Sunday, January 9, 2011

Menu: Items 7 & 8

I have an incredibly lazy rotation of meals, the ingredients of which I keep on hand so I don't need to plan ahead what I'm making for dinner until right before I do.  Planning ahead is not the lazy way.  Anyway, my secret to dinner on the table, without planning, in less than 20 minutes is that all protein is pre-cooked; canned salmon, frozen shrimp, canned beans, or pre-cooked and frozen chicken/turkey/ground beef.  

You might be wondering "Seriously?  Why give the directions to these incredibly easy meals?  Isn't this just basically assembling things and boiling water?"  Yes- however, there are much more complicated ways to make everything.  The point is exactly that.  How simple I make things that can be much more complicated.  Maybe your version of tuna/salmon noodle casserole involves making cream of mushroom soup from scratch, adding a crumb topping and baking it for an hour.  That's cool.  Sometimes I do that.  You can make it a faster and easier way though.

Also- is this "menu" our entire diet?  No.  I am, as I've mentioned before, very cheap, and hate to pay to get take out or go out just because its "faster" or I "don't have the energy".  If I know I can make dinner in 5 minutes, I'll skip the drive though much more often than if I think I have an hour's worth of work ahead of me (or, let's be honest, any more than 5 minutes of work ahead of me ;)

Anyway- onto the Lazy Menu item #7:  Fried Rice
I either use leftover rice or have to actually think ahead and make some more than 5 minutes before we're ready to eat.  I prefer the leftover choice.  I add the:

a scrambled egg, 
soy sauce, 
powdered ginger, 
a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, 
and some chopped up nuts or shrimp.  

Stir it around, as in "stir fry" ;)  This, I'll admit, is not nearly as good with the beans.  I much prefer the shrimp.  If I have frozen, already cooked chicken this is a dish I'm likely to use it in. 

Bummer.  6 ingredients.  I usually go for 5.  Oh well.  Not everything in our diet can be 5 ingredients and 5 minutes of work.  I'm awfully close though :) 

Menu item #8:  Shepherds Pie
Gravy (from a packet, a jar, or on the stove from a roux and broth)
mixed vegetables (bag of frozen or a can)
can of white beans (again, this is most likely where I'd use already cooked and cubed chicken or        turkey or ground meat)
Mashed potatoes (I prefer instant.  If you like from scratch, knock yourself out.)
(I usually add bouillon and rosemary at the beginning to the water)
Shredded Cheese

Mix together the first 3 ingredients.  Top with the potatoes.  Top the potatoes with the cheese. If you do this while the potatoes are hot, the cheese will melt.  Done.  
Maybe not technically 5 ingredients in 5 minutes- but still pretty quick.

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