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Sunday dinners should be relatively simple, stress free affairs. But how do you sit through three hours—or more—of church, come home to a hungry tribe and maybe extended family or guests, and still have a relatively simple affair that seems suitable for the Sabbath?

It seems like there are two paths to Sunday dinner simplicity: Make it simple or make it ahead. We’ll look at both today.

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Make it Ahead Meals

The kids and grandkids were over for Sunday supper. Merri Ann fixed pulled-pork sandwiches, salads, and chips. After, we ate brownies.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches for Dinner

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This is a meal that you can make entirely ahead. Merri Ann made the meat ahead though she often makes in the crockpot so that it’s done when we get home from church. Merri Ann buys the pork, carnitas meat, from a local grocer for $1.58 per pound.

She made enough that our daughters could take some home to feed their families later in the week.

She intended to make a potato salad on Saturday but ran out of time. Instead she got busy and used a couple bagged salads from Fred Meyers.  I especially liked the taco salad.

The brownies were made Friday; they still tasted good.

Get the brownies for only $2.99 per mix.  Limit 2

See how to make pulled pork sandwiches.

Debbie, our daughter, says that she doesn’t bother to pull the pork when she makes it; she uses her stand-type mixer.

I like soft dinner rolls for these sandwiches–Sour Cream Dinner Rolls are perfect.  I make a batch of 12 from each mix.

Get a Sour Cream Dinner Roll Mixes for $2.99, regular $4.49. Add a jam for $1.00, Regular $5.39

See more roll choices.

Meat Loaf Dinner

My mother made meat loaf dinners often, one of her favorite Sunday dinners. She made the meatloaf ahead to be baked on Sunday and either served baked potatoes or a potato salad with the meal. Here is one of my favorite meatloaf recipes. It’s made in a mini meatloaf pan but it can also be made in a jumbo muffin pan.

Stand-in-Line Deluxe Cheeseburger Mini Meatloaves

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These cheeseburger mini-meatloaves are worth standing in line for!  (And order a side of fries to go with it.)

If your kids like going to burger places with playgrounds, they’ll have fun with these mini meatloaves.  They’re fun to make, fun to serve, and really very good.  They’re made with ketchup and mustard and a layer of cheese.

Ingredients

1/4 cup ketchup
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs or other type of bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 – 3 teaspoons dill pickle relish
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup ketchup
tomato slices (optional)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine the first 1/4 cup ketchup, eggs, bread crumbs, onion and ground beef.  Mix ingredients well.
  2. Using the mini meatloaf pan with drain holes, fill six cups 1/2 full with mixture.
  3. To make the “cheeseburger filling”, spoon the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup, the mustard, dill pickle relish and the first 1/4 cup shredded cheese evenly between the six meatloaf patties.
  4. Divide the remaining meat mixture over the “cheeseburger filling”, mounding it above the pan.  Place the meat filled pan into the catch pan to catch the droppings during cooking.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Top with remaining shredded cheese and return it to the oven for five minutes or until it reaches 160 degrees.  Let the meatloaves stand five minutes in the pan before removing them.  Serve with optional tomato slices.

Keep-It-Simple Meals

Tacos

At our house, Sunday dinner often is a simple taco bar. Fry the meat and tortillas. Chop onions, tomatoes, olives and shred some lettuce. Put out some sauces and salsa along with some chips and let folks help themselves. If everyone pitches in with the clean-up, it’s a pretty simple meal.

Sandwich Wraps

This is a little more than sandwiches but just as easy. You can do these as a bar or just make platters of wraps.

How to Wrap a Wrap

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You can make an open-ended wrap or a closed one.  And everyone seems to have their own best way to wrap a wrap.  This is how we wrap a wrap.

  1. Smear sandwich spread within an inch of the perimeter of the tortilla.
  2. Lay sandwich goodies in a wide swath down the center of the tortilla and to within a couple inches of the left and right edges—kind of a rough rectangle.
  3. To make a closed end wrap, fold both the right and the left edges over the goodies and roll from the bottom.  To make an open-ended wrap, fold only one edge.

If we make a closed end wrap, we cut the wrap in two and eat half at a time.

If the tortilla is a little stiff and hard to wrap and keep closed, try microwaving the tortilla under a paper towel for 15 to 20 seconds.  It will be more pliable.

More Ideas

I asked Kelli in our office what she did to keep Sunday simple. She had two ideas that I liked:

  • On Fast Sunday, they have breakfast for dinner. Scrambling eggs or making pancakes is a simpler meal and usually with less cleanup.
  • I liked her make-ahead idea. She picks one meal during the week and makes double, twice as much. She saves the extra portion for Sunday, an extra roast chicken, a casseroles, or an extra-large roast. Good planning, Kelli.

About the Author

Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking   available as an E-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon.

Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children and five beautiful granddaughters.