What is Your best "Throw Together" meal? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 53 Old 02-13-2014, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I mean something that is done in say 1/2 an hour. I would love to include in my arsenal of means something beyond spaghetti sauce and noodles that I can have set in as little time as possible.

 

I do burritos in about 20 minutes, saute veg., empty can of beans, this does not include rice unless its left over (which is fine) I am trying to get into the habit of cooking extra rice and then freezing it  in baggies for when I would like some rice but don't have 45 minutes or how ever long the rice cooker takes. (Greatest invention since slices bread, btw.)

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#2 of 53 Old 02-13-2014, 03:36 PM
 
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Spanish rice (takes 20mins) wrapped in flat bread with sour cream, grated cheese and avocado (if you have it).

Flat bread with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, spinach tossed in a dressing with grilled haloumi, tinned tuna or chick peas. We add fetta to the tuna/chick pea variations.

Pasta with sautéed onion, garlic, zucchini/capsicum/brocolini, toasted flaked almonds, fetta and Parmesan.
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#3 of 53 Old 02-13-2014, 04:07 PM
 
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:lurk

 

I don't have much to add for quick meals. I'll be watching this thread for ideas! What I do to speed up the process though is to "pre-cook" a lot of ingredients like browned taco meat, cooked chicken, and cooked beans. This makes the long part of cooking dinner go faster since it's already done and I can then whip up something needing chicken or beans in 30 min or less. I can make pinto beans & fried potatoes, refried beans, black beans and rice, black bean soup, chili and more once I have these ingredients in the freezer already cooked. I currently keep instant rice on hand so I can have rice quickly but really need to get into freezing it so I can have more fresh rice ready to go. 

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#4 of 53 Old 02-13-2014, 05:23 PM
 
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I love making simple healthy meals! I make veggies with dinner every night, and it is by far the easiest part of the meal! I just throw broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, asparagus, brussel sprouts, etc. on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven. I top the veggies with oil, salt, and garlic powder, or fresh parmesan cheese. Yum!! You can make veggies like this as the side to ANY meal!
As far as meat goes, baked chicken is super easy to just pop in the oven. I love basic stuff on the stove top like burgers, chicken breast, pork, steaks, and fish. I get all my meat and veggies in bulk from Sam's club and freeze what I can't use right away. It makes dinner and lunches really cheap!


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#5 of 53 Old 02-13-2014, 06:09 PM
 
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My main ones are also pasta & sauce or tacos/burritos/rice & bean bowls. The rice cooker is great. A lot of things can be made in 1/2 hr. to put in a slow cooker if you have one. Here are some others:

 

Red lentil soup with spinach and lemon

http://www.pinkofperfection.com/2011/03/red-lentil-soup-with-spinach-and-lemon/

 

Soba noodles with broccoli and tofu

Cut up tofu and broccoli in small pieces and when the water boils for the soba, put them in with the noodles. Cook for 5 min. and drain. Sauce: mix sriracha or chili-garlic sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce or a prepared peanut sauce is good on this, too.

 

Pizza bread

Cut your choice of rolls in half and top with pizza sauce and cheese. Last time I put onion, mushroom slices and green pepper on some. DH likes anchovies, DD2 likes pepperoni. Take your pick of quick-cooking toppings.

 

Crock pot baked potatoes (I think I've posted this in various threads a million times)

Wrap clean, dry potatoes in foil & place in slow cooker. NO water. Cook on low about 6 hrs. or high 3-4 hrs. Depends on your machine. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onion, steamed broccoli etc.

 

Dinner salads fit this bill, too - cobb salad, chicken caesar (chicken tenders grill really quickly), any salad topped with beans, cheese, etc. and a good salad dressing.

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#6 of 53 Old 02-13-2014, 07:49 PM
 
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Crock pot baked potatoes (I think I've posted this in various threads a million times)

Wrap clean, dry potatoes in foil & place in slow cooker. NO water. Cook on low about 6 hrs. or high 3-4 hrs. Depends on your machine. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onion, steamed broccoli etc.

jaw2.gifWhy haven't I thought of this?!? Omg you're amazing. I know what I'm having for dinner tomorrow night!


