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8 Recipes That Transform Grocery Staples Into Epic Meals

These dishes are as easy as they are delicious.

. Working Mother

Halfway Homemade: Meals in a Jiffy by Parrish Ritchie. Photo: Parrish Ritchie

At the end of a long day, [cooking dinner for your family can be a real chore for working moms. Thankfully, there are plenty of pre-made products that can help make the process a little bit easier. Halfway Homemade: Meals in a Jiffy by Parrish Ritchie includes 100 recipes that use store-bought ingredients to make quick and tasty meals that your whole family can enjoy.

Here are some of Ritchie's recipes that are sure to be memorable dinners:

Some cooks plan recipes, research them, test them over and over again until they achieve perfection. Then there are cooks like me who think, “This looks good, this looks good, ohhh this is yummy,” and put it all together in a pan, top it with cheese, and bake. That is how most of my recipes are born.

Chicken is good. Alfredo sauce is good. Cheese ravioli is good.

All together they make an amazing, creamy, cheesy, delicious meal. It takes mere minutes to assemble and a few more minutes in the oven, so it’s a busy family’s dream dinner.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, diced
  • Garlic salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 pound frozen cheese ravioli
  • 2 jars Alfredo sauce (about 14 ounces each)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: - Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Brown the diced chicken in a skillet and sprinkle it with pepper and garlic salt. Sauté the chicken until it is cooked all the way through, then set it aside.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ravioli according to the package instructions and drain.
- Mix the ravioli, chicken, Alfredo sauce, and mozzarella together.
- Place the mixture in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until the top is slightly browned.
- Serve with salad or garlic bread.

Tip: If your family doesn’t revolt at the sight of green in a dish, add peas or spinach for a pop of color and flavor.

If you brown the chicken in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, you can bake the whole dish in the same skillet and save yourself some cleanup.

. Working Mother

Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Recipe from Halfway Homemade: Meals in a Jiffy by Parrish Ritchie. Photo: Parrish Ritchie

Yes, I have another mixed-up recipe. This one takes delicious enchilada filling and stuffs it into pasta shells before covering them in enchilada sauce and cheese. I created this recipe because my mom loves enchiladas but isn’t the biggest fan of tortillas. Best of all, it is super simple and a great way to switch up the same old boring dinner. Moms, friends, kids—everyone loves it!

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 box large pasta shells
  • 1 pound hamburger
  • One 1-ounce packet taco seasoning
  • One 15-ounce can refried beans
  • 8 ounces shredded Colby-Jack cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • 2 cans enchilada sauce
  • Scallions, chopped, for garnish

Directions: - Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain the cooked pasta and let it cool.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the hamburger, draining off excess grease. Season with taco seasoning. Add the refried beans and half of each type of cheese.
- Spread a little enchilada sauce across the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch dish.
- Spoon the meat filling into the cooled shells and place them in the baking dish.
- Cover the shells with the remaining enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes until bubbly.
- Top with chopped scallions and serve.

This dish freezes beautifully!

. Working Mother

Meatball Sub Bubble Up Bake

Recipe from Halfway Homemade: Meals in a Jiffy by Parrish Ritchie. Photo: Parrish Ritchie

By this time I feel we have gotten to know each other a litter better, right? You probably know that two of my favorite supermarket shortcuts are frozen meatballs and canned biscuits. So you knew that I would inevitably put them together. This super-fast recipe uses just four ingredients and one pan. It is amazing, it is hearty, it is comforting, it is what’s for dinner tonight.

Serves 4 to 6 - One 8-count can large biscuits
- 1 ¾ cups spaghetti sauce
- 2 cups frozen meatballs
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: - Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or 12-inch cast-iron skillet.
- Cut each uncooked biscuit into 8 pieces. Mix the cut biscuits with the sauce and place the mixture in the baking dish. - Place the meatballs on top of the biscuits and sprinkle with the cheese. - Bake, covered with foil, for about 35 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes.

