Some days I just don't "have it in me" to cook. My mind is elsewhere, I am short on time, not feeling well or my heart is troubled about something. That is when these ideas always come in handy for me. They are things we love, but take "not thought" to make. Everyone should have a list of these in their kitchen! I used to think, "I don't need to right that down!" But I find that this is when I actually need my lists the most! If my creativity is zapped or I am engaged in other projects, someone else in the family steps in to help and it is nice to have something really simple for them to put together...that you know will "work without fail". I want to feed my family whole foods and these are things I always keep in stock in my pantry or freezer. If I am out of something, I can just go down the list and find SOMETHING that I DO have and go from there. Prep day is often an extra busy day of chores, so these types of food often find their way to our lunch and breakfast tables between the many other chores at hand.
Nachos: Spread Tortilla Chips out on a baking sheet. Top them with Brown Ground Beef Season with my premade Taco Seasoning OR a can of beans, Shredded Chedder and Salsa. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or so. May top with Sour Cream and Shredded Romain Lettuce to serve (or not).
Tuna Noodle Casserole: Bring some water to boils as you collect your ingrediants. A bag of frozen veggies, Spike Seasoning (or lemon pepper and salt, or Fantastic Fish above), Whatever noodles I have on hand, Shredded cheddar and Cream of Mushroom Soup**. Boil the noodles and veggies until aldente', drain the noodles and veggies and return to the pot. Put remaining ingrediants back in the pot and mix well to encorperate, reheat if needed. There is never nay left over.
Most commerical Cream soups are not healthful. There are 2 brands that I could recommend Amy's or Hain. If you can't them or an equivilant brand without the "junk", use some cream and butter and a little boullion. Nice served with a green salad.
- chopped red bell peppers
- ground beef
- left over chicken pieces
- green chilies
One of my kids favorite things is a snacky lunch. This is consists of a variaty of simple finger foods that we put together from what we have on hand. Any variation or combination of the following:
- Healthy Crackers
- Ants on a log (celery filled with peanutbutter and with raising lined on top in a row)
- Veggies and dip
- Cottage cheese and applesauce (don't use fingers for this one!)
- Dried Fruit
- Homemade Jerky
- Popcorn with Momma's Special Seasonings
Eggs! This is the one thing that we produce on our farm year round (to date). So we usually have an ample supply on hand. Even if you don't have your own chickens...I highly recommend finding a local farmer to get your eggs from who free ranges their chickens the taste and nutrition is superior to grocery store eggs and they are usually cheaper too! They store well, so don't be afraid to stock up. We have a friend that buys 4-6 dozen egss from us at a time. They will easily keep in the fridge for a over a month!
Egg in Hole: This is a childhood favorite of mine and is now of my children. Butter the back side of the bread. Cut a whole in the center about 1.5 inches in diameter, Flip the buttered side on the hot griddle, crack and egg and drop into the hole. Let it cook until the bread's underside is golden and egg is whitening. While it is cooking season the "wet side" with salt and pepper, or Mamma's Garlic (below). We like our soft (but not runny).
We also will eat scrambled eggs or "cheesy eggs". (Milk and a medium skillet is the key to fluffy scrambles! I always like to have a little butter in mine too.) Which are very tasty in a pita on an english muffin as a sandwich!
Crustless Quiche is also SO very tasty and easy to make! The variations are endless with seasonings, veggies meat and shredded or crumbled cheese you may have on hand. It can be served at room temp cold or warm...it si fast and easy to make! Such a deliciously versatile fast food! I like to do mine in a 9x13 (3 qrt pan) because anything smaller is not practical for us. I never measure my quiche...it is so forgiving and always comes out yummy. Eggs, generous glurg of milk, mayonaise (my secret ingrediant), cheese of choice, goodies and seasonings. Beat it well, pour it into a pan and bake for at 350 for about 40 minutes or so (depending on how thick your quiche is). It will "look done". Let it sit about 10 minutes before slicing. This great to make ahead for Shabbat too!
Salad Meals: Making a salad a meal. We do this at least once a week, and more in the summer. Take a pile of lettuce of greens of choice (whatever we have on hand) and top 3-7 of any the following topping on it. Instant meal with an endless combination of variety! I just use what we have in hand.
- Nuts and Seeds: Sliced Almonds, chopped Cashews or Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds
- Dried Fruits: Apple, Raisins, Carnaberries, Diced Apricots
- Fresh Fruits: Apple, Pear, Manderine Oranges, Cherries, Any Berry
- Veggies: Shredded Carrots, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Celery, Corn, Peas
- Grains: Leftover Seasoned Rice, Cocous, Quinia or Millet
- Cheese: ANY KIND - Shredded or crumbled
- Meat: Left over chicken, Tuna, Hanburger, Sausage, Grilled or Marinated Beef Strips
Raw Banana Ice Cream: We often turn to a family favorite for our Shabbat Dessert, because it is so quick and easy. You just take frozen banana's and pop them into the food processer. It comes out a creamy soft ice cream texture my family loves! It is ready to serve in 5 minutes! We like to top it with my Homemade Chocolate Sauce too (if I have it on hand).
Smoothies: We used to by organic Yogurt by the case. Than we started making our own from farm fresh raw milk. Than we got Kefir Grains almost always do kefir instead. It is so very simple, it makes itself every day! This is a staple in the summer for us...but it slows in the winter time as we learn toward more warm foods. But it is still one of our "no brainer" go to whole foods.
Just simple fill blender about 1/2 full of yogurt (or kefir), through in whateve fruit you have on hand, a frozen banana is always wonderful to add. We like to add a splash of vanilla and splash of agave or maple syrup or honey if our kefir is really tangy. Whirl it up and you have a hearty drinkable snack or supplement to a snacky lunch or light breakfast with toast or muffins.
Quick Soup: If you keep a few things in your pantry it is SO easy to assemble a fast tasty soup ANY TIME. In 15 minutes warm nourishing soup can be on the table.
- Veggies: Grab some frozen organic vegies and pitch them in a pot (I buy these in 5lb bags at Costco, but hope ot be putting more of our own up in the next few years!) Tis is also a good opportunity to use left over veggies from previous meals..or fresh produce that needs to be used up.
- Broth: I like to have canned broth on hand. But if I run out, an wonderful alternative is a product I love called Better Than Boullion which a wonderful soup base or instant seasoning for all kinds of fast (no brainer) cooking.
This is enough! But if you have other things on hand - these are also great additions and variations:
- Leftover cooked or canned meat
- Leftover rice or grain of any kind (millet and barley a very nice!)
- Noodles of any kind