal for a quick dinner is hot-dogs. Or if it is just me, several bowls of cereal.
  5. my favorite quick dinner meal is quesadillas
  6. Amber Faith says
    Anything Hamburger Helper. Yeah, it's unhealthy...but when I'm strapped for time, it does the job.
  7. Sandy VanHoey says
    tacos is my favorite quick meal
  8. Spaghetti
  9. rod jackson says
    pepperoni and mushroom
  10. rod jackson says
    homemade pizza, pepperoni and mushroom
  11. Ann Fantom says
    Spaghetti is my favorite quick meal
  12. breakfast for dinner!
  13. Audrey Griffis says
    we love to grill so easy foods liek hot doge or chicken on the grill add a few veggies and yum
  14. Sarah Hall says
    I just throw together a salad with some veggies and cold it.
  15. Scrambled eggs!
  16. Nicole Newby says
    unsloppy joes! quick, easy, and delicious.
  17. Rachel Pride says
    my favorite quick dinner meal is pizza
  18. Salads are my go-to quick and healthy meals
  19. wendy rozema says
  20. Elizabeth J says
    A big salad is a quick and healthy dinner.
  21. Virginia Rowell says
    My favorite quick dinner meal is my creamy chicken noodle.
  22. Mary Beth Elderton says
    Our favorite quick dinner is "something with pasta"--the "something" is whatever I have on hand :)
  23. Sue Ellison says
  24. my favorite quick dinner meal is a turkey sandwich with a side of green beans!
  25. My quick dinner meal is mac & cheese.
  26. danielle lima says
    a frozen pizza
  27. Penny Snyder says
    Sloppy Joes!!~
  28. grilled cheese!
  29. beans and hotdogs
  30. Ttrockwood says
    I make a big salad with a veggie burger patty ontop
  31. Spaghetti
  32. I make grilled cheese sandwiches.
  33. Katherine Donovan says
    My quick meal is spaghetti & garlic bread.
  34. Katie Roch says
    My favorite quick dinner is grilled cheese with tomato soup
  35. Tari Lawson says
    My favorite quick dinner meal is gnocchi with crab.
  36. kelly nicholson says
    mac and cheese..sometimes pizza
  37. Rebecca Graham says
    spaghetti is quick and easy.
  38. Peggy Greco says
    I like to cook hamburgers or a frozen pizza.
  39. Janna Johnson says
    frozen pizza Thanks! Janna JOhnson [email protected] Janna johnson on GFC
  40. My favorite quick dinner meal is spaghetti or tacos. My family loves both of them.
  41. Chrystal D says
    Mine is pasta!
    Pasta and ragu...easy peasy.
  43. Darlene Jones-Nelson says
    Spaghetti or Chicken Salad
  44. Baked macaroni and cheese is my favorite quick and easy meal.
  45. Mary Calabrese says
    Spaghetti is my go to meal.
  46. franks is my fastest and easiest meal
  47. A quick made sandwich, such as a ham or a banana sandwich
  48. Jamie Brigham says
    I love hamburger helper and shells N cheese.
  49. Pancakes
  50. Monique Rizzo says
    Tacos. Thanks for the chance. [email protected]
  51. Meaghan F. says
    My quick meal is angel hair pasta with tomatoes.
  52. We like soup and a sandwich.
  53. Spaghetti and meatballs!
  54. My favorite quick go to dinner is quesadillas
  55. steve weber says
    spaghetti every time.
  56. Macaroni and cheese
  57. Allison Downes says
    Pizza and Salad thanks for the great giveaway!
  58. Chicken and mashed potatoes
  59. spaghetti
  60. Amanda Rauch says
    Usually for something quick I have make your own pizza night or baked ravioli. Both are really good and super simple and quick
  61. lalaine hagler says
  62. Jacob LaFountaine says
    Bean burritos
  63. My favorite quick dinner meal is grilled chicken on a salad.
  64. Kelsey Black says
    I love homemade pizza.
