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5-Ingredient Recipes to Make December Dinners a Breeze

Between holiday preparations and shoveling the driveway, December doesn't offer a lot of spare time to spend in the kitchen. Take the stress out of suppertime by planning our 5-ingredient recipes throughout the month.

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Day 1: Pork Chops with Honey Garlic Sauce

The sauce on these honey garlic pork chops is so good, I sometimes double it so there's extra for dipping whatever veggie we have on the side. —Michelle Smith, Eldersburg, Maryland
2 / 31
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Day 2: Skillet Mac & Cheese

This super creamy mac 'n' cheese is so simple it seems almost too easy! Kids really go for the rich cheese flavor, but I've never met an adult who didn't love it too. —Ann Bowers, Rockport, Texas
3 / 31
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Day 3: Buffalo Chicken Pockets

Here’s my idea of pub food made easy: biscuits flavored with Buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese. They're my Friday night favorite. —Maria Regakis, Saugus, Massachusetts
4 / 31
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Day 4: Salsa Steak Garlic Toasts

These open-faced steak sandwiches play up the popular combo of steak and garlic bread. The salsa, sour cream and garnish elevate it into quick, satisfying meal. Substitute chopped green onions or chives for the cilantro if desired. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
5 / 31
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Day 5: Savory Pork Roast

I love this herbed roast so much that I make it as often as I can. It's wonderful for special occasions, particularly when served with sweet potatoes and corn muffins. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
6 / 31
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Day 6: Zesty Grilled Ham

If it's ham, my kids will eat it, but they like this kicked-up recipe best of all. Even the small ones eat adult-sized portions, so be sure to make plenty. —Mary Ann Lien, Tyler, Texas
7 / 31
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Day 7: Glazed Roast Chicken

I like to make this for weeknight dinners. You can make this roast chicken with apricot glaze or quince jelly. —Victoria Miller, San Ramon, California
8 / 31

Day 8: Ham and Bean Stew

You only need five ingredients to fix this thick and flavorful stew. It's so easy to make and always a favorite with my family. I top bowls of it with a sprinkling of shredded cheese. —Teresa D'Amato, East Granby, Connecticut
9 / 31

Day 9: Flavorful Pot Roast

On hectic days, this is so quick and easy to prep! Convenient packages of dressing and gravy combine to create a sauce worthy of a fall-apart roast. For a filling meal-in-one, serve with mashed potatoes and ladle the juices over top. —Arlene Butler, Ogden, Utah
10 / 31

Day 10: Sausage Spaghetti Spirals

My family loves this flavorful casserole with hearty chunks of sausage and green pepper. The recipe makes a big pan, so it's nicely sized for a potluck. —Carol Carolton, Wheaton, Illinois
11 / 31
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Day 11: Easy Glazed Salmon

It only takes four ingredients and a few moments of time to make this delightful main dish. —Tara Ernspiker, Falling Waters, West Virginia
12 / 31
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Day 12: Garlic Toast Pizzas

Between working full-time, going to school and raising three children, finding time-saving recipes that my family likes is one of my biggest challenges. These quick pizzas pack a huge amount of flavor. —Amy Grim, Chillicothe, Ohio
13 / 31

Day 13: Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

At my house, honey mustard chicken plus a baked potato plus roasted veggies equals one happy family. Just ask my three active teenage girls and hungry husband. —Jackie Deibert, Klingerstown, Pennsylvania
14 / 31
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Day 14: Cheeseburger 'n' Fries Casserole

Kids love this casserole because it combines two of their favorite fast foods. And I like the fact that I can whip it up with just four ingredients. —Karen Owen, Rising Sun, Indiana
15 / 31
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Day 15: Buffalo Chicken Sliders

I got the idea for these Buffalo chicken sliders from my mom and dad, who'd made a similar version for a family get-together. It's a versatile recipe, and I sometimes use several different styles of Buffalo sauce and let guests mix and match their favorites. —Christina Addison, Blanchester, Ohio
16 / 31
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Day 16: Tomato Hamburger Soup

As a full-time teacher, I only have time to cook from scratch a few nights each week. This slow-cooker soup recipe makes a big enough batch to feed my family for two nights. —Julie Kruger, St. Cloud, Minnesota
17 / 31

