Yesterday when my boyfriend came home from an afternoon out doing guy stuff (slot car racing), he asked me what was for dinner just as I was opening the oven door to check on the chicken that was baking there. When he saw what it was he just said "oh that," but it really sounded like "oh that? again? really (read disappointment)?"
So I think this means I am in a rut. What do you like to make that is easy to assemble, ideally requires no recipe for you to get it the way you want and isn't a cheeseburger? Let's exchange some easy main course ideas here.
I will offer two to get us started.
First what I made last night is the parmesan chicken from the mayonnaise ad on tv. You mix together grated parmesan and mayo. Spread this mix on top of boneless chicken breasts in a baking dish. Sprinkle on some bread crumbs and bake in oven til done. Adjust oven temperature as needed for how fast you need it to be ready.
Here is another. Again you need boneless chicken breasts. Lay them out and on top of each place a pat of butter and a generous spoonful of whipped cream cheese. Sprinkle a bit of chives onto each. Roll the chicken around the filling. Wrap a slice of bacon around the chicken to keep it from opening up. Bake in oven, as mentioned above you can adjust oven temperature depending on how much time you have to get it ready. I usually put some extra cream cheese and butter in between the rolled up pieces of chicken so I get a little "sauce" to put on noodles which are my usual starch to got with this.
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If you like bell peppers (red or green) A simple way to use for a meal is to clean/scoop out and stuff them with a boxed stuffing mix and bake them for about 20 mins. at 350 degrees. I usually add to the stuffing whatever is in my cupboard or refrig ....leftover chicken, black olives, mushrooms, celery, garlic,whatever you think you'll like in it! Serve with a crisp green salad and warm french bread....Quick & easy!
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Good idea about the stuffing, MollyMuiMa; I'm a working mom with lots of kids, and lots of interests, so I like food to be quick and nutritious. Coincidentally, I made the parmesan chicken tonight too! Except I dipped it in egg first as I didn't have mayo, and sprinkled parm on top and lemon.
You can use stuffing to make crab cakes fast too; mince up an onion or chives and 1 clove of garlic, 1 large can of crab or 1 cup of freshly cooked crab, 1 egg and 1 package of stuffing; mix, form patties and fry in a little oil for 8 minutes, then flip; when browned on both sides plate with a spoonful of sweet chili sauce on one side and a spoon of warmed up honey mustard sauce on the other side, a wedge of lemon and lots of baby greens. The kids love them!
One of my other favorites for kids is (which I make every week), brown 3 or 4 chicken breasts in my biggest dutch oven, then fill it up with vegetables (I like to cut up veggies big so picky kids can take out the ones they donít like; halved onions, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, whole green beans and in the summer, whatever is ripe in the garden--or if anyone is sick, as much garlic as you can stand), sprinkling of salt, some herbs (thyme, sage, that kind of thing) and water or broth to cover the veggies; while that comes to a boil I mix up dumplings (1 and 1/2 c flour, 1 tsp baking pwder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, heaping tbsp of shortening, tiny dash of honey, and just enough milk or water to make a thick batter); place dumplings on top of stew by spoonfuls; put the dutch oven lid on when stew is simmering and don't look for 20 minutes. Done! P.s. I leave the chicken breasts whole because one of my kids hates meat so they can avoid it that way.
Beef Bourguinon the easy way:
Cut up a roast (I usually get an inside round roast) into cubes; brown in oil and place in a large heavy casserole dish that has a lid; cut up veggies you like into large pieces (we like carrots cut in half, whole pearl onions, whole potatoes and mushrooms) until casserole dish is full; add 2 tbsp of tomato paste, and about Ĺ a cup of fresh, chopped parsley; add broth and 1 or 2 cups of red wine until the veggies are well covered, making sure you save enough to have a glass of wine yourself I usually add some marjoram, a bay leaf, some salt and thyme. Cover the casserole dish and put into a slow oven (250 F) for 4 to 6 hours. The meat will be soooo tender, even little kids can eat it. I usually pour some of the broth into a sauce pan and thicken it a bit with flour, then when it is simmering pour it back into the stew and stir.
Iím a vegetarian and so these are a couple of my favorite lunches; okay I also eat this for breakfast but Iím a freak, ha,ha.
-1 carton of alfalfa sprouts, with 1 cup of Greek salad on top. Mix some balsamic vinegar, oregano and EVOO and drizzle on topÖso good!
-steam a bunch of vegetables, place in a bowl with a slice of old cheddar cheese which will melt; sprinkle some tamari almonds and/or croutons on top. Mm, mm, mm!
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Marinate salmon with soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice, garlic for 30 mins in the fridge. Heat your griller with either butter or coconut oil. Grill the salmon (without the sauce) till both sides are slightly brown. Put in a few tablespoons of the sauce you used to marinate the salmon in there. This helps to cook the salmon without overcooking them.
Slightly stir-fry pasta, onion, green & red peppers, mushroom using the sauce. Serve as a side dish.
I am all about easy clean up, so I make lots of parchment or foil wrapped entrees.
Parchment/foil wrapped fish or steak
Four 6-ounce servings of fish filets or steak. Put baking dish in oven, heat to 400 degrees. Rub fish or beef with EVO, season with S&P pepper, center each piece on a long sheet of parchment/foil. Sprinkle with seeded diced plum tomatoes, minced garlic, chopped fresh parsley or basil leaves. Fold parchment/foil over fish/meat, crimp edges tightly. Place packets in baking pan about 15 minutes (or about 8 minutes from when they start sizzling). Let sit a couple of minutes before opening. Serve with rice or potatoes.
I'm not quite a vegetarian, but getting close. I eat far less meat than I used to, and have enjoyed experimenting with new recipes and new ingredients. My latest fad is soups made with coconut milk. Yum. Here are 2 of my favorites.
Creamy carrot ginger soup
This is really easy and very good
fresh ginger (about a 2 inch hunk)
1 can coconut milk
Peal the ginger and cut in big pieces. Cut ends off carrots and cut in big pieces.
Put ginger and carrots in quisinart and chop up into little pieces.
Put in sauce pan covered with water. Boil for about 15 min until carrots are cooked and most of the water is gone.
Return cooked carrots with the small amt of water that is left to the quisinart and puree the veggies.
Return mixture to the saucepan and add a can of coconut milk.
Add salt and pepper and a little bit of mace to taste.
Optional: Substitute fresh dill for ginger to make a great carrot-dill soup.
This can be adapted for use with other veggies to make almost any cream soup.
Red lentil coconut soup
1 cup of split red lentils
one good sized onion
oil for sauteing (olive oil, canolla oil, whatever you like)
1 can of coconut milk (regular, not lite)
pepper (I use pre-ground white pepper right out of the shaker jar)
Rinse the lentils thoroughly. Then put in a pot with about 3 cups of water. Simmer until most of the water is gone and you have a lentil mush. If lentils are not really mushy, add more water and cook some more. You can add some salt while cooking.
Slice the onion in thin slices and saute in oil until they are brown and translucent. You can add some salt while cooking
Put lentil mush and onions and a little curry powder in a food processor and blend thoroughly.
Return the mush to the pot and add coconut milk. Heat it up and add a little mace, more curry powder, more salt, pepper, etc. to taste.
Optional: garnish with chopped fresh cilantro
Optional: If you like things floating around in your soup, leave some of the caramelized onions out of the blender and add them to the soup.