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too hungry, too tired

what do you eat when you come home from a grueling work day and are too hungry and too tired to cook a proper meal?

usually i put everything in a pot of boiling water and make some soupy noodle with whatever is in the fridge/freezer. it's not pretty but it is better than tv dinners, just cheese and crackers or canned soup and toast i guess.

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  1. definitely scrambled eggs or an omelet.

    if you're a starch-lover, nuke a large baking potato in the MW for a few minutes until it's pretty much cooked through, then toss in a hot oven to crisp the skin. split open & top with whatever floats your boat - i like cottage cheese, chopped veggies, herbs, & tomato sauce or salsa. (you could also do chopped green veggies & your favorite melted cheese).

    and if you're just so tired that cooking isn't an option at all, sometimes nothing hits the spot like a bowl of cereal or some yogurt with berries, granola, etc.

    1. Rice and peas
      Pasta with butter, Parmesan and black pepper
      Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and onions, with toast
      Half a pint of B&J Cherry Garcia
      A bowl of cereal

      1. I almost always have something stored away in the freezer for a time like this. Turkey chili is one of the best because you can dump it into a saucepan and defrost it on the stove in no time. If you want, make rice. If not, not.

        2 Replies
        1. re: SarahKC

          Me too. I keep soup, pasta sauce, and a casserole or two in the freezer for those nights.
          Or just order a pizza.

          1. re: SarahKC

            The freezer really is your best friend at those times when you just can't be bothered. Just freeze a portion of that soup, stew, pie, or spaghetti sauce every so often and you'll always have something ready with almost no effort. Particularly if you have a microwave.

          2. popcorn and cereal, to the rescue! and grilled cheese can always cheer me up.

            1. peanut butter & jelly sandwich, nuked potato with butter and bacon, bacon and toast with OJ and milk (in the same glass :D), hot or cold cereal, a big apple with peanut butter (very filling if you use several serving's worth of peanut butter ;)

              1. There's an English joke of a meal served in greasy spoons there that is actually pretty good, Beans on Toast. Dump a can of (heated) pork & beans over a piece of hot buttered whole wheat toast. Have pickles on the side. If you have a mug of hot tea with this the whole thing is called a Bean Tea.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Querencia

                  Yo that's no joke and I know people who do it at home! Only it's not pork & beans, it's Heinz baked beans in the tomato-ey sauce.

                2. Take out, or else a couple beers and straight to bed.

                  1. I usually have emergency stock for these occasions and it mainly consists of wholegrain bread, dips (hoummous, tomato salsa, pesto), cheese (Manchego, mozzarella, feta) and a salad with leaves, tomatoes, basil and avocado. I'll normally have some fruit and yogurt for dessert.

                    1. I used to come home regularly at 9pm so I've become an expert in speedy and 'something out of nothing' dinners.

                      I got used to cooking extra portions when making soups, chilllis, pasta sauces, lasagnes and chicken stock so I always had something in the freezer to defrost, but if not then I'd make one of these.

                      A quick bean and fish stew - sautee some chopped red onions, rosemary, chopped chorizo (you can skip it) and garlic. Add two tins of chopped plum tomatoes with their juice, after a few min add two tins of beans (borlotti and broad beans are good). Place frozen white fish fillets on top, let it stew till the fish is done. (ten to fifteen min from frozen).

                      Stir fry (simply some veg or frozen prawns with noodles), or a pasta with tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, pesto.

                      It's amazing what you can create from nothing (empty fridge, no energy to cook....) if you keep a few things in the freezer or in the cupboard.

                      1. I used to have the same problem, and still do, occasionally. My problem was that I came home and ate whatever was fast. Maybe that was why I was so overweight, lol. I've lost 175lbs, and am much healthier now. The best thing you can do is prepare ahead, especially on the weekend. I always cook a pot of beans on Sunday to last me thru the week, and I make fresh salsa and chips. I also have a a serving of salad ready , too. That way, if I'm too tired or lazy, I have something healthy to fall back on. I love making huevos rancheros once a week, and it takes about 5 minutes.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ChrissyMc

                          Agreed, preparing ahead is they key to eating healthy! And eggs are the original fast food.

                        2. lately it's hoo roo rook, which is a korean ramen noodle-type soup we got at the asian market. takes 3 minutes to cook once the water boils.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: jujuthomas

                            HOO ROO ROOK. I can't get enough of the stuff. It's fast, soothing, tasty and no wear near as unhealthy as a regular ramen pack. Sooo yummy!

