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Mar 10, 2011 09:32 AM

Dinner for busy people

You get home around 7pm. What to eat, what to make?
You are sick of that chinese take out and pizza. You want something made at home but something that can be made in less than 29 mins..(to make Rachael Ray jealous). Your chicken is solid frozen.
What's the first thing that comes into your mind?

For us, we do a lot of fish in the can and bread.
Creamy cheese and nice bread with wine. (Luckly, bread defrosts quickly)
Instant noodle dishes- ramen
Frozen dinner from Trader's that orange chicken.

I need more ideas.

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  1. Check out the What's For Dinner threads. A lot of us have busy day jobs that leave us little time in the evening for dinner so we share our helpful hints and and quick recipes on a daily basis. To be sure, there is a lot of tuna or cheese and salume at my house, but last night I made grilled tilapia and scallions with soy butter and pickled radishes in less than 20 minutes. Tonight I will probably make pork cracklins with cucumber salad in about the same amount of time with pork belly I pre-cooked earlier in the week. Quesadillas with chicken breast are another recent, easy meal that comes to mind.

    1. Fish tacos are easy and quick. You can use frozen "fried" fish filets, put them in the oven, make a quick coleslaw, heat some corn tortillas, open and heat a can of pinto beans for the side, and dinner is on the table in about 20 minutes. Or make vegetarian nachos - corn chips topped with canned refried beans, rinsed; canned black beans, canned chiles, and shredded cheese. Pop in the oven and while it's heating, make some pico de gallo (chop fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and chiles, toss with lime juice and some salt) to top them.

      1. You don't mention whether you enjoy cooking. I try to cook something over the weekend like stews, chili, soups and roasts of some kind that will allow me to eat it again over the course of the week, or that I can use for some other meal purpose. I.E. roast chicken, roast beef or pork with which I can make burritos. Making food at home is always healthier than takeout or processed frozen & usually cheaper. The night before I always think about tomorrow's supper. I some times defrost fish overnight and bake when I get home from work. Fresh or defrosted salmon fillets in an oiled pie pan topped with lemon, butter, salt and pepper and dried dill roasted at 400 for 15 mins. is usually a quick way to get supper on the table, accompanied by nuked frozen peas and maybe ramen, orzo, etc. is pretty quick. A supermarket rotisserie chicken can often be enough for two people twice in a week, and I'm not above using canned gravy. It take some planning and shopping ahead, but I do think you eat better. Hope this helps.

        1 Reply
        1. re: noodlepoodle

          Amen NoodlePoodle - you nailed it. Sometimes you get home at 7 and sometimes work, traffic or other BS keeps you out much later. Plan ahead. Right now I have leftovers in the frig that are microwave (almost) ready and then a back up of tortillas w/ beans to assemble if necessary.

          I try to keep a back up of pasta ready ingredients in the pantry and clean out the frig of items that need to be eaten like fresh produce. My last two (almost always in the house options) are breakfast for dinner be it eggs and toast or cereal . . .although I just checked the cupboards and the frig - I'm out of cereal and milk DM!

          I know that meal planning helps but I can get overwhelmed and hungry too, Monica! I have a memory of coming home really late from work and being so famished that I went straight to the frig. . . . I actually left my truck keys in there. Imagine for a minute what I looked like the next morning when I was scrambling around to try and find them!

        2. I can make maple poached salmon from frozen fillets in that amount of time. Some snow peas and rice make dinner. I also make a lot of noodle soups from heavily doctored stocks with frozen or fresh noodles thrown in at the end, with an egg or two. But mostly I depend on meals cooked and frozen over the weekend.

          1. Sound like the idea for dinner needs to take place as a first order of business in your day. Planning dinner and preparing it at the same time, unless you're working with left overs, is a recipe for disaster.
            Pasta and anything are always possibilities. Sauces for pasta can be created from any meat, fish or poultry imaginable.
            Fresh vegetables take only minutes to prepare.
            Cube steaks cook in just a few minutes (even if they're frozen)
            You can prepare some dishes ahead of time, freeze them until the day you intend to use them and then, night before, move them from the freezer to the fridge section. They'll have plenty of time to thaw enough for the next evening's meal.
            Flour or corn tortillas make a good foundation and you can cook a potato in the microwave in about eight minutes, top it with chili, cheese, sour cream, bacon, chive, etc., etc., - EZ fixins.