Teachers Who Cook PArt III: Go-To Recipes

Hi cooking friends!

We are back with our final post and it's probably the one many of you have been waiting for: "Go-To" recipes!

I will be honest and say that I didn't exactly know how I would go about this post, because 1/2 of my recipes each week are things I just make all the time and the other 1/2 are new or kind of harder recipes that I use my cookbooks for. So... I am just going to give you a good mix of recipes and/or links/cookbooks for recipes.

A couple of disclaimers:

  • Haley is the crockpot queen. I am NOT. I love meal planning and cooking but I HATE meal prepping. I know how easy it could make my life (and I HIGHLY recommend going to Haley's post to see more ideas like this) but I have some other ways I save my time and energy during the week (more on that later). If you want more crockpot stuff, PLEASE go to Haley's blog (that's where I have been getting ideas lately. She's amazing.) She's your girl in crockpot meals. 
  • I am not a "chef." ha! I say this because of the meals you are about to see. I grew up in a family of 6 (and my husband was my boyfriend in middle school, so he's been around forever-so basically a family of 7). 
    • We did not go out to eat a lot at all. 
    • First of all, we were considered a "party" and have to pay the 20% gratuity automatically.
    • Second, have you ever had to try and get 7 people to agree on a restaurant? 
    • Third, my mom and dad are both great cooks. My mom pretty much cooked dinner 4-5 nights a week when we were kids. My dad cooked 1-2 nights and made us breakfast on the weekends, both while working full time. 
    • Nothing crazy, but mom made practical, mostly healthy, and efficient dinners for us because they worked full-time and had 4 (basically 5) kids. Dad makes Italian dinners (mostly on the weekends) and then traditional breakfasts. He also makes AMAZING green chile. 
    • That's where I learned to cook. We aren't fancy or anything, but cooking dinners is just something we do. That's how I think of cooking and that's why my meals are kind of standard (with some exceptions). 

10 (+1) Meals I Make 2-3 (sometimes 4) Times a Month 

I know some people might want new recipes, but for those of you who just like an arsenal of ideas, these are the foods I make almost once a week! If it's just something I make on the go, I put the recipe. For the rest I just linked to a super simple week day recipe. 
  1. Tacos/Quesadillas/Fajitas and Chips and Salsa
  2. Spaghetti and Salad
  3. Cheeseburgers and Chips
  4. Salmon/Rice/Asparagus
  5. Homemade chicken Strips
  6. SUPER simple parmesan pasta and Italian sausage
  7. Homemade Pizza 
  8. Steak and Potatoes 
  9. Enchiladas 
  10. Chicken Stir-Fry
  11. Breakfast for Dinner 
Tacos/Quesadillas/Fajitas: My husband would eat tacos if I would make them. I think we agree on this philosophy because I think they are so easy and fast to make.


  • Chicken
  • Tortillas and or taco shells
  • Taco Seasoning (I just buy the spicy kind in the packets, from the grocery store).

Toppings Options:

  • Shredded Cheese
  • Chopped Tomatoes
  • Chopped Iceberg Lettuce
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa 
  • Avocado
  • Peppers and onions (for fajitas- I just put oil in a pan and cook them on medium while making the chicken) 
-Start out by cutting your choice of meat into cubes.
-Next, season your choice of meat with your seasoning.
-Put a splash of vegetable oil into a pan on medium heat and cook your meat to your desired done-ness. Yeah that's it. So EASY and I feel like 99% of the general public likes Tacos

Use extra salsa for some tortilla chips.

Homemade Pizza  Click on the link for an easy homemade pizza dough recipe. Just add your favorite ingredients and bake!

Spaghetti and Salad: I LOVE Spaghetti and I think it is so easy to make. My family has always used Italian sausage in our spaghetti sauce so that's always what I use.


  • Olive Oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning ( I use A LOT but some people use less)
  • One 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • One small can of tomato paste (I use the whole can because that's what the Pioneer Woman does). 
  • Your choice of pasta (we use fettuccine)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Your choice of dressing. 
  1. Finely chop the onion and garlic.
  2. Pour a Tablespoon of Olive Oil into a large pan on medium heat. 
  3. Cook the onions and garlic until they are soft and translucent. 
  4. Add the Italian sausage and break it up into bite-sized pieces. 
  5. Once the Italian sausage is cooked (I wait until mine is brown) add the tomato paste, the Crushed tomatoes, and the Italian seasoning. 
  6. Stir everything together and turn the burner to low while you do the rest.
  7. Make your pasta according to the directions
  8. Chop up some lettuce 
  9. Serve pasta sauce on pasta and salad on the side with your choice of dressing and maybe some croutons ( I LOVE croutons). 

Cheeseburgers and Chips Click on the link for a "Better than a Big Mac" Recipe

Salmon/Rice/Asparagus: This is another one I make all the time because it's easy and healthy

  • Salmon Filet for each person ( I do about 5-7 ounces for each of us)
  • Lemon (one small lemon works for 2 people)
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Asparagus
  • Olive Oil
  • Brown Rice (I buy the boil in a bag kind because it's so easy)
  • Aluminum Foil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil 
  3. Cut the lemon into slices
  4. Place each salmon filet in its own packet on a baking sheet
  5. Salt and pepper the salmon
  6. Put a tiny slice or two of butter on each filet
  7. Cover the filet with 2-3 lemon slices. 
  8. Wrap each filet in the foil ( I leave a little air pocket)
  9. Bake  for 15-18 minutes
  10. Put the rice in the water according to directions
  11. While salmon is cooking, cut the ends of the asparagus, place on a baking sheet, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook in the oven next to the salmon until salmon is done. 
  12. Yummy.

