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easy dinners for swing shifters

I'm a single guy that maybe has one old cook book my mom gave me and a few mixed recipes at 49 I tend to eat the basics mostly baked or fried chops,steak once in awhile chicken rarely,and never enough veggies,thats the dinner part.lunches are sandwiches and/or soup,leftovers or chili dogs.Also pizza which rounds out the veggie and meats,lol.The problem is that I don't eat breakfast unless it's the weekend which is really good like chicken fried steak and eggs,toast,sausage,gravy and hashbrowns,yumm.But work week it's sandwiches for lunch and a fast dinner as I get off work at 11:00 pm so preparing and cooking for an hour that late and being tired from work is not something you want to do.I was wondering what some other people are having when they work these hours mostly after they get off work and I've tried cooking for lunch so I have a plate ready to warm up when I get home,that works well.

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  1. My go-to is stir fry --

    Start the rice when you get home -- 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt - when it boils, add 1 cup of rice, put the lid on, and turn it down to low for 20 minutes. (you can always make a big batch over the weekend, or use converted/Minute/whatever)

    I keep chicken breasts in the freezer at all times -- individually wrapped in plastic wrap, then piled into a big bag. Pull one out before you head into your shift -- it'll be at least partially thawed by the time you get home. When you get home, just slice it (it slices even better if it's still a little frozen). Toss it into some teriyaki or soy sauce while you finish up.

    You could easily sub out beef or pork for a changeup.

    Keep a big bag of mixed stir-fry veggies in the freezer (I buy them at Sams or Costco)

    Heat some oil in a large skillet, and brown the meat. Add a couple of handfuls of veggies. Toss for a few minutes until the veggies are hot and the meat is cooked through.

    By now the rice is done-- reasonably healthy dinner in 20 minutes, and if you make a little extra, you have lunch for tomorrow.

    You could do this at lunch time for leftovers tonight, too.

    Spaghetti is also dead easy -- you could make a pot of sauce (even if it's jarred sauce doctored up with some hamburger and/or italian sausage) and keep it in individual portions (in ziploc bags) in the freezer. Boil some water for pasta, warm the sauce in the micro, and dinner.

    1. I suggest that you select a weekend day to prepare several recipes that can be refrigerated and can be reheated during the week when you get home late.

      I also suggest that your start eating breakfast for health reasons.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChiliDude

        I second the cooking on the weekend for reheating during the week. We've always cooked this way, but we're doing it even more now that Mr Rat's schedule has changed from overnight graveyards to evening swing. It's a lifesaver since I think that even a Thirty Minute Meal may be way too much too deal with when you're getting home after 11 PM.

      2. Although I don't use a slow cooker, it might be perfect for you.

        1 Reply
        1. re: magiesmom

          I agree. The slow cooker is your friend. Look up slow cooker (crockpot) recipes. You could be enjoying pot roast, hot beef sandwiches, chili, pulled pork, tons of chicken recipes when you get home.

          I know it stinks to spend your day off work cooking, but even if you do it a couple times a month, you can freeze alot of stuff into meal size portions for yourself, such as a pot of Sunday gravy with meatballs.

        2. I'd do a search on this site and Google for "make ahead meals." There are a lot of good ideas, many that you wouldn't even expect. For example, many egg dishes can be made ahead of time and you can grab and go for breakfast.

          1. I've suggested this before, but I find it really helpful: http://amazon.com/Five-Ingredients-Mi...
            Tasty and fast.