Andrew and I try and have some quick dinner recipes in mind at all times, for those nights when one has ten minutes of energy and time for dinner preparation. Every night since January 2010, for example.

Here are a few. There’s a lot of ready-made things in here that aren’t that hard to make oneself. But that hard is too hard, on the nights in question.

  1. Wraps: buy tortillas. Buy filling (mince for us), fry it or whatever is appropriate. Place in tortilla, add lettuce, chopped tomato, salsa and natural yoghurt, or subset thereof. Eat.
  2. Gang Show Chicken. Buy roast chicken, cream of mushroom soup and olives. Combine in saucepan until soup is heated through. Eat. (It’s called Gang Show Chicken because in my early teens I was a Girl Guide and in a few Gang Shows. Rehearsals were Tuesday nights I think and my mother also had something on those nights. So this level of preparation was what the household had time for.)
  3. Tom Yum Goong. We use this recipe. This one needs a few practice runs to bring it down to easy cooking. It is a little bit trickier in terms of sourcing the ingredients, although you can buy kaffir lime leaves in supermarkets in Sydney, but you probably want your nam prig pow in advance. (It’s often not transliterated into English, so you get a jar with Thai characters and an English description along the lines of “roasted soya beans in chilli”.) Note that adding more lime juice makes this better. There’s probably some upper bound on that, but we haven’t found it.
  4. Larb/laab. More or less like this, except we use chicken or kangaroo, skip the shallots and a purple rather than green onion. OK, so not lots like the linked recipe.
  5. Daal, to Stephanie Alexander’s basic recipe in The Cook’s Companion. This has a rather long cooking time.
  6. Lazy pizza, as in, we buy the base. We buy Bazaar Breads of the World bases, which beat McCain’s anyway. Then tomato paste, olives, pepperoni, purple onion, maybe some finely sliced garlic, and cheese.

Rice, couscous and/or oven baked potatoes usually fill out meals of this style for us.

Six is a decent number of options, although more vegetarian dishes would be good. What are your “I feel like the very soul has left me tonight” home dinner options?

5 Replies to “Quickies”

  1. Steak; panfried and finished in the oven. Slice thinly and serve with a big spinach salad.

    We lived on posh sausages for a while. Roast in the oven and cut into chunks.

    We still roast a chicken every Sunday night (I have prep down to about 20 minutes) and have leftovers for Monday night dinner.

    A new addition: brussels sprouts and bacon.

    Penne pasta, cherry tomatoes, spinach, garlic and cheese.

    Salome still does what she calls a Monkey Platter: cheese, crackers, baby carrots, nori, sweet corn, peas, stuff like that. The kids eat it as they play. Can be a lifesaver, especially for picky toddlers.

  2. Tuna pasta bake – tin of tuna, jar of tuna pasta bake sauce, can of corn kernels, cook some penne, mix it all together, top with grated cheese and stick it in the oven to brown. Unfortunately 2 out of the 3 kids hate it, so they eat plain pasta and a token spoonful of the pasta bake.

    Quick pasta sauce – diced brown onion, some diced bacon, couple of cloves worth of minced garlic, couple of shakes of dried chili flakes, plenty of dried basil and oregano, fry till onion is soft and bacon cooked, add tin of crushed tomato and some kalamata olives. Chorizo or tuna instead of bacon is also good.

    Chicken noodle soup – variations on this sort of thing: http://mimbles.blogspot.com/2010/07/chicken-noodle-soup.html

    I have a few others too, but my absolute favourite is reheat the frozen casserole or pasta sauce or soup from when you cooked double (or triple) the last time you actually did have energy! Which is why I have a big freezer.

  3. Very loosely based on http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/01/smashed-chickpea-salad/, although it only shares one ingredient. I heat mustard seeds and coriander seeds in oil until the mustard seeds start to pop, add a drained tin of chick peas, heat through, mash with a fork, serve on toast. Sometimes topped with a boiled egg if I feel like the chick peas won’t be enough protein, and sometimes I add some Massel’s stock powder to the chick peas. Oh, and sometimes I put sriracha sauce on top, and sometimes I bother to add some fresh garlic in the frying step at the start.

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