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What do you cook when you are too tired and just not in the mood?

As much as I love cooking, there are times when I have my moments and I'm simply too tired and not in the mood to chop, etc...what are your simple, go to recipes when you are facing one of those days??

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  1. Pan full of chicken parts, salted and peppered, sprinkled with vinegar and dusted with either some dried herb or another or a more pungent seasoning if the mood strikes - I've gotten really fond of Penzey's Northwoods Fire mix lately - stuck into a 350º oven for about 45-60 minutes. That and a bag-o-salad...

    Well-seasoned lamb chops or pork chops cooked on the grill pan or the gas grill are great for such a night, too. Particularly nice with a wine glass in the unoccupied hand.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      Yes - we call that "Chicken Thrown in the Oven"

      1. re: mirage

        I was wondering if it had a proper name ;-)

        This was SO on my mind yesterday that I got one of Fresh & Easy's cheap trays of 8 thighs, seasoned as above and tossed'em around in mixed olive and chile oil, then put into the small hinged wire basket and fired up the gas grill. 10 minutes per side, and insanely good.

        1. re: Will Owen

          spaghetti with a meat sauce. I reserve meatball making for days I have a little time. Spaghetti with meat sauce, I can throw together in 35-45 mins. A quick sauce. Also, I usually have some kind of bread roll in the freezer, that makes into quick garlic bread. Yum.

          The other one is pasta carbonara. We love that dish, its so easy, eggs, butter, and cheese. Pasta of your choice, just toss in the eggs, butter, parm salt and pepper. Add a little fresh parsley or torn basil. Great for a meal in 15 minutes or as long as it takes to cook the pasta.

      2. If there aren't leftovers in the frig, there's usually a previously made lasagna or casserole in the freezer - it gets heated up with a fast marinara and served with a salad. On my own, it would be entirely a refrigerator meal of anti-pasti - cheese, picked onions/carrots/peppers, roasted peppers, salami/sardines/tuna, the weekly sauce, garlic, basil and a tomato. Lots of olive oil.

        Fastest recipe - butterflied and herbed chicken roasted over sliced potatoes for 20 minutes at 500 with sliced potatoes served with nuked spinach. Start to table 35 minutes.

        Fastest meal - grilled protein, salad or spinach, and Spanish garlic bread.

        6 Replies
        1. re: alwayscooking

          Hey, re the 500 chicken, I suppose two large, bone-in breasts would do just the same, wouldn't they? This may be tonight's dinner. Feeling lazy.

          1. re: c oliver

            Haven't tried it with chicken breasts. I'd probably dry and put them on a bed of sliced potatoes (and a few slices of onion!). Under the breast skin, put some herbed butter (thyme, parsley, etc). Start checking them at @18 min. If you have time, brine them for at least 20-30 minutes.

            Good luck and let me know if it works.

            1. re: alwayscooking

              I'm thinking some sliced fennel also. Only 6pm on Left Coast so I have time to brine. Good idea. I'll let you know. Thanks as always.

              1. re: c oliver

                I crashed!

                If you have chicken breasts, it might be even faster to butterfly them if they're fat, and simply pan fry them for about 2-3 minutes each side. You could then quickly make a pan sauce (honey balsamic or lemon caper).

                Either way let me know and happy eating!

                1. re: alwayscooking

                  This was just delicious. I put the chicken on a bed of halved fingerling potatoes, sliced onions and fennel and grape tomatoes. Put some pork fat (!) under the skin and roasted at 500 for 20 minutes. Talk about a simple one dish meal. Needed nothing more. This is a definite keeper. Thanks a whole lot, alwayscooking.

        2. Spaghetti carbonara or spaghetti with oil, garlic and chilli.

          4 Replies
          1. re: greedygirl

            I'm right there with you! Spaghetti with garlic slices, julienne red peper, and some red pepper flakes sauted in olive oil. Toss and go: 20mins. including bringing water to boil.
            We also eat the Purdue "Fit & Trim" chicken breasts because they're so skinny they cook up in minutes. Throw some rice on and add frozen peas near the end of the rice cooking time (add slivered almonds and cranberries if you want to be fancy) and that's dinner.

            1. re: jboeke

              I do thin capellini with canned clams (i know!! I learned the recipe down south) in their juice in a sauce with olive oil, fresh basil, dried oregano, tons of garlic, and fresh cracked black pepper. It is my favorite fast meal in the world..... especially served with some garlic bread to soak up the delicious sauce.. mmm

              1. re: kubasd

                That is an excellent quick meal ... I love it too.

            2. re: greedygirl

              Exactly what greedygirl said, or pasta with butter and parmesan.

              Oh! And of course grilled cheese (with lots of freshly ground pepper).

            3. Tired? I'll cook
              Cheese & Poblano Quesadillas
              Chicken or Pork Cutlets
              ...usually with a splash of Lizano, or Salsa Verde. Or Hoisin Sauce on the cutlets.

              *Really* too tired to cook? Delivery Pizza Bianca from the good mom & pop joint a couple blocks away. Or cheap Chinese takeaway General Tzo Chicken.

              1 Reply
              1. re: KiltedCook

                you love lizano too? Where in CR did you go?

              2. Omelettes
                Pasta with butter, parm and lemon or butter, parm and black pepper
                Grilled Swiss on Rye
                PB&J(does that count as cooking?)

