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Quick, Easy, Shortcut, or Convenience Recipes

I hope that this question won't turn off you gourmet cooks out there.

Can you please share your favorite quick, easy, shortcut, or convenience recipe in any category - appetizer, soup, salad, main dish, side dish, or dessert?
I'm looking for yummy recipes that are a snap to make.
Thanks so much!

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  1. My idea of a quick and easy meal is pasta carbonara which I can get done completely in under 30 minutes. I also keep pesto in the freezer which defrosts in less than the time it takes to boil dried pasta. I make this together with seared scallops with balsamic vinegar. This also takes under 30 minutes to get on the table.

    Is this what you wanted?

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheryl_h

      I know that you posted this two years ago, but as I only saw this today and found that it sounded yummy... I wondered if you might share the details of this recipe with a beginning cook.

      I can buy pesto and I'm okay with making the pasta, but how does the balsamic vinegar get used, and how do you exactly sear the scallops? I'd very much like to make this. Thanks a lot!

    2. Use store bought stock ( or better than boullion) to make quick sauces, gravies during the week if you do not have any in the freezer. Save your chicken wing tips, and freeze. They are also great to usee during the week for great gravies.
      For mashed potatoes, cut the potaotes into small pieces- they will cook up quickly.
      The crock pot can be your friend. Great for stews and soups. Make a pot roast while you are at work- Into the crock pot, add a carrot, stalk of celery, garlic, splash of worshestire, tomato paste, red wine and some stock. Season and brown the pot roast and add to crock pot. Let cook all day. You can thicken to make a great gravy.
      ROasted vegetables are great. Toni\oght we are having roasted cauliflower with our dinner- any vegatable is great roasted. Just add some S/P and olive oil, and roast away.
      We make our own pizza dough, and usually have dough in the fridge- pizza and a salad make for a quick meal when the kids are running to practice, or hungry after school.

      1. I keep fresh Yakisoba stir fry noodles with sauce packets in the refrigerator. I can make a quick stir fry with thatever vegetables (cabbage, bok choy, snow peas, zucchini, onion, bell pepper) I have on hand and/or meat (bits of chicken or pork or shrimp) in 10 or 15 minutes.

        Here is a picture of the noodles made by Maruchan, look for them in the refigerated section near the tofu. The noodles are cooked already and there is a sauce packet that mixes with water. I get them at a regular grocery and they have a date stamp good for 3 months or so.

        1 Reply
        1. re: coconutz

          Is the sauce good? I have seen this in the supermarkets, but have never tried it. I use left over linguine to make stir frys, and usually use what I have on hand to make a sauce. TIA

        2. Here are some:

          Fried egg over rice, drizzled with a soy and oyster sauce mix, and garnish (generously) with kimchi.

          Noodles mixed with peanut sauce and vinegar, garnished with diced cucumbers, carrots and bean sprouts and then topped with cubed tofu.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            On this note, I like to slap a fried egg on top of freshly cooked spaghetti and add pecorino and pepper. Mix (egg should be runny). Yum.

          2. Okay, my standard is a pound of ground turkey, mixed with two slices of bread that I have turned into crumbs in the food processor. Make little meatballs, brown them in a skillet (you can fit them in fairly snugly), empty a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup (99 percent fat free) over the top(now, be nice, all you fastidious folks out there; remember, I'm not adding any additional salt) and about a half a can of milk (enough to scrape up the brown bits in the skillet. Stir until the soup has blended in and simmer a few minutes until you are happy that the meatballs are cooked through. Serve over rice. Don't try to fiddle with this recipe by adding onion or Worcestershire or wine or anything else - it's fine just the way it is, without complications.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Marsha

              In this same vein, a recipe from my childhood that I've given out countless times to those who have eaten it: brown a pieced chicken, remove, brown a diced onion, add a couple spoons of hot curry powder and fry for a minute or two, add 2 cans undiluted cream of mushroom soup, return chicken pieces to pan and simmer until done, then serve over rice.

            2. Don't shoot me, but I love chicken flavored Rice-a-Roni cooked with some fresh shrimp and peas thrown in at the end. Simple and quick, though not quite homemade.

              As a salad, I always like a simple tomato, mozzarella, basil, olive oil and balsamic mixture.

              1 Reply
              1. re: QueenB

                Chicken flavored rice-a-roni is one of my guilty pleasures, but I don't have it more than once every few years...

              2. Near East box cous cous and add any number of things:

                Chicken, cranberries, walnuts, & green onion

                Feta, chicken, tomatoes, olives, basil

                chick peas, raisins, chicken, cashews

                Add some evoo, an acid, and some spices if you want (I add curry to the chick pea one or you can just buy pre-flavored cous cous).

                1. Ridiculously easy cake recipe:

                  I box angel food cake mix
                  1 can crushed pineapple undrained

                  Mix in large bowl.
                  Pour into greased 9x13 pan
                  Bake at 350 until sides pull away ( about 45 minutes.)
                  Serve with strawberries or eat plain.
                  You can add a handful or so of cocnut if you want to make it more complicated.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: eimac

                    You are my hero, eimac! I'm always hunting for good two-ingredient recipes. (Many of the recipes above are what I might make when I have lots of time - speaking as a really sss lll ooo www cook.)

                    This cake sounds great, and would be just the thing to serve with Monika7's crockpot BBQ chicken (one cut-up chicken, one bottle of BBQ sauce, and a crockpot on low for 8 or 9 hours).


                    Now, THAT'S real shortcut cooking! None of this chopping, measuring, and multi-step cooking for me, when I'm in a crunch!


