“Almost Homemade” Fast and Easy Recipes for Caregivers

“Almost Homemade” Fast and Easy Recipes for Caregivers

Are you sometimes amazed at how much time meal prep can suck away from your day? If your caregiving duties include keeping everyone well-fed, you might sometimes wish for faster, simpler meals. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, family caregivers spend an average of 13 days each month handling tasks like housekeeping, shopping for groceries, preparing meals, and doing laundry.1 That’s a lot of time on household chores! It makes sense that caregivers might want to cut down the time spent on them.

One way to cut down on time spent in the kitchen is to use some ready-made ingredients instead of making everything from scratch. These “almost homemade” recipes can reduce the time you need to create a meal simply by taking a few steps out of the equation.

A Word on Salt

Many of these recipes call for something out of a can. While canned foods can be quite nutritious, they can also be loaded with extra sodium. Salt is often added to food to enhance the flavor, and that can drive up your overall sodium intake. Therefore, make a point of looking for “no added salt” or “low sodium” on the label.

When you use the canned ingredients in recipes, cut back on any salt you might add or omit it altogether. The only exception to this is when you are baking, as using exact measurements of ingredients ensures that they all work together in harmony, creating the perfect cake or bread.

Remember Kitchen Safety

When you are tired from a long day of caregiving, you might not have the fastest reaction times or the sharpest mental acuity. Keep that in mind as you move into the kitchen to prepare a meal. While you might have already gifted your loved one with medical alert technology, what about your own safety?

Wearing a medical alert necklace while you cook can help ensure that if you suffer some sort of accident in the kitchen, you can reach out for help right away. From slipping and falling on a bit of water on the floor to cuts or burns, these shocking incidents can be much easier to deal with when a simple press of a button alarm can lead to help within moments.

Let’s look at the recipes!

Easy Scalloped Potatoes

This dish can be pretty elaborate if you start by slicing the potatoes. Cut out the prep work with these ready-made ingredients.

·        1 24-ounce bag frozen, diced potatoes

·        1 10-ounce can condensed cheddar cheese soup

·        1 5-ounce can evaporated milk

·        1 2-ounce jar diced pimentos

·        1 medium onion, chopped fine

·        2 cups shredded cheese of your choice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.

Pop the potatoes in the microwave and cook them according to the directions on the bag. This should take about five minutes. In the meantime, blend the cheddar cheese soup with the evaporated milk in a small bowl.

Layer half of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Top with half the shredded cheese, onion, and pimentos, finishing with half the cheese soup mixture. Repeat the layers, finishing with the cheese soup mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or so, until the dish is hot and bubbling.

Crock Pot Steak Dinner

This easy crock-pot delight cooks for a very long time but it’s worth every moment, and your hands-on work is less than five minutes. If your store has a London Broil for cheaper than the flank steak, go with the more affordable option.

·        1 large flank steak, about three pounds

·        1 large onion, sliced thin

·        1 ½ tsps. Montreal steak seasoning

·        1 packet dry onion soup mix

·        1 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes

·        1 10.75-ounce can cream of celery soup

Drop the onion into the bottom of your large slow cooker. Place the steak on top of the onions and sprinkle with the Montreal steak seasoning. Then sprinkle the soup mix evenly on top.

Very gently pour the can of undrained tomatoes over the steak.

Cover and cook the steak on low heat for eight hours overnight. In the morning, stir the celery soup until smooth and spoon it over the steak. Cover and cook for another eight hours on low heat. The meat should literally disintegrate into pieces at the touch of a fork.

Orange Salmon

This very easy sauce comes together with items you probably have in your refrigerator and pantry right now. It’s a quick, easy meal that goes well with almost any side you can imagine – but you can’t go wrong by keeping it healthy with a leafy green salad, asparagus, or even a side of instant wild rice.

·        2 pounds fresh or frozen (thawed) salmon fillets

·        ½ cup orange juice (with pulp is preferred)

·        1/3 cup orange marmalade

·        1 tbsp. stone-ground mustard

·        2 tsps. salt-free seasoning

·        1 tsp. ginger paste

Cut the fish into six serving-size portions and set the pieces in a large plastic zipper bag.


Blend the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour it over the salmon. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it, and massage the bag to ensure every piece of fish is covered. Chill the fish in the refrigerator for two hours.  


Remove the fish from the bag and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Broil the fish about six inches away from the broiler for about 6 minutes per side, until the fish flakes easily. Serve it with healthy sides.


Grilled Garlic Chicken

This chicken is another of those recipes that can come together nicely in a matter of minutes with ingredients you already have in your pantry.

·        3 pounds small chicken drumsticks

·        ¼ cup vegetable oil

·        2 tsps. garlic seasoning

·        ½ tsp. ground pepper

·        1 cup buttermilk ranch dressing

·        1 tsp. Tabasco sauce (more if you prefer)

Set up the grill for medium heat. You will cook the chicken over indirect heat.

Blend together the oil, garlic seasoning, and pepper. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat every piece. Place the chicken pieces on the oiled grill grates and grill until they are cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.

In the meantime, pour the ranch dressing and Tabasco sauce into a bowl. Blend well. When the chicken is done, brush each piece lightly with the ranch mixture and serve.

Fancy Lamb Kabobs

If you’re in the mood for something a little nicer for dinner, this recipe might be a keeper.

·        2 10-ounce bags of pearl onions

·        2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed well, cut into 1-inch cubes

·        1 12-ounce bottle of herb marinade of your choice

·        1 8-ounce jar of basil pesto

If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before cooking.

Prepare the pearl onions by dropping them in boiling water for one minute. Drain and cover with cold water. With a sharp knife, cut off the root end and the skins should slip right off.

Place the onions and lamb pieces in a large bag, add the marinade, and toss well to coat. Refrigerate for up to four hours, massaging the bag occasionally to distribute the marinade.

Turn on the broiler.

Thread the onions and lamb on the skewers. Broil them to the desired doneness, which is usually about seven minutes for medium-rare and 10 minutes for medium. Be careful not to overcook!

When the kabobs are ready to serve, drizzle them with pesto.

Chocolate Butterscotch Cake

A little bite of sweetness can make any day better. That’s especially true if that treat doesn’t take much time or effort to prepare. This rich cake feels so decadent that you’ll be amazed it came out of a box.

·        2 cups milk of your choice

·        1 3.4-ounce box of instant butterscotch pudding mix

·        1 18.25-ounce box German chocolate cake mix

·        1 cup water

·        ½ cup vegetable oil

·        3 large eggs

·        1 ½ cups butterscotch chips

·        Vanilla ice cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Whisk together the pudding and milk in a large bowl for two minutes, then let stand for an addition few minutes to thicken up.

In the meantime, beat the cake mix, oil, water, and eggs in a large bowl. This is made much easier if you use a hand mixer. Stir in the butterscotch chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish, then pour the pudding on top of it. Shake the pan gently to spread the layers evenly.

Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

When you are working in the kitchen, it’s a great idea to have an emergency response system right there at your fingertips. In any emergency, using a medical alert pendant can save a life.

As time goes on, you will find more ways to create “almost homemade” meals that take the time out of prep work and give you more of a chance to relax. As a family caregiver, your job is a labor of love, but it can be overwhelming at times. The more time you can shave off the duties you have in your day-to-day life, the better. Try out these recipes to save time and make your life easier while serving up delicious meals your family will love.