Rush Hour Recipes

by Brook Noel


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It is estimated that 85% of people are unaware of what they will have for dinner come 4 PM. No wonder most families report eating together just once a week.

Here are some proven recipes to get kid-friendly meals on the table without sacrificing nutrition or taste.

Spastic Salsa

Makes 2.5 cups

  • 1 cup salsa (you choose the heat)
  • 1 can Mexican corn
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 chopped Jalapeno pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and let sit 30 minutes before serving.

Aunt Joan's Popovers

6 servings

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon salad oil
  • 1 cup milk

Slowly add ingredients into the bowl in order listed, mixing continuously until perfectly smooth. Fill Teflon muffin pans 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes if making large popovers, 30 minutes for the small. Do not open the oven to peek, or the puffed popovers will deflate.

Potato Salad in a Pinch

6 servings

  • 1 pound cooked and diced potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix in a bowl. Can't get much easier than this!

Parmesan Pasta Bowl

6 servings

  • 20 ounces chicken broth
  • 18 ounces of chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 cups of orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese (freshly grated is preferred)

Pour chicken broth and 1 cup of water into a Dutch oven. Add chicken and orzo, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmering for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the peas, 1/2 cup cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Place in bowls and top with a bit of the fresh Parmesan cheese.

The Other White Meat

6 Servings

While Pork is often overlooked, it's an affordable and tasty alternative when you are tired of the typical poultry.

  • 6 bone-in pork chops (the inexpensive ones are fine)
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups dry white cooking wine
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard

Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pork and cook on each side for five minutes or until browned. Remove the chops from the pan. Place wine, honey and mustard in the pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Return the pork to the pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

6 servings

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 6 slices of ham
  • 3 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 6 slices of Alpine Lace cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut an insert into each chicken breast. Roll a slice of ham around a 1/2 inch strip of the cheese and stuff into middle. Roll chicken in milk and then dredge in breadcrumbs. Place on a pan sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 25-30 minutes or until done. Add enough cheese to cover chicken, and return to oven until cheese is melted.

You can also use a meat mallet to flatten the chicken breast between two sheets of wax paper. Then place ham and cheese on breast and roll up tortilla fashion. Roll chicken in milk, dredge in breadcrumbs and place seam side down on pan.

Shell Stuffers

6 servings

  • 15 ounce package jumbo shell pasta (about 24 shells)
  • 1 cup non-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and chopped
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain. Combine cheese and spinach in a bowl. Fill pasta shells with a spoonful of mixture. Spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Place shells in baking dish and top with remaining sauce. Cover and bake for 30-35 minutes.


The Rules, The Recipes and The Rush Hour Cook Club(tm) These recipes were excerpted from the new cookbook series: The Rush Hour Cook(tm) by Brook Noel. Each book focuses on real life recipes that lived up to the following five rules:

The Five Rules of Rush Hour Cook(tm) Recipes

  • All ingredients should be able to be pronounced accurately through the phonetic use of the English Language.
  • Each ingredient can be located in the market without engaging in a full scale scavenger hunt.
  • No list of ingredients shall be longer than the instructions.
  • Each recipe has to be durable enough to survive the Queen-of-Incapable Cooking, and elicit a compliment at meal's end.
  • My finicky child will eat it-or some portion of it. I've learned not to be too picky on this one. I often break out part of the recipe and prepare it separately to her liking.

Discuss "What's Your Fastest Meal to Make?" in The Dollar Stretcher Community

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