                1. Scrambled eggs. Croque Monsieur, Pasta Alfredo, or Chef's Salad.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: greygarious

                    I've always been too intimidated to make alfredo because every recipe I come across seems to involve too many steps and ingredients. Any tips on a quick pasta with alfredo?

                    1. re: LTL

                      I wouldn't take an oath on how "classic" my method is, but there's not much that could be easier. I melt a cube of butter (NOT margarine) in the bottom of a saute pan or even a saucepan, add crushed, chopped, or diced garlic (whatever method you prefer) to taste being careful not to brown it. I usually use a couple of cloves. When the garlic is soft, I add a cup of whipping cream, bring it to a simmer. Then stir in about a cup and a half of cheese such as parmigiano reggiano or (my preference) pecorino Romano, and stir until smooth. Toss in a handful of chopped parsley. Taste for seasonings. If it needs salt, add it now, and some freshly ground black pepper is good too. Some like to add just a hint of freshly grated nutmeg, but it's optional. You can either add your pasta (fetuccini is good, but so is anything from angel hair to lasagna noodles, depending on what you're in the mood for) to the sauce and toss, or you can plate your pasta and pour the sauce over it. In either case, a bit more grated cheese and chopped parsley on top is fine.

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        C1: Another romano girl--I prefer it, also. ;)

                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          You've got smart taste buds, kattyeyes! '-)

                      2. re: LTL

                        It is so easy ...

                        Classic Caroline 1, pretty much how I do it. not much else. So easy. More cheese, add more, more cream add more.

                        Cream, parm, butter and garlic. I do add pepper too and garlic according to taste, but I like a lot. Also, I LIKE heavy rather than whipping but either or.

                        She is correct, simple and easy. I make it a lot. Great with alot of simple veggies sauted over pasta. Nothing better. Shrimp, chicken, turkey, crab, scallops, turkey, anything ...or just pasta. Love it over spinach pasta with grilled asparagus. Nothing tops that.

                        1. re: kchurchill5

                          In my book "whipping cream" and "heavy cream" are interchangeable, but "light whipping cream" is not. In any case, I rather doubt that there is a major flavor or texture difference between Alfredo sauce made with heavy cream and light. In a pinch, I suspect I could still get a pretty decent result with milk and some extra butter.

                    2. Chicken Quesadilla - preferrably with leftover roasted chicken. Pick meat off bones and simmer for a minute in some salsa in a small pan. Put a tortilla in another pan to heat, add cheese, layer heated chicken on top, add more cheese, fold tortilla and flip to melt the other side. Yum.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Jen76

                        ditto, or (if there's no salsa to be had) leftover chicken sliced thin, heated in some smoky bbq sauce, sauteed onions and peppers or filled with any manner of leftovers even.

                      2. In no particular order:
                        Spaghetti Carbonara
                        Quesadilla with black beans, corn and red bell peppers
                        Mushroom Omelet
                        Grilled Cheese with Bacon
                        Boboli Pizza with pepperoni

                        Oh, yeah! Also, Jacques Pepin's Crusty Chicken Thighs...they only take 20 minutes.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mcsheridan

                          Whole Foods basil garlic sausage sliced, browned, and covered in canned tomato sauce. Serve with rice, couscous or pasta.

                          1. re: mcsheridan

                            Love those Boboli pizza crusts. A little extra mozz, some decent sauce (no sugar - see Purist post) and some proscuitto (sp?), on top so it gets a little brown, and my kids think I'm a gourmet cook.

                          2. Some kind of simple pasta
                            Leftovers on a pizza
                            Salad and garlic bread
                            Creamed spinach and blackened chicken thighs.
                            When I'm really too tired, I cook myself into a person that talks SO into running to the corner for Thai BBQ on a salad and a side of fried bananas.

                            1. Simple scrambled eggs, toast or a container of leftover soup which I usually keep frozen. I almost have something. But eggs. Even a poached egg over toast is great.

                              I usually have a beef stew or soup though which I can just micro quick.

                              1. spaghetti amatriciana

                                spaghetti aio e oio when I'm all out of ingredients and I'm too pooped to go to the store

                                depending on whether i have stock, noodle soup or stir-fry with frozen veggies & whatever protein I might have on hand. Trader Joe's Soycotash & green beans, peas are staples in my freezer for this purpose.

                                Also, whenever I make dumplings, I make lots of extra and freeze them. They go into the noodle soup or get panfried or steamed for a quick meal.

                                I also keep a jar of TJ's bolognese sauce on hand most times for truly lazy days. It's the best pasta sauce in a jar.

                                I eat a lot of pasta.

                                  1. Poached egg on salad greens with parmesan and olives

                                    1. 1. Drain a can of chick peas, dress w/ oil, lemon juice, allspice, S&P.
                                      2. A slice of cheese on pita, under the broiler for a couple of minutes, ' til it's bubbly.
                                      3. One of, or a combination of some of the following, cut up - potato, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, carrots, beets. Toseed in a little oil, w/ salt, pepper & a little chili powder, then roasted.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Rmis32

                                        i do the roated veggies to and i add some frozen corn on the cob to (organic one) mmm veggies

                                      2. 1. Scrambled cheesy eggs.
                                        2. Chicken broth (with or without a clove of minced garlic in oil to start it) with juice of half a lemon or lime. ReaLemon or the plastic lime works if that's all you've got. Boil pastina in it and serve. Great for not only when you don't feel like cooking, but when your throat is sore or stomach is not into other cuisine.
                                        3. Pasta or ravs with butter.

