dad need recipes
Due to a work schedule change, I find myself being responsible for dinner every night for my 8 year old son, my wife and my self. I have never cooked in my life but have slowly figured out a few simple things to make like eggs, George Foreman chicken cutlets marinated in Italian dressing and a couple croak pot dishes I got from the year of slow cooking site. I am looking for a few more ideas, my criteria is no more then five minutes of hands on prep and more then three pots to wash (and yes I count a cutting board as one of the three). Also I keep kosher so I can not use shellfish, pork or recipies that require both milk and meat (fish and milk is ok and eggs can be used with either milk or meat). I appreciate any ideas you might have.
Bean burritos (5 minutes to the table): heat canned re-fryed beans and green chilies in microwave (pan 1). Heat flour tortillas (pan 2). Serve with shredded cheese, shredded cabbage, and salsa. Bonus points for adding cilantro leaves.
Scrambled eggs (likely closer to 10 minutes total): Chop some onion, peppers (pan 1). Saute in olive oil (pan 2... non-stick). Crack desired number of eggs in bowl (pan 3) and whisk. Add a lot of baby spinach (or arugula) to the saute and let wilt. Add eggs, cook and stir. Make sure that somewhere along the line you add some salt and pepper. Optionally add grated cheese (or goat cheese) with the eggs. Serve with toast. Or serve in a flour tortilla (with hot sauce).
Pasta with Tune and Arugula (As long as it takes to cook pasta, 15-20 minutes): Put large pot of water on to boil for pasta (pan 1). When the water comes to a boil, add salt (a couple of teaspoons) add 1/2 pound of linguine. In a large skillet (pan 2), heat a generous amount of olive oil on medium heat. Add a couple of cloves of chopped garlic (with your constraints, I'm assuming jarred but I do fresh), and a good pinch of red pepper flakes. When the garlic is cooked a bit (don't brown!) add 2 cans of tuna and break up with a spoon, then add 1/2 pound of baby spinach (or arugula). By now the pasta should be done... using tongs (or one of those pasta pronged spoon things), transfer pasta to the skillet and mix everything together. Add some pasta water so its not too dry.
I use Italian sausage in this dish but you could use any kosher smoked or other flavorful sausage.
Turn oven on to 375.
Get out your largest cutting board (Pan 1). I find it much easier to work with lots of surface area.
Cut up lots of root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, carrots, and use whole cloves of garlic that you've peeled. (It's easy. Put a clove on the board, lay the side of your knife on top of it and give the flat side of the knife a quick whack or push. This only slightly smooshes the clove and you'll find that you can now cut off the dry, sort of brownish end of the clove and peel the papery cover right off.) We like the vegetables cut into largish bite-sized chunks.
Pour some olive oil onto your largest jelly roll pan, cookie sheet, whatever (Pan 2!). Ask your wife about the pans. Start with just a few Tablespoons of oil and add more if needed.
Put all of the cut up vegetables on the pan, toss it all around with your hands to coat the vegetables with oil, then spread into single layer. This will help them brown on the outside.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a little bit of garlic granules or powder.
Place the sausages on top o the veggies, all laid out so that they don't touch each other.
Pop this in the oven and bake until vegetables are looking cooked with a little bit of browning. Maybe 45 minutes to an hour? The parts of the vegetables that touch the pan will be even more browned and will taste incredibly good. The sausages will also brown up, giving them a nice skin.
Everyone gets a delicious plateful of sausage and roasted vegetables. Serve with brown mustard for dipping (or whatever mustard you like!). If you don't feel like making a salad, just slice up some cucumbers or section some oranges...whatever your crowd likes for a fresh bite.
2 pans and 1 knife! :)
This tastes really good and is SO easy, I hope you'll try it. Good luck mr moose, it's alot to tackle day in and day out!
Wait, cucumber memory. We like to peel (if not organic) and slice cucumbers, then squeeze on LOTS of fresh lime juice. Add a little salt and refrigerate for a couple of hours or longer if you like. Pull these out at supper time and you have a very refreshing salad. It can be that simple.
What does your family like to eat? How has it been going so far?
