Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's easier than you think. I promise.

Between being out of town a couple weekends in a row and spending as much time as we can at the new house painting and such, cooking has not been high priority when I am home.

Though as tired as I've been, you know I'm stubborn enough to refuse to engage in this, ala hubby:

As far as I know, he hasn't eaten these in 5 years. And he bought a multi-pack. Awesome.

Anyway, I insisted on Cooking (capital C). And realized how many quick (Ms. R. Ray or less) meals I rely on...or can at least fake. Dinner doesn't have to take forever, and shouldn't. (Well...not always, anyway. Sometimes it's completely worth spending way too much time cooking. It wins you points.)

So, for normal people with normal (read:busy) lives, here's a week's worth of meals for inspiration.

Think pho has to take forever/come from a take out package? Try the pho stock mix from Asian markets. It's like a boullion cube for pho...awesome. Boil some water, coarsely chop basil, green onion, white onion and cilantro, slice a lemon, slice some meat or tofu, and open a bag of bean sprouts. It takes like 10 minutes.

Chicken and Potatoes
Then there's my favorite way to cheat dinner-the pre-roasted chicken from Vons. Grabbed some potatoes and salad stuff, and dinner was not only 20 minutes to make, but like 10 bucks. And for broke asses like us, that makes me unreasonably happy.

Easy potato idea: slice, throw in the steamer with a couple sprigs of rosemary, then give them a squirt of spray butter, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. A bit of nonfat plain yogurt is great, too.

Pad Thai
We'd both been wanting pad thai, so I decided to try one of those pad thai sauces fom the store-I got a simmer sauce from fresh & easy (yes, I went back... again), and all I had to do was cut up/brown some tofu, boil some water for the noodles, shred a carrot, and chop some cilantro and green onion. I already had bean sprouts left over from the pho, and left the peanuts whole instead of chopping them.

Good stuff, can't complain. The sauce had a lot of tamarind, which is totally necessary for pad thai, but it made it a bit too sweet for us, so I ended up adding fish sauce and sriracha.

Steamed some potstickers while it simmered, and dinner was done in 30 minutes. And it looks like I spent all night. Love that.

Tuna Salad
I feel like I don't really talk about tuna much, for whatever reason. But I really like it. I would eat it out of the can if that sort of thing was acceptable for anyone other than Beyonce. (ok, I just spent like 20 minutes searching for a link to explain that uber random reference, and I can't find it. Just go with it.)

And now, my point. One of my favorite home-alone-so-I-can-eat-out-of-the-mixing-bowl meals is tuna salad. Mix drained albacore (in water, not oil), with as much mayo as you like(I do about 2 tbsp of light, I'm not a huge mayo fan), and chopped red onion, celery, and cucumber. Add in romaine, chopped hard boiled eggs (two, toss one or both of the yolks), and chopped tomato, if you have it. Salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Risotto
Risotto is always a good one to fall back on, especially when both your creativity and kitchen are exhausted.

Defrosted some chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper and some dill (cause why not) and just sautéed it with cooking spray and a splash of white wine. When it was cooked, cut it up (ok, I used my hands, so I should say ripped it up, whatever), and tossed it in at the end of my risotto. (I also put some dill in with the onion and garlic when I sautéed them).

Not quite as quick as the other days, but about a half hour. My advice is to pass the time while stirring with some tivo'd Desperate Housewives and a martini.

Filet and...more filet
And finally, our quick surf and turf. Filet mignon was somehow cheaper than a new york, so I grabbed it. And rather than be responsible and pocket the savings, I spent it on a small filet of coconut crusted tilapia (I used sweet chili sauce as a dipping sauce and it was awesome). Steamed some broccoli and made Rice a Roni wild rice, and the whole thing took 25 minutes.

Inspired yet? Now put the cup of noodles down and back away slowly. Into the kitchen, hopefully...

1 comment:

  1. WAIT... seriously??? Pho is that easy??? UMMM done and DONE! And this way, I can leave out the cilantro!! MUAAAHAHAHAHAHAH Just kidding (no I'm not) Yeaaaah, I am...