                                        1. 1) Oatmeal with bananas/apples
                                          2) 3 min brown rice (trader joes) with frozen broccoli and pasta sauce

                                          1. Cut-up leaf lettuce+cherry tomatoes+an avocado that needs to be consumed+sliced cucumber+left over cold, steamed parrot fish from last night+whatever is in the back of the fridge that I haven't seen yet, probably in an olive oil and Lee Kum Kee
                                            Seasoned Soy for Seafood sauce.

                                            1. Scrambled egg and ham or bacon... or else a salad or a basic hamburger (if I'm REALLY not in the mood for cooking, a hamburger patty with raw onion and cheese for DH, and a bowl of frozen mixed vegetables for me).

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Kajikit

                                                Yeah, this is us, too. :) Or maybe just some boxed mac and cheese. I actually like that sometimes. :)

                                              2. A quesadilla or some sort of stir-fry with noodles.

                                                1. Cheese quesadilla made in the toaster oven
                                                  Scrambled eggs with cream cheese on a toasted challah roll
                                                  scrambled eggs with rice (usually have some leftover rice in the rice cooker)
                                                  spaghetti with anchovies sauteed with garlic and red pepper flakes
                                                  any leftover pasta with pesto sauce from Whole Foods

                                                  1. Box of couscous (usually the Far East with pine nuts) cooked with a can of tomatoes and a package of sliced up chicken sausage (usually the jalapeno one). It's ridiculously high in sodium, but it's ready to eat in under 10 minutes.

                                                    1. Sometimes this feeling is solved by cooking breakfast for dinner, as I have more enthusiasm somehow for pancakes or an omelet, etc. But sometimes, I'm too tired to consider going out nor do I want to cook, and I likely turn to the whatever I have frozen. Barring that, I will resort to rice in the cooker (often this turns into tori zosui--chicken, egg, scallion and dashi on rice,) or maybe a grilled cheese and some soup, or a quesadilla with guac I keep frozen. Pasta with sausage and eggplant or peas is also pretty easy, but requires a little more effort. Truly pooped and no one else is eating--cereal and milk or oatmeal with currants and milk. I've even been known to melt cheese on crackers under the broiler, sandwich them with jam, and call it dinner before I roll into bed early. That's fairly rare, thank God.

                                                      1. Pistachios.Oh wait; that's not a recipe. Spaghetti with olive oil, crushed red pepper and garlic... but sigh.....too much clean up. Scrambled eggs.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                          someone after my own heart.... I've been known to go to pistachios or flavored almonds for dinner.... but after that? amy's soup, scrambled eggs with onion and chalula, or my tastiest choice, my above capelllini and clam sauce...

                                                        2. toast with lemon curd and tea
                                                          scrambled eggs with cheese or bacon mixed in (I pre-cook diced bacon and keep it in the freezer)
                                                          bagel sandwich with lunch meat if I have it, or with scrambled eggs, or cream cheese and smoked salmon
                                                          toast and peanut butter
                                                          Cup Noodle and grilled cheese
                                                          cheese and crackers
                                                          tuna melt

                                                          1. Pork Spare Rib and Watercress Soup as an all in one, plus jasmine rice in the rice cooker. Only need to chop one onion and mince a couple of cloves of garlic. If I want chilli/garlic in soy sauce on the side, I'll have to slice a few chillies and maybe 3 cloves of garlic.

                                                            15 mins from getting the stuff together to having the soup simmering, leave it to simmer for an hour, toss in the watercress and 10 mins later it's ready.

                                                            If that is too much work, I might happen to have some frozen curries and soups (I like to cook large portions and freeze the extras) that I can heat up.

                                                            1. When I'm REALLY too tired and just not in the mood, I either cook Take-Out (more likely delivery) or peanut butter and jelly. Or, on rare occasions, a fried egg sammich. Ahhhh.. The blessings of living alone! '-)

                                                              1. Fried egg and kimchi over rice

                                                                Noodles in (pre-made frozen) chicken stock, mixed with frozen veggies or some combo of cabbage, kale, or broccoli.


                                                                Canned soup (usu. Progresso) paired with some crusty bread

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  cereal: the dinner of champions! i should bring this fine practice back into my life. i have some fond memories of eating chex with shredded cheese for dinner in college.

                                                                  1. re: cimui

                                                                    There are nights when a box of cereal and some shiraz can rival any meal at a 5 star restaurant.

                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      oh yeah, a fruity pinot noir with fruity pebbles, cabernet with cocoa puffs, a vinho verde with lucky charms (to go with the leprechaun / green theme)... why don't sommelier schools make wine with cereal pairings a required course?

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        Do the Rice Krispies slur their "Snap, crackle & pop" after sitting in the Shiraz?

                                                                          1. re: Rmis32

                                                                            Actually, I use the Shiraz as a "chaser" for the cereal. I take my "snap, crackle and pop" dry ...

                                                                    2. If I am way too tired to cook, then it is some sort of PBJ ( maybe with honey or banana)

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: cassoulady

                                                                        grilled pb&j, with banana, is my favorite comfort food

                                                                      2. We always try to have roasted vegies in the frezzer (cut up 5 red/yellow/green one green is plenty 2 zucchini one very large onion in roasting pan coat with olive oil 1 or so tbs dryed oregano juice of 1/2 a lemon roast 475 oven for about 25min stiring a couple of time while cooking) when not in the moon we cut some chicken breasts(or steak or shrimp) into strips maranate as you like pan fry (usually out on the grill) then veggies and chicken on tortillas. Just cook the veggies when you are in the mood.