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#7 of 53 Old 02-13-2014, 08:11 PM
 
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Pasta with kale, white beans and sausage - in a white sauce with chicken stock and a little white wine (optional, but really rounds out the flavor).

 

Saute the sausage with a diced onion and carrot (or not, up to you), add the kale (or other greens or broccoli), add in a few cups of chicken stock and about a half a cup of white wine. Dump in cooked white beans, season with parsley and thyme (or whatever herbs you want). You can thicken it with a cornstarch slurry if you like, but just reducing it down a bit by cooking on high for a little while usually works for me. The trick to making it excellent is to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce - so cook it separately in salted water until it's just before done, then dump it in the sauce and finish cooking it - helps thicken the sauce, and the pasta soaks up some of the flavor. 

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#8 of 53 Old 02-14-2014, 05:19 AM
 
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Here is an idea I tried once - one-pot wonders. I made the Italian Wonderpot. Easy and my family liked it.

 

Italian Wonderpot

http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/05/italian-wonderpot/

 

One-pot Wonder Cheeseburger Casserole

http://4sonrus.com/2013/08/26/one-pot-wonder-cheeseburger-casserole/

 

Spinach and Artichoke Wonderpot

http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/10/spinach-artichoke-wonderpot/


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#9 of 53 Old 02-17-2014, 11:00 AM
 
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Curried peas and rice. I freeze fresh garden peas in the spring and then use them til I run out. Couple of cups of brown rice (cooked in the rice cooker) and the frozen peas in a sauce pan, add some stock and red curry paste and you are ready to go. Love it and it is DS8's favorite meal!

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#10 of 53 Old 02-17-2014, 11:07 AM
 
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Grilled chicken or salmon is super easy, you can even put it in a the night before to marinade if you like.

I usually eat these with something simple like asparagus or a salad.

We also do a lot of breakfast for dinner type of things. One of my main things is a fried egg, a piece of toast, tomato, bacon, avocado and baby spinach.
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#11 of 53 Old 02-17-2014, 01:23 PM
 
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Instant ramen with eggs, or leftover meat, and some frozen veggies. Cheap and done in 3 minutes.


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#12 of 53 Old 02-17-2014, 02:16 PM
 
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Here are 2 other easy and delicious One Pot Wonder meals we make on a regular basis.

 

http://4sonrus.com/2013/11/24/one-pot-wonder-chicken-lo-mein/

 

http://4sonrus.com/2013/05/03/one-pot-spaghetti/

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#13 of 53 Old 02-17-2014, 02:26 PM
 
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Mmm, lots of good ideas here!

 

Grilled cheese sandwiches.  We make them with mustard on one side and spaghetti sauce on the other; it's a surprisingly good combination.

 

Japanese Udon Noodle Soup

 

Someone mentioned soba noodles above, and they are even faster than udon.  We eat them with some kind of steamed vegetable and tofu in a teriyaki or peanut sauce.  Another option for the veg is cabbage and carrot fried in sesame oil with some salt and pepper.

 

Fried rice made with leftover rice, whatever veggies are handy, tofu if we have it, egg, soy sauce, black pepper, ginger.

 

Hummus with veggies and bread/chips to dip.

 

Masoor Dal takes only 20 minutes if you soaked the lentils and cut up the onions and carrots the night before, and not much longer if you forgot.

 

American Beanwich made with leftover or canned beans.  Kind of like Sloppy Joe but more of a cheeseburger flavor.

 

Canned salmon fancied up with some grilled onions, parsley, and lemon juice, served over whatever carb is available, with salad or veg.

 

When we don't have time to cook rice, pasta, or potatoes or have any cooked leftovers on hand, couscous is really quick and easy to cook.  We can get whole-wheat couscous in bulk at the food co-op.

 

Loubie is easy to make from canned vegetables.  (This is meatless.  Restaurants sometimes put meat in it.)

 

High-protein vegan pasta "salad" eaten hot or cold.

