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Mar 21, 2012 08:26 AM

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.

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  1. 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.
    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.
    Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: truman

      i might try the burritios . their is a non diary sour cream we use which is actually very good (the non dairy cheese i would skip)

    2. 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.

      1. 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!

        1 Reply
        1. re: mamachef

          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.

        2. 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?)

          3 Replies
          1. re: sueatmo

            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
            salt, pepper
            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:

            Chicken Picatta

            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)
            capers, optional.

            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.

            1. re: masha

              your all giving me way too much credit. This is what I made tonight I am willing to go somewhat more complected then this but not much


              1. re: mrmoose

                Nice. Those look pretty good. Okay, you've given me a good place to go. I'll be back with some more ideas now, knowing your skill level really helps.
                For what it's worth, I'm actually going to make these.

          2. 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).