                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: don515

                                                                          I've posted this somewhere else, but it was a while ago...so here goes.

                                                                          First thing you need to do is to purchase some frozen tamales and keep them in the freezer so you'll have them handy when the need arises. I sometimes spring for those Primavera veg. tamales with corn and green chilies, but will settle for the big fat round ones you get at any supermarket.

                                                                          Take off the husks and break them up into a casserole dish. Dump a can or two of Dennison's NO BEAN Chili. I don't like any of the other brands...Dennison's has just the right gooey, meaty, spicy taste and texture.

                                                                          Chop up some Hebrew National Beef Franks (I use "Reduced Fat" ones so that the dish will be low-fat, snirk, snirk, snirk) and nestle them into and on top of the tamales.

                                                                          Grate some very sharp cheddar cheese over the whole thing, cover with foil and bake until bubbly. Take the foil off for the last few minutes. Serve with chopped green onions to sprinkle on top.

                                                                          This is surprisingly great. Unfortunately, you'll probably drop dead after making and eating it a couple of times. I serve it with a big green salad and that makes it a healthy meal!

                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                            That is freaking brilliant! I think the only frozen tamales I've seen are at TJ's, but I am so going to try this. Makes me think of those layered polenta dishes. I might skip the franks, though. I'll have to bribe my sweetie to try this, but I bet it'll be worth it.

                                                                        2. 1) brown some meat (chicken, hamburger patty, sliced or cubed beef or pork) with some onion (I keep chopped frozen onions in the freezer for just such occasions), dump a can of cream of mushroom or whatever in, throw in seasonings of choice, and if i have an open bottle of wine... and serve over rice or noodles, maybe with a side of canned sliced pineapple or warmed canned/frozen veggies.

                                                                          2) brown some hamburger, toss in a jar of emergency red sauce (again kept in pantry for just such an occasion), doctor it up with seasonings, and if available wine, and serve it over toast, noodles, rice...

                                                                          3) ".... hello? pizza hut?...."

                                                                          1. Two things I always have in the freezer, ready for this: salmon cakes and chickpea burgers. Either one can be sauteed from frozen and ready in about 10-12 minutes to go with bag o'salad.

                                                                            Epicurious Deviled Salmon Cakes: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                            Chickpea burgers: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/... (says it makes 8, really makes 10 or 12)

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: GretchenS

                                                                              Do you make the salmon cakes just as the recipe calls for and then freeze them with the crumbs on? I can't wait to try that!

                                                                              1. re: Vetter

                                                                                I have actually tweaked the recipe a bit (don't add corn, do add some grated lemon zest, a bit less mayo and more crushed saltines and relish) and then, yes, crumb the outside and freeze on a cookie sheet, then transfer to ziplock bags once frozen. If I have the energy I do a proper flour-egg-panko coating on the outside and they are just gorgeous -- much better than just the crumbs although that certainly works. Enjoy!

                                                                                1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                  oh my goodness what a great idea! I've been making many versions of salmon cakes for years: Asian version with sesame, green onions, and chili, an Italian version with roasted red peppers, lemon, and garlic, I even did a cajun version with green peppers, celery, onion, and hot sauce. But it never even crossed my mind to make extra and freeze. Next time for sure.

                                                                                  While we're on the subject, I also do black bean cakes, black-eyed pea cakes, and chickpea cakes. I suppose they would freeze pretty well too! Thanks again!

                                                                                  1. re: hollyd

                                                                                    Black bean and corn cakes are great, potato and pepper cakes, salmon definitely, tuna cakes, even veggie cakes

                                                                            2. If it's just me - Bowl of Ramen noodles spruced up with some mushrooms, scallions, chili peppers, cilantro, limes and sesame oil OR an old childhood staple of buttered egg noodles with well-browned hot dogs topped with parm. So bad but so good. Or I could just eat a whole bag of Jax cheese puffs.

                                                                              If it's me and they hubby - I'll ask him to cook, then he moans and groans, then he asks me to order Chinese.

                                                                              1. Welsh Rarebit (aka cheese on toast with a bit of beer and a touch of dried mustard thrown into to enliven things).

                                                                                1. that would be on the docket for tonight - any sort of activity seems so daunting today! therefore, i'll throw some pasta in to cook - meanwhile saute up chicken sausages with spinach, garlic and roma tomatoes - throw it all together and top with a healthy handful of parmesan - and then collapse...

                                                                                  1. Spaghetti alla carbonara or marinara. Or, if I have leftover turkey or chicken or lamb, a quick curry.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                      Carbonara is definitely one of mine - I usually have eggs, bacon (or pancetta/guanciale) on hand, as well as white wine, pasta and parsley. And I agree - a quick curry can make all sorts of things taste good, including an assortment of vegetables.

                                                                                      1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                        And - completely on another topic, but since you are "here" - have you baked from Elizabeth David's bread book and, if so, what would you recommend starting with?

