Quick & Easy Recipes From The Montgomery County Extension System

26 FAST RECIPES FOR BUSY FAMILIES: complied for WSFA-12 "Today in Alabama" by Shannon Andress, Montgomery Co. Extension Agent/Alabama Cooperative Extension System (www.aces.edu)

Shannon T. Andress
County Extension Agent
Montgomery County Extension Office
125 Washington Avenue, Courthouse Annex II
Montgomery AL 36104-4247
Desk: (334) 265-0233
Fax: (334) 265-5364

C'mon - aren't you tired of 'Hamburger Helper" and frozen store-bought casseroles? Those are great in a pinch, but even in these busy times, it IS still possible to serve your family a delicious hot, homemade meal! Pair most of these entrees with a tossed salad, and the meal is on
your table in about 30 minutes. Use of some of the new pre-cooked beef products in these recipes to cut your cooking time by 10-15 minutes (ground beef, sirloin strips, beef tips are all available in the meat section of most supermarkets)! Pre-packaged green salads come in a variety of mixes, and are actually pretty economical if you are going to buy all the ingredients for your salad separately anyway.

Special thanks to Debbie Vandiver at the Alabama Cattlemen's Association (www.bamabeef.org), Brian Hardin at the ALFA Alabama Pork Producers' Association (www.alfafarmers.org) and Southern Living (www.southernliving.com) for some of these recipes. Other sources include
The ACES Auburn Cookbook, available from your local county Extension Office.

Beef & Broccoli Slaw Wraps
Better Baked Fish Parmesan
Cajun Chicken Strips
Cajun Chicken Succotash
Calypso Chicken
Caramelized Garlic Chicken
Cheesy Chicken & Pasta Bake
Chicken & Dumplings
Chicken-Corn Tetrazzini
Chili-Beef Express
Chuckwagon Beef & Pasta Skillet
Fajita Macaroni & Cheese
Fiesta Chicken Taco Cups
Florentine Beef Skillet Dinner
Golden Fish Fillets
Greek Isles Pizza
Grilled Red, White & Beef Salad
Ground Beef Stroganoff
Lemon-Broccoli Chicken
Minute Minestrone
Oriental Beef Skillet
Pan-Fried Pork Chops
Provolone Chicken
Red Beans & Rice Skillet
Spanish Rice & Ham
Sweet & Sour Chicken


*BEEF & BROCCOLI SLAW WRAPS (This 20-minute supper is bursting with Asian

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 c. packaged broccoli (OR cabbage) slaw mix
1/4 c. hoisin sauce (OR 6 Tbsp. lite soy sauce)
4 burrito-size (10-in.) flour tortillas, warmed
Additional hoisin or soy sauce (optional)

Brown beef and onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is crumbly and no longer pink. Drain and season with salt and pepper. Stir in slaw mix and hoisin or soy sauce; heat thoroughly. Spread of the meat mixture (about 1 c.) evenly over each
tortilla, leaving 1 1/2-in. border on all sides. Fold right and left edges of tortilla over filling; fold bottom edge up over filling, then roll up in jelly-roll fashion. Place seam-side down on places, cut in
half if desired. Serve with additional sauce. Yields 4 servings.

*BETTER BAKED FISH PARMESAN (Use real Parmesan cheese for an easy dish
everyone will love!)

4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 c. Cajun or Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. firm-textured fish fillets, about in. thick

Preheat oven to 450 F. Mix butter, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl; place fish in a single layer on a cookie sheet or in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with the crumb mixture and bake 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serves 4.

*CAJUN CHICKEN STRIPS (A quick and spicy way to prepare chicken -
serve with wild rice, French bread and salad. Hint: raw meats slice more
easily if you allow them to partially freeze first!)

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts - sliced into inch strips
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
6 c. cooked wild rice

In a large plastic bag, combine the first six ingredients. Add the chicken strips, half at a time, and shake to coat. In a large skillet, cook chicken in butter for 8-10 minutes or until the juices run
clear. Serve over hot cooked wild rice.

*CAJUN CHICKEN SUCCOTASH (serve with fluffy white rice, crusty bread and
green salad.)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 (8 1/2-oz.) can lima beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10-oz.) package frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
1 14 1/2-oz.) can diced tomatoes with garlic & onion, drained
1 (10-oz.) package frozen sliced okra, thawed
2 peeled garlic cloves, pressed
2-3 heaping teaspoons Cajun seasoning
4 (12 x 18-in.) sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil
4-6 c. cooked white rice

Preheat oven to 450 F. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Place 1/4 of the chicken mixture in the center of each foil sheet. Bring up 2 sides of each foil sheet, and double-fold with about 1-in. wide folds. Double-fold each end to form a packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside each
packet. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-22 minutes. Open foil packets CAREFULLY, allowing steam to escape. Yields 4 servings.


