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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please share your fastest meal ideas for those times there is no time to really cook. Crock pot recipes welcome (I'd like at least three) as well as tortilla/pita/sandwich ideas. Make-aheads and freezables would be great, too. I eat everything (too much and junk included.) Recipes/ideas do not have to be veg/vegan or organic. Some ideas you might have may feel like no-brainers, but when I'm tired, worn out and hungry, ~I~ am a no-brainer. TIA!

I'll start:
Breakfast Burrito: Scrambled eggs w/ ham, bacon or sausage, sprinkled with shredded cheese and topped with salsa, all wrapped up in a tortilla. (Wrap one end in wax paper or saran to make it portable)
I make the scrambled eggs at night & buy the cheese already shredded to make it super fast in the morning.

Supper: HELP!!!

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116 Posts
I mentioned calzones in another post, I'll make a whole bunch of these, then saran wrap them & freeze them. There are lots of dough recipes out there, I used to make a whole wheat dough, but no longer have the recipe, but this it the one I currently use. This recipe makes approx. 8 large calzones.


1 1/4 c. water
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cups of unbleached white bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp of rapid rise dry yeast

I put this on the dough cycle in my bread maker, but you can also make it the conventional way.

You can buy calzone presses at many home stores, or just flatten out about an ice cream scooped size dough ball to about 6in in diameter. Put any filling you want into it, I myself love spinach, onion, mushroom & cheese with a little garlic sauce, but you can use your conventional pizza toppings also. Fold the dough over, and seal by pinching the edges with a fork.

I then if I want to make them right away just pop them in the oven on 400 degrees until golden brown & their perfect. I have also just freezed them to pop in the oven later, or cook them then freeze to microwave later. I love these!

· Banned
2,719 Posts
Now that summer's more or less over (well, at least in most places in the US, that is...), lasagne season is nigh. Make yourself a HUGE pan of lasagne and freeze what you don't consume in several days. Lasagne takes time to make (though not much effort - make it on a weekend when you have a few hours), but is absoutely wonderful reheated. We have a gonzo huge, tall pan that we got in a restaurant supply store and use that to make our lasagne.

Make yourself an ENORMOUS amount of tomato sauce. We always need more than we think when we make it, for some reason. Sautee your onion and garlic (LOTS of garlic), and then your meat (ground beef and pork, if you like); add your peppers and tomato and cook everything down till it's nice and thick. Season with oregano, basil and/or thyme, or other herbs, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Put down a layer of sauce. Cover with a layer of pasta noodles (whether homemade or purchased and uncooked). Put down a layer of sauce, then cheese (mozzerella and a mixture of ricotta, parmasean (or romano) and a bit of beaten egg), then pasta, then sauce, then cheese, then pasta, etc etc. You can also do a vegetarian version, of course, omitting the meat and using vegetables in the sauce, or sauteed eggplant, or tofu, or what have you. Top with pasta, a thin layer of sauce, and mozzerella. Bake at 350 for longer than you think until it's bubbling (with our enormous, deep pan, usually about 2 hours or so).

Freeze leftovers in individual meal-sized pieces.

· Banned
2,719 Posts
Since you're not veg, you could also make pork chops or something (boneless): Quickly sautee your chops at high heat in a regular (NOT non-stick) pan (but be sure to cook them till they're done). Remove the chops to a warm plate and cover. Then add minced shallot and sautee in the pan juices for about 30 seconds. Then deglaze the pan with a very healthy dose of Madeira and some chicken or meat stock. Reduce the sauce till it's about the right consistency, then add minced herbs (thyme is good in this), heat for 10 seconds more or so, then cover the chops with sauce. Serve with steamed broccoli (or another vegetable that can be steamed in the microwave or a steamer while everything else is going )and rice.

Make sure you have all your ingredients prepared in advance and ready to cook with this one, as the cooking goes very quickly.

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7,110 Posts
The other night I made soup while playing with the baby. I put one cup lentils in 4 cups water and turned on the flame to low. Then after about 40 minutes I put the baby in the high chair with his favorite toy (spoon!) and quickly chopped some garlic and sauteed it with some spices (turmeric and cumin) in olive oil for about three minutes. Added this to the lentils and water and dropped in some pre-washed baby spinach and some leftover rice. We ate it with bread. It was good. But maybe not the right kind of busy?

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1,204 Posts
Here are some of the things we eat in our family for each meal. I am just getting to the point where I feel somewhat organized about my day now that my DS is 5 months. I had to really let go of a lot of my perfectionism, and I have found that I am a lot happier as a result !

For breakfast:

-fruit leather or banana or whatever fruit is on hand
-granola bar
-coffee !!! (i get all the coffee fixins ready the night before)
-Fruit smoothy's (yogurt, juice, fruit, and wheatgerm thrown into a blender)
-Hardboiled egg (I make a big pot of these to have on hand during the week for breakfast)

For lunch:

-frozen entree with a piece of fresh fruit (a prepared food luxury I could'nt have lived without in the first few months after my son's birth) or,
-leftovers from supper the night before.