Homemade Chicken Strips: Here's a link to quick and healthy ones very similar to the ones I make:

SUPER simple parmesan pasta and Italian sausage:
This is such an easy "recipe" because I always have pasta, parmesan, butter, and Italian sausage, which is basically all this is. 

  • Ingredients: 
    • 1/2 pound of Italian Sausage (for 2 people) 
    • Penne Pasta (I use about a 1/2 a box)
    • Parmesan Cheese 
    • Butter
  1. Boil a pot of water for the pasta
  2. Heat a medium-large pan to medium high heat
  3. Form the Italian sausage into patties and cooke 3-5 minutes per side (that's it!)
  4. Cook the pasta according to directions
  5. Drain pasta, add 1 tablespoon of butter, and as much parmesan cheese as you want. 
  6. Serve pasta with sausage patties. (That's it!)
Steak and Potatoes: We are NOT vegetarians. I can probably count on one hand how many meals I have eaten without meat. We eat steak and potatoes a couple times a month. You would be surprised how low calorie a steak and potatoes meal can be. 

  • Ingredients:
    • Your choice of steak (I buy filets from the store. They are more expensive, but I hate having to chew on a piece of steak for 47 minutes because it's so tough, so I'm willing to pay for a tender cut of steak). 
    • Potato for each person
    • Salt
    • Pepper 
    • Butter
I think everyone has their way of cooking steaks. We eat ours medium rare, so your cooking will change on how you like them. I don't grill and my husband isn't usually home by the time I start cooking so I just use my cast iron skillet. Here is how I cook my steak. And here is how I make my Potatoes

Chicken Stir-Fry: This recipe is such a teacher week-night meal hack. I also always make WAY too much, but it's great for lunches. 

  • 10-12 ounces of chicken (for 2 people). I buy 2 chicken breasts for this. 
  • Bag of frozen vegetables (SUPER HACK- I just buy the "Asian Medley with Sauce" Kind because then the sauce is already in there). Otherwise just buy your favorite frozen vegetable mix.
  • Teriyaki sauce (you won't need this if you bought the vegetables with the sauce) or you can get whatever kind of stir-fry sauce you like.
  • Brown Rice (I buy the boil in a bag kind because it's so easy)
  1. Bring a small pot of water to boil for the rice
  2. Heat a medium pan over medium high heat
  3. Put a teaspoon of oil in the pan
  4. Cut the chicken into stir-fry pieces
  5. Cook the chicken until done.
  6. While the chicken is cooking, make the rice.
  7. When chicken is done, remove from pan, set aside on a plate, and then add your vegetables to the same pan. Cook the vegetables through and then add your chicken back into the pan. 
  8. If your vegetables don't have the sauce, add about 1/4-1/2 cup of sauce, stir it all together until warm and boom! done! 
You can also click here (or one the picture above to be taken to another super simple recipe). 

Chicken Enchiladas: The link takes you to a SUPER easy recipe I have used. Because I'm from Colorado, I just add green chiles we get from the farms here, but you could add any other items that you think would be good too!

Breakfast for Dinner: This isn't really recipe (which is why it's the +1 recipe), but making breakfast for dinner is super fast and easy. Our favorite is french toast and sausage links. But waffles, pancakes, and even eggs are super easy dinners. 

School Year Tricks

I kind of feel like a fraud for this (ha!) and I don't think Haley even knows this about me.... 

Anyway, this last school year, was really hard for me for a variety of reasons. 

First of all, we moved across the state weeks before school started (without really planning on it). I changed grade levels, I went from a small charter school to the largest elementary school in my new district, and I wasn't able to go in and out of the school as I pleased because we got locked out. I also went from a 4-day school to a 5-day school. I was spending every minute at school that I could, because I knew I couldn't come back later. 

Long story short, I was more exhausted and burnt-out than I ever had been. I joined Angela Watson's 40 Hour Work Week and just kind of realized that I needed to allot my time better. 

So.... I started doing some of those food delivery services. And I kind of sort of love it. I LOVE cooking, but last year grocery shopping felt like a new form of torture.

The first one we did was Hello Fresh.  

They delivered our meals every Saturday, and I had 4 pre-portioned meals to make every week. This was what I needed for so many reasons. 

First, we never had leftovers. As someone who learned to cook from an Italian family, I tend to cook for approximately 14 people even though it's just my husband and me haha!

I still got to cook! Which is what I really love.

I don't have to grocery shop. During the summer I really do LOVE to grocery shop, but during the school year #icanteven. 

It's definitely something to try if you want everything portioned and cut for you and so you can just start cooking. You can get $40 off your first box, just by clicking here.  You can even order a box and then cancel right away if you don't like commitment. 

We just started having our meals delivered again, and I picked a new one company this time, because honestly HelloFresh was getting a little too exotic and we didn't a have a lot of choices. We are now doing Home Chef, and I love it because we get about 10 options to choose from every week. You can get $30 off your first order by clicking here.  It's the same concepts as HelloFresh :). 

Lastly, Kelly Anne from Appleslices has an AMAZING Freebie in her TPT store designed for teachers who cook. Click on the image below to get a free week of meal plans grocery lists, and recipes. 

Make sure to go to Miss L's Busy Bees post too! She so freakin adorable! 

Thanks for hanging around with us friends!

I hope you got some new ideas for the school year. 

If you haven't yet, be sure to check out our freebie meal and grocery planners by clicking the images below.

You can also check out our previous posts by clicking on the images at the very bottom of this post!



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