Menus for an Easy and Great Dinner

It’s hard when you’re a family with two working spouses to not just put dinner on the table before the stroke of midnight, but also a dinner that isn’t created by punching buttons on a microwave or hearing the words “pull up to the 2nd window”. I’ve mentioned before that I try to plan out our dinners 2 weeks in advance. I find that by doing this, it saves us a ton of money at the Teeter. What happens when I don’t plan, is that the Rooster looks up from his work at 4pm and says “hhhmmm.. what should I make for dinner?”. This question is almost followed by him going to the kitchen, realizing he hadn’t pulled anything from the freezer and then heading to the store to buy what he needs to make dinner. No kidding – by planning our menus out, it cuts our grocery bill in half. I may just plan out the next years worth of meals and create some table tents that act as a menu, this way everyone knows what’s for dinner in advance, decreasing the chance of a ruckus or unplanned meals!

I am all for trying things that help shorten the cooking time without sacrificing taste, so when I was asked to check out the new line of Recipe Starters from Progresso I said “absolutely!”. I received a package that included 2 cans of Recipe Starters from their new line, a baking dish, a really cool sauce chef’s spatula (I hate how my big ones always get stuck in the can..), some measuring cups and a recipe booklet that gave you a recipe to try with each of the sauces. The 2 sauces that I received were Creamy Roasted Garlic and Creamy Three Cheese. For this post, I opted to use the Roasted Garlic recipe that used chicken.

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progresso recipe starters

The recipe was simple to follow and the result was a great chicken dish that everyone loved. The only thing that I noticed was that it was a bit salty, but that’s to be expected with a canned soup or sauce. Hopefully they’ll come out with a low-sodium version soon. I still have my Creamy Three Cheese that I plan on using soon… the suggested recipe for that one is for cheesy, bacon macaroni. YUM-LLO!

Here is a description for the sauces they have available right now:

  • Creamy Parmesan Basil: This creamy, full-bodied and indulgent sauce that was inspired by alfredo and creamy pesto sauces can be used to make dishes such as Crispy Garlic-Parmesan Chicken, Creamy Chicken Alfredo, Basil Chicken Ravioli Carbonara and Basil Chicken Thai Noodle
  • Creamy Roasted Garlic with Chicken Stock: With caramelized, roasted chicken broth, garlic and a touch of cream, this stock is perfect for dishes such as Creamy Lemon Chicken, Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken Enchiladas
  • Fire Roasted Tomato: A medium-thick tomato sauce, accompanied by flavors of roasted, caramelized tomatoes, oregano and bell peppers, which can be used as a great way to begin creating Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, Easy Weeknight Chicken Parmesan, Cheese-stuffed Mini Meat Loaves and Mole Tacos
  • Creamy Portabella Mushroom: Creamy and highly indulgent, this smooth sauce is rich with sautéed Portabella mushrooms, giving you any easy way to start delicious dishes like Easy Weeknight Beef Stroganoff, Steak and Mushroom Sandwich and Tetrazzini
  • Creamy Three Cheese: Rich and creamy with a blend of yellow and white cheeses, and a savory background of chicken stock, onion, garlic and cracked pepper, this is a great way to satisfy cheese lovers with Easy Weeknight Bacon Mac & Cheese, Twice-Baked Potato Pizza and Cheesy Egg Breakfast Tacos
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If you’d like to try out the new Progresso Recipe Starters, click here for a coupon! In addition to that, the kind folks at Progresso have an extra gift pack for one of you! Your gift pack includes:

  • Two cans of Progresso Recipe Starters
  • $10 Gift Card to purchase your recipe ingredients
  • Progresso Recipe Starters recipe book, including 5 recipes to get you started
  • Baking dish
  • Measuring Cups
  • Sauce Scraper
All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and tell me what your best tip is when you’re crunched for time and have to get dinner on the table – I can always use the help! And, if you haven’t already, go and like the Four Hens Facebook page! That’s it! Not bad for a chance to get some extra help at dinner!


Are you raising a teen or a tween? Join the conversation over at Ten to Twenty Parenting!


Disclaimer: While the information, products and Progresso™ Recipe Starters™ gift packs were provided by Progresso through MyBlogSpark, the opinions are my own.



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RLR at Mom's Magic
October 12, 2012 at 10:42 am

I’ve tried this comment 2 times before, and have encountered errors. Hopefully you don’t get the same thing three times!

My best tip is to cook ahead – chicken and ground beef especially – and freeze in recipe-sized portions. That way I just thaw, mix, and cook/serve – meal prep happens in 15-30 minutes, depending on the recipe. Add a tossed salad, some bread, or a speedy side dish (ie – steam in the microwave whatever vegetables are in the fridge) and dinner is on the table.

October 10, 2012 at 10:24 am

Pasta is a never fail option. Funny thing is that one of the hens proclaimed last night that she was going meat free which will be hard in this house so I foresee lots and lots of pasta for her 😉 Can’t wait to see you tomorrow night!
Kristen Daukas recently posted..Menus for an Easy and Great DinnerMy Profile

October 10, 2012 at 9:53 am

I like the regular Progresso soups, so these made me curious too. The soups are a good lunch…low calorie and satisfying. My tip to avoid time crunch is to buy the fresh pasta (the kind that’s in the refrigerated section) and always have it on hand in the fridge. Avoiding those extra 10 minutes of cook time can buy you the ability to actually sit down while you eat! I also let each kid decide what they want on the noodles…some want sauce, some want just butter and parmesan cheese. Win-win.

October 10, 2012 at 9:14 am

Ah yes… staples. Always need to have on hand the things to throw an “uh-oh” meal together! I think this will be one of those things to have on hand to jazz up your meal when you just don’t have the time or brainpower to be creative. The overall flavor was very good.. just don’t add any extra salt 🙂
Kristen Daukas recently posted..Menus for an Easy and Great DinnerMy Profile

October 10, 2012 at 9:02 am

While I try not to rely on processed sauces, I’ve been wondering how these are. I like to try just about anything once! Good to know about the sodium, and I too, would love to see a low-sodium version.
My go-to tactic is to cook large batches of food on the weekends. My goal is to have one thing to freeze, and one thing to have for a re-work. Also, I almost always have ingredients for sandwiches, quesadillas, and/or homemade pizza. You can put anything in/on them, and they are general crowd pleasers!
Elaine Griffin recently posted..Grilled Cheese with Avocado, Chicken, and CheddarMy Profile

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