Normally, I would skip posting today and call it good, especially given the fact that fair is going on and VBS preparation is underway (and someone you know is running our parish’s VBS this year) and the Confirmation retreat is coming and hey! It’s summer! Which means chaos!

But then Jen has to say something like


So here’s something useful, oh world: 3 go-to meals that even I can handle on a day of spending time juggling kids and fair schedules and work deadlines.

Unspanish Rice

(Anyone remember Unskinny Bop? For some reason, I’ve had it going through my head since a few weeks ago, when I was inspired to laugh at something and call it unskinny. And yes, now you know what I was jammin to in 7th grade.)


  • Rice (I use about 1 cup for every pound of sausage)
  • Bulk sausage (1 pound)
  • Tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce) (quart jar of home-canned or 16 ounce can from the store)

Preheat your oven to 350. Cook the rice. While it’s cooking, brown the sausage. Drain the sausage if you’re health-conscious and mix in the tomato sauce (I usually use about a quart jar of my home-canned tomato sauce). Put the rice on the bottom of a square casserole dish. Put the tomato and sausage on top and, if you’re a mix-it-up person, stir it around. (If you’re not, leave it layered-ish.) Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes and then lower the heat and let it sit in the warm oven until you’re ready to eat. My husband insists it should have American cheese on top. I have yet to be convinced of this fact, but I include it because he is so rarely wrong about what tastes good.

The Bob Special

I would have never eaten this before I met my husband and became indoctrinated into his higher ways of eating and enjoying life.


  • Rigatoni pasta (1 box)
  • Tomato sauce (NOT spaghetti sauce) (half a quart jar of home-canned or 8 ounce can from the store)
  • Butter
  • Bread, peanut butter, and jelly (we’re die hard grape fans, but you can go all crazy and try something else if you want)

Cook the pasta and drain it. Add butter, and plenty of it. (This is rather key, people. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.) Mix in just enough tomato sauce that it’s touching all the pasta, but not laying around and making puddles. Make PB&J sandwiches. Kick back and enjoy the high livin you are doin.


A friend of mine introduced me to this lazy mom’s version of lasagna, and I’ve modified it for my own use. I almost always have the ingredients on hand and it is one of my favorite meals.


  • 2 16 ounce cans of spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce (I sometimes use one of each, but we have Super Sensitive Taste Buds around here)
  • 1 pound short-cut pasta such as rotini or penne
  • 1 16 ounce bag of shredded cheese – we like mozzarella or Colby Jack best
  • 1 pound of ground beef, sausage, or pepperoni (or omit the meat for a great Lenten Friday meal)
  • 1 16 ounce tub of ricotta cheese (or you can make your own and it will taste just as good: 1 16 ounce tub of cottage cheese, a good handful of grated parmesan cheese, an egg, and a splash of milk all whirled together)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta so it’s just cooked (i.e., al dente). While it’s cooking, mix up the fake ricotta and brown the meat. Drain the pasta, put it back in its pan, and mix in one can of sauce. Put a bottom layer of cooked pasta in a 9×13 casserole. Next, put in a layer of the ricotta or cottage cheese mix, then a layer of meat, then some sauce, then half of the shredded cheese. Repeat for a second layer. Pop it in the oven, forget about it for 20 minutes (but don’t forget to set your timer), and then pull it out and enjoy!

Got any go-to meals to share?

Because, just as @magmom13 inspired me to write this post with a suggestion,