 

Veggie burgers on toast.  When we make burgers from scratch, we make lots and freeze them for quick reheating later.  We also buy the frozen ones sometimes when we haven't had time to make any.


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#14 of 53 Old 02-17-2014, 05:23 PM
 
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Grilled chicken or salmon is super easy, you can even put it in a the night before to marinade if you like.

I usually eat these with something simple like asparagus or a salad.

 

This reminds me of a few of other favorites - baked chicken with honey mustard sauce spooned on in the last few minutes of cooking, stovetop chicken with biscuit dumplings and smoked salmon. We have a stovetop smoker, so alder smoked salmon is so easy and good - we like it with a cayenne-spiked honey mustard. 


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#15 of 53 Old 02-19-2014, 01:16 PM
 
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A favorite in our house is rice bowls:

 

* Rice OR rice/quinoa mix OR multi-grain mix can be cooked ahead if so desired.

 

* Ground beef, chicken, pork, etc can be cooked ahead if so desired.

 

* Frozen veggies can be heated within minutes.

 

A rice bowl can be made with just about any combination of grain, meat/protein, vegetable you can imagine!

 

Our go-to is usually something like this:

 

rice/grain mix 

black beans (that we have cooked and canned ourselves)

ground beef

sweet potatoes (on occasion)

corn

salsa

sour cream

lettuce (optional)

other raw veggies such as green pepper, green onion or canned fruit such as mangoes or tropical fruit blend, etc.

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#16 of 53 Old 02-19-2014, 02:03 PM
 
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Crock pot baked potatoes (I think I've posted this in various threads a million times)

Wrap clean, dry potatoes in foil & place in slow cooker. NO water. Cook on low about 6 hrs. or high 3-4 hrs. Depends on your machine. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onion, steamed broccoli etc.

I just do baked potatoes in the microwave now. Is there a difference between these crockpot ones and the conventional oven- or microwave-cooked variety? 

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#17 of 53 Old 02-19-2014, 02:53 PM
 
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A really quick and yummy dinner my whole family enjoys is brats in a blanket. Just like pigs in a blanket, but with full size bratwurst. We prefer the "better with cheddar" variety. Then just wrap them individually in the premade cresent rolls. Bake for 12-15 mins.

The poster with the rice bowls made my mouth water! I'm going to try those out this week.

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#18 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 10:03 AM
 
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Quick meals:

1. Pork chops with cider cream sauce,  mashed sweet potato , and sautéed kale. chop up sweet potatoes put in boiling water (i dont peel). then flatten pork chops (or buy thin ones) so they cook quickly. fry on both sides, meanwhile wash tear up kale add some garlic and olive oil and sauté. once pork chops done (about 10 minutes--5 each side ) take out of pan, add cider to deglaze, then some cream and mustard.  strain and mash up sweet potatoes with fork, pour cream sauce on pork chops and serve. about 30 minutes from start to finish.

2. red lentil soup (they cook so quickly).  boil water or broth, add red lentils and add either carrots or coconut milk . add some onion garlic. boil and puree.

3. arroz con pollo. take left over chicken  shred, add frozen peas, corn and chop carrot and onion finally add jar of strained tomatoes or a couple fresh, sauté add left over rice(but you could put  rice to cook before you start and be done in 45 minutes instead of 30) salt and bit of cumin and red pepper powder or flakes.

4. chop bits and pieces from fridge add sausage and serve over left over rice. a frequent occurrence in my house as i open the fridge and stare at 1/2 a large radish, one turnip and some wilty looking greens and think what to  do with this sad lot?

 

then there are so many dishes that take less than 30 minutes to prep but take a while to cook on their own: ratatouille, baked chicken and veggies,  slow cooker meals, 

 

please everyone keep adding suggestions! we all need 30 minute meal options.

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#19 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 11:08 AM
 
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I just do baked potatoes in the microwave now. Is there a difference between these crockpot ones and the conventional oven- or microwave-cooked variety? 


I don't have a microwave, so it's easier for me to use the crockpot & not have to keep an eye on the oven. Flavor-wise, I think the crockpot ones are very similar to conventional, especially if you do 3-4 hours on high rather than 8 hrs. on low.