                            1. re: Flanlicious

                              Two votes for the stuff makes me want to a) look for some and b) learn more.
                              Like this?

                              Do either of you have a preferred brand? What makes it more healthy than other ramen? Do tell! :)

                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                LOL...something tells me it has just as much sodium as regular ramen but I'm totally curious now and want to try this...will visit our Asian food store this weekend...haven't been there in ages...not sure if they sell it, though. One of the reviewers said kimchee is a "must" with it...do you agree? 'Cuz then I'll have to pick that up also!

                                1. re: Val

                                  Does anyone know where to find this in Ontario?

                                  1. re: BamiaWruz

                                    In Toronto, you can buy Hoo Roo Rook at P.A.T. Korean supermarket at Bloor and Manning. They really are very good and do not contain MSG FWIW.

                                2. re: kattyeyes

                                  That is exactly the one I have.
                                  The more healthy part is that the noodles are not fried.
                                  I haven't tried any others, I have a couple food sensitivities, so I have to watch which I buy.

                              2. re: jujuthomas

                                Wow thanks for that recommendation. I'm now on a mission to find it! One of my favorite I'm-too-tired-to-cook meals is Nong Shim ramen- the spicy one in the red packet, with an egg and whatever sliced up vegetables I happen to have around the house. But the Hoo Roo Rook looks really interesting.

                                1. re: Kagey

                                  OMG...went to little Asian store on Friday night...asked owner about hoo roo rook...I'd found a package of Nong Shim Neoguri in red package and he said "That IS hoo roo rook." And I said, "well, it's Korean and this does not say 'hoo roo rook' on the package"...he said "I AM Korean and that's what you should buy, the Neoguri. You like spicy?" I said 'hell, yes!" and bought 2 packs. But the package doesn't say 'hoo roo rook' like in the photo above. Oh, well...we liked the Neoguri very much!

                                  1. re: Val

                                    T___T Those are my favorite noodles. If you ever have some leftover steak (unlikely I know) cut into slices and add.

                                    1. re: Val

                                      I did find the Hoo Roo Rook from the picture above in a shop today. If I ever get off the phone with Virgin broadband tech support, I might have it for dinner and report back! But I might check out the Neoguri too. Let us know when you try it!

                                      1. re: Val

                                        Was in my local Thai shop today and found the Neoguri. The connection seems to be fish--both the Hoo Roo Rook and the Neoguri contain fish. So you learn something new every day. Hoping to try it soon but using up some leftovers first.

                                      2. re: Kagey

                                        I might have to try mine with an egg in it... I've meant to put leftover veg in, but I never seem to have any around!

                                    2. I force myself to cook _something_. Before I take the time to sit down, lie down and/or relax, I’ve got onions sauteing, potatoes chopped and a can of something ready to be heated. I find that if I rest for a second, I’m gonna spend for take-out.

                                      If I really don’t want to cook, popcorn or cold cereal becomes a stop-gap dinner in front of the tv.

                                      1. "What do you cook when you are too tired and just not in the mood?"
                                        132 responses for your viewing pleasure here--with lots of great suggestions!

                                        1. noodle soup with veggies, frozen and prepared meatballs/sausages/asian fishballs, poached egg on top.

                                          cereal if it is not too cold that nite
                                          odd items on a "pizza" - last night: eggplant, onions, dried herbs and leftover cheese on lavash bread, eat with hot sauce or harissa..
                                          red lentil soup with curry and coconut milk and various veggies and tofu, you'll be suprised how quickly it cooks up

                                          1. That is when the freezer is my friend. I freeze extra homemade chili, soups, veg dishes, always have a ittle artisan bead and fixins in there. Micro to defrost and I am well fed in less than 10 minutes with no clean up.

                                            1. Tonight was one such night. So I started ten spears of asparagus broiling on high with a quick squirt of canola and a big sprinkle of salt, atop a piece of foil in a cookie sheet.

                                              While that cooked, I toasted two pieces of frozen whole-wheat bread, which I topped with half an avocado (very ripe, salted and slightly mashed) and a sliced tomato (from the garden -- we're insanely late this year). Other slice of toast got a thin spread of mayonnaise (Vegenaise, actually, because I had it).

                                              Pull the foil containing the asparagus out of the oven and onto the tabletop. Eat with fingers in between bites of sandwich.

