Cheryle Finley: Cooking family meals can be quick, satisfying | Lifestyles

My daughter Sarah, son-in-law Chris and grandson Atlas are completely remodeling their home, so they have lived with us since January.

As a good hostess, I have tried to make sure dinner is ready most evenings. This would not be a concern if everyone liked the same food. Thankfully, I have hit upon a few crowd pleasers.

As someone raised on meat and potatoes for every meal, I’m not sure how Sarah came to her preferences. She would be happy if meat was never on the menu, but since the rest of us don’t share those sentiments, she will eat chicken and ground beef occasionally.

The chicken has to be boneless, skinless breast meat, free of any fat and specks of any kind for her, while thigh meat is just fine for the rest of us. Ground beef is usually lightly seasoned and fried.

On days when I work, I use one of my 17 slow cookers. Chicken cooked with barbecue sauce is shredded then spread on a pizza crust with a little extra sauce and some grated cheese before it’s baked.

Cream of chicken soup and chicken broth cook chicken, then cut-up biscuits are added to the hot liquid makes easy chicken and dumplings.

Salad is popular at our house, and for years I bought the packaged shredded lettuce and was perfectly happy. Then I started making the Dorito taco salad and realized romaine is superior, except for tacos.

Season your hamburger with taco seasoning, crunch up some nacho cheese Doritos, add lettuce, tomato and shredded cheese followed by Catalina dressing for a taco salad sure to please. Now a big bowl of chopped romaine is available for any salad needs.

For quick last-minute meals, hamburger patties skillet cooked in a jar of brown gravy and served with Bob Evans mashed potatoes is a go-to. Green beans heated with a little beef bouillon and onion powder, and carrots warmed then drained and tossed with butter and brown sugar, are favorite veggies. Farmers market sliced ​​tomatoes are welcome at each meal.

We all go our separate ways most mornings, so breakfast for dinner is fixed on days I don’t work. Hash brown casserole works well with its eggs, sausage, bacon and French toast, and is best baked in the oven. Adding French onion dip along with the sour cream called for in the casserole takes it up a notch. You will be surprised what it adds to the potatoes.

Cookies are a favorite snack and cake mix cookies are my go-to most days. I found a triple chocolate cake mix and stirred in 1/2 cup vegetable oil, two eggs and a cup of chocolate chips. Soft and chocolate, they don’t last long.

There are other easy dinners I depend on to try to make sure we have dinner together. It’s a plus if everyone is happy with the offering and leaves the table smiling. I’m going to miss Sarah and her family when their home is ready.

Today’s first recipe, from, is popular at our house, served with a salad and rice. Good as is, you can amp it up with some garlic powder and a little ginger. It’s so easy and quick.

There is talk on the internet about how to improve a can of cinnamon rolls. Some said simply topping the rolls with heavy cream before baking will make them fluffy, but I went a step further and added a topping with great results. They were really yummy and perfect for breakfast-as-dinner. No one will believe they are from a can. This recipe is from

Have a great week and happy eating.

Teriyaki chicken

2 pound chicken, cut into chunks

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Sear chicken in a skillet; flip. Add soy sauce and brown sugar. Stirring, bring to a boil.

Stir until sauce thickens and glazes chicken. Serve with rice if desired. Yields 4 servings.

Cinnamon Rolls

1 can cinnamon rolls

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla; stir to combine.

Place rolls in sprayed baking dish and pour heavy cream over rolls. Pour butter mixture evenly over rolls. Bake according to roll package directions.

Cool slightly and ice with package icing. Yields 4 servings.

Cheryle Finley is a food columnist for The Joplin Globe. Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, PO Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.


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