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Four-ingredient recipes make shopping easier

Now that we’re making a wish list rather than a grocery list, it’s nice to have a few less ingredients on it. So, here is a collection of easy-to-prepare recipes that require only four or fewer ingredients. Of course, you can embellish with additional ingredients if you wish, but these recipes are truly tasty as written.

Ordinarily, I’d call these “emergency recipes” because it’s useful to keep these ingredients on hand for quick and easy dinners when the cupboards are bare. But now that grocery shelves and pantries are at risk of depleting, let’s just call them “recipes.”

Remember, dear readers, this is temporary. Although we’re apart, we’re together. And together, we will get through this. Clean hands, open heart.

Easy meatloaf: Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix 2 pounds ground beef, 1 6-ounce box stuffing mix (any flavor) and ½ cup milk together in a large bowl until well combined. Form the mixture into an oval and place into a loaf pan. Top meatloaf with ¼ cup ketchup or barbecue sauce to glaze. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the meatloaf is cooked throughout. Serve with ketchup.

Italian chicken and pasta: Mix one 15-ounce bottle of Italian dressing, ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts in your slow cooker, cover and cook on low for eight hours, or until done.

Cook spaghetti or any pasta (12-ounce to 16-ounce package) according to package directions. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta.

Cheesy baked ravioli: Preheat oven to 400 F and grease a 9-by-13 baking dish. Spread about ¾ cup of a 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce in a thin layer onto the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange half of a 24-ounce bag of frozen cheese ravioli in a single layer over the sauce. Top with half of the remaining sauce and one cup of mozzarella (2 cups total shredded mozzarella). Repeat layers starting with the ravioli. Finish by topping with the remaining sauce and cheese. Sprinkle top with ½ cup shredded Parmesan. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown.

Hawaiian chicken: Place 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts in a greased slow cooker. Drain 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, place in a bowl with 1 16-ounce bottle barbecue sauce and combine. Pour over chicken. Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or on low heat for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice.

Sweet and sour meatballs: Combine 1½ cups each: grape jelly and barbecue sauce (or chili sauce) in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add 1 32-ounce bag frozen fully cooked meatballs and stir until they are coated with the sauce. Cook on high for 2-3 hours. Serve as an appetizer or over rice as a main dish.

Banana cake: Preheat oven to 350 F and grease an 8-by-8 cake pan. In a large bowl, smash 3 large ripe bananas with a fork. Add 2 large eggs, 1 box yellow cake mix and a big handful of chocolate chips; mix well. Place cake batter in pan. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Try this recipe with spice cake, chocolate cake or butter pecan flavors, too.

Peanut butter cookies: Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar and 1 egg together in a bowl. Roll the dough into balls (about 3/4 inch) and flatten them with the back of a fork. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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