I roast vegetables (including potatoes) all the time.. counts as zero pans because I put parchment paper on the sheet pan and they don't usually need to be washed. But adding sausages.. with potatoes and vegetables -- brilliant! This will get added to the list of foods I cook when home alone!
I saw this on another web site and thought it looked good. It might be more than 5 minutes of prep time, but not too bad.
Cook a pound of ziti.
While cooking, brown whatever ground meat you like and simmer with a jar of pasta sauce.
Place the ziti in a casserole dish so that they are all lined up standing on end, so you can look down on all the open tubes.
Pour the meat/sauce combo over the noodles so that the ziti will fill with the sauce.
Bake for 30 minutes or so.
You could do the same think without the meat and add cheese over the top to get a nice crust. Depends on if you prefer meat or cheese with the pasta.
Lasagna is also very easy to make if you buy the sauce.
Cook lasagna noodles and then place a layer on the bottom of a baking dish
Cover with sauce, then ricotta cheese and then an Italian cheese blend. You can add mushrooms, peppers or any other veggies you like as well. Do a second layer just like it, and then cover with one more level of noodles, more sauce and more of the cheese blend. Bake for 30 minutes or so.
The do sell no bake lasagna noodles, where you add them uncooked and the sauce ends up softening them, but I don't know if you can buy a Kosher brand of these.
I did this same recipe substituting matzo for the noodles during passover and it came out great.
I think I had the same problem you do. I now cook some stuff in batches like spaghetti sauce or chili. The key is to have correctly sized containers that will hold a family dinner serving. So you make a big batch of spaghetti sauce and freeze a few meals too. The same with chili, etc. My freezer is full of raw frozen meat and a bunch of cooked stuff (ready to go).
Do your or your wife pack your own lunch? I love pot roast just for the sandwiches. Make a pot roast that is more then you need. Canned gravy isn't that bad, but your own will be a lot better.
Good bread is always good as a starch. I like butter.
A friend likes chicken cheese steak sandwiches. So you have to balance the sub buns that you buy with the chicken that you cook. Everything that you buy at the grocery store is relatively cheap - unless you don't eat it all and it turns to mush or blue or smells rancid.
No one mentioned ... and a house salad. You can buy the bag o' salad and see how it goes.
A salad and spaghetti and broiled bread (buttered with garlic powder and a little salt and some Parmesan cheese) makes me hungry just saying it.
A salad and pot roast with gravy and boiled new potato's (the purple ones) with butter and salt and pepper with a piece of corn on the cob makes me hungry.
Cook like your parents used to. Cook the things that you like. Someone mentioned to come up with 20 things you like. I think the number should start with 7 and then expand.
Other thoughts ... Chicken ala creole over pasta, Red Bean gumbo over rice, jambalaya. This list of batch cooking goes on and on.
When you have time and the family is together, cook out on the grill. Combine cooking a meal with cooking the next meal.
I have been working on making great hamburgers. And I confess to inviting friends over to help eat the experiments. I don't pay them and they still come by so I must be doing something right. But that is not the point. I grind my own burger and it is so good I don't care about the mess.
When people are over and we are freezing meat or grinding meat or making the hamburger buns by hand, I am also smoking some meat with my electric smoker (I love it) and I will make a roast too. Tomorrow, I will make smoked roast beef sandwiches sliced really thin.
You can make today's meal and tomorrow's meal today. Combine tasks.
Food is good. My son is 13 and it is finally clicking with him. We love ATK and we really love Diner's Drive-in's and Dives. We watch it for ideas. They don't tell you exactly how to cook it. We watch it for fun and ideas.
Do you have decent cookware and utensils?
Maybe we need to get you some good stuff for Christmas.
I have technique cookware from qvc. Wolfgang Puck Versa cooker and his 3 tier steamer. Also, I have a small table top Westbend electric grill. Utensils not so much. When you freeze spaghetti sauce doesn't it get watery when thawed? I usually over cook (the amount of food) and end up throwing it away! I love leftovers but, never get to them. That is because the 1st go around isn't so great!!! In my apartment I have an electric stove which I found out the oven is 25 degree under what it should be.
No. The spaghetti sauce stays great in the freezer for months. Please note that there are no noodles in the sauce when frozen.