For extra flavor, add in some frozen peppers and onions.

. Working Mother

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Recipe from Halfway Homemade: Meals in a Jiffy by Parrish Ritchie. Photo: Parrish Ritchie

I love quesadillas. They are so warm and inviting and nonjudgmental. Think about it: quesadillas are super accepting and get along with any ingredient. Open your fridge and almost anything you find you can put inside. Quesadillas are one of my go-to dinners because, instead of making five different dinners for all my picky eaters, I can just make five different quesadillas. While my son likes his with just cheese and my sister likes hers with cheese and chicken, I love to make these chicken fajita quesadillas for the rest of us. Taco-seasoned chicken, sautéed onions and peppers, Colby-Jack and Pepper Jack all get down and dirty and melty in between two tortillas.

Serves 4

  • 1 ½ cups frozen onion and pepper mix
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • One 1-ounce packet taco seasoning
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
  • Sour cream, for serving

Directions: - Sauté the veggies with butter in a large skillet until they are caramelized.
- Meanwhile, cut the chicken into small slices and sprinkle with the taco seasoning.
- Remove the veggies from the skillet and add in the chicken, cooking on medium heat until it is cooked through. Add the veggies to the chicken.
- Place a clean, medium skillet on medium-high heat and spray it with cooking spray.
- Place a tortilla down in the pan. Sprinkle ¼ of the Pepper Jack on the tortilla. Place some of the chicken/veggie mixture on top of that. Sprinkle ¼ of the Colby on top of that. Top the whole thing with another tortilla and give the top of the tortilla a spray with the cooking spray. - Check the bottom of the quesadilla and flip when it is browned. Remove the quesadilla from the pan when the second side is browned.
- Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- Let the quesadillas cool slightly and then cut each one into four wedges with a pizza cutter. Serve with sour cream.

Tip: Make sure you put cheese on the bottom of your quesadilla and on top of the ingredients before putting the top tortilla on to make sure everything sticks together.

. Working Mother

Pork Egg Roll Bowl

Recipe from Halfway Homemade: Meals in a Jiffy by Parrish Ritchie. Photo: Parrish Ritchie

Being Southern, I of course have an affinity for all things fried—fried chicken, fried pickles, fried fish, fried shrimp, fried hushpuppies, fried steak, fried turkey—and when we order Chinese takeout, I always make sure to double up on the egg rolls. After all, they’re the best part of takeout, right? I usually eat them a few hours later when I’m hungry again. I wanted to re-create takeout pork egg rolls at home, but, ugh, frying—no thanks! I hate frying food. I stink, my house stinks, I get grease-splatter burns, my kitchen becomes one big grease slick—you can practically skate on the floor. I avoid it whenever I can. So, I figured out how to get all that yummy egg roll flavor without the frying by making these pork egg roll bowls.

Serves 4
- 2 cups uncooked white rice
- 4 cups water
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 scallions, chopped
- 1 bag shredded coleslaw mix
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- Black pepper
- Crispy wonton strips, chopped scallions, and sweet and sour duck sauce, for serving (optional)

Directions: - Add the rice and the water to a pot and bring it to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low for 16 minutes.
- Brown the pork with the garlic and scallions in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add in the coleslaw mix, soy, and brown sugar. Season with pepper. Cook until the cabbage is cooked down and almost caramelized.
- Serve the pork over the rice and top with crispy wontons, scallions, and duck sauce if desired.

Crispy wonton strips and a drizzle of duck sauce bring this dish together.

