Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: 3 Things for Dinner (tip to make dinner simple!)

I love creating beautiful and delicious things in the kitchen. But, like a lot of things in life my life right now, getting beyond the basics has become more of a hobby than a daily event. Which is okay. :) Healthy-ish and homemade is certainly good enough (and dinner on time is an extra bonus!).

Dinner at our house is often very simple. (I know, I had everyone fooled!) This week, I'm going to be blogging a few of our favorite simple meals. Me?? Blogging?? Well, I am. For real (finally). :)

My tip for keeping dinner simple but balanced: Plan 3 things. It's just enough to call it "dinner". :) (I don't include dessert in the 3 things, and we usually only have dessert on the weekends.)

Some examples of how I use the "3 things" rule:

  • Meat, bread or starch, and vegetables
  • Main dish, vegetable, and fruit
  • Soup, bread, and salad
  • Sandwich, veggies, and fruit


Dinner tonight
Tonight's dinner: roasted broccoli and cauliflower, fish sticks, and oranges. The kids also each ate a banana because they were still hungry after we finished what you see here! :)

My go-to easy meat dishes are grilled chicken or fish, grilled beef burgers or salmon burgers, and oven-roasted chicken.

For a starch, I like to make baked potato wedges (great with burgers!), rice (perfect with fish), pasta (with chicken especially) and bread (with soup).

I either cook frozen vegetables or roast some fresh ones in the oven. For fruit, it's whatever's been on sale, or bananas. :)

(See also: 6 Tips for Perfect Oven-Roasted Veggies!)

Chicken, pasta, and broccoli

I love pasta and white sauce, but hadn't made it for quite a while. Last week, I cooked some pasta, made homemade alfredo sauce, steamed some broccoli, and warmed some leftover grilled chicken breast that I had previously frozen.

If I had mixed everything together, the family would have said "What? One thing for dinner and that's it?!" Instead, I served the foods separately, but everyone ended up with layered pasta, broccoli, chicken and sauce on their plates. Delicious! I even had some shredded (not grated) Parmesan cheese on hand from Costco, thanks to Jessica making me go buy some (see her chicken parmesan?!).

Smiley Ruth :)

I had to take a picture of Ruth (3), so excited about the wagon-wheel shaped pasta! :)

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please!

In order to keep the kitchen tips more easily accessible, posts not adhering to these guidelines will be removed. We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Cutting dough (Willa at Armstrong Family Fare)
2. 7 baking tips and shortcuts (Heather at Feel Good About Dinner)
3. Maple icing and other ways to stretch your real maple syrup (Blessed Roots)
4. Identifying squash (The Local Cook)
5. Freezing leftover soup, adding spinach to soup, & more (Robin at Happily Home After)
6. Identifying cups in the kitchen (Stacy at Stacy Makes Cents)
7. Year-round mint chocolate chips (Kolfinna's Korner)
8. Sweetening applesauce (Georgia's Cookie Jar)
9. Fridge baking soda tip (Living So Abundantly)
10. Ran-out-of-milk substitute (Adrienne at Whole New Mom)
11. Fruit pizza tips (Cheryl at The Bz House the Love Built)
12. Must-have sweeteners for from-scratch baking (Finding Joy in My Kitchen)
13. Bread-baking tip (Donna at Moms Frugal)


Thank you for linking to my post about stretching maple syrup :)! I completely agree about beyond basic being a hobby and about needing three items on the table for it to feel complete. Tonight was green rice and chicken casserole and steamed broccoli at our house which didn't seem like enough - so I added apples :).

Thanks for hosting. Can't wait to read all the links!

Mmmm, sounds delicious! :) Joshua eats an apple and 2 bananas in his lunch every day so I usually try to have a different fruit with dinner, and serve those same ones earlier in the day for the kids and me. :) But anyway, yes... funny how 3 things is just enough to feel complete! :)

There are so many awesome squash this time of year. This post includes links to pictorial guides.

Good morning, Tammy!

I am sharing my solution for those times when you're baking / cooking and find that you've run out of milk.