For supper:

-Fresh pasta and a good storebought sauce with prewashed salad greens and an oil and vinegar dressing.

-Slowcooked black beans on rice (2 cans black beans, garlic, carrots, onions, tomato paste, water, salt , pepper, and a hint of currythrown together in a crockpot on low for 8-10 hours) put a bit of monterey jack on top of the beans. Heavenly with a bit of guacamole on the side. You can use the black bean sauce as a filling for burritos the next night.

-Slowcooked chicken breasts with a good storebought curry sauce (I like patak's), potatoes, carrots, peas, and raisins, served over rice.

Some things I do to make life easy for myself:

-Make huge batches of everything and freeze some of it, or in the case of rice or mashed potatoes-to serve with meals during the rest of the week.

-buy frozen vegetables and steam them, if I don't have the energy to chop or prepare vegetables.

-Buy cheese pre-shredded

-buy a few frozen entrees for really exhausting days

-Store leftovers on plates in the fridge that can be thrown into the microwave and eaten on a moment's notice.

I try to aim for one 'lovingly prepared from scratch' food item per meal. If that means just steaming spinach, and then opening a bunch of cans, so be it. Also, anything that is fresh fruit, vegetable, or baked item) counts as 'lovingly prepared from scratch'. HTH


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212 Posts
We just did 2 huge pots of tomato sauce and froze, there's also a frozen tray of manacotti (yum!) and a last bag or two of frozen chicken stock (great to heat and toss in pasta & veggies).

Since it's cheaper to buy a whole chicken vs parts, we will roast one 1-2 times a week. It's pretty easy..

*Take one roaster chicken and rinse (inside will be loose icky parts - I toss those but my husband uses them when making stock).
*Put a few whole carrots & celery sticks in the bottom of a roasting pan (this keeps chicken off the pan & gives flavor).
*Take a head of garlic, don't peel, seperate cloves and give a quick whack or press with side of knife to open/crush a bit and throw those inside the bird (flavor). You could get creative here and put in rosemary, apple, smokey tea leaves, etc.. any flavor that you might find tastey.
*Place bird on top of carrots & celery, salt and pepper generously!
*Cook at 400 for 1.5 hours (look up done temp/pds & cook time, I go over by 20-30 min and it's always juicy).

Serve with veggies, beans, mashed potatoes, whatever ..
Use leftover chicken for another meal or stir fry or chicken salad.

Another quick dish:

*Boil pasta (penne or elbow)
*Boil peas (or .. whatever you like, bacon, spinach..)
*Mix together with a cup or more of Riocotta Cheese, salt & pepper
*Top with shaved parmesean cheese

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1,986 Posts
Quick Polenta Pizza:
I prefer to make my own polenta, but if in a time pinch you can use store bought pre-cooked polenta... spread polenta on an oiled baking sheet, bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and top w/ zesty marinara sauce and toppings of choice. I top it w/ diced kalamata olives, black beans, cilantro, rosemary, diced red onions, mushrooms, and goat cheese... bake for about 10-15 minutes more.

Pasta Hotdish:
Cook spaghetti or linguini al dente, strain, rinse
Mix into pasta:
1 package thawed cooked spinach, 1/2 sweet red pepper diced, 1/4 red onion diced, 2 Tbsps olive oil, 1 tomato diced (or can of strained diced tomato), 3 cloves garlic crushed, 1 tsp rosemary, 2 tsps basil leaves, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup grated mozerella... mix well, bake in casserole dish for 15 minutes

Bean Salad:
1 can chickpeas
1 can kidney or fava beans
1 can white beans
1-2 cups green beans (lightly steamed)
*mix w/ a couple Tbsps Italian vinegrette, 1 Tbsp fresh minced parsley, 2 Tbsps minced red onion, 1-2 Tbsps fresh cilantro leaves

Greek Wrap:
big wrap-style tortillas...
fill w/ diced kalamata olives, cooked chickpeas, red onion, feta cheese, torn spinach or romaine, Italian vinegrette or Greek dressing...
wrap it up and eat

Quick Chili:
2 cans Kidney beans
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1/3 lb ground turkey, browned (or 1 cup TVP chunks)
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
1/3 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup corn kernals
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
2 cups water
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
dash of cayenne
1-2 tsps salt
*Mix all in pot, heat on medium-low for 20 minutes and serve

Japanese Noodle Salad
1 package buckwheat Soba noodles~ cook, strain, rinse
Mix in:
1/2 cup sweet peas
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup soaked hijiki seaweed
3-5 shitake mushrooms, lightly sauteed and sliced
1/2 block baked tofu (optional) or 1 hardboiled egg, chopped (optional)
3 Tbsps tamari or soy sauce
2 Tbsps sesame oil
*toss and serve
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