Easiest meals for the challenged and others...
Hi. I am disabled with multiple problems. I am searching for ideas that are quick and easy. When I ask people what they throw together quickly and find it good enough, they shrink from admitting the truth from embarrassment. So, for example, I sometimes eat a can of baked beans and some cottage cheese and maybe a piece of fruit. Not perfect, but also not total junk. So, I'm looking for what some people REALLY throw together at the last minute. Hope you'll share. Thanks.
i just ate a can of tuna for lunch (not out of the can don't worry!) i frequently have greek yogurt with cereal mixed in for breakfast, and always keep tons of fresh fruit on hand so i can grab it for a snack.
i also buy a lot of pre-made marinades, just put half a bottle in a pan with a pound of chicken and bake for 25 minutes and my boyfriend thinks i made him a great home-cooked meal.
Something I can always throw together at the very last minute is to boil some pasta. While it's cooking fry some thyme from my freezer in a chunk butter for like 30 seconds, take out the thyme and mix the flavored butter with the pasta. Top with parmesan. Very easy and better than just butter & parmesan noodles imo. If the butter step is too much or you don't want to use butter, you can always use flavored olive oil or just plain olive oil if that is what you like.
I love hamburgers. If you are cooking for one you could make up a package of ground beef into patties and freeze them individually. Put the buns in the freezer also.
Will cook from frozen in not very long at all if you forget to thaw one out.
My breakfast and lunches are "grab and go":
Cottage cheese scrambled egg and kimchee, rotisserie cooked chicken for chicken salad, sandwiches- and cooking up the bones for chicken veggie soup (it lasts multiple meals), different hummus spreads on Dr Kracker, rye crisps or other healthy crackers, veggie burgers with cottage cheese and sriracha on the top, celery and peanut butter, I make my own mixed nuts of almonds, peanuts,walnuts and macadamia nuts then chop up a protein bar and mix (kinda like a sugar free granola mix).
I am a big fan of "dump" dinners too....sometimes I am too freakin' tired. Last night was artichoke hearts, a can of diced tomatoes, garlic and (a bit of cream!) add some parm........ over pasta. If I would have had more energy, I would have included a chicken breast. Another "dump dinner": diced tomatoes, olives and feta over *whatever* -or tomato, basil and chunks of fresh mozz over *whatever*. I am low carb mostly so *whatever* for me is not usually pasta- it is usually a protein or veggies. Very healthy and quick!
Thanks Pollychrome, I am not disabled -but I do emergency work 5 to 6 days a week and I am often am too tired to take more than an hour (*total*) in the kitchen on weeknights. I strive for 30 minutes but Rachel Ray doesn't cut it for me :) It is tough when you value good food and won't settle for fast food or "crap" dinners just because you don't have the energy. I generally try to be low carb, organic and balance between meat and veg.
I hope this thread keeps generating responses as I have gotten some great ideas too!!
I'm trying to do low-carb too so most of my "dump dinners" get dumped into an omelette or frittata. I'm discovering that there's very little that doesn't go with eggs, if you're tired and hungry! Usually onions, peppers, cherry tomatoes, spinach, odds and ends from jars of antipasti, chorizo, bacon, chicken, mushrooms, bits of various cheeses, whatever fresh herbs are withering away in the fridge.
And if it doesn't go in an omelette, it goes in a soup - the tougher veg like carrots, celery, kale, parsnips etc. Chicken stock, white pepper, or garlic, ginger and sesame oil.
I understand your plight, since I can't stand long in the kitchen moving about quite often due to back pain issues. I'm actually sitting down and eating lunch in front of the computer right now that I threw together in 10 minutes.
The menu: Tri-tip steak with a green peppercorn pan sauce using real cream, asparagus pan-roasted in butter, and leftover rice that I nuked while everything else was on the stove. Quick, delicious, and nutritious.
I've found that I can make a lot of things ahead in stages, holding them in the fridge or freezer.
I cook 1 package of pasta and/or 2 cups of rice each Sunday for meals for the next 2 weeks. It does last that long, really! I keep the frozen steamy vegetable packages in the freezer - the Asian is my favorite. I also cook a 3lb package of chicken most Sundays. I don't mind the chicken reheated or cold. The carb + the protein already cooked make for a variety of meals.
Rice + scrambled eggs
Rice + veggies + chicken = stir fry (add fresh veggies if you'd like)
Soup + extra chicken and/or veggies (throw in the frozen or cooked veggies + cooked chicken while heating)
Pasta with tomato sauce/spaghetti sauce + veggies + chicken (or other meat)
Stir fry (veggies only) + chicken
Rice, chicken, veggies in tortillas or enchiladas (bake ahead!)
Stuffed peppers (baked ahead)
Cottage cheese add ins:
Canned pumpkin (just pumpkin, not the pie mix)
Frozen or canned peaches or mangoes
Sunflower seeds (no shells)
Black pepper + chopped tomatoes
Tuna + salsa (it's good, really!)
As for baked beans, I like to bake canned baked beans with hot dogs, chopped & bacon on top. Bake uncovered till thick - about 1 hour. Delicious & stew-like. Great reheated.