I am surprised that you oven is off so much. Is it clean? How did you figure it was 25 off? Make sure you allow time for the oven to preheat. Give it plenty of time and don't open it that often. If you are sure it is 25 off, raise the temperature 25.
Plan for leftovers. When dinner is done, pack the extra food in a container that is ready for lunch. I think the FDA says you got 3 days on leftovers in the fridge so you don't have to eat something for dinner and again the next day for lunch. You got a few days.
Alfredo over pasta with chicken and broccoli is pretty good and easy. Some of the jar Alfredo is decent. If you cook the chicken when you cook burgers on the grill, the chicken will be ready. If you like it, make a double batch and freeze the other 1/2 for dinner next week.
All the casserole ideas are really good ideas. Get it ready the day before and store in the fridge ready for the next day.
Once you get a routine, the pots and pans and utensils that you need will become apparent. You can spend a zillion dollars on stuff.
And if a recipe fails (and they do), cut your losses.
And if you are tired on Wednesday, you can always get a pizza from one of the chains and bring it home. There are always deals to be had.
Get a slow-cooker (crock pot). I have one from years ago when I worked 80-100 hours/week and would put up food in the morning, possibly cut up the night before and refrigerated, and let them slow cook all day. My kids loved beef short ribs cooked in decent spaghetti sauce with some onions, herbs, spices. Then things will be done when you get home. I've put frozen chicken atop onions and garlic and put in a can or two of chicken stock or boullion and water and later added cut carrots/celery and finished the dish on high at the end of the day. Add wine if you like.
Lots of recipes even for Kosher crock pot stuff. Relaxing to sit at the table after dinner and oversee the homework while prepping the next day's meal. Brisket made this way is stellar. Alternate with fish dishes like sauteed salmon for last-minute more-dry prep stuff. Salmon cakes with canned salmon, chopped celery and onion and dried dill/pepper/parsley and bread crumbs and lemon juice and eggs to hold it all together is another quick meal--actually better the next day cold.
Toast a cup of cous cous in a dry skillet, stirring till golden brown. Pour a cup/cup and a half of hot chicken or beef broth over, some grated carrots and finely chopped celery and perhaps bell pepper. Cover and keep warm while you prep the meat.
Grill chicken or steak on the bbq or under the broiler; helps if you've marinated it that morning. Serve with a couple of fresh cut apples and you'll do your family proud. Do toast the cous cous.
I've got a couple for you. I don't know about the Kosher aspect you'll have to determine that and make adjustments. Two my my quickies call for cream canned soups which probably are not kosher.
1. canned turkey; Hormel is best. Canned turkey. Mixed with cream of mushroom soup, with cooked egg noodles. Add a little milk to make little bit "loose" and then put in backing dish and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 - 20 min. You can add bread crumbs on the top, you can add a combo or shredded cheese and bread crumbs on the top.
2. fast fast stir fry. thin cut beef from grocery. Marinate in 1/4 C soy sauce and about one Tablespoon sugar. While its marinating, cut one tomato, one pepper (red or green). In skillet, heat oil and a little bit of ginger (dry is fine) throw in beef, cook until nearly all pink is gone. Then add peppers and stir fry for 3 min. Toss in tomato and heat through (fast fast). Add about 1/4 C water with some corn starch combo to thicken and serve over rice (minute rice is fine). I like using Yoshida's Original Gourmet sauce as the marinade.
3. chicken. Any bone in chicken pieces. Doesn't matter, whatever is on sale. You can brown them skin down first or not. But this recipe does not make crispy skin so don't expect it. Leave the skin on though because it will help keep the chicken from drying out. Put in casserole dish, with a can of cream of chicken soup. Top with bread crumbs or combo of bread crumbs and cheese. Cook at 400 for about 50 min is using bone in breasts. 40 in for just drumsticks or just thighs. You want the chicken cooked through.
I recommend authentic Italian pasta dishes, for example, those in Marcella Hazan's books. Start with the two simple classics: spaghetti aglio e olio and spaghetti with butter and parmesan. Move on to simple tomato sauces. It's hard to beat these dishes for simplicity and tastiness -- and everyone should know how to boil al dente pasta and toss it with a simple sauce.