It's also the super frugal way to make Homemade Rice Milk.

Take care and blessings to you and yours,


Hi Tammy,

Of course I didn't know that this week's theme would be quick meals, but my post is about just that!

A hearty and healthy "home cooked" Spinach Soup with Whole Wheat Tortellini and Tomato.

I have several tips in this post:
- adding frozen spinach directly to the soup as a time saver
- soup freezing tip to create instant individual servings ... use paper insulated beverage cups, also a great space saver in the freezer

I even think there are others tips in the post, but those are the two big ones!

Here's the link:


Wonderful, Robin! Your soup recipe looks delicious, and I love the tips you included -- that can be used for any soup recipe! :) Thanks so much.

I shared a tip about stocking your pantry with basic sweeteners - it's part of my 31 days of cooking from scratch series!

Thanks, Tammy!


Hi Tammy --

The tips is about what sweeteners are a "must-have" in your pantry so that you can cook from scratch easily (w/o having to make an extra trip to the store). If it's not a good fit for today -- that's fine!

The other way you could link it up is as "using honey rather than sugar in an apple crisp".



Tammy, I always love your food photos. You are very talented. :-)

I'm linking up today with my tip for identifying cups in the kitchen.

~Stacy from Stacy Makes Cents

Oh, thank you Stacy. :) I love your tip today! :)

Oh to have time to really cook a homemade meal again! LOL! Looks yummy! I finally got a chance to blog again after being super busy for almost a month. I posted a tip on making homemade mint chocolate chips (cause I can't find them year around!)

I do the same thing for every dinner! What a great tip :0) Love the pic of your little girl. So cute. Here is my tip

What a great tip tammy!!!!

Long time no talk to my friend ;-> Sorry about that!!!! Life has been ever so busy and full of twists in "my world".
I included several different cooking tips in my posting today about my version of fruit pizza's. Feel welcome to pick and use which ever one or ones you want!
I PROMISE to try and stop back by and catch up with you soon! Do you have it set up yet so that I can sign up to automatically get your postings via email?

Cheryl B.
The Bz House That Love Built

The code question to make sure I'm not spam right now reads, "What is the fourth word in the phrase "taj iyeb tarotev jisimup dele" ?
I so-o-o wanted to type in 'heck if I know!" but didn't think it would accept that o;-p

Hey Cheryl! :) Yes -- you can subscribe by email here. :)

I just did ;->

Thank U Tammy!

I couldn't help noticing your beautiful tablecloth in the pic of Ruthie eating her Parmesan chicken. It looks like a vintage one like my grandmother used to have. I actually used to collect some of those beauties. I like the blue color on yours.

Your "pick three" plan sounds pretty solid. I never actually have put such a plan into so many words, but I think that when I prepare a meal I must sort of have in mind something like that. You're right, three things rounds it off nicely. Only these days, it's just my husband and me, and neither of us care if the three items get served as one dish. Seems the older I get, the less some things matter so much any more. We're just grateful to have food on our table!

Just want to comment about another thing: your site is absolutely beautiful, you make it interesting to read, and yes, your pics ARE gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing so much with us.

I completely relate with this post. Creativity in the kitchen is a fun hobby, but my normal meals usually offer three choices. When I have casseroles that include a starch and meat combined, I have sometimes only serve it with a vegetable. When I have done this everyone seems to be looking for another option. Three dishes does seem to be the perfect minimum for dinner.

oven roasted veggies look so delicious! I'll have to remember that. My second oldest daughter has sstarted to help me make lunch everyday, which happens to be also our main meal. It has been such a blessing to me to have her help, we made out menu plans for a 4 weeks, but I'm going to have to include oven roasted veggies. :) I do bake potatos often on a cookie sheet seasoned with seasonings, that is a favourite around here. :)

Simple and yummy is the best, that is how we do things around here, except for the dessert part, mine like to saome thing sweet every day.

~Tanya - mama to 6 treasures plus one on the way. :)

The picture of Ruth...I have a daughter named Ruth and she is the same age! Wild!!!

I love your site! Just found it today and I will be back!

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