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Jul 7, 2010 12:16 PM

need portable, fast food recipe ideas

I will be doing a presentation in August about alternatives to fast food. While I'm not a big fan of fast food and enjoy cooking, I do understand the convenience, speed, and not having dishes to wash. So I'm trying to think of alternatives--things that can be made ahead of time, making several servings, and can be transported and consumed easily.

Any suggestions for alternatives to swinging by the fast food joint on the way home from work and before the next soccer game?

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  1. Nothing is going to be as convenient as fast food but there are some alternatives such as:
    Stir fry like Lo Mein or fried rice.

    Use a crock pot so it is waiting when you get home and leftovers from it.

    Pasta with a simple sauce or even jar sauce.

    Pork tenderloin only takes about 30 minutes.

    Skillet strogonoff made with ground beef or whatever

    Skillet lasagne using baby lasagne noodles, marinara, mozzarella and ground beef and italian sausage

    Soup over rice or rice added to soup.

    1. I always have fish cakes and chickpea patties in the freezer, which can be cooked from frozen in 10 to 12 minutes -- add a salad or green veg (out of a bag for speed) and that's dinner on the table fast. Both would also work fine in wraps with various veggies, to take with you, although I do think they need to be at least warmish. Chickpea patty recipe: (these lend themselves to endless tinkering, 3 friends and I all make them differently and they are all good).

      Also, a can of chickpeas or beans, or a shrinkwrapped bag of lentils from Trader Joe's, plus tomatoes, cukes, scallions and chopped parsley or other herb, a squeeze of lemon or dash of vinegar and some olive oit (with or without feta or goat cheese on top) makes a great quick, portable meal. Of course you can always add more, radishes, olives, the possibilities are endless.

      Black beans, tomatoes, mango, scallion, chopped jalapeno, lime juice and olive oil is a great salad that gets better the next day.

      Hummus wraps with lots of veggies in them. Can buy the hummus but it's easy and fun to make in the blender.

      The Cooks Illustrated slow-roasted eye round of beef is foolproof and gives you several days' worth of roast beef for wraps or to put in salads (say romaine, tomatoes, cukes, blue cheese and roast beef).

      1. I did a similar presentation last summer and the big hit was whole grain penne with jarred sauce that went into the oven without cooking the pasta first. (The ones where I "snuck" in veggies were NOT appreciated. It was very very hard for me to consider noodles and sauce nutritious, but of course it's much better than fast food.)

        Also, different dips with veggies went over well.

        Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: miss louella

          Good call, you can even do frozen stuffed pasta & sauce or meatballs & sauce covered, in the oven without boiling first.

          I like doing fajitas with just about any quick cooking protein like sirloin strips, flank or skirt steak, chicken breast or cubed thighs, shrimp, fish, etc, with spices and sliced onions & peppers in a skillet. You can heat them up quickly. or more slow to cook down vegs a bit. Serve in large tortillas to make them portable.

          Also roasting a chicken in pieces or whole and then cut up is versatile in that the meat can be used in salads, sandwiches, rollups, or even whole legs cold at the beach from leftover roast chicken.

          I also like doing pressed sandwiches which can be made ahead (wrap well, weight overnight) and in quantity (as big a loaf as you want to use), with choice of meats, cheeses and fresh veggies and condiments. Can be taken whole and sliced at location or just eaten down over a few days.

        2. I'm looking at the OP's original post and the first thing I see is "portable". So keeping with that theme, I like keeping some pita pockets on hand. Mixing up a chicken or tuna salad is great to have as you can stuff the pockets and they are easily portable. And, as already stated, wraps are good as well. Another thing to keep on hand are some croissants. They make great gourmet looking sandwiches, even using them for some quick ham/cheese/scrambled eggs for on the go breakfast. Stock up on some small Dixie Cups with lids (usually can get at somewhere like Costco) and make individual veggie cups, salads, fruit cups, etc. that you can pack easily. Also, keeping that quick portable cooler on hand is a must as well as a couple of re-freezable ice packs!

          1. For a snack I would go with these:

            For more meal like I would do roll-ups with a whole wheat tortilla and hummus(PB, goat cheese, cream cheese etc) veggies and or cold cuts. Bonus points for roasted veg.