11 March 2007

Quick meals for working women...

When I work during the week I try to have quick meals that don't take a lot of time to prepare and get to the table. Most of the time what I do is make a time-consuming dish at the weekends (or on my days off it just depends) and make enough to have leftovers during the week. This however isn't always the answer since I can often work 4 days or more in a row.

So what do you do then? Well I try to keep to hand the basics in the fridge or larder to help but often you can get caught short and have to work with what is at hand. The other day I was wondering what to make for dinner and there wasn't much in the fridge for dinner and the thought of thawing something also did not appeal. I took stock of what I did have (1/2 butternut squash, risotto rice, Parmesan, and some dried porcini mushrooms) and began to make dinner.

While risotto is time consuming in that you have to stand and stir for me it is a perfect meal. I roasted the butternut squash with some olive oil, salt, and black pepper and a teaspoon of honey. I then re-hydrated some of the dried mushrooms. Cut up an onion and a few cloves of garlic. Mixed up some low salt bullion and added to it the strained mushroom juice. I the began the sweating of the onions in some butter and olive oil. I then added the garlic and rice and cooked for about a minute. I then added a good slug of white wine and allowed that to evaporate and began ladling in my broth into the risotto. I then added the mushrooms at this point and continue to cook and adding broth when it has nearly been absorbed by the rice. When about 3/4 of the way done I added the cooked squash (if you cut into small chunks they will cook quickly and you won't have to prepare them before tossing in). Once you the rice is nearly cooked you add your knob of butter and good handful of Parmesan to thicken. Enjoy.

Now while it might be a lot of time preparing - there is only 20 minutes of actual stirring. It is a fast an nutritious meal that if you are counting the calories, fat, etc. you can adjust the point is that it is to personal preference. The best thing about risotto is that you can add just about anything and it will work. I've used asparagus tips (and even the stalks), peas, bacon bits, you name it then throw it in.

I also have a number of what I call quick dishes that take no time to prepare if you have the stuff. Quesadillas are a favourite in this house and really take only about 10 minutes of prep and 1-2 minutes cooking. There is also my stand-by of cooked breakfast. This usually consists of eggs in some form (either scrambled, sunny-side up, omelette), grits, sausages, baked beans, toast, mushrooms, etc. Although not all of that but you get the idea that you have a lot of options in that dinner choice to really make it with gusto. I also have a quick chicken recipe that I use when really pressed for time which while cooking means I can do my clean-up and have only the dinner dishes left.

I suppose it comes down also to a mind-set that you will cook something good for your family and commit the time and effort. I do have my doodle-noodle nights (think cup or noodles only not so salty or high in fat!) but they too are souped-up (no pun intended!) to include spring onions, shrimp, bok choi, or whatever I have in the veggie bin along with plenty of red chilli paste. The point should be use what you have and don't be limited by your mind. Enjoy your advventure!


Mercedez said...
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