                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      I can top that. Season the bejesus out of a whole chicken ( I use lots of garlic powder, basil,oregano, and rosemary)Wad up 3 balls of aluminum foil and put them in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the whole chicken, breast side down on top of the foil balls. Cook all day. It will fall apart when you take it out and you will have to remove the skin which does not brown. The chicken is great as it is or can be taken off the bone and stuffed in a tortilla.Just make sure you use lots of seasoning - Indian stuffworks too- garum masala, curry, tumeric, coriander etc.

                      1. re: eimac

                        What does the tin foil do? The recipe does sound good- even though the skin is sacrificed!!

                        1. re: macca

                          It holds the chicken up off the bottom of the crockpot
                          The chicken will throw off a lot of liquid, and this way it does not stew for 8 hours.

                  2. I see you have some great suggestions....and they may make these seem like tons of work!!! But as we approach a long cold winter I think the following is a cinch....

                    Beef Stew.....
                    Large roasting pan
                    1 pound of stewing beef
                    1 can Campbells Bisque of Tomato soup plus 1/2 - 1 can of water depending on if you like lots of juice
                    Cut up veggies of choice (ie. potatoes, carrots, onions, and any other assortment from celery to peas to green beans etc.)
                    Season if you like with s & p
                    Bake at 250 degrees for 5 hours. Done. The soup is the key....I actually have to buy it in the US now - not avail in Canada for some strange reason.
                    I serve it with Beer Bread
                    Sweet Beer Bread

                    3 cups self rising flour
                    1/2 cup sugar
                    1 12 ounce bottle beer
                    1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

                    Stir together the first 3 ingredients; pour into a lightly greased loaf pan (larger size). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Pour melted butter over top. Bake 10 more minutes.

                    Can add 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 2 T chopped chives to dry ingredients.

                    1. My favourite Quick-and-Easy is to fry up some homemade spicy turkey sausage with scrambled eggs. Add a can of black beans and some salsa. Wrap in tortilla with a bit of cheese, and you're set!
                      Usually about 15 minutes from opening the fridge to the table.

                      1. This website has amazingly detailed step-by-step instructions for Cantonese cuisine, although it doesn't look limited to just Chinese food. There's a recent post on a pumpkin cream cheese roll cake.


                        1. My favorite 1 minute breakfast is a slightly jazzed up scrambled eggs.

                          Heat oil in a pan. Lightly fry some cumin seeds. Add 3 whipped eggs, some salt, and some chili powder. Scramble and serve with a cup of hot coffee thats been brewing all the while. Simple breakfast thats better than anything out of the grocery freezer.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ubermasonfan

                            That sounds really good, I love whole cumin seeds.

                          2. I love Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken recipe mostly for the results (juicy meat, crispy skin) but almost as much for the simplicity. Truss (optional), salt, and roast at 450 for about an hour. Rest, carve and eat. Simple and delicious. Full details on Epicurious under "My Favorite Roast Chicken."


                            1. For me, the laziest, easy yet flavoursome and quite healthy recipe is a fritatta full of whatever vegetables I've got in the fridge/pantry. All I do is parboil some potatoes/carrots/parsnips/sweet potatoes, fry some onion, garlic, chilli in a pan then add the potatoes and fry some more. Season, add 3-4 eggs beaten with milk, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes on the hob and another 5-10 minutes until set under the grill with some mozarella or any other cheese on top. It takes very little effort and uses up leftovers which is always a plus in my book.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Paula76

                                Here's one of my favorite chicken recipe:

                                Gingered Chicken
                                3/4 kg chicken (I preferred boneless)
                                chili oil
                                2 tbsp cooking oil
                                1 tbsp garlic chopped
                                1 tsp soy sauce
                                2 tbsp ginger chopped
                                1 sweet & sour mix
                                3/4 cup water

                                On a cooking pan, heat oil and chili oil (the amount of your chili oil depends on how much you want it spicy), saute chicken for a couple of minutes until done then add garlic. On a small bowl, mix the sweet&sour sauce in 3/4 cup water then add ginger and soy sauce. Put the liquid mixture on the chicken then cook until sauce thickens. Enjoy!

                              2. I'm eating these leftovers right now, and loving them:

                                1 can black beans, drained/rinsed
                                1 bag corn niblets
                                1 can hominy
                                1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
                                1 quart Swansons all-natural chx broth
                                Healthy spoon garlic (yes, I keep a jar of 'minced in oil' in the fridge)
                                Healthy handful whatever cheese is in fridge (or- gasp!- velveeta, which melts beautifully)

                                Heat. Eat. Might be canned, but there's no scary preservatives/chemicals/MSG, hardly any fat, and lots of fiber.

                                1. I have a friend in Idaho who does not cook, will not cook, is not interested in learning. I tried to show her one night what I mean by easy and fast:

                                  2 chicken breasts
                                  1 can artichoke hearts (not marinated)
                                  1 can diced tomatoes (italian or mexican)

                                  Turn on oven. Put chicky in pan. Cover with drained 'chokes. Cover with tomatoes. Bake.

                                  Save the artichoke liquid in case you think you need more in the pan. Bake covered or uncovered. Top with cheese or don't. Serve over pasta or rice if you want to. If you have some left over, chop it up and add it to an omelette. Or a sandwich. Or chicken broth. Or a green salad. Or hot pasta.

                                  1. I've started cooking my dry pasta in the tomato sauce -- instead of cooking the pasta separately. While I can't prove that it absorbs some flavor, I feel like it must. And it's good for the environment!

                                    Here's what I did:
                                    -2 spicy italian pork sausages, fried in the pan
                                    -Pour in 1.5 cups or so of a good tomato sauce + 2 cups water
                                    -Add the pasta

                                    Cook till it's done, covered, or if you have too much water uncover it.
                                    Can it be any easier?

                                    You can toss in chopped up broccoli or any other green, or fry an onion along with the sausage if you like.

                                    It's heavenly!