1 large oven bag
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 (15-oz.) can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
1 (8-oz.) package black bean-rice mix
1 (10 1/2-oz.) can condensed chicken broth
1/2 c. water
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
4 bone-in chicken breasts, skinned

Preheat oven to 350. Place oven bag in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Add flour; twist end of oven bag, and shake. Add pineapple and next 4 ingredients to oven bag; squeeze bag to blend ingredients. Arrange chicken in an even layer over rice mixture. Close oven bag with nylon tie; cut 6 (1/2-in.) slits in top of bag. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes. Serves 4.

*CARMELIZED GARLIC CHICKEN (A simple, low-fat recipe that's so flavorful
and made with only 4 ingredients! Remember, olive oil scorches easily. Also, for the best flavor DON'T scorch the garlic!)

2 tsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp. brown sugar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 500 F. Line a cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan with foil; spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Heat olive oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Add garlic; cook 1-2 minutes or just until garlic begins to soften. Remove softened garlic
from heat; stir in brown sugar until well-mixed. Place chicken breast halves in strayed foil-lined pan; spread garlic mixture evenly over meat. Bake 10-15 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender and juices run clear. Yields 4 servings.


1 c. (4-oz.) Italian blend shredded cheese, divided
2 c. cooked rotini pasta
2 c. coarsely chopped cooked chicken
1/2 c. diced celery
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Garnish: celery leaves

Stir together cup cheese and next 6 ingredients; spoon into a lightly greased 11 x 7 -in. baking dish. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese; bake 5 more minutes. Garnish, if desired. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

*CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS (One whole roasted chicken - which can be
purchased at most local grocery stores nowadays -- OR six boneless,
skinless cooked chicken breast halves yields about 3 cups chopped
meat. Also, you might want to use drained canned chicken in a pinch.)

4 c. water
3 c. chopped, cooked chicken
1 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp. pepper
1 (7.5-oz.) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

Bring the first five ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring often. Separate biscuits in half, forming 2 rounds; cut each round in half. Drop biscuit dough, 1 at a time, into the boiling mixture; stir gently. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*CHICKEN-CORN TETRAZZINI (Prepare two of these easy casseroles and place
one in the freezer for an emergency!)

1 small onion, chopped
1 (14 3/4-oz.) can cream-style corn
1 (11-oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
8 oz. medium egg noodles, cooked
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 c. milk
2 c. chopped cooked chicken
3/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup (1-oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese

Sautee onion in a large nonstick skillet coated with vegetable cooking spray. Remove from heat. Stir in cream-style corn and next 6 ingredients until blended; pour mixture into a lightly greased 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 20
minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated. Serves 4 to 6.

*CHILI-BEEF EXPRESS (Fast to the table with no fussing from the cook,
this chili recipe requires almost NO preparation time - the perfect supper
for hectic weeknights.)

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can (15 1/2-oz.) chili beans in chili sauce, undrained
1 can (14 1/2-oz.) chili-style chunky tomatoes, undrained
1 c. frozen corn kernels
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro (OR 1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes)
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a large non-stick skillet, brown beef over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is crumbly and no longer pink. Drain and season with salt and pepper. Stir in beans, tomatoes and corn; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Sprinkle with
cilantro before serving; top with shredded Monterey Jack cheese if desired.

*CHUCKWAGON BEEF & PASTA SKILLET (This one-skillet dish, featuring
wagon-wheel pasta and hickory-flavored BBQ sauce, will be a hit with the
kids. Use your favorite BBQ sauce for a different taste sensation.)

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 can (13 3/4-oz. to 14 1/2-oz.) beef broth
1 1/2 c. uncooked wagon-wheel (OR rotini) pasta
1 c. prepared hickory-flavored BBQ sauce
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. (2 oz.) finely shredded Cheddar or Colby-Jack cheese

Brown beef, bell pepper and onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is crumbly and no longer pink. Drain. Stir in broth, pasts, BBQ sauce and water; bring to a
boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until pasta is almost tender. Uncover skillet and continue cooking 5-7 minutes or until pasta is tender and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese before serving. Yields four 1 1/2 c. servings.