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#20 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 11:51 AM
 
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Salmon Patties and baked sweet potatoes.  

-Wrap the potatoes in foil wrap and throw sweet potatoes in the oven (on 400 or 425) before you start on the salmon patties (use small potatoes if you want it to be done quickly).

-Preheat skillet on low-medium heat and add coconut oil (or butter or oil of your choice) 

- Then mix together:  2 cans or packs of boneless, skinless salmon, 2 eggs, splash of milk (or water), and cornmeal (keep adding cornmeal until the mixture becomes thick and it is easy to patty out the salmon patties). 

-Add the patties to the oil in the skillet and cook until browned on each side.

-Get the potatoes out of the oven and then add honey, butter, and cinnamon

Cheap and easy meal that my picky kids actually love!

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The absolute quickest meal that I can think is to swing by the store and pick up an already cooked rotisserie chicken (usually $4 or $5 for a whole chicken) and salad fixings and make a salad.  Or if you don't eat meat, substitute nuts or alternate protein source.  


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#22 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 12:33 PM
 
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The whole chicken reminds me!
Its crock pot but easy peasy! First pour a large can of cream of chicken soup in the crock pot, then stick a whole chicken in. Cook on low all day. So juicy and melts in your mouth! You don't even need a knife to cut it up, just a fork. It falls right off the bone!

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#23 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 01:46 PM
 
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The whole chicken reminds me!
Its crock pot but easy peasy! First pour a large can of cream of chicken soup in the crock pot, then stick a whole chicken in. Cook on low all day. So juicy and melts in your mouth! You don't even need a knife to cut it up, just a fork. It falls right off the bone!


Love this principle, but I usually make it with barbecue sauce. I have heard of using Italian dressing, too. Many variations!


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#24 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 02:31 PM
 
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I've done the BBQ sauce too. It was delish! But since then discovered DS is allergic to tomatoes, and tomatoes are the first ingredients in BBQ sauce. So cream of chicken it is, for now. I guess you could use whatever tickles your fancy smile.gif

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#25 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 03:11 PM
 
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No tomatoes - that's a tough one!

 

Another crockpot idea: layer either sausages or country-style pork ribs (the boneless kind) with cut-up potatoes and lightly drained sauerkraut & cook. I have added a touch of brown sugar to the sauerkraut if it's very sour.

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#26 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 03:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LoveChild421 View Post
 

The absolute quickest meal that I can think is to swing by the store and pick up an already cooked rotisserie chicken (usually $4 or $5 for a whole chicken) and salad fixings and make a salad.  Or if you don't eat meat, substitute nuts or alternate protein source.  


Yes! We bring this meal to people who are sick, have a new baby, etc. So easy and almost everyone likes it.


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#27 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 04:19 PM
 
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The whole chicken reminds me!
Its crock pot but easy peasy! First pour a large can of cream of chicken soup in the crock pot, then stick a whole chicken in. Cook on low all day. So juicy and melts in your mouth! You don't even need a knife to cut it up, just a fork. It falls right off the bone!

 

You don't even have to add any liquid. Just put a whole chicken on a ring of tin foil in the crockpot - exactly like store-bought rotisserie chicken, only better. 

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#28 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 07:13 PM
 
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Here's another one: tomato soup

 

http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2008/11/again-with-the.html


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#29 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 07:18 PM
 
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Here's another one: tomato soup

 

http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2008/11/again-with-the.html

 

Awesome! Husband was just saying he wants to find a good recipe for home made tomato soup. 


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#30 of 53 Old 02-20-2014, 10:08 PM
 
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Veggie Chili

 

1 cup quinoa

1 jar salsa however spicy you want it

2 cans beans of your choice

chili powder to taste

 

Start the quinoa first, 7-10 minutes or so, then add everything else and let it simmer 5-7 minutes to get the beans and salsa warm. Top with shredded cheese, or not for vegan. Easy, veggie, fast, all shelf stable, reasonably healthy. 


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