                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                          I wonder if this reply will nest. Most of mine haven't. Yes, I have baked from Elizabeth David's bread book. But I don't have my copy nearby and can't turn to any particular page. I've done her quick yeasted bread, a wonderful cheat, that takes about two hours from mixing to the table. It is a great recipe to know when you are too tired to cook but nothing will satisfy like bread out of the oven. It is very yeasty, does not have the depth of flavor of a slow rise, but worth while all the same. And toasted with butter and hot tea--well my Irish grandmother would have been in heaven.
                                                                                          Probably I'd start with the Grant Loaf. I'm too busy with ministry to bake this week, but I'd hoped to do one of those English currant and saffron breads baked for Easter, though I might have ended up using apricots. Maybe I'll get a chance to on Holy Saturday. Meanwhile, our brother cook will bake Hot Cross buns. Mostly, though, I gained from Elizabeth David a sense of what bread is about. And I try to understand a recipe and adapt it to what I have at hand. I rarely copy one exactly and then usually only the first time around.

                                                                                      2. Another quick dish that I make is broiled chicken marinated briefly in yogurt and garlic - you can use thighs, breasts or both. If that sounds interesting, I'll find the link for you.

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                          In a week, I'll be cooking after a round trip drive north into Pennsylvania. Broiled chicken marinated and in yogurt and garlic sounds like something really worth doing. I was toying with making chicken enchiladas the night before or braising chicken pieces with tomatoes, wine, and wild mushrooms. And, grilled polenta slices or spaghetti alla carbonara.

                                                                                          1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                            Not that it's complicated, but I'll find the link for you tomorrow - it has chives in it too. Very quick and so delicious. Thanks for your post above about the bread as well - it did nest properly! Off to dinner.

                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                              I'll be looking forward to the link. Thanks!

                                                                                              1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                                                I believe this is MMRuth's awesome recipe for "Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kabobs." (Thanks MMRuth!!!) I've marinated the chicken the day of cooking as well as overnight, both came out great. You can cook the chicken in your oven or on a grill. We prefer the grill. Definitely do give this recipe a try. You won't be disappointed!

                                                                                                1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
                                                                                                1 T minced garlic or garlic minced to a paste (I use much more.)
                                                                                                1/4 cup finely chopped garlic chives, regular chives or scallions
                                                                                                1 1/4 tsp salt
                                                                                                1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
                                                                                                2 T vegetable oil
                                                                                                1/2 cup cup plain yogurt (I use full fat Greek yogurt.)
                                                                                                1 - 2 limes or lemons, cut into wedges

                                                                                                Cut chicken into 1 inch chunks and put into wide shallow bowl.
                                                                                                Mix garlic, greens, salt, pepper and oil into yogurt.
                                                                                                Add to chicken and stir, cover and marinate for 1-2 hours turning over once.
                                                                                                Broil meat in oven for 12 - 15 minutes, turning once, until cooked through or grill on skewers. If cooking outside, you can also cook the pieces "loose" on foil and turn with tongs. Mound chicken on platter and serve with lemon/lime wedges.

                                                                                                1. re: cvhound

                                                                                                  It's funny and I know I'm not alone in this. The recipe looks fine but the minute you attributed it to MMRuth, you got MY attention! This has gone into MY file.

                                                                                                  1. re: cvhound

                                                                                                    I make the same marinade but add a little hot sauce just for a light kick, red pepper flakes work good too. It is a great simple recipe.

                                                                                                    I usually make kabobs and skewer with cherry tomatoes and served with a herbed couscous. So good.

                                                                                                    1. re: cvhound

                                                                                                      Thanks for doing that - I was about to go dig up the link. I usually use half breasts and half boneless thighs, as my husband prefers dark meat. I think I've only used regular chives in this, and once added some tumeric which gave it a lovely colour.

                                                                                                      Edit: I meant to add - this recipe is paraphrased from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Mangoes & Curry Leaves", so I can't quite take credit for it.

                                                                                            2. eggs and vegetables, often sauteed kale. or, if I prefer, baked seasoned tofu (I toss slices in soy sauce, worcestershire, garam masala and turmeric) and roasted vegetables (ideally sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts, but just whatever I happen to have around) - everything goes into the oven, I chill for a few minutes and bam, dinner.

                                                                                              1. Grilled cheese.
                                                                                                Cheese, cold meat, olives, peppers and crackers or toast.
                                                                                                Open a can of tuna in olive oil, toss with capers, dry cured olives, salt, pepper and wine vinegar.
                                                                                                Frozen bean and cheese burrito. I make several dozen at a time and freeze them for these times.

                                                                                                1. I can sympathize with a lot of these responses--simple pasta dish with one vegetable sauteed in olive oil and garlic, pasta burro, pasta carbonara, quesadillas, omelet, a sandwich or salad with whatever's on hand.

                                                                                                  1. 1. wine, fruit and cheese. if you're really low energy, you don't even have to cut the fruit or cheese with anything but your teeth. =)

                                                                                                    2. corn tortilla in a pan or on a baking sheet, topped with thinly sliced tomato and sprinkled with cheese (parmesan, cheddar, etc..), garlic or onion powder, salt, pepper. toast until the tortilla is crisp around the edges and the cheese melted. top with cilantro or basil.

                                                                                                    3. rice made in the rice cooker (add water, click the switch) topped with a fried egg, chives and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil or furikake.

                                                                                                    4. caprese salad made with those tiny mozarella pearls and grape tomatoes. you don't have to cut up either. add a chiffonade of basil, dump in some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper. eat with a good baguette and tada! it's a meal!

