I need meals with VERY little prep time! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 08-26-2007, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So I've been looking at cookbooks for "quick and easy meals," but most of them still require standing in the kitchen, tending to something for 20-30 minutes. With three kids ages 5 and under, including a newborn who nurses constantly and never wants to be put down, there is absolutely no way I can commit to even 30 minutes in the kitchen. So I need meals with very little prep time -- say, 5 or 10 minutes MAX to throw the ingredients together and stick in the oven or crockpot or whatever.

Anyone have any ideas for me?
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#2 of 17 Old 08-26-2007, 01:02 AM
 
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hmm,
Use a large skillet or pot
slice round steak or pork, saute in oil (sesame would be good). Add broth, and cut up broccoli, any other asian type things such as green onions and red bell peppers would be good too. At the end of cooking, add a package or two of ramen noodles and seasoning. Just lie them on top and let the steam do the work. Done.

Another idea. Saute breasts in butter, add white wine and thyme...let cook. With that you can do a million things. Well, maybe not a million. You can add mushrooms. You can add mushrooms and sour cream. You can leave as is.You can add bacon and sour cream or bacon and mushrooms and sour cream. Or add broccoli. Use next to potatoes or rice. Done.

One more idea. In a large pot or skillet that can also go into the oven. Cook any meat. Add stewed tomatoes, pinto beans and corn tortillas or corn chips and some mexican type seasoning . Cover with shredded cheese and let it cook in the oven until cheese bubbles. Done.

Make a pizza dough in your bread machine (can get at thrift store cheap) Then make individual pizzas. Kids LOVE this.

Cook a couple of chickens at a time. Separate meat into small freezer bags. Pull out for quick nachos, quesideas(sp?) or spaghetti.

Pampered Chef sells a covered baker that cooks pork loin in 8 minutes and a whole 4lb chicken in 30 minutes in the microwave. I sell pampered chef so let me know if you want one. I don't have one yet, but it's next on my list and it's a best seller.

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#3 of 17 Old 08-26-2007, 04:46 AM
 
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burritors with canned beans and canned corn and chili powder or pepper or whatever spices, just need to heat it up on the stove for 5 minutes.

Any kind of meat in the crockpot, like beef shoulder roast, I don't even add liquid to make that because it makes it's own juice. Just cook on low for 8 hours. You don't even have to chop up potatoes or carrots, you can just use frozen veggies or use baby carrots if you want to put veggies in there.

Or you can make chicken...leg quarters are cheap but you could use cut up chicken pieces or boneless breasts, whatever you like-- and pour salsa over that in the crockpot, low for 8 if it has bones or low for maybe 4-5 if it's boneless breasts. (at least my crockpot cooks boneless breasts pretty fast.)

Or cut up some thin cut beef steak and you can buy bell peppers and onions already sliced in the frozen food section, just stir fry that or even put in crock pot if you want, that can make fajitas or put some soy sauce on it for asian flavor, then serve over rice or noodles.

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#4 of 17 Old 08-26-2007, 05:10 AM
 
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I like scrambled eggs/omelets with just eggs, a splash of milk and cheese. You can add in other ingredients quickly too if you have an extra minute...it's especially good to throw some sundried tomatoes with their oil in the pan and some garlic, sauté for a couple minutes and then add the eggs, milk and cheese. I get canned sliced sundried tomatoes and the pre-minced garlic in a jar (it's like $4 at costco for a HUGE jar, much cheaper than fresh garlic and perfect for cooking!) I just put a little oil in the pan, crack the eggs right in, splash the milk and whip them up a little with a spatula. They're usually done in like 6 minutes or so start to finish I think.

Also this takes a little while to cook but doesn't take much time to assemble if you have the jarred minced garlic. I'm really bad at recipes so you'll have to figure out the right proportions on some stuff, sorry...

Lentils and water into a pot with water on medium heat then add....
1 chopped onion
a couple tablespoons or so of chopped garlic
a bunch of fresh grated ginger

Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer till lentils seem done.
Good like that or you can add:
1 or 2 cans of coconut milk
curry powder
a little ginger
a little cinnamon
cooked sweet potatoes or any other vegetables you want

This also freezes and thaws really well so you can make a huge batch at a time, and I think it tastes great cold as well as hot. You can serve with sour cream or yogurt if you want, or just plain with a little seasalt is great.
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#5 of 17 Old 08-26-2007, 05:23 AM
 
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I just thought of another thing after reading the previous posts. I don't know how fast this would be for a whole family, but for just my husband and myself it's pretty quick, or you could get one of those huge grill things that fits over 2 burners since being in the pan is what takes the most time....

