Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Need Your Help!

I've got to tell you guys that I am TIRED. Really. Really. Really. T-I-R-E-D. And I should probably take this opportunity to nap since Kid is at school and I actually managed to get Baby down.
But I've got so much stuff to do...

I wanted to give you all a real post... (well I wanted to post a video of me whining but I'm really working on the 60/40 writing to video ratio)... but in the place of a real post I am going to toss out some post ideas that you can mull over in my brief absence.

Here goes...

I am really interested in creating recipes that require less than 10 minutes of prep. If you are like me you've watched more than your fair share of 30 minute meal type shows and just thought... "ridiculous... that is never going to happen". I want all you time-strapped-people out there to peruse my recipe section in my sidebar. Outside of the stew I don't think there is anything over there with a prep time over 10 minutes.

I am really excited and committed to trying to come up with SUPER quick, easy, and healthy meals that anyone can do (even with two kids attacking you). I think getting dinner on the table, and a dinner everyone in your family will eat, is doable. Is it doable seven days a week? Not if you don't want to lose your freaking mind. But it is doable 5 days. I take my two days off in the work week (genius). Wednesday because by then I am feeling it... and Friday because by then I am dead. It is a lot like working out and cleaning and all that. It is chosing to make it a priority and making it happen.

I completely respect if this isn't your thing (cleaning is not mine) but I'm reaching out to all of you who are interested in this. For those of you who are looking for ways to make dinner work... what are your obstacles? The other thing I would love to know from EVERYONE is what things do you find yourself making frequently? What is your tomato & meatball soup... you know that meal you can throw together without even thinking? Your input will greatly shape the direction I take my cooking segments and recipes... so please comment away!


Sarah said...

My quickest meals are pretty much cheater meals...

Once a week (usually Saturday or Sunday, my days off) I make a GIANT batch of freezable food (so this could be chili, spaghetti sauce, jambalaya, stew, etc), and usually in the slow cooker. I make sure the batch is big enough for at least 3 meals. 1/3 usually gets eaten immediately, and the other two in the freezer (separately).

Doing this has brought me to a point where now I generally have 2 days a week where all I have to do is throw something in the microwave when I get home, but it's still a healthy, home cooked meal.

My staple, could do it in my sleep meal, is stir fry. Veggies, meat/seafood, fresh ginger stir fried, and the sauce is just 1/4 cup soya sauce, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp chili paste, 1 tbsp brown sugar, you put it on at the very end.

The latest and greatest 10 min prep time meal I've discovered can be found at Greenlitebites, turkey taco stew:

Sorry for the long comment!

linds said...

my quickest meals are probably taco chicken(chicken breast coated in taco seasoning, put in a baking dish, covered in salsa & low fat cheese, covered & baked, then i serve w/ noodles)

another is a personal fav. b/c i love heat, it's hot sauce chicken(i made the name, how original.. chicken breast grilled, cut in chunks, tossed w/ franks red hot then a little sprinkle of parm. cheese) that's what i eat when my husband gets wings & i'm just dying to eat some!

goulash is quick too & is another fav.. cook up 1lb extra lean ground beef(or turkey, or chicken, etc), saute garlic, onion & celery, after crisp-tender add 1 can tomato sauce & 2 cans diced tomatoes & add ur meat in.. let simmer for about 20 mins & in the meantime cook up 1.5 c elbow noodles, after cooked add to ur other pot & voila!

Julie said...

I will have to think about this one. My easy dinners usually consist of "breakfast for dinner" kids love scrambled eggs (Tom makes them omelette style, but with out the cheese) or pancakes (a mix of whole wheat and buttermilk) or waffles. We also have some sort of mexican every week...tacos with black beans (Tom usually has ground beef like a regular person, but I used to be vegetarian and still shy away from meat) and quesadillas. Also, I usually make homemade pizza once a week using the 100% whole wheat boboli. But really my big go-to meal are Boca burgers--either the all american or the spicy "chicken". All of the above meals have some sort of huge salad, roasted asparagus or broccoli and cantalope and/or strawberries for the boys. Most of the meals above my boys will only eat a bite I also offer a Stoneyfield vanilla yogurt along with the meal sometimes. Really got no good recipes to share...just what I do right now. Oh yeah, or I make a box of Annie's mac and cheese and let the kids have that WITH whatever I made. They have to have at least one bite of whatever I vile and disgusting as they may find it.

