Newlyweds, the struggle is real.

Growing up as the youngest sister in a big family, I somehow escaped ever learning how to really cook. The main cooking tasks always got delegated to my three older sisters and I was always given the sous chef jobs (you know… chopping carrots, peeling potatoes, shredding cheese…the important stuff). To be honest, I was never drawn to cooking because I always had better things to do–like play one-on-one basketball with my twin brother. Plus, I never knew where to start and found it to be intimidating. It’s ironic I never learned how to cook because I get hangry (anger caused by hunger, for those of you not familiar) very quickly. I’m the type of girl that needs a small snack every hour and a half.

Fast forward to age 22, I’m engaged to the love of my life, and living off of grilled cheese and mac-n-cheese. Carbs and dairy, all you need right?! Wrong. My stomach hated me from the all-dairy diet (sorry, TMI). And, my husband was used to his momma's delicious dinners so I knew I had to start experimenting. So, when do I start learning how to cook? Day one post-honeymoon. It was sink or swim time, I guess.

After being married for six months, I have found the following four recipes to be our “go-to” meals. Quick, short ingredient list, and semi-healthy… I think. I also have to give a shout-out my husband who has taught me so much about cooking. He basically has a photographic memory and will show me how to mince garlic from “that one time his mom showed him six years ago.”

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

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We love this because it gets you to eat veggies without really think you’re eating veggies. Plus, there are always leftovers for work the next day.

Ingredients: 
1 medium spaghetti squash (about 8 inches long) 
1 cup water 
1 pound ground beef (or mix it up with Jimmy Dean Sausage) 
1 large onion, chopped (optional) 
1 can of your favorite marinara sauce  
1 teaspoon salt (optional) 
½ teaspoon pepper (optional) 
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided 
 
Directions: 
Slice the squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds like a pumpkin. Place squash, cut side down, in a baking dish filled with 1/2 inch of water. Bake at 375° for 30-40 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, brown beef in a large skillet; drain. Add onion; sauté until onion is transparent. Stir in can of spaghetti sauce. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. Scoop out the squash, separating the strands with a fork. Just before serving; stir 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese into the meat sauce. Serve sauce over spaghetti squash and pass remaining Parmesan. Yield: 6 servings.

My Mother-In-Law’s Chicken-Broccoli Casserole

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Pro tip: Find a meal your husband/wife grew up having and try to master it. He will definitely appreciate it. 
 
Ingredients: 
1 pack of thin cut chicken (3lbs)  
2 medium heads of broccoli  
2 cans cream of chicken soup 
1 cup mayonnaise 
½ tsp Lemon juice 
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
1 cup bread crumbs 
2 cups cooked white rice  
 
Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
 
Cook chicken breasts in boiling water for approximately 10 minutes and dice. Steam broccoli. Arrange with chicken in 9”x7” pan.  Combine 2 cans cream of chicken soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, shredded cheese into a bowl set aside. 
 
Put cooked rice in bottom of pan to cover. Add chicken and broccoli. Pour cream soup mixture over next. Then sprinkle with bread crumbs    
 
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (heat through).

Korean Beef and Rice Recipe

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My husband makes this meal. It’s super quick, and always delicious! Be careful and don’t add more red pepper flakes than you can handle. Goes well with a tall glass of milk. 
 
Ingredients: 
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean) 
3 garlic cloves, minced 
1/4 cup packed brown sugar 
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce 
2 teaspoons sesame oil 
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
2-2/3 cups hot cooked brown or white rice  
3 green onions, thinly sliced 
 
Directions: 
In a large skillet, cook beef and garlic over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix brown sugar, soy sauce, oil and seasonings. 
Stir sauce into beef; heat through. Serve with rice. Sprinkle with green onions. Yield: 4 servings.

The Easiest Shredded Crockpot Chicken

shredded-chicken-tacos
Two syllables: CROCKPOT. Best part about this meal is there is only about a 5 minute prep. 
 
Ingredients:  
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
1 1.25-ounce packet low-sodium taco seasoning (see note) 
1 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa 
For serving: tortillas or taco shells and your choice of optional toppings, such as shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, black beans, corn, chopped avocados or guacamole, reduced-fat sour cream, and hot sauce 
 
Directions: 
Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. 
Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken. 
Pour salsa on top. 
Cook on low (for 6-8 hours) or high (for 4 hours). 
Just before serving, use two forks to shred the chicken. 
Stir to evenly distribute salsa throughout chicken. 
Serve immediately with desired toppings.

Have a recipe you like and want to share? Comment here!