I was thinking about this the other day as I cooked dinner. I roasted a chicken last Tuesday, while I was working (it takes about 2 hours but not a lot of attention) and then used the chicken on Wednesday to make chicken curry and rice. The rice took 20 minutes and the curry sauce about the same; the chicken was already cooked so I just added it in. All told I spent about 15 minutes in front of the stove that night for a completely from scratch meal. The great part is that then I stuck the chicken carcass in the crock pot with some water and veggies, and let it cook on low for 2 days. Amazing homemade chicken stock, which I used to make soup on Friday.
|Mushroom risotto - steamy goodness!|
Vegetables can be an afterthought when you are trying to put a meal together quickly. Often I will cut up a bunch of raw veggies - carrots, red and green peppers, cucumbers - and we will just add them to our plates. Quick roasted vegetables are also nice - zucchini spears topped with olive oil, salt, pepper and grated parmesan take about 15 minutes to brown in the oven and make a nice finger food.
One of my son's favorite things to prepare is chicken soft tacos. He takes the precooked meat I have in the fridge, shreds some cheese and lettuce, adds a little rice and salsa in a tortilla, done! Less than 10 minutes. We need to be creative, which is not easy - sometimes just finding a recipe and figuring out what's in the icebox is overwhelming. You should have a couple things up your sleeve that you can make in a pinch - and always keep those ingredients on hand. It helps to cook a little extra if you can, and freeze it for later.
My go-to meal for dinner in a hurry has always been eggs. I make a mean omelet, and frittatas (see below) are great as well. Try these Southwestern Omelet Muffins - they are fabulous. Pop them in the freezer to use when you're short on time. Loads of flavor and the recipe makes about 18 so you know you'll have a couple meals out of it.
I have a friend who cooks every weekend, freezing meals for the week so she doesn't have to think about it. I wish I could be that organized.
What recipes do you use to pull together a quick dinner?
Quick Fritatta Recipe
(a good way to clean out the veggie drawer in your fridge)
Dash of milk or water
Salt and pepper
Half an onion
Cheese - parmesan, cheddar, swiss...whatever you have
Whatever you have on hand - I've used (and combined) mushrooms, bacon, sausage, ham, red or green peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes, etc.
Beat the eggs, adding a dash of milk or water, then salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron or oven proof skillet, add some olive oil and let it heat. Add the eggs and cook for a moment until the bottom is finished. Then add the other ingredients in a layering fashion. If your bacon is raw, cook it in the pan, then add the eggs on top and continue. Top with tomatoes and/or cheese, pop in the oven for 10 minutes at 400F. Done when golden brown. Serves 2-3.