I like to take tortilas (corn are my favorite) and fill them with different fillings. I put a little coconut oil in the skillet, put a tortila in and then usually start by covering it with cheese. Then I dump in some combo of canned black beans, salsa, olives, Quorn chicken (or real chicken) or sometimes marinara, spinach, pine nuts...there are lots of differerent options!

Also in either pita, flatbread or a tortila you can whip together some cucumber sauce

cucumbers (or not, still good without)
Plain yogurt
Sour cream
Dill
Mint (better with, also good without)
Dash of lemon juice
Garlic - minced or powdered
A pinch of sweetener

It's good with falafel, chicken, Quorn chicken, garden burgers, meatballs and probably other stuff. We also add chopped tomatoes, lettuce or spinach and feta cheese.
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#6 of 17 Old 08-26-2007, 10:33 AM
 
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Crockpot!

When I had a newborn, he got up at the crack of dawn (still does, but now the crack of dawn is 6am instead of 4:45 ) He was also pretty happy that time of day, so I'd do all the prep for supper early, early in the morning. We ate a lot of casseroles nad one pot meals that I would cook in the morning, then reheat at supper time. It worked well for us (really, until it got too hot for the oven)
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#7 of 17 Old 08-26-2007, 11:55 AM
 
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Here are a few suggestions for you:

Cobb Sandwiches - These are really yummy. Toasted english muffins topped with ranch dressing, cheese (usually we use provolone), turkey, bacon, lettuce, green onion, tomato and avocado.

English Muffin Pizza - Sauce & cheese heated up, its good! Add veggies if you like. I use homemade sauce too but you could use whatever you have for now.

Red Beans & Rice - This is just throw in the pot if you buy a healthy mix in the box type. We add kielbasa sausage at the end so it gets warmed up. I also add steamed veggies on the side.

Ravioli Lasagna - Layer the cooked ravioli with sauce and cheese and heat up in the oven until warm and bubbly.


This one is from my blog: http://familieseatinghealthy.blogspot.com/

Ham and Pineapple Couscous Salad
SUBMITTED BY: Julie Stutzman - All Recipes.com

Original recipe yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup couscous
4 ounces cooked ham, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
1/2 small red onion, sliced
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Dijon-style prepared mustard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
In a large saucepan, bring water, butter and garlic powder to a boil. Turn off heat and stir in couscous. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool.
In a large bowl, mix together couscous, ham, pineapple, onion and drained peas
In a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice, lemon juice, Dijon-style mustard and vegetable oil. Pour dressing over the salad and stir to coat. Salt and pepper to taste.

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 377
Total Fat: 14.6g
Cholesterol: 30mg
Sodium: 497mg
Total Carbs: 48.7g
Dietary Fiber: 4.6g
Protein: 12.8g

RACHEL'S NOTE: I used olive oil for the butter and the oil in this recipe and I used whole wheat couscouse. No onion tonight either because we didn't have one, but I've made it with it in there before and its really good if diced very small. Also it doesn't note how much mustard but I used about a tablespoon.

Mama to (DS 7) and (DD 5), wife to DH

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#8 of 17 Old 08-27-2007, 07:55 AM
 
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Could you also make more each time so you'll have leftovers? Could you take an afternoon and get your SO or a babysitter to watch the kids while you coook a bunch of stuff to freeze?
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#9 of 17 Old 08-27-2007, 07:25 PM
 
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What about fish?

Earlier do a side dish or cut up some raw veggies for your sides.

You can slap the fish in some cold water to thaw and walk away for 15-30 minutes. Then come back, heat the stove with an oiled pan, whisk together a three-ingredient marinade, put the fish in the pan, pour on marinade and cook 3-6 minutes per side, depending in the thickness of the fish. Done.

My favorite marinade is soy sauce, lemon juice, and AVC or the like. You can use pretty much any marinade, though.

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#10 of 17 Old 08-29-2007, 02:22 AM
 
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I recently got a box of Trader Joe's creamy tomato soup. It was a little too thick for my taste so here's what I did with it (this is for one serving, edit the amounts based on the number of people)....

While I cooked it on the stove, I mixed in a teaspoon of 'Better than Bouillon' vegetable base and a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Right before I poured it back in my bowl, I mixed in a small handful of soy "cheese". YUMMY!!!

If you want something a little chunkier, I think diced tomatoes or some black beans would taste excellent with it!

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#11 of 17 Old 08-29-2007, 02:39 AM
 
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I didn't read it all but here are my fastest:

Quesadilla- either in toaster oven or on pan- simply put cheese (and if you want, beans or tomatoes or whatever) on tortilla, fold over and eat w/ whatever you want, salsa or sour cream etc.

