Home / Food Bites & Articles / Janet's Notebook

Easy Dinners for the New Year

Easy Dinners for the New Year

The holiday cooking and baking season is behind us. I need a breather in the kitchen, so easy dinners for the new year are on my menu. If you’re in the same boat as me and need some dinner ideas, make sure to take a look at these recipes.

Meatloaf is something I can prep in no time. Annalisa Keene’s (Fairborn, OH) Hearty Meatloaf is a delicious one.

“Including my late hubby, we usually had several strapping lads at our table who loved to eat (seriously, they were like locusts, and I had the grocery bills to prove it),” shares Annalisa. “It’s a large loaf and occasionally we even had leftovers!”

Annalisa’s recipe is indeed hearty. I like that you can customize the sausage you use. If you like things hot, go for spicy. A mild breakfast sausage was my choice and I enjoyed it.

What makes this special is the glaze. It’s not too sweet and has a wonderful kick of spice. Serve with a veggie and mashed potatoes (pick up a pre-made package at the grocery store) and you have a wonderful meatloaf dinner.

“A delicious and easy bake,” is how Maddy Heleine (Sharon, PA) describes her Comforting Cheesy Kielbasa And Potato Bake.

This kielbasa bake is a stick-to-your-bones meal that packs a punch of savory flavor.

Sausage adds a touch of smokiness, while the potatoes are nice and tender. The combination of seasonings (like paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder) pairs well with the meat and potatoes. And, you can’t go wrong when you top everything with melty cheddar cheese.

Another recipe full of cheese is Kathy Williams’ Taco Mac & Beef With Nacho Topping.

“Instead of just topping the casserole with cheese, I broke taco shells into pieces and made a nacho topping,” reveals Kathy.

I love what Kathy did with the taco shells. It’s everything you love about tacos, but you don’t have to worry about ingredients falling out of the crispy shells.

You probably have all the ingredients for this dinner casserole in your kitchen right now.

It’s a crunchy cheesy pasta mixed with a zesty cheesy taco meat mixture. Then it’s topped with more cheese and crushed taco shells. Add your favorite nacho toppings and watch your family dig in.

No matter how much experience you have in the kitchen, you can make Cindi Bauer’s (Marshfield, WI) 8 Cans Taco Soup. It’s a basic dump-and-go recipe.

“This is a quick ‘n easy soup to put together,” explains Cindi. “My husband and I especially enjoyed this soup the next day, as the seasonings seem to meld together in the soup a bit more.”

Taco and ranch seasonings add all the flavor to this simple soup. There’s plenty of meat for it to be hearty. The combination of beans is perfect and corn gives the soup just a touch of sweetness.

You can serve a bowl with tortilla chips, a sprinkle of cheese, a dollop of sour cream, or avocado chunks.

What I really like about Susanne Heartsill’s (Memphis, TN) Chinese Takeout at Home (Chicken) recipe is that you can substitute the protein and still have delicious results.

Susanne says that she has used pork loin, beef, tenderloin, rotisserie chicken, and tofu. For testing, I used chicken breasts.

The veggies are cooked in layers in this recipe to prevent them from being overcooked. Using a bottle of stir-fry sauce makes this super simple. Steam some white rice for serving to mimic a takeout order.

If you want easy dinners for the new year because you’re over cooking, or you just want simple meal ideas handy, check out these Blue Ribbon recipes. They’re flavorful, hearty, and, most importantly, easy to make. Happy Pinching!