Here's a really easy one. Hack up an onion, put it in the bottom of a well greased crock pot. Top with a cheap chunk of beef-roast, steak, whatever. Pour one bottle/can of your favorite beer over the top and cook on low for 8 hrs. This comes out great, and don't worry the alcohol all evaporates after this amount of cooking time! The leftovers can be shredded and made into beef barbecue(just add your favorite bottled sauce), or chopped up and turned into beef fried rice, or sliced for sandwiches. I make this when I need a "no fuss" dinner that will yield leftovers for several days. My personal favorite so far is to use Guinness, but this is too strong for some folks.
Even premium canned soup is wonderful with french bread and salad. By the way, did you know you can buy the Italian herbed bread from Macaroni grill for about a buck a loaf?
The french bread and salad goes well with the rice pilaf I told you about, too. Keep some in your pantry for emergencies if nothing else. Breakfast for dinner is great. Keep the fixins for that in your pantry and fridge. Keep canned chicken stock and beef broth in your pantry.
Keep various pastas in the pantry. Keep various rice and beans in the pantry. Keeping your pantry stocked will prevent dining off the McDonald's dollar menu.
Try to learn how to stirfry. It is quick cheap and easy. It is also very versatile. It is very useful in using up left overs.
Eventually, when you are more confident, try chicken marsalla. it is cheap and very good. Some of the recipes call for prosciutto. Just don't add it. It is a pork product.
I suggest you find 20 "go to" dishes that fit your needs, skills, tastes and time requirements.
By the time you do this, you will realize how these dishes can be modified by using different ingredients. You will actually have 50 - 60 dishes.
Either store these recipes on your computer and print them out before each meal or keep printed recipes in a folder.
Read the recipe entirely before making the dish. Do all the measuring and chopping first thing and set everything up in order of use (called mise en place). The cooking will go a lot easier and faster.
re: Hank Hanover
Forgive me if I repeat any suggestions as I only skimmed through the replies. Spaghetti, you can use a good quality jarred sauce and add your own fresh herbs, if your feeling up to it you can grate cheese over top and bake in a casserole dish til the cheese melts. A breakfast for dinner idea, eggs hold the bacon in your case maybe some french toast or waffles. A simple salad with a can of tuna or salmon or pre sliced grilled chicken strips added. Quesadillas, also a good thing to add chicken strips too. ribs ( I prefer pork but since you keep kosher beef will work just as well) place in slow cooker, lay slices of onion on top, pour a bottle of bbq sauce over the whole thing and cook on low all day, and of course the good old grade school comfort food standby grilled cheese and tomato soup. You can expirement with different kinds of bread and cheeses to make a more "grown up" version of the classic....Hope I helped, and good luck
1 pound of spaghetti
1 pound of ground beef
1 small onion chopped
1 25 ounce jar of pasta sauce
Start a big pan of water boiling and add 2-3 tablespoons of kosher salt. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes.
Saute (brown) the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. Break it up with a wooden spatula. Keep it moving until no pink meat is visible.
Turn heat down to medium or medium ow and add the onions. Sweat them for 5 minutes or until soft. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder. I use some chili powder but you don't have to. You can consider adding italian herbs.
Soak up the excess fat with paper towels or drain the pan into a can or something. Add your sauce to the pan and heat and stir until bubbling. Turn down the heat.
When the pasta is done, drain the water and put the pasta back in the same hot pan.
Add the sauce a little at a time and stir. Keep adding sauce until the pasta/sauce ratio is to your liking. Serve with french bread and salad.
You could add sliced mushrooms and sweat them with the onions.
You could add chopped bell pepper and sweat them with the onions.
You could make your own pasta sauce.
Roasted chicken leg quarters
This is about as easy as it gets and it is rock bottom cheap. You can get leg quarters for 0.59 to 1.29 per pound.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix some chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper
Trim the excess fat off the leg quarters and pat dry with a paper towel.
Sprinkle the spice rub on the skin of the leg quarters.
Put the leg quarters on a rack in a jelly roll pan. If you don’t have one use a broiler pan. With 4 or more, you may need two pans to hold it all. The chicken will render a lot of fat so it would be nice to have them elevated off the bottom of the pan. That is why I use a drip rack.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour and serve.