  65. Wanda McHenry says
    Hamburger Helper
  66. Stephanie Larison says
    Ham and cheese sandwiches
  67. Spaghetti or ordering pizza.
  68. Soup and sandwiches
  69. I like pasta, especially Raviolis.
  70. Storm, the Psychotic Housewife says
    My quick go-to meal is tacos.
  71. Turkey burgers is our favorite fast meal.
  72. Maria Iemma says
    I always have spaghetti sauce in the freezer so all I need to do is defrost in the microwave and boil pasta.
  73. Linda Lansford says
  74. Lorena Keech says
    Breakfast, either biscuits and gravy or waffles.
  75. Elle Thomas says
    Scrambled Eggs!
  76. Georgia Beckman says
    If we need something QUICK, it's sandwiches & chips. But that is also expensive. Quick & cheap? Scrambled eggs, every time.
  77. Cody Anderson says
    Chicken stir-fry
  78. Tracie Trump says
    soup and sandwiches, [email protected]
  79. Western Omelet!
  80. tempeh tacos!
  81. Thank you for the chance. Tacos are one of my quick, easy meals!
  82. my favorite quick dinner is tacos!
  83. hot dogs
  84. Desiree Dunbar says
    Pasta w/ Marinara sauce.
  85. Ashley Morrow says
    Hamburgers on the grill and a salad.
  86. sloppy joes
  87. Our quick meal is Chicken Caesar Salads.
  88. Erin Collins says
  89. Spaghetti with jarred sauce
  90. Paula Michele Hafner says
    Spinach Alfredo. I found a recipe for a quick sauce that's so good :)
  91. takisha a. says
    my favorite quick dinner meal is tacos.
  92. Lisa Garner says
    I love making easy Enchiladas.
  93. Frito Pie and cornbread.
  94. Brittney House says
    grilled cheese
  95. Valerie Taylor Mabrey says
    burgers on the george foreman vmkids3 at msn dot com
  96. I like a quick cheese and black bean quesadilla when in a pinch.
  97. tina page says
    i make homemade falafel and it is so quick as long as you don't forget to soak the beans. eat with some pita and fresh tzatziki. :)
  98. Lesley F says
    Spaghetti and meatballs!
  99. Debra Hall says
    hotdogs and french fries
  100. kathy pease says
    I love shepards pie for a quick meal
  101. Kari Flores says
    My favorite quick meal for dinner is BLTs.
  102. Rebecca Peters says
    I like to make grilled cheese .. my kids love it
  103. mary enshaw says
    In a hurry we do take out! OR I will get a rotissere chicken
  104. Spaghetti is my favorite quick meal!
  105. Tacos
  106. Daniel M says
    probably bacon eggs home fries toast
  107. Nicole C. says
    My favorite quick meal is spaghetti.
  108. Toasted tuna sandwiches.
  109. Coriander Warren says
    our family's favorite quick meal is hot dogs and baked beans.
  110. Veggie pasta with veggies from the garden!
  111. It's always tacos.
  112. Brenda Elsner says
    quick meal for us is usually frozen pizza
  113. Ed Nemmers says
    I heart Chicken Caesar Salad!
  114. Julie Murphy says
  115. Christine says
    Spaghetti is my favorit
  116. My favorite is mac and cheese.
  117. For quick it's BLTs
  118. Tacos is my favorite
  119. richelle bowers says
    sloppy joes
  120. pizza and tacos are our favorite quick meals.
  121. broiled tilapia
  122. Hot dogs and fries!
  123. Grilled Cheese is quick and the kids love it
  124. Jillian B says
    pancakes and applesauce! Or as my daughter would say "pannycakes and happy-sauce" :-)
  125. Jen Harriman says
    My kids favorite quick dinner is macaroni with a can of tomato soup poured over it and grilled cheese sandwiches
  126. shanta spradlin says
  127. Nancy Bobbert says
    I like spaghetti for a quick simple meal.
  128. Laurie Emerson says
    Spaghetti and meatballs.
