Quick meals, meals in a jiffy, express meals! When out shopping or in the kitchen preparing certain dishes, these are the phrases I keep in my mind. If someone were to look into my kitchen they would probably get a shock when they see the large amounts of food I prepare during most meals. Although we are a little family of three I often cook for double if not triple that number!
Most of my actual cooking is done on the weekend. Then I have time and will prepare bigger and elaborate meals. Throughout the rest of the week however, we normally live off the leftovers. Prepared in different ways, there is always a remanent of something from the weekend. So, if we had rice, pasta or potatoes, I’ll cook double the amounts, freezing the rest. If we had chicken, I’ll buy six chicken breasts instead of just three, grill or broil the three extras – cut up and freeze. Herbs are bought in huge amounts then chopped and frozen in ice-cube trays so that all I need to do is pop a cube into any sauce, soup or dip.
This way during the week, potatoes will be taken out and re-heated in the microwave, a dip made of quark and yogurt with a couple of cubes of herbs is mixed together for a delicious light – and very German – quick meal of “kartoffeln und quark”. The chicken is used in a variety of ways, for example in salads, in rice pilaws or in soups. Pasta too is great as a leftover there are so many varieties of quick and easy sauces, even sometimes from a jar.
What’s more there are so many great convenience food items available in the stores these days that one can prepare meals in under 30 minutes.
Here are a few of my kitchen tips to help reduce your cooking/preparing time to the min.:
- Onions, garlic and ginger are very often used is Asian/Indian meals. To reduce my preparing time I normally make pastes of each of these ingredients. They are then filled in ice-cube trays. Once frozen I place them in freezer bags and label them.
- These are my basic sauces and are made in fairly large amounts. One can make any variation of the sauces. Filled in jars and topped off with olive oil they normally last for a 1-3 months. Pesto can be used with any pasta, Arrabiata tastes great when used to stuff chicken and the aglio is often used as a basis for many dishes.
- Buy in bulk. Veggies like bell peppers, leeks, carrots, beans etc. from the Farmer’s Market can be bought in larger amounts and then frozen. I normally cut up many of my veggies prior to freezing them. Especially for Asian dinners – I 'll cut up the veggies in strips and mix a combo of 3-5 veggie strips in a freezer bags, label them and freeze them. Now nothing comes in the way of a quick fried rice or vegetable noodle dish
- Indian cooking requires a bit of pre-preparation. A trick I learnt from my mum was to prepare the wet or dry masalas in larger portions. Divide in the portions required and then freeze them. Once frozen put them in freezer bags. Don’t forget to label them. These are so perfect and a quick Indian dinner on a weeknight can be prepared so easily!
- If you use a lot of herbs in your kitchen and cooking, here’s a great thing I picked up at the Sheraton Kitchen while training: Use scissors to chop up your mint leaves, basil, coriander and even chillies.
- If you enjoy breads like naan, roti, Lebanese bread or pita. Make a large amount then stack them up, placing a sheet of waxed paper in between each layer, put in a freezer bag and freeze. When required take them out of the freezer and nuke them on low for a few seconds and you could enjoy a quick meal like this one
My meal here was a quick, super express, made-in-10-mins-flat type of meal. Now presuming you have already made these lovely bagels and they were sitting in your freezer waiting to be used in a meal like this one, you’ll have a great dinner made within minutes. A light salad like this pea and lettuce salad is just perfect with it. The shrimps were marinated and frozen in a light garlic sauce, which gave the whole dish a lovely flavour.
4 bagels - homemade or store-bought
4 - 6 fresh eggs - beaten
200 - 250g shrimps - fresh or frozen.
1-2 cubes of mixed herbs - from the freezer of course
1 teaspoon aglio olio
10 - 12 cherry tomatoes - quartered
Salt and pepper
In a pan gently sauté the aglio until fragrant. Add the shrimps and cook for just a minute. Pour in the beaten eggs into the pan, add the herb cubes salt, pepper and the tomatoes. Cook until the eggs are set and to the desired consistency, then break it up with a spatula.
Toast the bagels and spread with cream cheese on each side. Lay out on a plate and spread the shrimp and egg on one side of the bagel. Close withe the other.
Enjoy warm with a light salad.
This is a fantastic and very versatile dish. You can just about substitute any ingredient with the shrimp and use and herbs to flavor it differently each time. Very cool is that this you can serve for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner.
For sweet Shaheen, I would like to send this to her Express Cooking event.
Technorati Tags: quick meals, express dish, quick cooking tips, bagel, bread, eggs, shrimp, breakfast, food, recipe, photography, nikon d70s
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First