Wednesday, December 5, 2007

fast meals

I haven't been keeping up with rocks in my dryer so when I went over there today I was surprised with her theme for Works for me Wednesday, but I'm so Talented ;) I have a few fast meals up my sleeve!
My Mother and Dad were here in November and we discussed 'fast meals'. She reminded me (actually I still don't remember) that my friend, Becky and I had a long standing argument about what was fastest for Sunday dinner. Her vote was for a roast that was put in before church and was done when you got home. My vote was for fish that you could put in the oven when getting home and by the time the table and a salad was fixed the fish was done. I know that my Mother fixed fish on Sunday a lot and I assume her Mother fixed a roast.
My vote for the fastest supper is;
1. Fish, I keep 4 different kinds in the freezer; Tilapia, Flounder, Cod, and Salmon. Defrosting is very easy just put the frozen fish in water, still in their bags, while you chop a couple cloves of garlic and heat a little oil in a fry pan. Add the fish and the garlic and open a can of green beans or blast some broccoli. (Put broccoli florets on a cookie sheet and put it under the broiler for about 8 minutes) Get the bag of salad out of the fridge order ask a child to set the table, turn over the fish. 2 minutes later dinner is ready. This week I took 2 minutes longer and put the fish on a plate in a warm oven while I made a lemon garlic sauce; 1 1/2 T flour stirred into and cooked a bit with the pan oil and juices, some lemon juice and a bit of chicken broth a dash of Tabasco, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. I loved it; the boys not so much,but it was easy to give them fish with no sauce. (The same thing works with chicken but a chicken breast takes longer to cook. 8-)
2. Black beans with green chilies and bulgar. Really, my boys will eat this and think it's good. (I open a can of black beans, drain and rinse them; put them in a sauce pan and pour in a can of chicken broth.) The bulgar (quick cooking cracked wheat) gives the black beans it's missing ??? to make the dish a complete protein. The can of chopped green chilies gives it a dose of vitamin C. If I have frozen corn bread it's even better. (When I make cornbread I make a double batch and freeze the leftovers.) If you need a vegetable there are always baby carrots in the fridge.
3. I use Brown rice almost exclusively now but when I cook it I cook a lot! I put it in a bag in the freezer so it is handy to pour out just enough for my 2 kids since they love rice (cooked in chicken broth) and Dad is not eating much these days. So adding rice to the above fish dinner, or any dinner, is EASY.
4. Sausage. I love kielbasa sliced in the bottom of the fry pan, 1/2 cup water with wedges of cabbage sprinkled with pepper, covered and steamed. Then a can of green beans-can you tell the boys love green beans and broccoli. Those are the main vegetables around here.

Since I had 6 kids I still tend to cook for 8, even though there are only 4 of us now. The freezer is my friend. When I roast a chicken I line up 3 chickens in my turkey roasting pan, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and bake them at 400 for about 1.5-2 hours. Then I have dinner basically cooked for 3-4 days with leftovers for my husband's lunches and chicken for the freezer and carcasses to boil for chicken broth. I used to cook a brisket (lay brisket in roaster pour tomato sauce, dried onions, salt and pepper; cover with foil roast at 250 for about 8 hours-all day or over night) about every 2 weeks but since we are cutting out cholesterol that is out. But a cooked brisket with leftovers in the freezer makes fabulous enchiladas, beef soup, burritos, bean dip; you name it every thing is better with brisket in it (if it calls for ground meat try brisket instead..yummy).
Well that's what works for me.

Just remembered another! A can of pop open biscuits, cut in quarters, tossed with about a cup+ of salsa and a bag of brisket from the freezer (actually the original recipe had no meat) sprinkle with cheese, bake at long? probably 30 minutes...until the biscuits are done.
I've learned that salsa is a fast source for onions/tomatoes and often will throw in salsa when I'm to lazy to chop onions.

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