1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
16 oz. elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1/2 c. sliced green onions, divided
1 (1.4-oz.) envelope fajita seasoning mix
2 (15.5-oz.) jars salsa con queso
1/2 (4.5-oz.) package taco shells, crushed

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, stirring until it crumbles; drain. Stir in macaroni, 1/4 c. green onions, seasoning mix, and salsa con queso; pour into a lightly greased 13 x 9-in. baking
dish. Sprinkle with crushed taco shells. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup green onions. Makes 8 servings.


1 (16.3-oz.) package soft taco dinner
1 medium-size red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves, diced
1/2 c. water
2 Tbsp. lime juice
Condiments: shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped tomato

Remove tortillas, taco sauce, hot sauce, and taco seasoning mix from dinner kit. Press or fold tortillas to fit into muffin cups coated with vegetable cooking spray, forming bowls; coat bowls with cooking spray. Bake at 375 F for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Sautee chopped bell pepper and onion in hot oil in a large skillet 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, taco sauce, hot sauce, taco seasoning mix, c. water, and lime juice; cook over medium heat 10 minutes. Spoon evenly into tortilla cups, and top with desired condiments. Serve immediately. Serves 4-5.


1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 (14 1/4 oz.) can diced Italian-seasoned tomatoes with basil, garlic, and
oregano - undrained
1 (13 1/2 oz.) can whole leaf spinach, drained
1 c. elbow macaroni, cooked
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. (2 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese

Brown beef and onion in a large nonstick skillet, stirring until meat crumbles. Drain and return mixture to skillet. Stir in tomatoes and next 4 ingredients; cook until heated. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 to 6

*GOLDEN FISH FILLETS (The potato flakes form a wonderful, crispy golden
crust around the fish while the mustard adds the perfect flavor.)

1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. instant mashed potato flakes
1 lbs. thin white fish fillets (flounder or sole)
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Lightly beat egg, mustard, and salt in shallow dish. Place potato flakes in another shallow dish. If fillets are large, cut in for easier handling. Heat the oil in a large skillet until hot; dip fish fillets in
egg mixture and then coat in potato flakes. Fry 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and flakes easily with a fork. Serves 4.

*GRILLED RED, WHITE & BEEF SALAD (Although this recipe can be prepared in
30 minutes or so, the meat does need to be marinated about 6 hours or
overnight before cooking.)

1 1/2 lb. beef top round steak (OR 2 chuck shoulder steaks) cut to
1-in. thickness
1 c. prepared salsa
8 c. chopped iceberg lettuce (OR pre-packaged iceberg lettuce mix)
1 can (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
1/3 c. prepared Ranch-style salad dressing
1/3 c. prepared salsa
1 c. broken tortilla chips

Place beef steaks and 1 c. salsa in food-safe plastic bag; turn to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Remove steak from bag; discard marinade. Place steak on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill top round steak uncovered 16-18 minutes for medium-rare doneness (chuck shoulder steaks 16-20 minutes), turning occasionally. Remove; let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine lettuce,
beans and corn in shallow serving bowl and toss. Carve steaks into thin slices; arrange on top of salad. Drizzle dressing and 1/3 c. salsa separately over beef. Sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips if
desired. Serves 6.

*GROUND BEEF STROGANOFF (Many recipes that rely on canned soup taste like,
well, canned soup. This easy recipe is of the exceptions! Serve hot over
wide egg noodles with salad and crusty bread.)

1 lb. ground beef
2 Tbsp. dried minced onion
1 cube beef bullion
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. catsup
1 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet or Gravy Master
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 oz. can chopped or sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 c. sour cream
6 c. cooked "wide" egg noodles

In a large skillet, brown beef; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients, except sour cream and noodles, and heat to boiling. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Serve over noodles. Yields 4 servings.

*GREEK ISLES PIZZA (This is an excellent vegetarian option. You may
substitute 1 medium-size red or green bell pepper cut into rings for

1/2 medium eggplant (OR 1 large bell pepper, cut into rings)
1 tsp. salt
1 (12-in.) pizza crust
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 plum tomatoes, sliced
1/4 lb. kalamata olives, pitted & halved (OR c. pitted ripe olives,
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (OR 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 c. (8 oz.) pizza blend shredded cheese
Garnish: fresh oregano sprigs

Peel eggplant, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt, and press gently between paper towels; set side. Brush pizza crust with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Arrange tomato slices over crust. Sprinkle with eggplant, olive halves, and next 4 ingredients. Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. Garnish, if desired. Serves 4 to 6.