                                                                                                    1. Grilled cheese with soup, split pea if there is some in the freezer otherwise canned clam chowder.

                                                                                                      1. Some delish tomato and fresh mozz with evoo and vinegar
                                                                                                        any kind of pasta tossed in evoo with s&p and parm
                                                                                                        rice cooked in chicken broth with canned beans and frozen veggies thrown in last min
                                                                                                        and my fav, scrambled eggs with soy crumbles and frozen veggies over rice

                                                                                                        1. Throw small portions of all the banchan I can find in my fridge into a bowl of rice, top with sesame oil, fried egg, and hot pepper paste, mix, eat.

                                                                                                          Or butter and toast.

                                                                                                          1. Depends on what's in the house. If we have bread, then cheese on toast. If we have cheese and tortillas, quesadilla. In the summer, sliced tomato on toast, with goat cheese. If I'm really hungry, most of the above, but with eggs involved - scrambled eggs with cheese on toast, eggs poached in Trader Joe's salsa with the quesadilla.

                                                                                                            If no bread/tortillas/cheese, then something from the freezer. There's always soup of some sort in the freezer.

                                                                                                            1. Well, if I am REALLY not in the mood, cereal. As someone else said, "Ah, the joys of living alone." But sometimes cheese eggs. Then there's what my family calls a Cholesterol Burger: white bread slathered with mayo on both sides...fry 3 pieces of bacon when the bacon is pretty much done break an egg on top of the bacon and break the yolk. Let it cook a little then flip and let it cook a little. Lift the whole thing out of the grease (ok, I shake a little of the grease off or even pat it off) and put it on the bread. Sometimes we add cheese. But I save this for really crummy days now. I rarely have them.

                                                                                                              1. Definately grilled cheese - extra sharp chedder on rye- and canned tomato soup with some herbs - usually tarragon or thyme - thrown in while heating. Addding an herb makes it count as cooking doesn't it?

                                                                                                                1. My best chef friend is chef Bertolli. I always keep at least a couple different varieties in the freezer. One of those, a bag salad with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and some frozen garlic bread slices browned on the griddle (never in the oven), and we are good to go. I can have it ready sooner than the carry out guy could arrive.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: cycloneillini

                                                                                                                    What is a chef Bertolli? Don't know about that.

                                                                                                                  2. Locrio de Pica Pica (Or something similar)

                                                                                                                    Fresh Brown Rice - I set my rice cooker on a timer every day, if I use it, hey, fresh rice! If not, it gets stuck in the fridge for fried rice for breakfast

                                                                                                                    On that I add some canned sardines quickly tossed in a hot skillet with whatever combination of tomatoes, onions, peppers, chillies, and hot sauce I have on hand at the time. Some nights it winds up sardines and Sriracha on rice, and some nights it a fresh tomato, onion and habenero sauce.

                                                                                                                    Served up with a beer, it is quick, cheap, and semi-almost-kinda-healthy-ish.

                                                                                                                    1. A tin of Campbell's finest orange goo that resembles tomato soup. Can't beat it!

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Robin Joy

                                                                                                                        Yes, but you have to make it with milk and crumble Ritz crackers up in it!

                                                                                                                        1. re: LJS

                                                                                                                          I make Campbell's chicken noodle soup with milk. And top with some broken up Wavy Lays potato chips!

                                                                                                                      2. Bacon & eggs w/ home fries. Easy and quick.

                                                                                                                        1. breakfast food like eggs toast, omelets.

                                                                                                                          or quick pasta like Carbonara.

                                                                                                                          1. A quick and easy grilled cheese to dip in a bowl of tomato roasted red bell pepper soup spiked with a splash of sherry, a dollop of sour cream, and some freshly ground pepper. Quick, easy, and definitely comfort food!

                                                                                                                            1. We call it the Caramba meal in my family. Grilled chop or sausage, steamed rice, nuked frozen vegetables, preferably a mixture of corn and peas. On the table in the time it takes to cook the rice.

                                                                                                                              1. Mr Freezer Is Our Friend. When I cook, I freeze leftovers in future dinner portions. When I am tired or busy I don't cook at all,---I zap. Meatloaf and gravy, potroast and gravy, sliced roast pork on cornbread stuffing with gravy, mashed potatoes, cooked white rice, curried rice, rice with peas and mushrooms, chicken and noodles in chicken gravy, cooked meat tortellini in marinara sauce, corn pudding, green bean casserole, sweet & sour red cabbage, etc etc.

                                                                                                                                1. Back when I still ate gluten, I was a loyal devotee of the fried egg sandwich. Lately, it's been olive-oil packed tuna (made up as for a sandwich) eaten out of a bowl with rice crackers and sprouts.

                                                                                                                                  I'm also keen on cottage cheese pancakes. Lately, a sort of dutch baby/faux souffle. Big ole scoop of cottage cheese, beaten egg whites, yolks, whatever version of milk is in the fridge, whatever flour mix is in my pantry (now that I'm GF, that could be anything!), smidge of agave nectar, some frozen berries, dump in steep sided pyrex, bake until it smells done.

                                                                                                                                  1. Potato and egg tacos with some sort of salsa. Chorizo and bell pepper are great in this too, if I have some in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                    1. Spaghetti with meat sauce, or scrambled eggs with cream cheese and a toasted English muffin.

