Lately I’ve been trying harder to menu plan and grocery shop and all those other things that I should do and want to do and am always glad I did afterwards but find it nearly impossible to do on a consistent basis. I’ve been mildly successful.

(Though don’t expect photographic evidence because, as the above photo of someone else’s kitchen says, that’s not what my kitchen or my cooking looks like. Or maybe I’m not the world-class food photographer I thought I was. Either way, pictures proving my domestic prowess are not forthcoming.)

But I digress. I’ve been kicking it up a notch in the planning and follow-through-ing and not-eating-out-ing. We’ve eaten at home more often and I’ve actually stuck to the menus I’ve made. Kind of. The last two nights were fast food fried chicken and pizza delivery, though, because I’ve been sick.

Well, the first night was simply lack of planning as we began a new after-school activity with Annalyn. Or not really lack of any planning. I did plan. I had a plan! But it wasn’t a good plan. I didn’t do the time math right or I forgot how slow my family members can move or how unmotivated I am to Do The Right Thing, aka Follow the Plan, by the time 6:00 pm rolls around.

But yesterday I was sick with a strange combination of a sore throat and upset stomach and NOBODY wants me cooking their dinner with those germs hanging around. Plus, I made sure I looked and sounded like death warmed over so they all felt sorry for me and didn’t complain about the Plan B Pizza. (I’m kidding, of course. I didn’t have to do anything to look or sound sick, BELIEVE YOU ME, and all I heard from the small people in my house about the incoming pizza was, “Hooray! I love pizza!” Clearly, I’m raising them up in the way they should go.)

Tonight, though! Tonight I’m going to ignore my roiling intestines and scratchy throat, and I’m going to make an actual dinner for my people. Lucky for me, the plan for this one couldn’t be easier.

Easy Chicken Pasta Dinner | via

Tonight I’m making Garlic Chicken Pasta for dinner – a meal I make nearly every week, a meal that is a crowd-pleaser and family favorite, a meal I like to pretend I invented all by myself. I mean, I did come up with the recipe myself, but I’m pretty sure this combination of ingredients has been tasted before and not just at my house. But this version is all mine. And yours. Because I’m sharing it with you today.

Garlic Chicken Pasta

2 large chicken breasts, grilled and thinly sliced
1 box bowtie (farfalle, if you’re fancy) pasta
1 large red pepper, sliced
½ pound bacon, cut into inch-sized pieces
3 garlic cloves, diced
½ large white onion, diced
1 jar alfredo sauce
Shredded parmesan cheese

Stick your bacon on a foil-covered pan, and bake it for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Yes, bake it. Then brown the garlic and onion in a teensy bit (tablespoon-ish?) of bacon drippings (FINE. Grease.). Add in the pepper and chicken and let it all simmer. Meanwhile, boil water and add pasta. After you drain the pasta, add half the sauce to the meat and veggie mixture and half the sauce to the pasta. Stir both pots, then mix them up together. Add in the bacon and stir again. Serve with shredded parmesan.

Now here’s the trick to this dinner and why I make it so often (other than the obvious THAT IT IS DELICIOUS): It’s so fast and easy if you’ve done a little bit of prep work. I try to keep grilled and sliced chicken, sliced red pepper, and diced onion on hand – prepped and frozen, waiting for the day I make this dish. Or other dishes that use them. But mainly this one. And, obviously, you can make your own sauce, but if you’re okay with the stuff in a jar (I use Ragu’s reduced fat white sauce), this really is a fast dish to make.

I’ve heard rumors that you can even cook bacon in advance and freeze it, but I’m pretty sure cooked bacon would last about as long as chocolate Pop Tarts do around here.

Easy dinners work for me. Finally feeding my family something I made this week works for me. And crossing my fingers that you’ll still link up to Works for Me Wednesday when it’s this late works for me, too!

What dinner do you fix most often?


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