Rice pilaf goes well with this. Even boxed mac and cheese goes well with this.
You can change the spice rub around. I have seen soy sauce used. If you like heat, you can add some cayenne to the rub.
Look up recipes on the web if my spice rub is not to your liking.
Basic Rice Pilaf
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups long grain rice
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp of ground thyme
Melt the butter with the shallot in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Season with the salt and pepper and cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes (This is called sweating).
Add the rice and stir until coated with the butter. Coating it with the butter will prevent the rice from sticking. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the rice until it turns slightly brown (about 5 minutes). Keep stirring to prevent burning.
Add the broth, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a simmer over low heat, cover, and cook until all the broth has been absorbed by the rice and the rice is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let set for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
Cut up 2 or 3 sausages into ¼ inch rounds and sauté them before you sweat the shallots. They will provide some fat so you may want to cut back on the butter a little. Instead of sausage links, you could use broken up Italian, Andouille or even breakfast sausage. Ham would work.
Cut up ½ pound of white or dark chicken meat and sauté before the shallots.
Add 1/2 pound of sliced mushrooms with the shallots.
Substitute some of the chicken broth with tomato juice or sauce. Add ½ pound of shrimp to the pot the last 3 or 4 minutes of that cooking time. Add some cayenne and you have jambalaya.
Throw in a handful of frozen peas in the rice before putting the lid on.
You can change the spices around.. Use rosemary or sage instead of the thyme.
You can add even more liquid so that it is a little sloppier at the end.
Hint: Make enough of this that you can have two meals. This will heat up just fine in a pot or microwave.
my thing is that if I am gonna make a roast chicken i would just as soon buy a rotteseriee one from the store. In my neighborhood at least they cost about the same. If I was gonna make that though since I am using kosher chickens, which have been treated with kosher salt, should leave out the kosher salt in the recipie?
I usually make this when chickens are on sale for really, really cheap. The supermarkets in my area have tons of different things like salt water solution, preservatives etc in the solutions they stick in it. Usually a very, very high amount of sodium. they are also usually very small and cost about $8 - 9 dollars.
By buying it on sale (usually 59 to 69 cents a pound), and making a larger one than the one we can eat the first night, I can then take the leftovers and make other items such as chicken salad sandwiches, I mix the chicken with barbecue or hot sauce and make tortilla roll ups, even something like stacking it between tortillas with cheese and enchilada sauce and making enchilada casserole.
I can then simmer the bones with some celery, onions, carrots and have broth for homemade soup.
You should probably leave the salt out just to make sure its not too salty. You can use whatever seasoning you want. If you can buy a decent already roasted chicken, more power to you!
I admire your efforts, good for you!
This is what I have said on another thread about learning to cook.It is a long post so I will provide some recipes on another post.
Watch the following programs: You can rent a lot of the DVD's on Netflix.
America's Test Kitchen
Good Eats with Alton Brown
30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray
Research these "cooking techniques" on the web. Once you have learned about them, what they are and when they are used, you will know quite a bit.
Roasting oven and pan
Here are some books that might help you. I'm sure there are scores of books not on the list that would be helpful.
Cooking Know-How by Bruce Weinstein, Mark Scarbrough
How to Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson
The New Best Recipes by Cook’s Illustrated
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
I’m just here for the food 1 and 2 by Alton brown
The Joy of Cooking
Cooking Basics For Dummies
Martha Stewart and America's Test kitchen both have web sites that have a lot of info including courses. Go ahead and become a premium member of America's Test Kitchen. While you are learning, they are invaluable.Once you have gained more skill, you can decide whether you want to continue or not.
Plan of action:
If you can, find someone to help teach you.
Learn how to cook an egg. Scramble one. Fry one. Hard Boil one.
Make mashed potatoes.
Cut some potatoes in wedges and roast them. Steam some potatoes. Bake some potatoes. Cut some potatoes into slices and fry some. When you are through know that you can do that to any vegetable. Try it...experiment.
Blanch and saute some vegetables.
Fry/saute bacon and or sausage. Now you can make a breakfast!
Learn how to chop vegetables. Start with onions, celery, carrots. This is called a mirepoix. Look it up. Sweat these vegetables in a skillet with some vegetable oil. You could use butter but you can burn the butter. Put these in a jar for later use.
