I don’t know about you, but I have a love-hate relationship with cooking. What I love is knowing that I use fresher ingredients, that my homemade dishes are made with clean hands and a pure heart, and that I can be creative. What I hate though, is the time that needs to be dedicated to cooking, the clean up afterward, and sometimes just not knowing what to cook. Most of us, moms and dads alike, have full plates. We work, we shuttle kids, and some of us have an additional side hustle or hobby. With that being said, cooking at home can become burdensome, but it does not have to be. It can actually be quite simple and rewarding. I have found some crowd-pleasing dishes that are great for a weekend at home. These recipes won’t break the bank and are pretty easy to whip up.


In my house, we love a good burger, so burgers and fries make the meal rotation quite frequently. Typically, I would form the ground beef into patties myself and cook away until one tired night a few months back. Burgers were on the menu and I was too tired to stand in the kitchen and form patties. That’s when innovation (to keep things positive) set in and viola-my now-famous Smashburgers were born! With a dash of creative insight, I dumped the ground beef into a skillet, seasoned it, and cooked away. Next, I drained the fat, returned the meat to the pot, and added my toppings. Yep, right there in the skillet went cheese, ketchup, and mustard – mixed and heated to cheeseburgery perfection. All that was left to do was add buns and they loved it! My hungry housemates thought I had made beefy gold. They didn’t know that the Smashburger was born out of sheer exhaustion.

3 Easy Crowd-Pleasing DishesSliders made differently

Sometimes it’s not exhaustion that causes cooking to be a daunting mission, it may be the need to feed a lot of people in the simplest manner possible. My family loves to get together and we have lots of people to feed. I was tasked with making sliders for one of our gatherings this summer. I know how to attack sliders the traditional way, but with so many to feed, I needed an easier method. I went to my trusted friend Google and looked up easy slider recipe. Let me tell you something, if you love Krystals or Whitecastle, you will surely love this recipe! You make a giant hamburger patty in the oven. While that bakes, slice a large pack of attached Hawaiian rolls right through the middle. Once the meat is cooked, add it uncut to the buns. You’ll have a giant burger. The final step is to slice the big burger into sliders. We love it!

3 Easy Crowd-Pleasing DishesHomemade Pizza

The final easy meal that I am going to share with you did not come from exhaustion or the need to feed a lot of people. As a home chef (smiles), I do love to get creative in the kitchen. I love to see the look on my husband and children’s faces when I create something unexpected that tastes amazing. This time it would be pizza! We purchase pizza so often that we should have stock in a local pizza joint or two. This time, though, mama wanted to make homemade pizza. I wanted to form the dough (it ended up somewhere between an oval and a square) and add the toppings. I purchased dough, pizza sauce, cheese, and pepperoni from the grocery store. We had pizza in 25 minutes! The pizza only takes 15-18 minutes to bake and is inexpensive to make. The crowd was pleased and I was satisfied that my creation didn’t flop. If you want to be even more creative and make your own dough, give sourdough a try! It seems to be all the rage now!

No Guess Work Needed

Whether you are an exhausted mom, a creative home chef, or need to feed a crowd, it is possible to whip up dishes that are simple, taste great, and are not time-consuming. You can also save some brain space by planning your meals in advance. If you get stuck though, a quick online search for easy meals can yield some great results. One of my favorite sites for great recipes is Delish.com. The most important thing to remember is to keep it simple. Bon appetit!

Previous articleHalloween Busy Box for Creative Play from St Augustine Moms
Next articleLearning to Love a Florida Fall
Fannethia Vitolo
Fannethia is a native Floridian who primarily resided in Northwest St. Johns County since the age of seven. Her beautiful family of five includes her easy-going husband David and three teens Mikayla, Shawna, and Bryce. Fannethia and her family are St. Augustine residents who love their proximity to the beach, shopping, and the interstate for travel purposes. After graduating from Nease High School, Fannethia earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Florida (Go Gators). She’s also earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University-Portland. Having attended St. Johns County Schools, one of her proudest accomplishments is having the opportunity to impact lives in the same school district that she received her education. In addition to teaching, Fannethia also loves sharing products to help women and girls care for their skin! Spending time with family, traveling, writing, and creating whatever her mind dreams up are some of her favorite pastimes. Fannethia is a loving encourager who understands her life mission to be one that helps others become their best self. You can follow Fannethia on Instagram @fanvitolo.