What could be more comforting to come home to than moist and tender homemade meat loaf? "This one retains its shape in the slow cooker and slices beautifully," reports Marna Heitz from Farley, Iowa. "Because potatoes and carrots cook along with it, the entire dinner is ready at the same time."
My family loves meat loaf—and this one in particular. I created the recipe after trying and adjusting many other recipes over the years. Cheddar cheese tucked inside and a flavorful bacon topping dress it up just right for Sunday dinner! —Sue Call, Beech Grove, Indiana
When it comes to convenience, Darlene Brenden has dinner in the bag. The Salem, Oregon cook measures dry noodles and a mixture of spices into separate plastic bags, then stores them in a paper bag with canned stewed tomatoes. This "pantry kit" gives her family a head start on a hearty meal. "Since I work late occasionally," she says, "they just have to brown ground beef, and soon dinner is simmering."
Shepherd's Pie takes a testy twist with this version. Between the fluffy mashed potato topping and the savory ground beef base is a bed of tender, green asparagus. Even my kids ask for big helpings.
—Steve Rowland, Fredericksburg, Virginia
I love burritos, but the frozen ones are so high in salt and chemicals. So I created these. They're great to have on hand for quick dinners or late-night snacks—I've even had them for breakfast! —Laura Winemiller, Delta, Pennsylvania
“We love to cook and experiment with new dishes,” writes Brenda Joyner of Pateros, Washington. “We found this recipe online but were missing a few of the ingredients, so we improvised. We like the results.”
Convenient prebaked crust makes this tasty taco pizza as easy as can be. It's a great recipe, especially if you have teenagers. I keep the ingredients on hand so that we can whip up this filling meal anytime. —Mary Cass, Baltimore, Maryland
We've always liked stuffed peppers, but everyone is pleasantly surprised at this mildly spicy version. For convenience, you can assemble these pretty peppers ahead of time and bake them later.
—LaDonna Reed of Ponca City, Oklahoma
Flavored with Italian sausage and dotted with tender meatballs, the savory from-scratch sauce made this dish one of my mom's most-requested. We five kids were always thrilled to hear it was on the menu.
-Grace Yaskovic, Branchville, New Jersey
This layered Southwestern meal just can't be beat. It gets its spicy flavor from green chilies, chili powder and cumin. Using a slow cooker liner inside of the cooker makes it easier to lift and remove the meal so it can be cut into individual wedges.—Judy Ragsdale, Queen City, Texas