I am really looking forward to making the meatball soup and the salmon noodle casserole (at least for myself...Tom will not touch seafood or casserole for that matter...annoying.)

Julie said...

Oh yeah, I love to make sweet potato fries and I got that inspiration from Roni over at Greenlitebites that Sarah mentioned.

Smoochiefrog said...

My quick fixes are fish and enchiladas. The enchiladas take time in the oven, but after you brown the meat and roll them up, you've got 15-20 minutes free to breathe.

For the fish mix mayo & mustard together, brush on fish. Sprinkle with Panko bread crumbs seasoned with lemon pepper seasoning. Flip fish and repeat on other side. Bake for like 15 minutes in oven.

I can give you more exact recipes later, but I've got 2 girls that need naps and I need to workout. I wonder who is going to get what they need? It better be all of us!

Kiki said...

You know my problem isn't in the cooking, I really like to cook...its the shopping, I never get a chance...I am going to work on that though. And shop with a list, I need to plan and then make a list.

Mrs. Furious said...

I'll be back... got to go to Whole Foods and pick up Kid!

Marie said...

My easy recipe for the winter is split pea soup. Just a bag of dried peas, throw them in the crockpot with water (it says how much on the bag), and I'll add a little garlic powder and onion powder (or fresh garlic and onion). If we have leftover ham, I'll cut some up and throw it in, but usually only 4-6oz at most for the whole pot. Just enough to flavor and for a taste of it. Turn on high for 8-10hrs or low for about 5hrs and voila! I'll often make homemade rolls with this, but bisquits from a can or a loaf of french bread would be great too!

Susannah said...

I like to make a few "double" meals a week, such as roast a chicken and have 2-3 containers of cooked chicken in the freeze, same with ham. We eat a crustless quiche at least once a week. Easy and fast - in a large bowl beat 2-3 eggs, add 1/2 c. milk with 1 T. cornstarch dissolved in it and 1/2 c. light mayo or light sour cream. That's your base. Then add perhaps 2 c. of shredded chicken, a few cups of veggies (onions, mushrooms, broc - what ever, though leftover cooked veggies are best), stir in 1/2 package of shredded cheese. Pour into a greased pie plate and bake at 350 for about 40 min. It is great and after making it once, you'll have lots of ideas for the future.
Also, I will make a crock pot roast (chuck roast, onions, potatoes,carrots with 1 1/2 packets of Lipton's onion soup mix and about 1 c. water). Then the next day I put all the leftovers in a large stockpot with a few cans of diced tomatoes, the rest of the soup mix, more veggies if needed and - voila! A delicious beef veg soup.
And now it's time for my cardio, cuz, ya know, it's a choice, people (thanks for the nudge, Mrs. F!!)

Nutmeg said...

This is a tough one for me because I tend to cook big. I like cooking. I like chopping things. I only have one kid, and some nights the husband never makes it home before E.'s in bed(there are some perks to being married to a doctor, but some huge drawbacks.)

Simple pan-fried (in a little olive oil) pork chops with spinach and rice. One minute to put the rice in the rice cooker. One minute to put the spinach in the microwave. Eight minutes to season and "fry" the pork chops. This pre-supposes you really like pork chops. I slowly heat a little smashed garlic in the oil while I'm doing other things and then chuck it before it before I put the chops in. Makes the chops taste delicious. I like a little vinegar on the spinach and rice. This is a go to meal for me, but we haven't really had it since Eli's been eating what we eat (so... 4 months at least).

