On busy days, it's a comfort to know that my family can sit down to dinner minutes after we walk in the door. Double it to wow at a potluck. This recipe works in a slow cooker, too. —Virginia Krites, Cridersville, Ohio
Cranberry sauce and brown sugar create a tangy glaze for moist meatballs that are good as an appetizer or as a main dish over rice. "We love them so much, I prepare them year-round," says Joyce Bentley of Redlands, California.
Louise Graybiel, of Toronto, Ontario writes of her Beefy Shells and Cheese, “Boxed macaroni and cheese, store-bought salsa and canned beans make this kid-pleaser a snap to fix!” For a bonus, Louise likes to add shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese to the dish for extra-cheesy fun!
"For a change from sandwiches, we like burritos-something many people don't consider in a brown-bag lunch," says Rhonda Cliett of Barton, Texas. "They're good cold or easy to heat if a microwave's available."
When we go camping, we put frozen steaks in the marinade in a sealed plastic container at the bottom of our cooler. By the second night, they’re thawed, tender and ready to cook. —Louise Graybiel, Toronto, Ontario
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."
The recipe for this creamy, chili-like dish was passed down through our church years ago. It's so warm and filling that we often prepare it when we take skiing trips to Colorado. It can be served over corn chips and eaten with a fork...or kept warm in a slow cooker and served as a hearty dip at parties.
-Laurie Withers, Wildomar, California