Episode 59: Our Best Dinner Shortcuts—and Shortcut Dinners with Kelsey Nixon


You guys, we did it! We’ve cleared up a long-standing kitchen debate: what’s the difference between “dinner shortcuts” and “shortcut dinners,” and which is more important. Because we know you’ve been dying to know. AND… not only did we finally get the job done, but we also enlisted special ops dinner expert, Kelsey Nixon. So we’re pretty sure our answer is definitive: They are, in fact, different, and you need both. Get the deets and also each of our favorite shortcuts — both kinds.

This week’s episode is made possible by Banza Chickpea Pasta.


Which Came First?

The Dinner Shortcut or the Shortcut Dinner?

We’re not sure which came first — or which is more important in your kitchen — we just know that both dinner shortcuts and shortcut dinners save us on a weekly basis.

If you’re not sure the difference between the two or how to best use either, this episode is for you. Not only do we hash it out, but we also enlist quick dinner expert extraordinaire, Kelsey Nixon, to help us too.

Yup, we pulled out the big guns.

If you regularly find yourself with just 20 or 30 minutes to whip up a meal for your entire family, hit play NOW! Help is just a listen away.

Here are the recipes, products and resources mentioned in this episode:

Also, you liked this episode, here are some other Didn’t I Just Feed You episodes you’ll also love:

About Our Guest: Kelsey Nixon

Food Lover and Dinner Warrior

Kelsey Nixon talking dinner shortcuts on Didn't I Just Feed You, a food podcast for parents (even the ones who hate to cook!)

Kelsey Nixon is an Emmy-nominated TV personality, author, wife, mom, and cooking show host. She hosts Kelsey’s Essentials and Kelsey’s Homemade on Cooking Channel and was a finalist on season 4 of Food Network Star. Kelsey’s cookbook Kitchen Confidence and her exclusive product line with HSN help home cooks navigate the kitchen with confidence. You can also catch Kelsey dishing about her favorite sweet treats on Unique Sweets and judging on Food Network favorites like Guy’s Grocery Games and Chopped Junior.

Kelsey’s newest show Dinner Takes All premiered in 2019 and can be watched online! You can also find Kelsey on Instagram as @kelseynixon. Kelsey lives in Portland, OR with her husband Robby and 2 kids Ollie and Nora.

I Love It!

Bake It Happen: Baking For Good

Julia Turshen's Apple Sauce Cake | Didn't I Just Feed You, a food podcast for parents (even the ones who hate to cook!) | Photo: Meghan Splawn

This week, Stacie is participating in another year of Bake It Happen to help raise awareness and money for metastatic breast cancer research. If you’d like to help, too, we have good news: it’s super easy and delicious too!

Grab your favorite eligible recipe from the Bake It Happen website (think Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf, Black Bottom Cupcakes, Pumpkin Chip Brownies, and Chocolate Chip Meringues!), bake it up (get the kid involved), and tag or send photos of your experience to Facebook (@ubakeithappen), Instagram (@bakeithappen00) or via email (send to ubakeithappen@gmail.com) with the hashtag #bakeithappen.

Every time you share a photo, Bake It Happen with donate $5 to The Cancer Couch Foundation.

Meghan’s excited to participate since she’s been in a particularly bake-happy mood: this week, she’s loving Julia Turshen’s one-bowl Applesauce Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting (pictured).


One-Pot Cheesy Sausage and Rice

This week’s episode is brought to you in part by Banza Chickpea Pasta

Banza Chickpea Pasta and Rice for Busy Parents | Photo by Meghan Splawn for the Didn't I Just Feed You food podcast for parents

You guys, we’re obsessed with Banza chickpea pasta and cannot stop cooking with it. After all, it cooks and tastes JUST like regular pasta, but serves up nearly double the protein and three times the fiber. Talk about a dinner shortcut!

Try our One-Pot Cheesy Sausage and Rice and we promise you’ll be hooked too!

To learn more about Banza pasta, find our favorite shapes (we hand selected them just for you!) and get an exclusive discount code, visit eatbanza.com/didntijustfeedyou. Order directly from our page and use our coupon code at the top of the page, or find where to buy Banza pasta near you.


One-Pot Cheese Sausage and Rice

Serves 4

Olive oil

½ lb sausage (about two links), sliced into thin rounds that are halved into half-moon slices (see headnote)

1 cup chopped onion, from about 1 medium onion

1 8-ounce package Banza Rice

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (see headnote)

2 cups chicken broth 

Cheese, to taste (see headnote)

¼ teaspoon salt, plus more as desired

1. Drizzle olive oil in a cold saute pan set over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sausage and brown, about 2 minutes. 

2. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium, and saute until translucent, another 2 minutes. 

3. Add Banza Rice and cook for 30 seconds, stirring all the while to evenly coat the rice well with oil. Add tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, another 30 seconds or so. 

4. Add broth, stir, and allow it to come to a simmer. Adjust heat to maintain a very gentle simmer before covering the pan and cooking for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring twice during that time to keep the Banza Rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat off and allow the Banza Rice to sit, still covered, for another minute or two while you grate the cheese. 

5. Add the cheese, stir to melt and combine well, season with salt, and taste to adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.

Get Social With Us!

Because there’s always more to say

Be sure to join our Listeners’ Group, which you can access via the Didn’t I Just Feed You Facebook page. You can also follow us on Instagram as well: we’re @didntijustfeedyou together, @staciebillis and @meghan_splawn.