I'll think about this more.

Shirls said...

for me the really, really quick fix it now and eat meal is my version of Chicken Quesadilla, you can find it here..

seriously this could not get any easier and faster

eurydice said...

i am going to continue to read these comments for ideas. thinking about it i realize i don't have any quick, easy, meals. or, at least none that are family appropriate that kids would eat.

my staple dinner is putting a veggie burger or frozen chicken breast on the george foreman grill, either having it on bread as a sandwich or over a salad, with veggies on the side or mixed into the salad (broiled cauliflower and onion, soy beans, almonds, raisins, chopped carrots, tomatoes, cooked and chopped green beans etc. i don't think "big salads" are kid friendly. at least, there is no way in hell i would have touched one until i was at least 23.

Heather said...

My staple dinners always involve the crock pot. My husband and both love slow-cooked meats with sauces. My fave is TJ's flank steak with TJ's roasted tomato salsa, cooked on low for 6 hours. I sometimes don't thaw out the meat all the way, then cook it overnight. Please note, this makes a person very hungry when waking up. I did BBQ pork tenderloin in the slow cooker the other night; it was so tasty. Here's another one: sautee onion in olive oil. Put pork tenderloin or chicken breasts in crock pot. Cover with onion. Put in whole container of sliced mushrooms (a big one, if you're crazy about mushrooms like me). Throw a can of cream of mushroom soup in there. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Serve over rice, or pasta or whatever. Tasty viddles!

Marie said...'s another one. This is one dh's mom made for him growing up, and he started me making it. He calls it Swiss Steak. Take a steak (any kind. doesn't matter if its cheap/expensive) and throw it in the crockpot. Add spaghetti sauce (we use Ragu since its the only kind dh will eat). Cook on low for 8-10hrs or high for 3-5. The meat just FALLS apart. We make mashed potatoes and serve the meat and sauce on top. Our kids (including dh) love it!

Feener said...

i don't cook as much as i like to. i would say i have some basic meals
chicken cutlets, i love them and they are easy - dip in egg, bread em, fry em..maybe not so healthy but easy and good and protein. i usually do corn or sweet potato fries with it

mexican meal. i get one of those meals in a box, and i add turkey, beans, peppers, tomatos, i make a pie out if. i layer it with the tortillas. this was a big hit, but i have to say the last time it sucked ass

tonight i am making a turkey bolognese, threw a bunch of stuff in and letting in simmrer. we will see how it comes out.

lastly, a super easy pasta dish. whole wheat pasta, with fresh cut up tomato and pepper and mozzerella.

Mrs. Furious said...

Hey guys,
I'm back. Thanks for all the recipes and ideas. It is almost as fascinating to read as the sex info!!!

Mrs. Furious said...

A lot of you do the crockpot thing... maybe I'll have to try that on my crazy days.

Marie said...

Gotta try the crockpot thing. Its great on busy days. I usually put it all together during naptime/preschool or while they are still playing nice in the morning, so by evening when everyone is AWFUL I don't have to try and make dinner with 3 kids hanging on me. Also works well if I'm not going to be home for dinner. This way dh just has to scoop it out rather than being left to his own defensives (ie-McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell).

emmyjw said...

I use the crock pot a lot too and do the same thing,make 3 meals worth and freeze portions for later use. One old standby for me that goes together quick is pork chops with apples and rice.Put your rice(I use brown) in the bottom of a casserole with the proper amount of liquid(I use chicken broth) slice an apple and mix with the rice, saute an onion and mix it in if you feel like it,don't have to,its good either way. Lay the pork chops on top of the rice,cover the dish with foil and bake about an hour at 350. Remove the foil and sprinkle some cinnamon and brown sugar over the top,bake 5 more can add any spice or seasoning to taste. You can make this with any number of servings.

Anonymous said...

