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WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

What are some quick, easy recipes for stressful evenings (see details)?

Asked by WillWorkForChocolate (23120points) April 8th, 2011

I have a lot going on these days, with my oldest daughter needing homework help, and both my girls having activities, doctors appointments, etc…

I’ve been looking for super fast, super easy meal ideas for weeknights. Care to post one of your favorites?

The only guidelines are: it can’t contain a lot of cheese (my girls are allergic), and it can’t contain shellfish (my husband will die, lol).

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27 Answers

Seelix's avatar

Do you have a slow cooker? There are tons of slow cooker recipes out there that require almost no prep, and if you get those foil liners from Reynolds, almost no cleanup either. Sorry I don’t have an actual recipe to share.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I second the slow cooker @Seelix mentions. Chickens or pot roasts with potatoes and veggies. Short notice I find a can of chicken in my pantry and cover it in curry ( yogurt and spices ) and veggies.

Cruiser's avatar

1 pot casseroles are wonderful heat and serve meals. Shake and bake chicken breast or pork chops are quick and easy.

I would suggest preparing the meal the night before and come home from work and pop the dish in the oven and let er heat up while you help the girls with their homework.

I also love one pan dutch oven meals like pot roast or pork roast with all the veggies and taters in one pan again prepare the night before, heat and eat. But my best strategy is cooking monster meals on the weekend and saving one or two nights meals so you can just reheat later in the week.

We also do a “salad” night where nothing is cooked just tuna salad, egg salad, salad salad, fruits and veggies and dips.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Spanish rice: Brown some hamburger, the amounts up to you. Meanwhile cook one cup rice, two cups water. When that’s done throw it all together with one can of condensed tomato soup and one can of tomatoes, either diced or whole that you break up. A little pepper if you like. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with a baked potato.
Rice ala Tony. One cup rice, two cups water, two chicken boullion cubes. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 until the liquid is all absorbed.
Pork chops with peppers and onions and tomatoes: Brown a couple of pork chops. Throw in a can of tomatoes, some peppers (frozen or fresh, chopped however big or small you like) and some sliced onions. Simmer for about an hour on low heat. Serve with boiled potato or rice.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

If you are going prep the weeks meals ahead of time get and use a vacuum-sealer just bag up the meals.

YoBob's avatar

If your family is big on veggies, stir fry is very quick and easy. Any time I cook rice there is usually left overs. So, pull out the bowl of left over rice and throw it in the nuke, Grab whatever veggies you have in the crisper, slap them on the cutting board and give them a quick slice. Throw the wok on the burner with a dab of oil and crank the flame to incinerate. Throw the veggies in when the oil gets hot and stir around for a minute or so. Dump in whatever seasoning you want (there are some excellent stir fry seasonings out there in packets as well as jars), Slap on a plate, and vola! A healthy low cost and tasty meal in around 15 minutes. If you want to add meat to the mix, as long as it is already thawed it doesn’t really add much extra to the cook time, just cube it and throw it into the pan before you add the veggies as it takes a little bit longer to cook.

mazingerz88's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Just for yourself…vodka tonic in chilled glass?

marinelife's avatar

Hamburger Stroganoff

1 lb. Gr. beef
3–4 cloves garlic
½ large diced onion
5–7 crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Cup milk with some cream
½ c. sour cream
Pasta

Prepare pasta.

Brown ground beef with onion and drain. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until sauteed. At the last minute at the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.

Sprinkle meat mixture with flour and cook just a minute or two. Add milk and cream and paprika and stir over medium heat until thickened. Fold in sour cream and pasta and just heat through. (Do not boil.)

picante's avatar

This is quick, delicious and reasonably “healthy.” I actually add some diced tomatoes and green beans to the receipe below.

Spinach Tortellini Soup

Ingredients
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (9 ounce) package cheese tortellini (get another type of this is too much cheese for your girls)
¼ tablespoon dried basil
¼ tablespoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1.In a large pot over high heat, combine the spinach and chicken broth. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to low. Stir in tortellini, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the tortellini is cooked to desired tenderness. Season with basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

marinelife's avatar

@picante Oh, I think that looks good, but I would add Italian white beans and canned tomatoes too!

picante's avatar

@marinelife—that’s perfect!. And I’ll add some spicy peppers to the mix (maybe in my own bowl) to appease my picante-ness!

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

The easies recipes I have only works if your family likes hot sanwiches. Put a beef roast in the crockpot with a jar of banana pepper rings (juice and all) and just let cook all day. Serve in hoagie or French rolls with potato chips. It’s like an Italian beef sandwich. If your family likes barbeque, put a pork roast in with a bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce and serve the same way. Don’t add any liquid to either of these, other than just the banana pepper juice that I mentioned.

WasCy's avatar

This is another of those great examples of ambiguous questions. I was all set to chime in with:

- uncompleted homework assignments
– late sports practices for multiple kids at different locations
– late from work, traffic jams, and bad weather
– a sick pet
– missing main ingredients for dinner
– a headache on top of everything else

So, it’s a cooking question: “What can I serve on stressful evenings?” Oh, a different question entirely.

