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It's 3 P.M. and I haven't planned dinner for tonight (or tomorrow, or the night after). That means I want to pick up groceries (a minimal amount!) on my way home and make a meal that does not require I had any sort of plan in mind. I don't want to have to wait for a sauce to reduce; I don't want to be told to start with already-cooked rice; and dear God, I don't want to pull out a slow-cooker.
To the rescue: 18 saving graces! These recipes don't ask that you've done anything to prep in advance. They understand procrastination (and the pressures of real life), and they won't have you counting down the minutes 'til the beans are cooked through.
All you'll have to do is pick up the groceries (or you know, ask someone else to get them on their way home...):
Canned beans? Check. Eggs? Check. Onion, garlic, chili powder, butter? Check, check, check, and check. The corn tortillas? Send a roommate to get those (and some cilantro, too).
Do yourself a favor and buy the roasted red peppers from the grocery store.
Yes please, frozen peas!
I have the same enthusiasm for frozen spinach.
The most involved part of this meal—cooking lentils—is not involved at all. Make extra yogurt-tahini sauce to spread on sandwiches, or use as the base of salad dressings, later in the week.
On the left, Nigella Lawson's linguine, in which you don't even have to cook the mushrooms. The mushrooms! You don't have to cook them! Use whatever shape of pasta hanging out in your cupboard.
On the right, Alexandra Stafford via Cal Peternell's Vegetable Chow Mein-ish. You do have to cook the vegetables—but they can basically be whatever vegetables you'd like.
It is taking every fiber of my being to not make a rhyme between "curry" and "hurry" right now.
Minced chicken = faster-cooking chicken.
Sesame noodles, the really easy way, and the still-easy-but-slightly-more-involved way. (Buy toasted sesame seeds instead of DIY-ing it, and you'll save 10 to 15 minutes.)
The food processor does all the chopping for you.
Baguette highly recommended.
So you have to let the chicken and tofu marinate for 20 minutes. Do that first, and by the time you're finished prepping the ingredients for the stir-fry, your protein will be rearing to go!
You're five ingredients and 10 or 15 minutes away from supple, spicy salmon.
Last-minute, no-planning-necessary dinners: Go! (In the comments below.)