I dedicate this carnival to all of the moms out there who have ever had one of those days (you all know what I mean), and have been sorely tempted to pull out that box of KD rather than attempt to rack your tired brain to come up with a simple, fast, convenient, yet still healthy meal to make for dinner!

The basic idea behind this carnival was to find a way to pull together the resources and ideas of many different women, so that each of us could compile our own short list of 5-10 healthy, homemade meals that we can prepare in a snap (30 minutes or less, with no previous prep time). For more on the thoughts behind the carnival, you can read my Baby Steps post from last week, where I first introduced it.

As promised, here are some of my own favorite, simple meals:

Sausage Stir-fry
Time: 10 min. chopping, then 20 minutes cooking.
Not only is this a tasty and fast meal to whip up, it’s also good for those who are unable to eat grains (though it does have starch). Add a bit of butter, coconut oil or olive oil to a large pan or wok, cook diced onions for a few minutes (garlic is a good addition, too), then add diced potatoes and cook until potatoes are nearly tender. Add chopped peppers, mushrooms (if using) and some sort of dinner sausage (remember- no nitrates is preferable!). I like to season mine with Spike (a natural seasoning salt), but even salt and pepper will do.

Pasta with Cheesy Sauce and Veggies du Jour
Time: Approx. 20-25 minutes.
While the water for pasta is boiling (we use rice pasta, btw, because it is easier to digest), I start a simple white sauce (melt butter, add flour, then add milk and whisk until smooth). To this I add whatever veggies I have on hand (asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, peas, etc.), and about a cup of grated cheese, some powdered mustard (or dijon mustard), garlic, salt, pepper, any other seasonings that sound good (I also like adding Nutritional Yeast- it adds more cheesy flavor). If I have extra chicken in the fridge, I might toss that in as well or just quickly cook up one breast, but I often leave it meatless. This can also work on top of leftover rice, as I discovered last week!

Vegetable Omelet
Time: 15 minutes.
The simplest of the simple, and so good for you, too! My favorite omelet additions are peppers and mushrooms (have you noticed those are two of my favorite vegetables?), but you can also add onion, green onion, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, etc. Sometimes I stick with plain old cheese, a bit of milk, salt and pepper. Other times I make it a bit fancier. If I happen to have salsa or guacamole in the fridge, I like it Mexican style (did you know fresh salsa goes well with omelets? Seriously, try it!). Greek style is good too, with some olives, a bit of feta cheese, parsley or dill. Or Italian with sun dried tomatoes and basil and mozza? Mmmm…

Tortilla Pizzas
Time: 10-15 minutes prep, 5-8 minutes in oven.
Fairly self-explanatory. Basically, I use tortillas (we like sprouted corn tortillas, but anything will work) as the pizza crust (you can also use pitas or English muffins). They require very little baking time- just enough to warm them and melt the cheese really. I usually use a bit of ground meat, chicken breast, sandwich meat (again, nitrite free) or sausage if we have any, plus whatever vegetables or hebrs I have that are suitable for pizza. For sauce, I just warm up a can of tomato paste in a small saucepan, and add a bit of garlic, honey, salt, pepper, and Italian spices (water it down a just a little for easy spreading). These are definitely a favorite around here!

Salmon Melts with Veggies and Dip
Time: 10 minutes (Salmon melt prep), then 10 minutes (preparing veggies while melts cook)
Soooo fast and easy. For our small family, usually one good sized can of salmon works, mixed well with a couple tablespoons of mayo (or even sour cream or yogurt in a pinch) and some Spike. You can also add diced onions or celery, if you like. Spread this onto slices of bread or buns, top with either grated or sliced cheese, and bake in the oven (I use a toaster oven) for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, I chop up some veggies (carrots, radishes, peppers, etc.) and make a simple dip using yogurt as the base.

Hearty Meal Salad
Time: About 25 minutes.
Use any variety of lettuce or salad greens, and just start adding good salad veggies you have (I love purple cabbage, peppers, carrots, cilantro or parsley, radish, cucumber, tomato, etc.). Hard boil a couple of eggs to chop up and add on top (start boiling the eggs first, as they take the longest). Add a can of salmon or tuna, and/or grated or cubed cheese (or feta), or any leftover meat like chicken or turkey. I often make a simple garlic bread to go with it– mix some butter with either fresh or powdered garlic, spread it on bread and put in toaster oven (or regular oven).

Here are a couple of simple recipe links that I like as well:

Pasta with Creme Freshe and Salmon

Make your own Veggie Sandwich

Now it’s your turn! Please, share with us your favorite quick and simple (but still healthy and homemade) meal ideas and recipes! These can range from simple suggestions, to full recipes– any contribution is welcome (and it doesn’t have to be in the same format as mine)! If you don’t have a blog, please share your contributions in the comments section!

Just add your name, and if you like you can add a short description of what your post is about. Then link directly to the specific post (please don’t like to your homepage, just so that people can immediately find the post they are looking for). Make sure that you link back to this carnival at Keeper of the Home! Thanks for joining in!

Find more great kitchen tips at Tammy’s Recipes!

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