Fry a hamburger patty.
Learn a few ways to cook chicken breasts. Poach some. Saute some. Roast/bake some. Do the same with some chicken thighs. Nothing is easier or cheaper than a meal consisting of roasted chicken leg quarters.
Make a chicken stock then make soup with it.
Pan fry a ham steak. Pan fry a beef steak.
Learn to make rice. Steam some. Boil some. Make a rice pilaf. Make a risotto.
Learn to make a gravy with roux.
Make a meatloaf.
Roast a whole chicken.
At this point, you will have learned enough to follow most recipes.
I've had some further thoughts about your query. Consider buying a stovetop grill pan. This a useful thing to have. You can grill hamburgers, lamb chops, hot dogs, veggies, chicken breasts, fish fillets, salmon burgers or patties, etc. The food is done fast, and you don't have to bread anything. Serve with a salad and a starch. You would coat chicken breasts or other low fat meat with a little olive oil before grilling.
I use my stovetop grill pan daily. I really depend on it. Turkey bacon gets cooked on it every morning, and I use it for other quick meals.
Use the pan on the high heat burner for max efficiency.
The basic thing, is you need to learn how to do several sorts of things. Once you do, other ideas will occur to you. And the way you learn is by doing. And all of us experienced cooks have had multiple failures through the years. But cooking is a skill you master by doing it, over and over.
I want to wish you good luck on this learning endeavor. You are learning a life skill. And there is nothing like knowing you have fed your family a good dinner at the end of the day.
I don't have any experience with a George Foreman. The grill pan would be easier to store, perhaps. I leave mine out on the stovetop all the time, unless we are showing the house or company's coming.
If you want to make panini on a grill pan, the closest you could get would be using an iron skillet on top of the sandwich--if that is what you are thinking.
The Geo. Foreman would also take up counter space.
But I am sure there are satisfied users of this, and I would diss it. It might work well for you.
I made fun of the George Foreman grill for about two years before I used it (as a joke,) one night. Turns out, it has a lot of really good uses, including a sandwich press.
grilled sandwiches that don't need a ton of butter
grilled fruit to serve with ice cream!
quick burgers (great to warm the buns, too)
Heat skillet, sprnkle with kosher salt, toss in slices of eye of the round, sprnkle on pepper,squeeze lemon juice on steaks, turm, squeeze a little more lemon and grind a little more pepper. Serve with instant mashed potatoes and peas.
Same drill with pieces of chicken only in lieu of lemon use apple juice. As an alternative go with ponzu (premixed soy sauce and lime). Serve that with rice and nuke a bag of fresh green beans.
Got a casserole? Toss in some chicken, add a half inch of broth, some chunked up vegetables, a handful of craisins, and sprnkle with curry powder. Put it in a low oven for an hour. Add couscous (instant).
Roasts are way east. Sprnkle with rub of your choice. Cook in a shallow pan to desired temp. Invest in a cheap instant read thermometer.
Use left overs from any of the above over a bag of ready made salad. If you what to get fancy slice bell peppers and onions and cook in a skillet until tender with a little oil, some ponzu,and a little chli powder and ground cumin.
Put retried beans on crisp corn tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, and a topping made of a mix of sour cream, salsa, and a little vinegar.
Slice in desired size pieces potatoes, onions, kosher hot dogs, and bell peppers. Start them in that order in a wok or skillet with a little oil. Toss in soy sauce and some ketchup. The potatoes need a good bit mre time and you can short cut by partially cooking them in microwave.
Dice a bunch of vegetables, an apple or two and mix with nuts, tomato sauce, sprouts, and grated cheese. Bake at 350 about half an hour.
Any of the above will generally be ok to oth an eight year od and an adult and can be made palatable to even a food snob with a splash of Srirracha, even though they'd never admit to it.
1) The spaghetti sauce that comes in a jar (eg Ragu, Prego etc) has many uses. Here is one: Brown some ground beef, add the sauce, include onion or green pepper if you wish, spice it up if you wish, and serve on hamburger buns as Sloppy Joe.
