How to Turn 3 Easy Dinners into Delicious Double Duty Meals

September 16, 2019 | Food Lion
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It’s a fact - when school is in full swing and the kids have dozens of things to do, so do you. That means time is limited. So, how can you cut time and effort in cooking and still get a great meal on the table for the whole family to enjoy each night? Two words: meal prep.

The concept is simple - you make a big batch of an easy dinner recipe one night, and then transform the leftovers into something else another night. For you, this means less time-consuming cooking. For your family, it means never feeling like you're eating the same thing night after night. But let's face it: that's a bonus for you too!

And the best part? These recipes are all wallet-friendly — especially when you get to day two.

Slow Cooker Chili | Double Duty Dinners | Food Lion

Easy Dinner Recipe 1

Day One Meals: Slow Cooker Meat-Lovers Chli

Serves 4, with leftovers for another meal.


  • 1 lb beef stew meat
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: avocado, cheddar cheese, sour cream

In a heavy stock pot set over high heat, brown the stew meat on all sides. Transfer the stew meat to the bowl of a slow cooker. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the ground beef and onions to the pot. Brown the meat thoroughly, and then add the garlic. Stir, cooking until fragrant — about 1 min. Transfer the meat mixture to the slow cooker.

Then, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, water, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to the slow cookers. Stir to combine.

Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 6 to 8 hours, until the meat is fall-apart tender. Garnish with cheese, sour cream and/or avocado chunks.

Reserve the leftovers for your meal on day two.

Twice-Baked Chili Cheese Sweet Potatoes | Double Duty Dinners | Food Lion

Day Two Meal: Twice-Baked Chili Cheese Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4


  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups leftover chili
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place foil on the oven rack. Prick each sweet potato with a fork four times. Place potatoes on the foil and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before handling.

Cut a T in the top of the potato (where you pricked). Using a fork, mash the flesh. Add ½ cup of chili and 2 Tbsp of cheese to each potato and mix well. Top each with an additional 2 Tbsp cheese.

Return the potatoes to the oven and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Cool slightly and then enjoy!

Skillet Herb Chicken Breasts | Double Duty Dinners | Food Lion

Easy Dinner Recipe 2

Day One Meal: Skillet Herb Chicken Breasts

Serves 4, with leverovers for another meal


  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • water

Stir together the herbs, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken breasts and the marinade to a resealable bag. Seal the bag and chill the chicken in the fridge for at least one hour, turning once or twice. (Note: You can marinate for up to 10 hours.)

When you're ready to cook, heat a large nonstick skillet (if all the breasts don't fit, cook in two batches) over medium heat on the stove. Be sure to use a skillet that has a cover. Add the chicken and brown, cooking for 5 to 6 minutes per side.

Pour ¼-cup of water into the skillet (per batch), cover and cook for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. It should be firm to the touch.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing thinly.

Chicken Fried Rice | Double Duty Dinners | Food Lion

Day Two Meal: Chicken Fried Rice

Serves 4


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 shallots, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3-4 cups chopped fresh spinach or kale
  • 1-2 cups chopped leftover Skillet Herb Chicken Breasts
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup dry rice, prepared
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet or wok, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and softened; about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the garlic to the skillet and stir to combine. Then, add the spinach or kale and toss well. Cook until just wilted, or about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and mix to combine; then push all of the veggies and chicken to one side of the skillet, leaving half of the skillet exposed.

Add the sesame oil to the exposed part of the skillet and top with the cooked rice. Stir continuously until the sesame oil is evenly distributed through the rice. Then, stir together with the vegetable mixture. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the burner and pour in the soy sauce. Toss well to combine. Taste, and season with salt, pepper and additional soy sauce to desired flavor.

If desired, this can be served with a poached or fried egg on top of each serving.

Margherita Roasted Spaghetti Squash | Double Duty Dinners | Food Lion

Easy Dinner Recipe 3

Day One Meal: Margherita Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Serves 4, with leftovers for another meal


  • 2 spaghetti squashes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes, diced (about 2.5-3 inches in diameter)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped basil
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • Additional fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut open the spaghetti squashes and scoop out seeds and sinews inside. Brush the cut portion and cavity with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place all four halves cut-side down on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven.

While the spaghetti squash is cooking, stir together the tomatoes, garlic, basil, parsley and vinegar in a large mixing bowl.

Using a fork, pull apart the insides of the spaghetti squash into spaghetti-like strands. Add to the mixing bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

To serve, divide about half of the spaghetti squash between four plates. Top each with ¼ of the mozzarella and additional fresh basil.

Cheese Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole | Double Duty Dinners | Food Lion

Day Two Meal: Cheese Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Serves 4


  • 4 cups leftover Margherita Roasted Spaghetti Squash (about ½ of the recipe)
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the leftover Margherita Roasted Spaghetti Squash to a casserole pan.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese with the Parmesan, egg, and ½ tsp each salt and pepper. Dollop the mixture into the casserole pan with the spaghetti squash. You should have white lumps of this mixture together — but don't mix fully into the spaghetti squash. Top with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until it's bubbling at the edges. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Finally, remove from the oven and cool slightly before enjoying.

Ready to start cooking? With these easy dinner recipes, you can not only serve your family delicious, budget-friendly meals, you’ll also save yourself time on busy days. That sounds like a win-win situation, right? Now, start meal planning, get your cooking utensils ready and have some fun with it!

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