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5 Fast Dinners to Keep You Out of the Drive-thru and In Control

First, let me start by saying that I'm writing this post as much as a reminder for myself , as well as giving you a helping hand.

Summer is bearing down upon us, as I was reminded last night at our first baseball practice of the season. Don't get me wrong. I love summer. Summer is the season for farmers markets, growing gardens, late nights at ball games and walking 4H pigs in the yard. But, summer is also the season for farmers markets, growing gardens, late nights at ball games and walking 4H pigs in the yard. All of these exciting parts of summer also present challenges, particularly in the kitchen when it comes to having meals. Three meals a day. Every day. For three months. For 4 people. It gets to be overwhelming and leaves me searching for the Easy Button.

Drive thru lines at local fast food places seem to be that easy option. However, the last ill-fated trip we made through one of these took 20 minutes to get to where we could eat, left a $45 hole in the family budget and was honestly a terrible meal. Nothing about that experience felt good for any of us. Except Liddy. She got fries and any day when she has fries she's a happy girl. So it got me thinking. What meals do I have in my arsenal that are 1. Inexpensive, 2. Satisfying and 3. Fast? So I created my Fast 5 List.

Try some of these easy recipes to make life a little easier on you and your wallet:

  1. Burgers and Fries - Try one of our packages of pre-made burger patties. You can cook them from frozen in about 15 minutes. Cook up a package of frozen fries or tots, or even pop open a bag of chips and a veggie tray and you've got a much cheaper and better version of your favorite drive-thru dinner. We have Beef Burgers and Bacon-Pork Burgers available along with some of our new Signature Burger flavors. Our Grill Seasoning is a total winner on any of these burgers before cooking and is a DEFINITE must at our house to season our fries and tots. Check out our favorite fry sauce, as well, so you don't feel cheated by eating at home.

  2. Instant Pot Pizza Pasta is a quick and hearty dinner with all the work done in the Instant Pot. I like it because it uses lots of pantry staples. While it's cooking, toss together an Italian salad or make some garlic bread as a side. Our Italian Seasoning blend works well in this if you prefer to not use jarred pasta sauce. Try our Italian Sausage or ground beef as the meat in this dish.

  3. Sheet Pan Nachos is another favorite. Line the baking sheet with foil and you don't even really have much for clean up! You can use ground beef seasoned with our Taco Seasoning or we've enjoyed this with Chorizo sausage, which saves even more time since it's already seasoned. Cook up several pounds of ground beef and freeze them in sizes for your family so you can just have it thawed and ready to roll.

  4. Pulled Pork Sandwiches are easy to make in the crock pot or slow cooked in the oven. All you need is a Boston Butt, a package of our Pork Rub, some buns and your favorite BBQ sauce. Directions for this easy dish are on the Pork Rub package. Add an easy slaw, a can of baked beans and some chips for a super easy and filling dinner.

  5. Taco Rice Skillet is another one-pan winner. We like the versatility of this dish and how you can tweak it for your family's tastes and based on what you have in the pantry and freezer. Top it with lettuce, tortilla chips or Fritos and you have a complete meal! We're working on making this into a spice blend kit to make it even easier for you! This is another dish where ground beef, chicken, pork or even Chorizo are all really great options for your protein choice.

There they are - my Fast 5! I will keep this list handy as well as we head into the not-so-lazy days of summer and hope some of them make it to your table as well! I included shopping links to help you stock up on these handy pantry staples.

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