June 5, 2017

Summer days are full of endless fun for kids. Between playing at the park, riding bikes and swimming at the pool, they are always on the go. All of this activity means kids are always hungry and seem to eat all day long.

My kids are involved in lots of summer activities and love to go swimming. By the time evening rolls around the last thing I have the energy to do is cook dinner. I rely on simple, kid-approved meals that are easy to prepare and give me at least 30 minutes to sit down and put up my feet.

 

Creamy Baked Spaghetti

If lasagna sounds like too much work for you, Creamy Baked Spaghetti is the answer. It also heats up beautifully for leftovers when you’re too tired to cook.

 

1 lb spaghetti

1 lb ground beef

1/2 onion, diced

1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce (smooth or chunky)

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sour cream

1 cup cottage cheese

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

salt and pepper, to taste

 

Cook spaghetti to al dente stage according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside. In a large skillet, brown ground beef along with onion until no longer pink. Drain meat and add spaghetti sauce.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese. Add salt and pepper.

Place half of the spaghetti in the bottom of the baking dish. Scoop half of the cream cheese mixture over the spaghetti and spread evenly. Top cream cheese mixture with half of the meat mixture. Repeat the layers and top with cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly around the edges.

 

Notes:

Any shape of pasta can be used.

Diced green pepper or mushroom would be a nice addition.

Mozzarella or Colby Jack cheese would also be good.

 

Ranch Pork Chop and Potatoes

Pork chops and potatoes with a side of sweet corn are always a winner in the summer months. Once you get the pork chops and potatoes in the oven, you have plenty of time to gather up the swimsuits and wet towels and start a load of laundry.

 

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 oz envelope Ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

8 boneless pork chops

2 lbs baby red potatoes

1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped, optional

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.

Drizzle the olive oil over the pork chops and potatoes and toss well.

In a small bowl mix together the ranch seasoning, smoked paprika, oregano, and black pepper. Dip the pork chops and potatoes in seasoning mix to coat on all sides and place on baking sheet (if you don’t have enough room, you may need to use two baking sheets).

Roast pork chops and potatoes for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the pork chops are cooked through and the potatoes are fork tender.

Garnish with chopped parsley, serve immediately.

Note:

If pork chops are thin, they make take only 30 minutes to cook. Remove pork chops and allow potatoes to continue cooking until tender.