  129. Beverly Metcalf says
    For a quick meal, I would probably make a pizza, or spaghetti. Thanks for this contest!
  130. Samii Meyer says
    I can whip up a pretty quick homemade soup - takes about 20 minutes! :)
  131. Jaque R. says
    My children's favorite is pizza, mine is probably soup and salad. :-) Thank you.
  132. Carolyn Daley says
    Chicken & fries that we can just throw in the oven or chicken with instant mash potatoes.
  133. Carolyn Daley says
    As far as cooking from scratch, we like to make mini pizzas with cheese and pepperoni.
  134. Jane Squires says
    My favorite quick meal is roast, potatoes, and carrots in crock pot cooking while I'm at church - it's done when I get home. My husband is diabetic so would love to wn this
  135. A baked potato.
  136. Spaghetti and meatballs is our go to easy meal
  137. Derek Timm says
    Hamburger Helper!
  138. Ronda Patrick says
    Macaroni and Cheese or the Lipton Noodle Packets!
  139. cassandra says
    I would say spaghetti! or some sort of salad with chicken.
  140. My favorite to make is tacos.
  141. krystal wethington says
    mac & cheese
  142. Spaghetti is always a quick meal. Thanks.
  143. Stephani Taylor says
    Pizza is our goto quick meal!
  144. Mac and Cheese
  145. Melanie Montgomery says
    I like porkchops
  146. Seyma Shabbir says
    Basil Pesto pasta
  147. susan smoaks says
    my favorite quick dinner meal is spaghetti, it's so quick and easy to make!
  148. Gina Ferrell says
    My favorite quick dinner meal is hot dogs.
  149. chelesa sims says
    tuna with macroni and cheese
  150. For me, it's tacos!
  151. taco casserole and only one dish too
  152. Spaghetti and sauce is my favorite quick meal.
  153. Buddy Garrett says
    Spaghetti and Meatballs is my favorite.
  154. Pasta! So quick and easy.
  155. Connie black says
    Grilled chicken
  156. mary gardner says
    fried rice with whatever leftover meat or vegetables we have
  157. amy deeter says
    grilled cheese sandwiches
  158. Robert Pyszk says
    Sloppy Joes
  159. Lynne T. says
    I have a few: Bacon & Eggs, Hamburger Helper, Pasta with a no cook sauce.
  160. Ann Council says
    Scrambled eggs and toast.
  161. sheila ressel says
  162. Lori Walker says
    stir fry
  163. Chicken Alfredo. just chop some chicken and veggies cook them real quick and make some pasta. mix all in and heat up alfredo sauce and thats it!
  164. pasta is always an easy meal
  165. Kelly Britton says
    Beanie Weenies!
  166. Some breakfast item like cereal or frozen pancakes can be a quick meal for me or just a protein shake.
  167. pepperoni rolls using Pillsbury crescent rolls
  168. would love to make this! looks delicious
  169. pizza and salad
  170. Omelets or quesadillas.
  171. James Coyne says
    I like tacos
  172. frozen pizza
  173. Grilled cheese sandwiches or sloppy joes
  174. shirley zolenski says
    Mine is spaghetti
  175. Split-pea soup and a cheese sandwich.
  176. heather c says
    Eggs and bacon. Yum.
  177. Samantha says
    We love pasta as a quick meal!
  178. crescent dogs with cheese
  179. Tim Anderson says
    Toss up hot dogs or sloppy joe's
  180. spaghetti Thanks for the contest.
  181. virginia says
    Howdy! Corn meal chicken- chicken tender dipped in egg then covered with corn meal with salt and paprika. Then I throw it in a wok with hot oil and RED onion ( red onions rock cause their sweeter the brown) Viola! sprinkle more paprika as you serve them
  182. Vikki Billings says
    Mine is Goulash
  183. my favorite quick meal is pigs in blankets.
  184. English muffing pizza with our own individual toppings. Thank you for the opportunity to win.
  185. Barbara Long says
    My favorite quick meal is black bean tacos. [email protected]

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