Fast and Flexible

MEALS of course! I don’t think I’ve been fast and flexible for a few years now… 

This week feels like it flew by, and I admit I wasn’t feeling particularly crafty in the kitchen. In fact, I think every dinner this week was in the “Fast and Flexible” category.  What kind of meals do you make when you are a bit busy or just really aren’t up to planning and cooking anything too elaborate? 

Here are some things we like to have: 

Soup and a Sandwich. Once in a blue moon I’ll make homemade soup, but we usually have a variety of canned soups in the pantry. Campbell’s Chunky soup is nice & filling and always tasty. I try to stock up when they go on sale. You can’t beat a bowl of Lipton Chicken Noodle on a cold night either. I buy the small egg noodles and add extra while it’s cooking. Hubby thinks it’s weird, but I like to add some tomato/vegetable juice to mine – makes a nice tomato broth. I also love the Italian Wedding Soup Campbell’s brought out. Add some shredded (or grated) romano or parmesan to give it some authenticity. I often sprinkle some garlic powder in my soups too, to add a bit of extra flavour.  

 

Pasta : Of course, there is always the standard pasta noodles with tomato/spaghetti sauce. How about the classic comfort food; Macaroni and Cheese (insert favourite boxed brand here). I’ve made it from scratch, but I really do like KD and some of the store brands. Either of these are tasty with some ground beef. As a kid, one of my favourite dinners was KD and sausages served on the side (the breakfast links). For a bit of a flavour boost try adding dry mustard powder (something my aunt did when I was a kid to make it special). I also like to kick it up a bit by adding a bit of grated sharp cheese . I am not a fan of ketchup on macaroni & cheese, but if you are, you might want to try barbecue sauce. That’s hubby’s (aka “The Sauce King”) preference. 

One of our favourite quick pasta meals is mixing a can of the Aylmer Accents Garlic and Olive Oil or Spicy Red Pepper with tortellini or ravioli. We’ve tried various fresh and frozen brands. While I love fresh, the price makes for it being an occasional treat. My favourite brand of frozen is: O Sole Mio. It tastes much better than some other brands we’ve tried and has several varieties to choose from. I stock up when they put these on sale 2 for 1. 

Breakfast for Dinner: Eggs; simple and satisfying – scrambled, fried or an omelet. This might be served with breakfast sausage or bacon (on the rare occasion we have some in the house). Sometimes we’ll make our own “McMufffins” and add sliced ham and some cheese. Hubby often likes to cook up a batch of home fries when we have potatoes and onions on hand (bell pepper is a nice addition too). We discovered it goes a lot faster if you partially pre-cook  the potatoes in the microwave for a bit before adding them to the frying pan.

Another thing we like to have when we’re foraging to find a quick and easy meal is pancakes. Since hubby seems to like to be in charge when it comes to breakfast food, for years I always had to buy packaged pancake mix. I have finally convinced hubby that cooking them “from scratch” is fairly easy and they really do taste better. 

After trying a couple of recipes, this is the one we like to use:

Chocolate Chip Pancakes: http://startcooking.com/popup.recipe/257/8/13/2009

We have never actually have added the chocolate chips, but sometimes we’ll sprinkle frozen blueberries into the batter (after they’ve been flipped over the first time). Just be careful, because we’ve had a few “explode”! I also retyped this recipe and doubled it. It seemed to make a pretty small batch. We tend to like bigger pancakes, and we also get the bonus of left-overs that way.

I am sure your home has family favourites for those times when you are in a hurry or just don’t feel like cooking. Are any of these on your list? Maybe one of thes , or possibly on the list to become a NEW favourite?

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