                                                                                                                                      ETA: Hamburger Stroganoff from one of those General Mills recipe cards they used to sell back in the early 1970s. I've tweaked it over these many years (not using canned mushrooms, which icked me out even back when I first started cooking), and have added more seasonings and red wine to the mix, but it's still basically the same - ground beef, mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, and seasonings (I think that's it).

                                                                                                                                      But it takes about a half hour total, serve it over egg noodles, top it with peas and it gives me comfort. :-)

                                                                                                                                      1. Marcella Hazan's simple tomato sauce with pasta or her cacio e pepe. Guiliano Hazan's soup in a bag (had that last night- mmmm). Scrambled eggs on toast, waffles, french toast, or eggs en cocotte. Croque monsieurs. My Czech grandmother's goulaš. Usually with a salad (we fall back on easy-to-mix-up vinaigrettes, lemon juice+oil, or the jar of homemade miso dressing that we always have on hand in the fridge).

                                                                                                                                        1. My go-to too-lazy/tired/etc meal is grilled veggies. Basically whatever veggies are in the fridge/cupboard that need to be used up: peppers, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, etc...cut up and toss with balsamic, oil, salt & pepper. Throw on the broiler. Consume. Easy and tasty.

                                                                                                                                          1. I just had one of those aha moments. Do you realize that non-Chowhounds wouldn't consider alot of these the kind of meals they'd cook when they're "tired and just not in the mood"? Some of these would be real cooking for someone who isn't into like we are. It made me chuckle.

                                                                                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                              LOL! I thought the same thing! For them - there's cereal. :-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                and for some who are. I have bee amazed at the range of effort that goes into an "I'm to tired to cook" meal. Also interesting to see what shortcuts some find acceptable, and which are not. For some frozen items, for others canned, and for some still gotta be fresh, but with less intense preparations. At first I thought people were not being responsive to the OP's question. Then I realized that those people really don't consider chopping up fresh vegetables, marinating things for an hour, or zesting a lemon to be "real" cooking. Never mind the ingredients that would happen to be on hand. I don't happen to have a cup of heavy (or light) cream in the house most of the time, or garlic scallions, or well... you get the idea.

                                                                                                                                                Fascinating, just fascinating

                                                                                                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, I cook a LOT and still some of the responses seem surprising to me. I usually keep about a week's worth of groceries around the house all the time, but if I didn't have that stuff, and just didnt have the energy to go to the store (which, if I don't feel like cooking, is likely) then I'm sure as heck not going to be roasting a chicken.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                    I think I'm a bit spoiled in Manhattan, b/c I can separate not feeling like going to the store, and not feeling like cooking. I can call up the market around the corner, and within about 30 minutes, they will deliver to me a nice chicken and some arugula. Pop the chicken in the oven, pull out some pepper jellies that I keep on hand for this kind of thing, make "my" arugula/parmesan salad, and I've basically done no work at all. In these cases, I decide that the arugula counts as a green vegetable.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                      Delivery would make a huge difference, you're so right. But once I've done my daily outings, and fed Lulu her lunch, I'm stuck in the house for the rest of the afternoon (3+ hours - gotta love a kid who sleeps), so even if I wanted to go pick up a chicken, etc. I couldn't.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                      I try to keep about a week's worth of groceries too, but I do have the luxury of walking past a whole foods on my way home from work every day. I can pick up one thing if I need it, no problem.

                                                                                                                                                      When I buy groceries for the week, I typically try to get things for at least one such meal. ONE day this week I know I'll come home tired and hungry and not in the mood for take out. These meals usually don't involve produce, or at least minimal produce, so freshness isn't a big deal, and I often just have many of the ingredients as pantry items: rice, pasta, canned tomatoes, beans, etc.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hollyd

                                                                                                                                                        Agree totally - I keep those kinds of things on hand too. And there is a great couscous, roasted chick pea and onion thing (from Flexitarian Table) that can be made if I just can't get out - all made with pantry stuff. And I try to keep things like chicken thighs and turkey sausages in the freezer for emergencies, but they do take time to thaw, so I have to know in advance that I'm having one of those days.

                                                                                                                                                    3. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                      I hear ya! But I'm finding that, mainly thanks to CH'ers, I can make more out of less - both ingredients and time. I mentioned on some thread recently that after a 400 mile drive with a husband, two dogs and a cat, about the easiest thing for dinner was to make Hazan's tomato sauce with onion and butter. Boiled some pasta. Made quick dressing with oil and lemon juice and put over some leftover arugula. I could certainly do that quicker than driving 7 or 8 miles to pick up a pizza, etc. But I also ALWAYS try to have some kind of frozen starch on hand, i.e., mac n cheese, so I can grill some chicken (boneless, skinless breasts!) and forget the "leafy green vegetable." I do more than some people and less than others. Oh, yeah, and for dessert? Frozen peanut M&Ms :)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                        I'm finding some responses interesting too. Like someone mentioned meat sauce that takes 45 minutes. I know it's not complicated or gourmet, but it's not what I think of when I don't feel like cooking.

                                                                                                                                                        An easy no-brainer in my house usually is pasta. Maybe with some chicken or turkey sausage that I just sautee, sometimes with frozen turkey meatballs that I keep on hand for my kids, and sometimes just plain with parmesan cheese and garlic and olive oil.

                                                                                                                                                        Does not get much easier.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                                                          Quick pasta, eggs, toast, anything that takes 5 minutes. I too also have some frozen meat. Grilled ham and cheese. I also have frozen soup too usually. I have two small containers of tomato bisque right now. One night that with a grilled cheese will be dinner.

