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What to have for dinner when you're in a hurry [moved from General Chowhounding Topics]

What's the quickest meal to make in about 20 minutes?

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  1. We will often have scrambled eggs with corn tortillas, salsa, sour cream, limes and cheese. We just scramble up a few eggs, steam the tortillas and assemble "tacos" as we eat.

    Another option we like a lot is tortellini soup which is just throw a package of fresh tortellini into boiling broth and when they're cooked, serve it up with salad and bread. If we're feeling like making it a bit more substantial, I'll add diced potatoes and some quartered mushrooms to the broth before I add the pasta, it takes a few minutes longer but you get a fairly serious soup out of it.

    1. We always keep grilled meat, tortillas, cheese and salsa on hand. Burritos on the run!

      7 Replies
      1. re: mojoeater

        Oh yeah, mojo reminded me, we keep frozen containers of cook's illustrated's "mexican style rice" on hand now for burritos. Man that stuff is good and you can toss just about any leftover protein (or scrambled eggs) in for a good burrito.

        1. re: ccbweb

          can you please paraphrase the mexican style rice recipe?

          1. re: NYchowcook

            2 ripe tomatoes (about 12 ounces),
            1 medium white onion
            3 jalapeƱo chiles
            2 cups long grain white rice
            1/3 cup canola oil
            4 cloves garlic minced
            2 cups broth
            1 tablespoon tomato paste
            1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
            1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
            1 lime , cut into wedges for serving

            You buzz the tomatoes and onions in a food processor. Then combine the resulting liquidy stuff with the broth. Then you make it like a pilaf: warm the oil, sautee the rice for a bit, then add two of the jalapenos and the garlic, stir that around and add the combined vegetable puree and broth. I skip the tomato paste as I don't like the overly cooked flavor I think it lends the dish, but if you like the sound of it, stir it in now, add the salt. Bake it in a 350 degree oven for about 35 or 40 minutes. Stir in cilantro and the last jalapeno. Yum.

        2. re: mojoeater

          When I have left over rice from night before (or I cook up some angel hair or rice noodles), I make a quick curry from an epicurious recipe that has evolved. Last night it was Thai Green Curry (it can be red curry or Indian curry..). Shrimp (always have frozen raw shrimp on hand), sliced red onion, mushrooms, green beans (or whatever veggies are going dry in the fridge), stock (I use vegetable stock from a box I keep in the fridge), light coconut milk, green curry paste (from a jar). Saute veggies in a little oil, add a table spoon or two of curry paste, equal amounts of stock and milk, a dash (or two) of fish sauce, bring to a boil. Add shrimp and let cook for a few minutes, finish with chopped cilantro if you have it and a squeeze of lime juice. Throw it over reheated rice or noodles and zing! It took 10 mins.

          1. re: Densible

            So I'm living on this thread at the moment. The leftover rice or noodles helps make almost any dinner quick. The rice cooker is also a brilliant appliance. I got one a couple of years ago and its the second most used appliance in my kitchen behind only my coffee pot. It simply isn't possible to use an appliance more than my coffe pot gets used. Being able to have white or brown rice cook unattended (and come out perfectly every time) makes every meal seem so easy. As Densible noted, frozen shrimp or other protein that is easy to use makes for quick dishes. We also love steamed veggies (asparagus and beans especially) so its easy to throw together some microwave steamed veg, rice cookered rice and a fast stove top whatever. One skillet and the rice cooker bowl which means dishes are about as quick as the dinner itself.

            1. re: ccbweb

              With the modern rice cookers, it is very practical to set up tomorrow night's rice today. And leftover rice can be left in the cooker for the next day, or just put it in nuke-friendly containers and you're two minutes away from hot rice.

              If you like coconut rice, but want to avoid the calories, put a few drops of coconut essence in the cooker before starting it up. This rice goes well with just about any seafood, as well as anything tropical (obviously), like foods from most of southern asia.

              1. re: ccbweb

                Really fast-- Trader Joe's sells pre-cooked brown rice. Not the best, but has made my very hectic (lately) lefi a little more healthful.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. Stir fries, poached salmon, fish steamed in foil packets.

              1. Chicken caesar salad, using bagged romaine, grilling the chicken breasts on the Foreman, thin sliced parmesean, and packaged croutons with a dressing made while the chicken is grilling, made with Paul Newman's Caesar dressing mixed with sour cream and a little anchovy paste...Add some crusty bread and you have a meal!