Shortcut Family Meals

This week we are focusing on quick and easy meals for those nights where we could use a shortcut to make a family meal that everyone will eat! 

Best Biscuit-Hash Brown Casserole


Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 40 mins

Additional Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins

Servings: 8 

Yield: 1 (9x13-inch) casserole


1 tsp. butter, or as needed

1 (16 oz.) pkg. bacon

1 (16 oz.) can refrigerated biscuit dough

8 frozen hash brown patties

8 large eggs

3/4 C. milk

2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 425° F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until crispy but not fully browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain bacon slices on paper towels.

Slice biscuits lengthwise and place on the bottom of the prepared baking dish, sealing the dough to cover the bottom completely. Top with hash brown patties. Layer bacon over hash browns.

Whisk eggs and milk together, then pour over the casserole. Top with Cheddar cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven until top is bubbling and bacon is crispy, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

You can easily replace the bacon with 1 pound ground breakfast sausage or sausage patties.


Macaroni and Cheese Pizza Bake


Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 40 mins

Total Time: 55 mins

Servings: 8 


2 (7.25 ounce) pkgs. macaroni and cheese mix 

1/2 C. butter

1/2 C. milk

2 eggs, beaten

3 C. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1 (16 oz.) jar pizza sauce

1 (4 oz.) pkg. sliced pepperoni

dried oregano


Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain and return pasta to pot. Add butter, milk, and cheese mix to macaroni; stir until evenly mixed.

Stir eggs into macaroni and cheese until incorporated. Add 1 C. mozzarella cheese; stir until just combined.

Spread macaroni and cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish; top with pasta sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 2 C. mozzarella cheese over sauce. Cover the cheese layer with pepperoni and season with oregano.

Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.


Burrito Bowls


Active Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 10 mins

Yield: 4 servings


1 (15-oz.) can unsalted black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 C. water

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1 T. olive oil

1 C. fresh corn kernels

1 T. fresh lime juice, divided

1 (8.8-oz.) pouch microwavable brown rice

1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro, divided

4 C. finely chopped romaine lettuce hearts 

1 C. queso blanco, crumbled

2 ripe avocados, sliced

1/2 C. pico de gallo

4 T. light sour cream


Combine beans, water, chili powder, cumin, and 1/4 tsp. of the salt in a small saucepan, and cook over medium until beans are hot, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and cover to keep warm.

Heat oil in a medium-size cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add corn, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly charred, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 1-1/2 tsp. of the lime juice and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside.

Cook brown rice according to package instructions, and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in 2 T. of the cilantro and remaining 1-1/2 tsp. lime juice.

Divide warm beans, corn, rice, lettuce, cheese, and avocado among 4 bowls. Top with pico de gallo, sour cream, and remaining 2 T. cilantro.


Stuffed Honey-Ham Biscuits


Prep: 15 Min

Total: 15 Min

Servings: 4


1 can (16.3 oz) refrigerated Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers Original Biscuits (8 Count)

8 slices Swiss cheese 

8 slices deli cooked ham 

1/4 C. honey


Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers, making total of 16 biscuit rounds. Fold each piece of cheese in half. Fold each piece of ham into fourths.

Place 1 folded slice of cheese and 1 folded slice of ham on 1 biscuit round. Top with another biscuit round; firmly pinch edges to seal. Repeat with remaining cheese, ham and biscuits to make 8 sandwiches. Place on cookie sheet.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to serving plate. Drizzle honey over biscuits. Serve immediately.


Quick Peanut Butter Cookies


Makes 4-5 doz cookies


Yellow Cake Mix

1 C. Chunky Peanut Butter

2 eggs

1/3 C. Water

Flour for dipping fork


Preheat oven to 375°.  Mix, 1/2 package of cake mix, peanut butter, eggs and water with a spoon or electric mixer until smooth and well blended.  Blend in remaining 1/2 package of cake mix.  Mix thoroughly.  It may be necessary to use your hands to mix the dough.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls about 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.  (Cookies should be about the size of walnuts.)

With a fork dipped in flour, flatten rounds of dough by pressing a crisscross design on top of each cookie.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until a light golden brown. 

Cook cookies on baking sheet about 2 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies


Make cookies as above except – do not flatten cookies with a fork.  Instead, make a shallow hole in each cookie by pressing down in the center with the tip of a teaspoon dipped in flour.  After baking place about a 1/2 tsp. of red or grape jelly in each hole.


Brownie in a Mug


Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 7 mins


4 T. unsweetened cocoa powder 

4 T. all-purpose flour

6 T. light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. instant espresso granules, optional

1/8 tsp. kosher salt 

5 T. whole milk

5 T. butter, melted

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

4 T. semisweet chocolate chips

Vanilla ice cream, for serving


Into a 12-oz. microwave-safe mug, add the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, espresso granules (if using), and salt. Stir with a fork. Add the milk, butter, and vanilla, and stir with a fork until smooth. Stir in 3 T. of the chocolate chips. Use a damp paper towel to wipe excess batter off the sides of the mug.

Microwave for 2 minutes 45 seconds on high, then sprinkle remaining 1 T. chocolate chips on top. Let the brownie stand for 2 minutes before eating. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


Cherry Almond Mousse Pie


Prep: 25 min. + chilling

Makes: 10 servings


1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk, divided

1 oz. unsweetened chocolate

1/2 tsp. almond extract, divided

1 frozen pie shell (9 inches), baked

1 jar (10 oz.) maraschino cherries, drained

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 C. cold water

1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix

1 C. heavy whipping cream, whipped

1/2 C. chopped toasted almonds

Chopped chocolate, optional


In a small saucepan over low heat, cook and stir 1/2 C. milk and the chocolate until chocolate is melted and mixture is thickened, about 4 minutes. Stir in 1/4 tsp. extract. Pour into pie shell; set aside. 

Set aside eight whole cherries for garnish. Chop the remaining cherries; set aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in water and remaining milk. Beat in pudding mix and remaining extract. Fold in whipped cream. Stir in chopped cherries and almonds. 

Pour over pie. Chill 4 hours or until set. Garnish with whole cherries and, if desired, chopped chocolate.


Quote of the Week:

“Winter blues are cured every time with a potato gratin paired with a roast chicken.” 

~Alexandra Guarnaschelli


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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