Quick, Cheap and Easy Meals - Working My Way through the Pillsbury Cookbook

Remember that woman who used her crockpot for 365 days? That intrigued me. I admired her for sticking with her goal when I’m sure at the end of her stint she would have preferred chewing on a table leg rather than one more slow cooked meal. I also envied her. For one whole year she threw something in the crockpot in the morning and when she wanted to eat, she took the lid off. Now THAT’s efficient.

I don’t like to cook. It takes up time I’d rather spend doing something else, I find it too “fussy” plus I’m not particularly interested in it. My preference is to cook a lot of things at once and then be done, so I’m really interested in the cook ahead and freeze meals (which is a whole ‘nuther blog post and I’d love hearing if you’ve done it).

I’m rambling, sorry. So anyway, I noticed as I was looking for recipe ideas during the holidays that the majority of the appetizers, meals and desserts that I made were coming from the same cookbook. Since I’m working on becoming more efficient, I decided to do a modified version of the crockpot lady’s idea and plan most of my meals from my post-it’d, coffee-stained-paged Pillsbury Annual Recipes 2006 cookbook. I’ll only post the recipes that I’ve tried and liked so as not to waste your time with crappy ones, or ones that may have been good had I not been the chef. Everything I post will most likely have few ingredients and not require a lot of fuss, cuz that’s how I roll in the kitchen.

As with everything that comes from organizedCHAOSonline, it’s going to be pretty much a given that it will be modified or embellished to make it quick, cheap and easy. Tawsha and I have a bit of a problem being told what to do, so by nature we scan the instructions…then we do it our way (my recipe modifications will be in red).

Both these recipes were really, really good!

Italian Meatball and Potato Bake

Quick, Cheap and Easy Meals - Working my way through Pillsbury's cookbook

  • 1 (24-oz) pkg. frozen shredded potatoes O’Brien with onion and peppers, thawed, drained
  • 8 oz. (2 cups) finely shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream with chives and onion Regular sour cream with chopped onions and chives added to it
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning  Spices are spendy-just add oregano, thyme, basil and whatever else you’ve got that screams “Italian”
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppered seasoned salt What the hell IS it? Throw in some pepper and seasoned salt and call it good.
  • 1 (10-3/4-oz) can condensed cream of celery soup
  • 12 frozen cooked Italian meatballs (about 12 oz.) thawed
  1. Heat oven to 350. Spray 11×7-inch (2 quart) glass baking dish 11×7-inch? That’s weird. I used 8×8-inch with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In medium bowl, combine potatoes, 1-1/2 cups of the cheese, the sour cream, Italian seasoning, peppered seasoned salt and soup; mix well. Spread in sprayed baking dish. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven. Uncover; arrange meatballs in rows over potatoes, pressing in slightly. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
  4. Return to oven; bake uncovered an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and hot in center.

Servings: 6 (1 cup each) 1 cup each? Whaaat? Two of us had second helpings which left me with enough for lunch the next day. – I’ll double this recipe next time.

Broccoli, Bacon and Cheddar Toss

Quick, Cheap and Easy Meals - Working my way through Pillsbury's cookbook







  • 3 cups fresh small broccoli florets I eyeballed the 3 cups and cut the florets smaller-I don’t like big chunks
  • 2 oz. (1-1/2 cup) shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese Umm…reduced fat? I used about 1/2 of an 8 oz. bag of regular ‘ol cheapie generic Cheddar
  • 1/3 cup raisins Use the Sunmaid Golden Raisins – they are so much better than regular – it’s all I ever use now!
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 4 slices purchased precooked bacon or 1/3 cup real bacon pieces I baked a cookie-sheet full of bacon until it was crispy and used almost all of it. Have you tried baking bacon yet? No mess. Best idea EVER! (link at end of blog)


  • 1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise or salad dressing Used regular mayo
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  1. In large bowl, combine all salad ingredients except bacon
  2. In small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients; mix well. Pour dressing over salad; toss gently to coat.
  3. Just before serving, heat bacon slices as directed on package until crisp. Drain on paper towels; crumble. Stir bacon into salad

Servings: 8 (1/2 cup each) My hubby inhaled this at dinner, so leftovers only amounted to two small servings…porker!

Up for tonight: Creole Shrimp & Cheese Tart, which won the Pillsbury Bake-Off. I’ll let you know if it was well-deserved.

See ya!





How to Bake Bacon – Try it!      Bacon