                                                                                                                                                          FYI, Toast the bread in the toaster with a little butter of the outside slice, then add cheese and then micro for 10 seconds. Grilled cheese and no pan. That is when I am really tired. It works and tastes the same.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                          I've also thought that. My first response was "pistachios", 'cause that's what I eat when I don't feel like cooking ( if I have no family to think about). I'd rather eat a handful of nuts, or nothing, if I'm not going to eat something "good". And the clean up is definitely factored in. WAY more trouble than the cooking, usually.

                                                                                                                                                        3. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                          That is kind of funny, but I suppose it depends on what other factors may be at play.

                                                                                                                                                          It used to be that if I was too tired to cook, I just went out, but now that we have a toddler who isn't always up for a meal in a restaurant, cooking at home is less stressful, and then when I actually get up and do it, cooking something quick and simple is usually a fairly relaxing activity. Also, if I'm cooking all the time, I usually have things on hand that are partially made, like stock or some sauces in the freezer, cut up chicken parts, sausages, or maybe half a batch of something like a big stew that I decided to freeze for just such an occasion.

                                                                                                                                                          One thing that is true for me, and I suspect for a lot of the things people make when they're not in the mood to cook, is that whatever I decide to make rarely involves more than one pot or pan (or at most one pot for pasta and something else for sauce/vegetables), because if I'm not in the mood to cook, I'm definitely not in the mood to wash dishes.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                                                                                                                                            Last paragraph? Absolutely! Good point.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                                                                                                                                              I wonder if, along the same lines as the one-pot thing, comfort food is also a factor here.

                                                                                                                                                              Since I find cooking relaxing, I am usually stressed out when I DON'T feel like cooking, so I (clearly, we can see) gravitate towards the cheesy starchy dishes! I think that's why I will make a croque monsier (takes about 5 minutes, including broiler time, and minimal knife work) and it won't feel like cooking "work"- it's something I can practically do in my sleep and the result is total comfort food, and so I'm more focused on that.

                                                                                                                                                              I'd never have cream just on-hand in the fridge, but I always have tomatoes (usually roasted and then frozen) and cheese. I suspect everyone is wildly different about what they keep on hand! I'm an events planner, so I generally know ahead of time when I'm going to have a tough week, and so we'll make an effort to get those easy minimal-cooking (which means specific dishes in our house) ingredients at the start of the hectic week. This includes lots of salad ingredients to offset the cheese. :) Having a CSA share helps us have healthy things on hand all the time, too.

                                                                                                                                                              I also forgot to mention the Annie's mac and cheese and the frozen gyoza+shumai we resort to when we don't want to do much cooking! :)

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                              I was just thinking the same thing LOL :) I know quite a few people who would consider quite a lot of what's discussed here as too complicated for weeknight cooking.

                                                                                                                                                            3. Eggs, eggs, eggs. Quick, easy, and love them!

                                                                                                                                                              1. Frittata --made with salami, ham, onions, cheese or whatever else looks good and is easy/no-prep. Orzo with butter and parm. Lemon/chicken/rice soup ----chicken broth, rice colyoked in broth, mix egg and juice, temper with some hot broth, and pour slowly into the rest of the soup. Add lemon as desired.

                                                                                                                                                                For a really no effot, "I have a bad cold" soup , I've mixed Trader Joe's Kung Pao noodeles with chicken broth --instant, hot -sinus clearing- noodle soup.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 1. Chef Boyardee pizza in a box. You don't even have to roll out the dough, just oil a pizza pan and smoosh out the dough with your fingers. (Garlic) press three cloves of garlic in a bowl and add the canned sauce that comes with the kit. Spread out over the pizza and sprinkle on the canned dried pseudo parmesan that comes with the kit. Then sprinkle on a whole lot more dried pseudo parmesan from a Kraft parmesan cheese container, or whatever brand you prefer. Sprinkle on dried oregano and basil from your spice rack.

                                                                                                                                                                  Aovid the compulsion to "fancy" this up with chopped vegetables or meats. (You're too tired to cook, remember?) You end up with something that is more pizza bread-like than pizza, but it's good, albeit only bearing a faint resemblance to pizza.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Take a stack of tortillas and wrap them in foil. Put in the oven at 350 degrees. Meanwhile, saute hamburger in a pan. Add salsa, ground cumin, garlic run through a press (or, if you're really tired, garlic powder), dried coriander, allspice. Add 3/4 cup of water and let bubble on the stove. Chop fresh tomatoes (or, if really tired, open another bottle of salsa), chop white onions, get a bag of pre-grated "sharp" (hah!) chedar cheese from the refrigerator and open it. Spoon the meat mixture onto a tortila and add the tomatoes, onions and chedar cheese. Roll up and eat.

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                                                                    On #2, thanks for the reminder, as a version of this used to be a standby for us. I'd often add chopped olives and raisins to the meat along with tomatillo salsa, to make something resembling picadillo. Really tasty and quick, and we'd wrap the leftovers in tortillas, pour over more salsa or chile based enchilada sauce, top with cheese, and reheat the next day for a quick casserole.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. 1. pasta w. jar pesto sauce and frozen veggies
                                                                                                                                                                    2. box mac/cheese w/ frozen sauteed veggies
                                                                                                                                                                    3. yogurt and fruit
                                                                                                                                                                    4. popcorn