. Working Mother

One-Pot Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

Recipe from Halfway Homemade: Meals in a Jiffy by Parrish Ritchie. Photo: Parrish Ritchie

One-pot dinners are a lifesaver; they cook up quick, and, if you’re like me and hate doing the dishes, you’ll love only having one pot to wash out. You need this pot of warm, comforting, cheesy, bacony, ranchy goodness in your life right now.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound bacon, chopped
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons ranch dressing (plus more for topping if desired)
  • 8 ounces short pasta
  • 1 cup plus ¼ cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese

Directions: - Brown the bacon in a large pot. Remove the bacon from the pot and drain on paper towels. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the grease from the pot.
- Add the diced chicken to the pot and season it with salt and pepper. Begin browning the chicken and add in one clove of garlic. The chicken does not have to cook all the way through here.
- Add 2 cups chicken stock, ½ cup milk, 4 tablespoons ranch dressing, and the pasta. Stir this mixture and bring it to a boil.Turn the heat to low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1 cup shredded cheese. Top with the bacon and ¼ cup additional cheese.

Tip: Add hot sauce for a buffalo wing spin!

. Working Mother

Meat Loaf Grilled Cheese

Recipe from Halfway Homemade: Meals in a Jiffy by Parrish Ritchie. Photo: Parrish Ritchie

If you do not take your leftover meat loaf and make grilled cheese out of it the next day, we can’t be friends. It is seriously the most delicious way to eat leftovers. American cheese melts into the meat loaf, resulting in little meat-loafy bites of cheesy heaven. I honestly make extra meat loaf just to ensure we have enough for these sandwiches. These are the best things ever. Make these. Do it. Well, make meat loaf first and then do it.

Now, this is my recipe for meat loaf. Meat loaf recipes are like fingerprints—everyone has their own unique one, so feel free to use your own recipe for the meat loaf portion of this.

Serves 4

For the meat loaf
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ small onion, grated
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
- 1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
- 1 green pepper, sliced

For the sandwiches
- 4 thick slices cold leftover meat loaf
- 8 slices bread
- Softened butter for spreading
- 8 slices American cheese

Directions: Make the meat loaf: - Preheat your oven to 400ºF.Mix all the meat loaf ingredients except for the ½ cup BBQ sauce and the green pepper.
- Shape the mixture into one large loaf or 4 smaller loaves and place on the sheet pan. Top with ½ cup BBQ sauce and green pepper slices.
- Bake for 40 minutes for mini loaves or 1 hour for a large loaf. - Now on to the sandwiches: Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter.Place a slice of cheese on the unbuttered sides. - Top with a slice of meat loaf and another slice of bread (butter-side out).
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place the sandwiches in the skillet and brown one side.Carefully flip the sandwiches over and brown the other side. - Slice diagonally and serve.

Though ketchup is the traditional topping, try BBQ sauce. It takes your meat loaf and these sandwiches to the next level.

. Working Mother

Baked Cajun Tilapia Sandwiches

Recipe from Halfway Homemade: Meals in a Jiffy by Parrish Ritchie. Photo: Parrish Ritchie

In my family we only eat fish one way, and that is dredged in cornmeal and fried. Then we serve it with coleslaw and stewed potatoes. When I met my Louisiana-raised husband I was introduced to Cajun seasoning and now I add it to the cornmeal to make a flavorful coating. For this sandwich, I decided to bake the fish—it sounds a whole lot healthier, right? And guess what? The fish comes out of the oven unbelievably crispy. Top it with some coleslaw and this will be the only way you will want to eat your fish!

Serves 4

  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 4 tilapia filets
  • 4 sub buns
  • 1 cup coleslaw
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Directions: - Preheat your oven to 425ºF. - Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil.
- Mix the cornmeal and Cajun seasoning.
- Fill a shallow bowl with water. Dip the fish in the water and then into the seasoning and place it on the baking sheet.
- Spray the tops of the fish with spray oil.
- Bake the fish for 15 minutes or until it’s crispy.
- Mix the coleslaw and Old Bay.
- Place the fish filets in the subs, top with ¼ cup coleslaw, and serve.

You can certainly fry the fish if you like; we use this same recipe for our fish fry.

Written by Joseph Barberio for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to