2) Lay pieces of chicken in a baking dish. Sprinkle generously with soy sauce and garlic powder. Add the contents of a can of crushed pineapple (liquid and all). Bake until chicken is done (about 45 minutes to an hour). Serve with rice (look for Uncle Ben's packets that you can microwave).
Breakfast for supper: pancakes or egg dishes.
Baked fish. I did baked fish for years. If you thaw it in the fridge while you are at work, it is ready to be baked when you get home. I like to make a simple "puttenesca" sauce for the fish.
Chicken breasts or cutlets. Pound the breasts flat, then bread in flour or breading of your choice, and then saute. It think it is 3 or 4 minutes a side. (Can't remember, sorry.) You do this after making a salad and starch. The whoosh it to the table.
Baked potatoes + toppings and salad. (Fruit salad for your son, perhaps?)
Further to Sueatmo's suggestion, breaded chicken breasts are easy and fast, and can be used as a foundation for more complicated dishes. Here's the basic recipe:
Sauteed Boneless Chicken Breasts
Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
egg (one per 4 one-half breasts)
flour or seasoned bread crumbs
olive or canola oil
1. Rinse and dry chicken.
2. Place chicken breast half flat on cutting board. Slice in half horizontally – i.e,. moving knife through breast parallel to cutting board. Use a sharp knife and place other hand flat on top of breast to keep it from moving. Don’t worry if one “half” is thinner than the other. Alternately, don’t cut the breasts but use a mallet or other heavy object to pound the breast to a thin, uniform thickness.
3. Season chicken with salt & pepper.
4. Beat egg in soup dish or similar wide, shallow bowl. You can add about 1 tbs. of olive oil, if you want to egg.
5. Scatter flour or bread crumbs on dinner plate. If using flour, sprinkle salt & pepper on top & then use a fork to mix seasoning into flour.
6. Heat oil in skillet on medium high heat.
7. Dredge chicken first in egg, then flour or bread crumbs, so that thoroughly coated. Place chicken in pan and cook about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Don’t over crowd pan.
8. Remove chicken onto platter and set aside.
Note – By cutting the breast in half to make it thinner, it will be more tender and cook faster than if you leave the breasts intact.
Once you've mastered that technique, there are a number of very simple sauces you can make to dress them up. Here are 2 of my favorites:
Prepare Sauteed chicken breasts, coated with flour (rather than bread crumbs)
juice of 1-2 lemons
¼ cup white wine
2 tbs butter (or margarine to keep it Kosher)
1. After removing chicken breasts from pan, pour out any oil so that pan is just coated with oil.
2. Return pan to burner on medium high heat, and add wine. Using wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits and stir so that it dissolves into wine. (This is called “deglazing” the pan.) Allow wine to reduce by about ½.
3. Add lemon juice and stir.
4. Remove from flame, add in butter/ margarine and stir until melted.
5. Add capers if desired.
6. Serve sauce over chicken.
If you don't want to bother with the wine, just pour in the lemon juice immediately and use that to deglaze the pan.
Boneless Chicken Breasts, with Sauce
Sauteed chicken breasts, coated either with flour or bread crumbs
one medium onion, chopped
mushrooms, sliced (optional)
baby carrots, or large carrots cut into “baby size” (optional)
¼ cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
½ tsp. Herbs de Province (or mixture of dried thyme, oregano, basil)
1. After removing chicken, pour out excess oil but leave enough to sautee vegetables.
2. Scatter vegetables in pan and sautee over medium high heat until onions are translucent.
3. Add wine, stirring to deglaze pan, and until liquid is reduced by about ½.
4. Add chicken broth and increase heat. Stirring occasionally allow liquid to boil so that it thickens to a sauce-like consistency.
5. Serve sauce poured over chicken or on side. Best served with pasta (penne or rigatoni) or rice as side dish.
Again, you can skip the wine and just add the chicken broth, if you'd like.
Well sure, Mrmoose. It's not as hard as it might seem. Go to the grocery and get 4 pints cherry tomatoes. Turn the oven to 375. Drizzle the 'maters with oil and sprinkle with minced garlic, basil if you like, and salt and pepper, and shove 'em in the oven and roast them until they wrinkle and start to collapse, but just. (maybe 40 minutes - check after 30,) Take out. Let cool. Take a pot. Boil pasta. When done, toss with more oil and garlic and as many of those tomatoes as you want. Toss a green salad (bagged lettuce) with vinaigrette. Bingo, dinner's on.