Japanese noodles- heat up the soba noodles according to directions, add scallions, sesame seeds, soy sauce or other Asian dressing (I like Asian chili oil and rice vinegar), throw it in the fridge until cold

Nothing like a good old boiled or scrambled egg (actually I don't like eggs but if I'm starving, I'll do it!)

Sliced tomato & mozzarella w/ basil, olive oil & bread, very filling, if served with some kind of Italian pork product even better IMO

Once a week or so I'll make a big pot of brown rice and immediately, while it's still hot, put it in a freezer bag and freeze it, then you can just chip off however much you want throughout the week, nutritious & can be mixed w/ sauteed veggies or meat

Mix canned black beans with corn (frozen so it's quick), tomatoes, onions, chili powder & salt and serve w/ tortilla chips

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#12 of 17 Old 08-29-2007, 01:06 PM
 
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Chicken thighs, topped with a quick drizzle olive oil and dried herbs. Oven roast. (Might take time to cook but the prep is fast)

Stuffing mixes--so fast, and delicious. Not superhealthy but maybe okay once in a while?? (I hope!)

Good convenience foods like soups and chilis. When I was working full time we would buy 2 or 3 premade soups at the nice market a week, and then just eat all week with good bread and cheese. Italian wedding soup, chicken rice, turkey or veggie chili, etc...
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#13 of 17 Old 08-29-2007, 04:44 PM
 
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I have a newborn that nurses constantly and doesn't like to be put down either, so I have been trying a bunch of quick stuff as well. It is also way TOO HOT to use my oven, so I've been trying out crock pot recipes. This is what I cooked yesterday and it was so yummy.

Pineapple CHicken:

2-3 chicken breasts (4-5 if you need more, doesn't make a diff. on the rest)
1 can of pineapple (chunks, crushed, sliced, whatever)
2 tb. of mustard
soy sauce
1 t. of minced garlic
pepper/salt
paprika

Throw chkn. into crockpot, sprinkle with salt/pepper/paprika, dump can of fruit, mix mustard and soy sauce and garlic, dump onto chkn. Let it cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours until done. Then serve over some couscous or rice. You could also throw in some veggies like peppers or broccoli, cauliflower, squash, sprouts etc.

natural living, cloth diapering, babywearing, intactalactivist mama to 2 beautiful boys both born at homehomebirth.jpg ~ ds1 July 8,2007 and ds2 born December 31,2009 and loving my awesome dh!! mdcblog5.gif
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#14 of 17 Old 08-31-2007, 08:57 AM
 
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on foodnetwork.com they have a 30 minute recepies show that has some pretty fancy meals but I bet you could cut some of the stuff and then have really simple and very quick stuff.
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#15 of 17 Old 08-31-2007, 02:14 PM
 
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Taste of Home used to do a magazine called Quick Cooking. You might be able to find some ideas on their website, or pick up the magazine next time you're out. Best I remember, it was also 30-minute meals.

KerryAnn @ CookingTF dot com - Nutrient dense foods your kids will LOVE!  Real Food Cooking School and Lactofermentation Classes now live! Use coupon code "CTF" for 20% off.

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#16 of 17 Old 09-01-2007, 02:00 PM
 
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OK i just discovered this recipe and I LOVE it.

boneless skinless chicken breasts 6 halves
fine plain bread crumbs 1cup
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup shredded parm
tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup melted butter.


mix cheese bread crumbs and salt and pepper

dip chicken in melted butter then in cheese mixture (I patted on extra)
tuck ends of chicken breast under to make little bundles put in shallow baking dish and bake uncovered at 350 for about 1hr. (I was done with the prep before the oven was ready)

these can also be wrapped individually and frozen in a freezer bag and then thawed, drizzled with fresh melted butter and a little extra parm and baked later. ( I wish I had made more these were awesome) (from don't panic dinners in the freezer)
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#17 of 17 Old 09-01-2007, 03:02 PM
 
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These are so great, thanks everyone! Our favorite fast meal is quesadillas. I mash up pink beans and spread on one-half of a whole-wheat tortilla, sprinkle on some warmed up frozen corn (or straight from the can), then slice cheddar cheese thinly and layer on top of the corn. Fold over and warm on a huge skillet. The cheese melts and traps the corn between itself and the mashed beans, so these are great even for my toddler because nothing falls out. It's a meal in itself! DH and I add sour cream and salsa, the girls just like sour cream.

Melissa, a homeschooling, caffix.gif-guzzling, SAHM of two: reading.gif (11) and joy.gif(8)
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