I like grilled kielbasa, french fries (or baked potato if you have them, and the time to do them properly) plus a vegetable and/or baked beans. Succotash is a good combination: equal measures of canned, fresh (cooked) or frozen corn with (cooked) “Roman” beans. (Also called cranberry beans or speckled beans.) And if you don’t feel like going outside to grill the kielbasa, you can broil it or even fry it – or serve it cold from the fridge, since it’s already cooked.

I also and quite often do meatless burritos: burrito shell, cheese for me (you can leave it out easily enough), lots of chopped raw onion, garbanzo beans, refried beans, guacamole, dill pickle chips, hot sauce. That lends itself well to mismatched schedules, since you can cook them up individually if you need to.

And turkey club sandwiches are always a great fallback.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@YoBob With all that throwing and slapping and dumping and cranking, you wouldn’t even be stressed anymore! :)

WestRiverrat's avatar

I cook almost all of my meals on Sunday afternoon for the entire week. Then I just have to heat and eat the rest of the week. I can also buy in bulk, which is usually cheaper than buying ingredients and preparing a meal for one or two every night.

You will have an initial outlay for all the tupperware containers you’ll need, but they can be reused.

YoBob's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt – Yep, I find cooking to be quite therapeutic. :)

SpatzieLover's avatar

Brinner. Breakfast for dinner.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@SpatzieLover I love breakfast for dinner! Bacon and eggs, hash browns, or a Denver omelet. I don’t ever have time to have breakfast in the morning.

Blueroses's avatar

Easy fallback with good leftovers:
Drop a cheap pork roast in the crockpot with ½C water and seasonings (Montreal steak blend is a good one) and a tsp of vinegar to tenderize. Leave it alone for several hours. When you’re ready, pull it out, let it cool a bit and pull it into shreds. Stir in your favorite BBQ sauce (I like Dave’s Rich & Sassy) and serve on buns with coleslaw.

rooeytoo's avatar

Brown chicken legs (in olive oil) in a big deep skillet or pot. While its browning chop garlic, a chili, onions, peppers and I usually add some zucchini, little squash, green beans, whatever, stir fry the whole thing for a couple of minutes to soften the veg a bit. Add a couple of cans of diced tomatoes and let it simmer while you cook some pasta. Toss it all together and feast!

Doesn’t take much more than 30 minutes and with or without a salad makes a complete, low fat (especially if you take the skin off the chicken legs) tasty meal!

chyna's avatar

Large bag of hershey kisses, unwrap, eat. Hey, I’m single, I don’t cook much.

lifeflame's avatar

Pasta or noodles is usually a speedy choice.

Pasta I usually just fry the onions/mushrooms/veg will boiling the spaghetti/fettuccine/angel hair. Add pesto or tomato sauce. Voila.
When I was in England they had fresh pasta in bags in the supermarket. Marvellous stuff.

Noodles is even easier. If you get some miso or seaweed bits, tofu cubes, you just throw them in and serve together. Also good with something like mushrooms.

YoBob's avatar

Ok, so I just have to share what my son and I cooked this evening.

My wife and my youngest are out of town for the weekend, leaving me and my oldest (a teenager) to fend for ourselves this evening. When I got home I asked what he wanted for dinner. I was fully expecting something like pizza, burgers, etc… However, I was very surprised to hear him say “potato leek soup”.

We get our veggies from a local organic farm and they (finally) started up the deliveries for the season and the basket contained leeks (among many other goodies).

Anyway, we cooked it together and it made me think of this thread so…

Plop a couple of tbsps of butter into a large pot. Dice one medium onion and the white part of 3 leeks and put in the butter to sweat. While those are cooking, peel 4 medium (or two large) potatoes and thinly slice. Add about 4 cups of chicken stock to the leeks and onions and put in the potatoes. Add a bit of salt, garlic, and white pepper, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and add a couple of cups of milk (or better yet cream if you have it). Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth, or if you don’t have one of those, a regular blender will do just fine.

Total cook time is around 30 minutes and it is Sooooo good!

SpatzieLover's avatar

@YoBob YUM! Did you save me a bowl?

mrrich724's avatar

Super simple and super tasty, and cheap to boot:

pasta (whatever kind you like)
olive oil and butter
salt and pepper
garlic
a SPRINKLE of parmesan cheese for texture
a dash of balsamic
“italian seasoning”

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

There have been really hectic evenings that I just made “cheese quicks.” Simply a nice, big potato for each person, washed and rubbed with butter and salt, pricked and cooked for 8 minutes in the microwave (or however long it takes to cook them through. Take out, split open, add butter and a handfull of shredded cheddar, and nuke it again just long enough to melt the cheese. I guess you could get really fancy and put out some other stuff to make a potato bar – like green onions, fresh tomatoes, bacon bits, mushrooms, parsley, basil, chopped boiled egg, sunflower seeds, etc. etc.

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