Day 17: Italian Beef Hoagies

You'll need just five ingredients to feed a crowd these tender and tangy Italian beef sandwiches. On weekends, I start the roast the night before, so I can shred it in the morning. —Lori Piatt, Danville, Illinois
18 / 31
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Day 18: Slow Cooker Kalua Pork & Cabbage

My slow cooker pork has four ingredients and less than 10 minutes of prep. The result tastes just like the kalua pork slow-roasted all day in an underground oven. —Rholinelle DeTorres, San Jose, California
19 / 31
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Day 19: Sweet Barbecued Pork Chops

I often prepare a double recipe of these tangy bbq pork chops, then freeze half to keep on hand. They're so easy and taste so fresh, family and friends never guess this quick entree was frozen! —Susan Holderman, Fostoria, Ohio
20 / 31
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Day 20: Sausage Manicotti

This classic Italian entree comes together in a snap, but tastes like it took hours. It's so easy to fix, and my family always enjoys it. —Carolyn Henderson, Maple Plain, Minnesota
21 / 31
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Day 21: Chicken & Cheese Tortilla Pie

Trust me when I say this hearty dish can be assembled in minutes, then devoured even quicker with no leftovers. —Karen Kuebler, Dallas, Texas
22 / 31

Day 22: Quick Sausage-Stuffed Squash

Acorn squash with its dark green skin and orange interior makes a cheery bowl for this creamy sausage dish. As a twist, try maple-flavored sausage. —Mary Magner, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
23 / 31
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Day 23: Spicy Chicken Nuggets

We devour these golden brown chicken nuggets at least once a week. If you want to tone down the heat, skip the chipotle pepper. —Cheryl Cook, Palmyra, Virginia
24 / 31

Day 24: Salmon with Lemon-Dill Butter

If you’re looking for a dish that’s fast and healthy, this one has it all. Round it out with steamed sugar snap peas for a simple weeknight meal. —Jennie Richards, Riverton, Utah
25 / 31
Day 25: Slow-Cooked Ham

Day 25: Slow-Cooked Ham

Entertaining doesn't get much easier than serving this tasty five-ingredient ham from the slow cooker. And the leftovers are delicious in casseroles! —Heather Spring, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
26 / 31

Day 26: Pierogi Quesadillas

When I had hungry children in the kitchen and nothing but leftovers, I invented these quesadillas. Now it's how we always use up our potatoes, meats and sometimes veggies. —Andrea Dibble, Solon, Iowa
27 / 31
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Day 27: Ham & Cheese Potato Casserole

This recipe makes two cheesy, delicious casseroles. Have one tonight and put the other on ice for a future busy weeknight. It's like having money in the bank when things get hectic! —Kari Adams, Fort Collins, Colorado
28 / 31

Day 28: Au Gratin Sausage Skillet

Using frozen vegetables and a package of au gratin potatoes, I can get this satisfying stovetop supper on the table in no time. Even our oldest daughter, who can be a picky eater, loves it - and it is an excellent way of getting her to eat her vegetables. —Penny Greene, Lancaster, Ohio
29 / 31
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Day 29: BBQ Meat Loaf Minis

Kids can have fun helping to prepare these mini meat loaves in muffin cups. For extra spice, we sometimes add 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 cup of salsa. —Linda Call, Falun, Kansas
30 / 31
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Day 30: Easy Stuffed Shells

I threw this recipe together one day when we had unexpected guests. It was an immediate hit and is now a family favorite. Get the kids involved when putting together this simple, savory dish. —Dolores Betchner, Cudahy, Wisconsin
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Day 31: Stuffed Chicken with Marinated Tomatoes

I invented this roast chicken to prove goat cheese really is delish. I served it to my skeptical family without telling them, and they gobbled it up. But any soft cheese will do. —Gilda Lester, Millsboro, DE

Rory Cooper
Rory was raised in rural New Hampshire before spending a few years in the hustle and bustle of Chicago. Now back in New England, he's stocking up on fishing tackle, amassing an ever-growing collection of crochet hooks and fantasizing about one day living in a cabin.
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