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Need quick recipes or make ahead recipes?

Been working so much I have no energy to cook by the time I get home. I need recipes for meals that I can make that take prep/cook time less than an hour. Or maybe some recipes I can make ahead and then just pop in the oven when I get home. Difficulty and Cuisine doesn't matter, I'd prefer a wide variety and even some good articles. Thanks in advance. <3

- Tired Tina (lol)

asked by Christina Marie Smith over 1 year ago
13 answers 937 views
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Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

have a look at amazon, for books that show how to cook on sunday for a week or a month.
there are tv cooking shows organized on similar principles.
also some big cities have prep kitchens where regular, non-commercial people can go to cook...whether for a few nights' worth or longer.
last, there's always the cook a casserole, eat some tonight, freeze the rest in portions.
or similar strategies with a roast chicken or roast beef.

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added over 1 year ago

The key is that you have to like leftovers. We always cook a boat load of food over the weekend (a giant pot of hearty soup, a whole chicken, a few pounds of roasted veggies, a big pork/beef roast etc), so we could have leftovers for dinner during the week. There are only the two of us but our weekday routine is such that we are not ready to prepare dinner until after 8:00pm. Things I have to make fresh every other day during the week: fresh veggies, rice (I recommend a rice cooker with a timer). If I run out of protein, I cook up eggs for a quick meal.

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Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

Yes, Garlic Fiend, the answer is you have to like leftovers....that idea ran through what I recommended, but not so clearly articulated. Thanks.

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cv
added over 1 year ago

Like Garlic Fiend, I make large batches on weekends and the leftovers are consumed over the next week or so.

Sauteed and stir-fried veggies will keep anywhere from a few days up to a week in the fridge, and much of these can be frozen for later use.

Both potatoes (steamed, boiled, roasted) and rice also can be kept around for a while, and cooked rice can be frozen for later use.

Fried rice is a quick way to clean out your fridge of a bunch of leftovers and use up odds and ends (like a leftover half of a sauteed salmon fillet).

Some other cooked meats end up freezing satisfactorily, like shredded cooked chicken, braised chicken in various sauces, and the king of frozen meat: pulled pork. Much cooked fish can be frozen for later repurposing, like fried rice, soups, tacos.

Cooked legumes -- beans and peas -- also store well in the fridge and freezer.

Of course, many soups and stews -- like ratatouille -- actually taste better a couple of days after cooking and most of these can be frozen.

Almost without exception, anything that can be tossed on a grill will survive several days of refrigeration with little harm. This could as simple as grilled summer squash or more elaborate like barbecue or grilled seafood kebabs.

Occasionally, I will make polenta, pour into a sheet pan, then cut into triangles for sauteeing or grilling. These triangles freeze well for future use. Likewise potato gratin can be cut into individual portions for freezing (or you could bake in single-portion dishes).

Garlic Fiend is right: you must like leftovers, otherwise you are screwed.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

Stir-fries come together very quickly, especially if you can get your veg chopping done ahead of time, since that's the main time-consumer there.

Also, I try to always have enough eggs in the fridge and a store-bought pie crust in the freezer, for a quick, "vegetable bin dump" tart when I need a hot meal in a pinch. Favorites combos are zucchini, onion, and red bell pepper (with lots of parm mixed in with the eggs) and spinach, feta, and sun-dried tomato. These also come together very quickly, even faster if the veg prep can be done ahead of time. I also make my own "salad in a bag" so I can have a crisp green salad on hand as a ready-to-go side (romaine stands up particularly well to this).

Ratatouille, as others have mentioned in other threads on this hotline, lasts forever in the fridge and works great in combination with so many things. For a really quick meal I heap some on ciabatta toast and top it with some good melty cheese (the Alice Waters ratatouille recipe on this site is a good one, btw). Ratatouille on toast invariably makes me feel that life is good. :).

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Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

Love your ideas for h2 get meals on the table during busy weekdays, but most especially = for the Vegetable Bin Dump Tart which I have just adopted, including keeping the ready-made crust on hand. Thanks!

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added over 1 year ago

Michael Ruhlman's pasta with tomato water and basil and garlic is on this site is really quick and one of the best dishes I've made this summer.

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added over 1 year ago

I think that the easiest thing would be to use the search toolbar at your local library's website for quick and easy recipes. Get 7-10 books and flip through until you find the ones that look the easiest (and most appetizing) to you. There are TONS of books full of recipes where you make part of it ahead. One of my favorite bloggers also tended to cook nearly everything on the weekend and then freeze it so that she could have dinner as soon as she got home from work.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

Happy you can make use of the Veg Bin Dump Tart idea, Nancy. :)

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added over 1 year ago

I'll echo a roast chicken, or another large roast on the weekend. I also recently discovered the joy cooking a 1 lb package of bacon in the oven (on a sheet pan at 450 for 20-30 minutes, or to your desired crispy level) and keeping it in the fridge. Having cooked bacon is great for BLTs or panini, or with eggs cooked up quickly. Or crumbled over an avocado, or in a quesadilla, or on a baked potato (which you can also bake a bunch in advance). I put it on a plate with a paper towel under it and over it in the microwave for about 45 seconds to heat it up.

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added over 1 year ago

I like to make dover sole because it cooks in about 3-5 mins pan-seeded. Here's a nice recipe that makes it into a one pan meal: https://food52.com/recipes.... I keep the freezer stocked with Trader Joe's sole because I can throw together an easy meal in about 15 minutes. And I have to admit that I often resort to those frozen packs of brown rice because they don't take any planning. Voila! Dinner.

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Amy
added over 1 year ago

Pop pork chops, raw, into the crock pot before you leave for work. Cover with Italian dressing. Turn on the crockpot and go to work. By the time you get home, you have super tender, flavorful, juicy pork chops. Cook some quick rice and steamed broccoli and you are good to go!