                                              Seriously. Fine. Borderline amazing. Vegan, too, for those of us who care about these things (sometimes at least).

                                              1. I pass the store on my way home, so if it's open I get a steak and something to go with it like spinach. It's a simple matter to chuck a steak in a pan and wilt some spinach.
                                                Yesterday I had asparagus sauteed in butter, and gnocchi (in a vegetable sauce - it didn't go) with a steak.

                                                1. Sweet or savory oatmeal- just a variation on cereal for dinner, I guess. To avoid washing a cutting board, I usually rip in some dried fruit or hand-crush some nuts into my sweetie version, or snip scallions using shears in to my savory version.

                                                  1. A good frozen tortellini makes soup within minutes.

                                                    I agree with others about freezing things in advance, I freeze stock which makes it easy prepare something flavourful and fast. I also freeze curries, stews and tajines. Couscous is something that can be whipped up within 5 mins by rehydrating in some water. Add a bit of fresh herbs on the side (cilantro) and it's a beautiful and yummy dinner. To make it even more special I sautee and brown a few nuts and dried fruits in a small sautee pan to garnish the dish, yummy!

                                                    1. Boiled egg noodles topped with a soft fried egg, grated parm cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. Credit Jacques Pepin for this fast food gem.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: rouxmaker

                                                        That IS a good one! Sometimes I'll throw a handful of baby spinach into the hot noodles to wilt- extra nutrition and color.

                                                        Reminds me of another good one- cacio e pepe pasta. Black pepper (LOTS), Parmesan (LOTS), and a little extra virgin olive oil + cooking water to finish the sauce.

                                                      2. I cook a nice meal and freeze just for these occasions. Just pull it out and re-heat.
                                                        I always have spaghetti sauce/gravy frozen as well. I put the water on to boil the pasta and heat the frozen sauce/gravy in the microwave. A side salad to any meal is a couple of minutes to prepare.

                                                        1. Weren't bars invented for just such times????

                                                          1. Cold cereal and milk, instant oatmeal, and grilled cheese sandwiches are my go-to quick dinners.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                              Not only did I post twice to this thread - I posted the exact same thing the first time! So I guess that I am really definite on what I eat when I am too hungry and tired.

                                                            2. Pita bread pizzas and crustless quiches are my go-to recipes. Great for using up small portions of vegetables and meat too

                                                              1. Popcorn with butter and sirracha sauce
                                                                Popcorn with butter, parsley and truffle oil
                                                                Popcorn with butter and good grated Parmesan cheese

                                                                or order out old-fashioned egg foo young.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                  That is some sexy popcorn, woman! I never imagined any of these combos. They all sound pretty fabulous.

                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                    I love popcorn. It's whole grain so I don't feel guilty about it and you can add as much better as you need for comfort.

                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                      Me too, me too! Popcorn is my favorite crunchy snack....saw a recipe recently, I think here on CHOW, for popcorn with black sesame seeds? There was something else with it...mustard? Anyway, that's my next variation to try.

                                                                  2. re: chicgail

                                                                    Good to see another "popcorn for dinner" enthusiast!

                                                                    And EFY is my lazy, take-out standby too.

                                                                  3. oh oatmeal with raisins. Or, the other night I couldn't deal with food at all and took a cup of hot chocolate up to bed. Oh and for those of you horrified by beans on toast, I like my beans on toast wiht butter and Marmite.

                                                                    1. The "too hungry, too tired" feeling is what led me to pack on so many pounds. I would typically do take out or TV dinners.

                                                                      If its really bad now, I will boil pasta in broth and add raw veggies and maybe toss in some salad mix. Having sausage links on hand are great too along with cheese toast :-) Although it is loaded with sodium, Sam's Club marinated salmon fillets are a easy choice as they go from the freezer directly into the oven without preparation. And how can I forget the classic staple,

                                                                      BEANS AND RICE and to sass it up add cut up all-beef hot-dogs or links

                                                                      1. Tamales kept in the freezer. In the time it takes me to grab a beer aka make a drink and take a shower, tamale can be steamed or nuked. Salsa on the side and I'm good to go.

                                                                        Start the tamales as soon as the work boots are off and aaah, Dinna is Served!

                                                                        1. Grilled cheese sandwiches, Campbells tomato soup, and carrot strips. It's not fancy but it's fast, comforting, and there are some vegetables in there.