I find that the bags of frozen veg are more useful than the boxed vegs-I just shake out the amount I need out of the bag and can use as little or as much as needed. I have made many quick soups that way-butternut squash is a very quick and satisfying soup but a nice veg soup is always good. Also have topped pasta or rice with sauteed spinach (fresh or frozen) as a very easy meal. I buy boneless chicken breast when they are on sale and cook them in the oven with just salt and pepper. They get popped into the freezer for later use as the base for so many easy meals- heat them for a hot sandwich on toast, chop up and throw onto a salad or smear a little salsa and cheese on top and call it Tex Mex. Ground pork has become my new favorite in the kitchen-so easy to cook and easy to dress up. No bones=no chopping and quick cooking times. Bad days require easy meals, as I am sure you agree. ;)
I recently made butternut squash soup in the crockpot - Delicious!
1 bag of pre-chopped/cleaned b'nut squash
1 chopped onion, if desired
1 box of broth
Cumin, cinnamon, salt & pepper to taste
Set on low & cook all day (I put it on before I went to work & it was done when I got home.) Puree and add cream, coconut milk or Greek yogurt. I also added a can of drained pureed white kidney beans as mine was too thin.....it was good! Served with croutons on top.
That is a great idea!
I always forget you can buy frozen butternut squash. I love butternut squash soup (soooo comforting) but I have to wait for the weekend for the prep as I get home late and I am often tired. I am sure the frozen vs fresh would not be noticed in a soup. Thanks for the idea :)
A roast chicken takes 2 minutes to prepare - wash chicken, peel and cut an onion in half, stuff half inside the chicken, cut the other half into wedges and scatter on the chicken, cut a lemon, orange or lime in half and squeeze over the skin stuff the peel inside. Shake salt and pepper and any other spices and herbs you have and feel like using over the skin (I like ginger, cumin and curry powder), roast at 350 for 90-120 minutes.
Now I know that's not an instant meal cos you gotta wait but if you plan it it takes no time to prep. And you can have leftovers next day for sandwiches or salad.
2 bananas, a piece of toast, yogurt, milk or juice.
Steel cut oats can be cooked and stored in the fridge and reheated.
Granola or power bars and juice
Lunch or dinner
Soup and french bread. As far as I'm concerned, you could live on this.
Boxed Macaroni and cheese with some bacon or sausage in it holds in the fridge for a few days at least.
Soup poured over rice or noodles is quick and easy.
You can do the same over a baked potato
Smoked sausage can be nuked in the microwave with or without barbecue sauce and eaten..
Rice can be reheated in the microwave so make extra.
A steak and tator tots can be cooked in one skillet and eaten out of the same skillet if you want to really be lazy.
You can make a skillet meal out of a little hamburger or sausage. add some potatoes and whatever other veggie you have. Left overs are fine. Like that it is a hash or add some gravy and it's a skillet dinner.
Ham or sausage and eggs is one of my favorites.
Marie Callendars pot pies are great.
Scrambled egg sandwiches on toast.
The list is endless.
1/2 can of tuna with whatever is in the fridge. I might add cut up celery and sweet onion for instance. I can also add some packaged bacon bits and maybe some chopped nuts. Some shredded leaf lettuce in that would also be good. You could also do this with tuna and Napa cabbage.
Sometimes I make a tossed green salad, dress it, and top it with 1/2 can of salmon.
I also like a plate of a few fresh veggies such as organic celery sticks, carrot siicks, zucchini sticks, sugar snap peas, green pepper strips, and or cherry tomatoes--and cottage cheese. Whole Foods 365 Day brand is very good cottage cheese.
I also like sardines, and mustard on crackers or low carb chips, eaten with a few cherry tomatoes.
You can cook an egg in the microwave. An egg is just about the easiest way to get protein I can think of, except for precooked meat or tuna.
-Can of black beans, can of corn, can of diced tomatos, and a diced red onion with italian dressing. Put it in a tortilla or add it to chicken.
-open-faced sandwiches in the oven or broiler. Current favorite: multigrain bread, slice of tomato, some deli turkey, slice of cheese.
-Cottage cheese with canned beats
-Scrambled eggs with anything.
-lots and lots of salads- dump a bag of prewashed lettuce in a big bowl and add whatever is on hand. Even a crumbled granola bar!
-Green Apples and peanut butter
-Red apples and cheddar
-hardboiled eggs with some mayo and mustard
-roasted veggies are really easy, and filling if you top them with a fried egg.
-Fried egg on cornmeal mush (I don't spent enough time on it to call it polenta! Boil water, pour in cornmeal slowly while stirring, and you're done in 5 minutes. maybe add some butter or milk). If I feel like I need greens I stir in some wilted spinach.
-Doctored can of soup. Open, add veggies or some chicken, sprinkle of hot sauce/soy sauce/etc
-chili over pasta. I try to make big batches and freeze in individual portions
-Roasted chickpeas with cumin, etc as a great snack to keep in the fridge
-deli ham wrapped around asparagus
-Tostadas. Torilla, cheese, chicken, salsa
-Sriracha on lentils! Gotta love lentils for weeknights. Or dressed with some good vinegar.
-Mini-quiches, heavy on veggies
-Sliced bell peppers with dip.
-Huge dutch oven of black beans made on the weekend, use as a base like I would pasta (homemade beans really do taste much better!) all week.
That's all I can think of! Thanks so much for starting this thread. I'm in school for advanced nursing and this isn't something I've thought of to talk about with my disabled clients. These ideas are great!
You should check out the thread on the wrapped ready to microwave potato's - a baked potato is a good start to any meal- you might try some of the individual slices of microwave bacon as well Stauffers still makes these two frozen meals that are a comfort food supper for me - chipped beef in cream sauce and welch rabbit- I nuke them and serve over toast.I add frozen peas to the chipped beef and slice and grill a tomato plus make bacon to go with the Welch rabbit.