If you think that it seems like we New Jerseyans are rushing around more than anybody else on the planet, it’s not your imagination. We are more densely populated than another state. Add that to our proximity to two major cities, New York and Philadelphia, the amount of shore towns packed with summer visitors, and just the sheer energy and vitality that we have as people and you’ve got a recipe for BUSY.

So you get home after work or even a day on the beach and you’ve got a throw something together for your family for dinner. What better way than with a simple five ingredient recipe?

Our listeners who — let’s face it — ARE New Jersey, gave us these great ideas. And, call me a cheater, I don’t count your sauté oil, salt, pepper or spices of your choice “ingredients.” (The exception to this is Old Bay Seasoning. That’s in a class by itself!) Add as much of those as you want!

Otherwise, here are your quick 5 ingredient (or under) meals.


Angel hair aglio e olio

Sun dried tomatoes
Fresh basil
Angel hair pasta

Sauté Garlic in olive oil, add parsley, basil and sundried tomatoes. Serve atop angel hair pasta


Turkey stuffed squash

Ground turkey
Mini peppers
Acorn squash

Cut acorn squash in half and prick several holes all around the skin with a fork. Please skin side up in a 350° oven for approximately 20 minutes or until inside is soft.

While squash is baking, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil till soft and add mini peppers cook till crispy tender.

Add turkey and brown with spices of your choice like oregano basil thyme, etc. Cook until browned and then stuffing acorn squash bake in oven covered for another 40 to 45 minutes.


Sautéed chicken au vin

Chicken cutlets
Frozen vegetables

Slice tomatoes and lay them all over chicken cutlets in a greased pan or Pyrex. Empty bag of frozen vegetables into the pan and add about a half a cup of wine and a cup of either vegetable or chicken stock. Add salt and pepper, cover and bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour or until chicken is cooked through


Quick frittata

Soft cheese
Hard cheese

Sauté onions and vegetables of your choice. I choose broccoli or spinach but you can do a mixture of both. Sauté and your choice of vegetables together until thoroughly cooked.

Whisk 4 to 5 eggs. Mix in about a half a cup of whatever soft cheese you choose either cottage cheese or ricotta, and a cup of shredded cheese either mozzarella, Swiss, cheddar or a mixture of any of them and add salt and pepper and fresh herbs if you like. Pour in a skillet that has been sprayed with and oil spray and warmed on medium and then add vegetables.

Cover and cook on the lowest flame possible on your stove until the frittata is set, about 15 minutes. Check often to avoid burning


Pizza roll ups

Frozen tortilla
Bite-size meatballs (I use vegan ones)
Shredded pizza Cheese

Spoon marinara sauce on tortilla, place 6 or 7 meatballs in a horizontal line across the tortilla about 2/3 of the way down. Sprinkle with cheese and herbs (oregano, thyme, basil etc.) of your choice. Roll up and wrap in foil. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.


Italian chicken bake

Chicken breast
Olive oil

Layer all ingredients over chicken breast and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.


Any night crab cakes

Old Bay seasoning
Crab meat

Mix 2 cups of chopped crab meat with a quarter cup of breadcrumbs an egg and a tablespoon of mayo. Add 1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning and stir until the mixture is very thick. If it’s too thin you can add another tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs. Add salt and pepper, form into patties and either fry, or for a more healthy option, bake in the oven about 350 for around a half hour.


Feta frittata

Red onion

Another frittata/omelet recipe but it’s definitely special enough to be included here as a dinner. And it’s simple: slice up some red onion, sauté that and asparagus and red bell peppers until the vegetables are crisp/tender. Beat eggs and pour over vegetables cook on low until eggs are semi set. Sprinkle with feta, cover and cook on low in oven till set.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi Franco’s own.

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