Ok, from a girl who DOES NOT COOK, this is the quickest, yummiest meal. I make 1.5-2 oz of angel hair pasta, while that is cooking, steam (in my world microwave) broccoli, while those two are working, cut up a piece of low fat string cheese (Sargento melts the best). Mix them all together, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, I put like a tsp of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and a little bit of lemon juice (you know, from the plastic lemon, lol) stir it up and there you go. Literally 5-6 minutes tops! It is so filling and warm and yummy and it is 5 points or 6 if you use the full 2 oz of pasta! I don't know what that is exactly for calories, probably like 275ish? Truly truly awesome. Boring, but awesome.


Anonymous said...

Mexican Shredded Chicken in the Pot
1 large can red kidney beans (rinsed!)
1 reg. can black beans
1 reg. can diced tomotoes (flavored or not)
1/2 packet of low-sodium taco seasoning
A glug of salsa
Frozen chicken (usually 2 breasts)

Throw it all in the pot and set on low to cook for about 8 or 10 hours. Shred the chicken with a fork (on a plate) before serving on tortillas with cheese and sour cream. There will be enough for 1 or 2 more dinners. Usually do a side salad also.


Mrs. Furious said...

Again thanks everyone!

here are some things that made me laugh...

"i don't think "big salads" are kid friendly. at least, there is no way in hell i would have touched one until i was at least 23."

"glug of salsa"

"this was a big hit, but i have to say the last time it sucked ass"

Deb said...

I love this idea. I could also use inspiration for healthy snacks. I'm willing to cook them, but the usual veggies and fruit bites are wearing thin for me and him.

Can I suggest another blog topic? FAQ's!!! I have so many questions for you, and I guarantee everyone else does, too! Can we have a Q&A day? Or a WEEK!!!

Preppy Mama said...

I second debs suggestion. I have so many questions for you too!

P.O.M. said...

I love your recipe ideas. Very excited to try out your tomato/meatball soup - that has been the talk of blog-land lately!

My "go to" meal is chicken breast on the George Forman (9 minutes) and stir fry veggies (usually broccoli or zuccuni, asparagus, sometimes cabbage).

We also do fish a lot (my bf is a boat captain) - throw in broiler for a couple mins with veggies.

Homemade soups!! Easy and left overs work for lunch.

Amy said...

This is great! Funny I just posted on my blog the 5 gadgets that save me time in the kitchen!

Crockpot chili: the only prep is cooking the beef and onions. Everything else is dumped: beans, tomatoes, sauce, green chilis, etc.

Crockpot shredded chicken: 3-4 chicken breasts with a bottle of some sauce (I like chipotle). Cook until shred-able. Then you can use for tortilla soup, enchiladas, burritos, stir fry's, lasagna, etc.

A staple lately has been meatloaf. So old-school but I have been lusting after it for some reason. It comes together in no time, and I make enough for 2 batches, freeze one, cook the other. Hey, and here's a helpful meatloaf tip: spray the bottom of the loaf pan, lay slices of bread (I use the butt's) then put in your meatloaf. It will soak up all the grease. Works awesomely. (is that a word?).

This in not very healthy, but quick as hell to prep. Take frozen taquitos. Take enchilada sauce. Take cheese. Assemble in casserole dish: some sauce, taquitos, more sauce to cover, cheese. Add olives if you want, bake until bubbly. Top optionally with sour cream.

Sherry/Shay said...

My veggie chili is too easy to make. I use 2 cans of kidney beans (drained and rinsed), 2 cans of corn (drained) and 1-2 cans diced tomatoes. If you really want to cut up bell peppers and onions, go for it but if I am in a hurry I skpi it. I season with chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper. Sometimes I add a dash of sugar to take the tang out of the tomatoes. It takes maybe 20 minutes to cook. If you don't put the onions and bell peppers in there, it's basically done once it gets heated. (Btw, this was originally a crockpot recipe). I add in a little bit of grated cheese (like a tablespoon for myself) and some fat free or light sour cream. Everyone in my family--me, hubby, and all 4 kids, love this.