Take a 9x13 baking dish. Grab a chicken and wash and dry. Set oven to 450. Cut 2 lemons and one large onion in half and stuff into chicken cavity. If you have a rack, fine; if not that's fine too. Oil chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper and place into baking dish and bake at 450 for 20 minutes; turn oven down to 350 and bake about another hour, maybe less. The chicken ideally will be golden and juicy and flavorful, and the lemons are great squeezed onto the portions. Wash 3 baking potatoes and pierce, when chicken has an hour left put them into the oven. Toss another salad or steam a vegetable. Serve 'taters w/ marge. and IMO, and dinner, again, is yours for the taking. It wouldn't kill you to do two chickens at once, because then you'd have the makings of chicken tacos, enchildas and burritos, or lettuce wraps, or cold chicken, or really anything made with the birday, to hand, which is always nice - and then you can learn to make chicken soup. I'll help you!
Mr.Moose, as a novice you may be unaware of the can of worms that is opened with any discussion of the "best" method for roasting a chicken. There are many roads to Rome.
Perhaps the easiest for a newbie is the 4/5 rule: 4.5 ish pound chicken, 45 minutes at 450 degrees.
Another good and simple meal is franks and beans. Buy a 28 ounce can of Bush's baked beans
and doctor it up. Sautee a diced small onion while browning a few slices of turkey bacon along with it in a wide skillet (preferably oven-safe). Remove the bacon and cut it into bite-size bits. Return it to the pan, add the beans and a few squeezes of mustard and ketchup. Stir together.
Nestle some franks into the beans and sprinkle with a couple tablespoons brown sugar. Heat through in the oven until bubbling and the sauce thickens, or do the same on medium-low heat on the stovetop.
My big time-saver is to devote a couple of weekend hours to onion prep. Buy and chill a 5# bag of yellow onions, or soak them in ice water. (Cold prevents crying, and soaking makes peeling easier.) Set yourself down with a cutting board and a good chef's knife or mandoline, and a few
large containers or freezer bags. Peel. Dice or thinly slice half of them and freeze. Pry/break off what you need during the week - freezing breaks cell walls so even from frozen, they cook faster than fresh-cut. Slice and gently saute the rest in oil or schmaltz. Remove half of them to fridge or freezer when they are just getting soft and golden. Continue cooking what remains in the pan until they caramelize - stir often and take your time, with med-low heat. One pound of raw onion yields but a cup of caramelized. Keep these in your freezer and use to add flavor to any meat dishes that seem bland when you're about to serve them. Prepping and cooking onion is often the most time-consuming part of making dinner. Doing this ahead of time is a major weeknight time-saver, and you won't be burning your onions in an effort to speed up the cooking time.
A good way to stay within your 5 minute prep criteria is to make braises and casseroles. If you make a lot, you can repurpose the dish later in the week. So for example, bake a chicken and later make chicken pot pie out of the chicken and side vegetables. Or, braise some chuck meat with veggies and later make a Shepherd's Pie.
Soup is another way to really stretch leftovers. Here's my favorite Tortilla Soup recipe. I often make this with leftover rotisserie chicken that I buy at Costco/ the neighborhood grocery store for $5.
My latest efforts to get dinner on the table quickly have involved a lot of cooking ahead, so that dinnertime (last-minute) prep is pretty short. I do a lot of prep work on the weekend or at night after my son goes to bed. For example:
1. Brown ground beef/chicken/turkey and then use it for tacos/burritos or spaghetti. Here's a burrito recipe we like - just skip the cheese. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/barbe...
2. Cook a pound of pasta the night before and then heat up sauce at dinnertime. Or make baked ziti (or other shaped pasta): toss cooked noodles with diced tomatoes, ricotta, shredded Italian cheese blend, and perhaps some thawed frozen spinach, throw it in the oven for 30 min.
3. Panini sandwiches - think fancy grilled cheese with sliced tomatoes, fresh spinach, artichoke hearts, whatever. Assembly will take less than 5 minutes and then just set a timer and walk away.