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Easy skillet meals

My best friend is living in London for 10 months for business. It's difficult for her to cook much in her kitchen--not many dishes, small stove, etc. She's looking to me to help her out of the repetition of eating eggs and pasta with prepared sauces. I'm hoping to get a little help from some of you. What are some favorite stand bys? They need to be easy and using few ingredients. She's also eating out--some amazing meals I might add--but needs to cook more on her own.

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  1. I like to make simple quesadillas. I buy refried beans in a can, flour tortillas, and grated cheese. Some salsa is nice too. You just spread the beans on the tortilla, sprinkle some cheese on, top it with another tortilla Then you spray a pan with cooking spray, and heat the quesadilla in the pan until the cheese melts. Pour salsa over the top.

    1. I just made a white chili:

      2 T olive oil
      1 small onion, chopped
      3 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
      1 lb ground turkey
      2 tsp oregano, dried
      3 Tbs ground cumin
      1 can white beans
      1 cup fresh white corn, cut off the cob (frozen or 1 can are also okay)
      2 cups chicken broth (I use vegetarian no-chicken broth)
      3 Tbs jalepeno slices (jarred for nachos)
      salt and pepper to taste
      shredded jack or cheddar cheese
      chopped avocado for garnish

      In a large pot, saute onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
      Add turkey, stirring occasionally until browned.
      Add oregano, cumin, beans, corn, broth, salt and pepper. Stir well.
      Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes until it reduces and thickens a bit.
      Taste to correct for salt and pepper.
      Serve topped with a bit of cheese and avocado. May also top with green onion, white onion, green pepper, etc... whatever you like!
      I heated up some corn tortillas to eat along side. Yummy!

      And his is one I've been making for years - it is addictively good:

      Mediterranean Skillet Dinner
      1 can (14 oz.) reduced sodium chicken broth (I use a vegetarian broth)
      1-1/2 cup wheat bulgur
      3 TB. Pesto (or more to taste - I use a jarred pesto from TJs)
      1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes in oil
      1 can (16 oz.) chickpeas, drained & rinsed

      Toast the bulgar in a dry skilled until it starts to smell nutty. Add broth and cover. Cook until
      wheat bulgur is tender, about 10-20 minutes depending on how small the bulgur is.
      Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and pesto. Cook until heated through.
      Serve topped with plain yogurt

      I have added asparagus to this with great results. Works as a main meal, leftovers are great the next day, too!

      1. Joe's Special:

        Brown ground beef, saute mushrooms and onion, add spinach and wilt, scramble in an egg and some hot sauce, sprinkle with cheese of choice. Season as you go.

        1. Pasta fagioli goes together all in one pan. Very variable, very easy and delicious dish. Can be vegetarian or not. If you want a recipe, I can share one but it's pretty standard stuff.

          1. Breakfast Potato's:

            2 large baking potato's peeled
            1 small onion sliced
            1/4 small green pepper chopped
            1/4 small red pepper chopped
            1 serano or jalapeno chopped fine
            1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
            1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt or more to taste
            fresh ground pepper to taste
            1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon paprika
            1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
            4 to 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil

            Boil or microwave potato's on high for 4 minutes. Let cool and chop in 1/2 inch or larger chunks.
            Saute peppers and onion in large skillet with olive oil(preferably cast iron) until soft.
            Add remaining ingredients and saute until desired doneness or until potatoes are soft but not mushy.
            Serve scrambled or sunny side up eggs over breakfast potatoes.

            Enjoy. afinance@rcn.com

            1. If you can do a chicken cutlet right, you have about a zillion variations on pan sauces!

              Tuna puttanesca's one of my favorite quick meals--tuna, anchovy, capers, olives, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, dry basil and oregano, all sauteed together, throw in a large can of peeled tomatoes, simmer until it thickens, and presto: deliciousness! Pour in a can of rinsed cannellini beans and you don't even need the pasta.

              1. I recently tried America's Test Kitchen's Skillet Lasagna and was shocked at how easy and tasty the result was. The ingredients are very general (I think just ground meat, lasagna pasta sheets, tomato sauce, diced tomatos, ricotta and onion)and the only thing required is a large skillet, or pot that can be covered somehow. As the recipe promises, it was all pretty much completed in about 30 minutes.

                Here's the recipe-you just need to provide them with an email address:

                and my blog entry (with picture) about it:

                1 Reply
                1. re: virtualfrolic

                  I have this cookbook...Cover and Bake from the Editors of Cook's Illustrated and it has a ton of great skillet recipes that are really quite good (and flexible if you are missing ingredients and have some imagination)...a great cookbook to have on hand.

                2. Arroz con Pollo is easy, and filling. Almost like Rice a Roni but homemade, with real chicken thrown in.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: coll

                    Rice a Roni, the San Francisco treat, is nothing like Arroz con Pollo. Agreed though, it's a great meal.

                    1. re: amoncada

                      I meant you cook it as easy as Rice a Roni, but from scratch with raw rice etc. Before I was married I made Rice a Roni and added all kinds of things, then realized it was just as easy to use normal ingredients.

                  2. My latest craving is Spinach Salad. It's so easy too.

                    Basically you just have to hard boil the eggs and you can do that ahead of time so that at meal time all you have to do is cook the bacon. Then mix the remaining ingredients.

                    1. My mother learned this recipe while visiting a small town in Louisanna from a little old Cajun woman. It's a favorite, because it's simple, has few ingrediants, and everyone raves over it. I make it when we're camped out, since it's simple and doesn't dirty many pans!

                      Mom's Jambalaya:
                      Saute coarsely chopped onion, red or green (or both) bell peppers, and some celery until soft and browned, in a splash of whatever oil you have handy.
                      Add canned chopped tomatoes and juice - again, any kind you have handy: mexican style, whole tomatoes, home-canned, whatever. It should be kinda soupy.
                      Add some sliced smoked sausage - hot or mild, whatever you like and have available; a couple spoons of brown sugar, and as much Tabasco Sauce as you can stand.
                      Simmer for 10-15 minutes, add some fresh parsley if you have it, and serve over hot rice. I don't have measurements, because I vary it depending on how many folks show up for supper. At times, I have added chicken, shrimp, or okra. If you feel like using two pans, you can slice and boil some of the grease out of the sausage before adding it.