Mrs. Furious said...

Q&A day? You got it. Friday.

so the captain is a literal captain?!? Fantastic.

Mrs. Furious said...

#1 love the shredded chicken for multi purposing.

#2 Meatloaf... I sometimes bake mine in muffin tins... super fast and then I can freeze them... or use them later cut in half for meatloaf sandwiches.

Mrs. Furious said...

Alright guys... there is so much here I need to read it all carefully... I'll get back to you if I have questions.

Mrs. Furious said...

Scratch that guys...

Q&A is going down tomorrow. I'm home almost all day so I'll start the thread before I go to bed and I'll answer all your burning questions ALL day tomorrow.

Chris Howard said...

got to go to Whole Foods and pick up Kid!

Now what was Kid doing at Whole Foods?

I like the idea of ten-minute meals. We're trying to do at least 4/week, but we have trouble staying on any kind of food schedule. One of our problems is we love to eat out. We won't stop doing that, but we do need to cut back a bit.

I think your 10 minutes are different than mine. That's probably because you're more familiar with what you're doing than I am.

When we are cooking, we lke the crockpot. Roasts, chicken, soup, chili, it's good for lots of stuff.

Cara said...

I love the 10 minute or less trader joes meals, such as penne pepperonata, gnochhi, vegetarian fried rice, etc.

But I am with sarah where I make a ton of food one night and save it for lunch or dinner for the next few days. In fact, your tomato meatball soup meal that I made last night is going to total 4 meals for me. But it probably different when you have to cook for a lot of others.

Also, if you don't mind fake meat, I get morningstar chicken patties, add some red pepper to them, heat it up and put it in between a hamburger bun. AMAZING.

In a real crunch I make pb and banana sandwiches. haha.

Good luck with this. I hope your days get less overwhelming soon!

Mrs. Furious said...

I don't know... some of the stuff I make is pretty fast and I've got two maniacs in the room ;)

We used to go out a lot... but I cut it out after I had Baby and we're over it. Then money and calories saved became more important then the ease for me.

Amy said...

I've heard there are about 15 meals most people rotate on a continual basis and don't need a recipe for. And, I think most people generally do a lot the same things. Some stand-bys for us are: tacos, spaghetti, taco salad, shephard's pie, enchiladas, meatloaf, hamburger & veggie know, all the boring stuff. These are all less than 10 minute prep times IF you have meat defrosted! That's always the key, isn't it?

angie said...

I just want to thank everyone for posting on this topic. As Mrs F knows, I am not going to contribute to this one...Cooking is not my thing. In fact I freeze when it think of it.

Special shout out to Sarah for the stirfry sauce recipe. We have struggled to find a sauce we like with stirfry (and we like our stirfry a lot).

And I'd give my left arm if someone can suggest a quick Indian recipe for my 2 yo who believe all things Mexican or American or Italian is gross (AKA, all things i know how to make).

kenady said...

I wold be interested in any quick, easy meals that are dairy free as my daughter is deathly allergic to milk.

One of my modified quick faves is chicken and wild rice bake. Take one pack of chicken (whatever your prefer, white or dark) and season with garlic powder, lemon pepper and paprika. In spearate bowl mix Uncle Ben's wild rice fast cook recipe with seasoning packet that comes in the box with 2 cans of low sodium chicken broth. Place chicken and rice mix in baking dish, cover and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. It is delicious!

Anonymous said...

I am shocked that so many people make dinner in crockpots.I've obviously got to go out and get one!

Chris Howard said...

Then money and calories saved became more important then the ease for me.

Our main reason for going out is because we really like the experience of eating out. So we don't want to stop, just cut back a bit.

Mrs. Furious said...

that actually does sound good and easy.

If no one adds on to this thread I'll repost something similar next week and I'll be sure to put that out there.

I'm with you... who knew everyone was using it!

Oh I like to go out.... but I just know I can't maintain my weight and eat out very often.

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