*LEMON-BROCCOLI CHICKEN (Another one of the few "canned soup" recipes
that doesn't taste like canned soup. Serve with the sauce spooned over
egg noodles.)

1 Tbsp. oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 can cream of broccoli soup
1/4 c. milk
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 thin lemon slices
6 c. cooked "wide" egg noodles, buttered

Heat oil in a skillet. Sautee chicken breasts about 10 minutes, until browned on both sides. Pour off fat. Combine soup, milk, lemon juice and pepper; pour over chicken. Top each chicken with a thin lemon slice. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 5-10 minutes until chicken is tender, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot cooked wide egg noodles.


1 (15.8-ounce) can great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 (14 1/2-oz.) cans diced Italian tomatoes with basil, garlic, and
oregano, undrained
2 (11.5-oz.) cans vegetable juice
2 c. water
1 (10-oz.) package frozen mixed vegetables
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 c. uncooked quick-cooking brown rice
1/2 c. pesto sauce

Bring first 6 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven. Stir in rice; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in pesto. Makes 3 quarts.

*ORIENTAL BEEF SKILLET (A fast one-dish meal using ground beef, ramen
noodles and frozen veggies to speed preparation. Although the recipe has
noodles, you may still wish to serve with or over a side dish of instant
fluffy white rice.)

2 packages instant ramen noodles (Oriental flavor)
2 c. boiling water
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 bunch scallions, rinsed and sliced
16 oz. frozen Oriental vegetables
1 Tbsp. soy sauce

Break the noodles into a medium bowl. Sprinkle with just one of the seasoning packets. Cover with 2 c. boiling water, stir and allow to sit while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a large skillet or wok, brown ground beef until done; drain. Add scallions and sprinkle with the contents of the remaining seasoning packet. Cook an additional 1 minute. Add the noodles and water in which they were soaking, frozen veggies, and soy sauce. Cover and bring to simmer; cook until vegetables are tender (about 5-7 minutes). Serves 4-6.

*PAN-FRIED PORK CHOPS (Serve with instant mashed potatoes or rice, frozen
store-bought biscuits and salad)

1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs. wafer-thin pork chops, boned
1/4 c. oil

Combine first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish; dredge pork chops in flour mixture. Over medium-high heat, get oil ready and fry chops in 3 batches about 1 minute on each side or until browned. Drain on paper towels. Serves 6.

*PROVOLONE CHICKEN (The simplicity of this dish belies its flavor. While
baking, your kitchen will smell like a pizza parlor! Add a side dish of
cooked pasta, crusty bread and a salad - Olive Garden, look out!)

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, flattened
1/4 c. flavored bread crumbs
2 tsp. dried Italian herbs
4 slices Provolone cheese
1 tsp. butter
4 c. cooked spaghetti or vermicelli noodles, buttered

Preheat oven to 425 F. Place bread crumbs in a flat dish and firmly press both sides of the chicken into the crumbs. Place coated chicken pieces in a greased 9 x 13-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, and top with cheese. Dot with butter and bake 20 minutes or until done. Serve with buttered pasta. Yields 4 servings.


1/2 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 (13 3/4- oz.) can chicken broth
1 (15 1/2- oz.) can kidney beans, drained
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
2 c. uncooked quick-cooking rice

Cook first 4 ingredients in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until sausage browns. Add broth and next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Stir in rice. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

*SPANISH RICE & HAM (You can have this one-pot meal ready and on the
table in only 15 minutes!)

2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. green pepper, chopped
2 c. cubed cooked ham
1 can chopped or diced Mexican-style tomatoes - undrained
1 c. tomato juice
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/4 c. water
1 c. instant rice

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sautee green pepper until crisp-tender. Stir in ham, un-drained canned tomatoes, tomato juice, peas and water; bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in instant rice. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes or until rice is
tender. Serves 4.

*SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN (Extra bell peppers can be chopped and placed in the
freezer for a quick sautee or vegetable soup.)

1 large oven bag
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves, cut in cubes
1 (8-oz.) can pineapple chunks, undrained
1 large red bell pepper, cut into pieces
1 small onion, quartered
1 (9-oz.) jar sweet-and-sour sauce
1 cup uncooked instant cooking rice
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350. Place oven bag in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Add flour to oven bag; twist end of bag, and shake. Add cubed chicken and next 6 ingredients to oven bag; squeeze bag to blend ingredients. Arrange ingredients in an even layer. Close oven bag with nylon tie; cut 6
(1/2-in.) slits in top of bag. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes. Serves 4.