Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Put on your thinking caps. I've got another question for you.

What is your "go-to" dinner when nothing from the freezer has been defrosted, you haven't had the time to even think about, let alone create, a healthy, nutritious meal, your creative juices are nowhere to be found, it's time to eat and you can actually hear stomachs growling? What do you serve for dinner that night?

My choice in this sad circumstance seems to be grilled cheese sandwiches. (I also hedge by always promising that I'll make popcorn later if this doesn't quite fill all the cracks and crannies.)

This post is actually very selfish on my part. I'm hoping that in the comments you all will share what you manage to get on the table under these same circumstances and that I'll pick up some wonderful ideas that *I* can use instead of my old standby of grilled cheese!


Dani said...

Quiche, potato and leek soup, tomato soup, bangers and mash, omlette.

Basically eggs any which way are your quickest option. If you have a microwave, and can blitz some potatoes, scoop out the flesh, add some chopped ham / tomato / left over chicken / spinach or whatever you have in the fridge to the potato shell, sprinkle over some grated cheese and then break an egg on top, and bake for 15 - 20 minutes in the oven - delicious :)

Carolyn said...

Pasta served with melted butter / olive oil/ parmesan cheese / basil / salt. Throw in a pan of quick rising white breadsticks brushed with olive oil & sprinkled with garlic salt & parmesan cheese.

Aimee said...

You are so smart. =)

There are times in the year when we eat a LOT of grilled cheese. I love grilled cheese, but sometimes it can be a bit much.

Like Dani, the other standy is some egg dish. Either a marvelous omelette, fried egg sandwiches, or just 'breakfast-for-dinner' which is scrambled or fried eggs, some bacon or sausage or whatever, and a slice of toast.

However, I don't do any of the cooking, my wonderful husband does it all, and he makes everything seem pretty quick and easy. (I just whipped up this pizza/quiche/pasta dish/etc - it wasn't that hard...) I am amazed - and lucky!

Spiderjohn said...

Keep a few cans of Salmon in your pantry. It is as healthy for you as fresh salmon. It takes no time to whip up some salmon cakes, salmon burgers, a quick salmon stir fry, etc. etc. There are tons of recipes for canned salmon that are fast and good for you.

Jennifer Jo said...

Eggs. Granola. Eggs. Cheese sandwiches (grilled is kinda fancy). Eggs. Leftovers. Eggs.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I keep extra pizza shells I make up when I bake pizza in the wood oven and freeze them. And ANYTHING can go on a pizza shell and taste good.

Tomato soup- 1 jar home canned juice, 1 cup milk, spices, done

Vegetable soup - all frozen veg from the freezer cooked on high flame. You would be surprised how fast that goes.

granola- I keep some oven canned on the shelf for such an occasion.

And if I am lucky, I have some premade food like baked beans that I canned up during the season. Then I curse myself for not canning more premade foods when I find I have some down time. They are a real lifesaver.

dr momi said...

scrambled eggs and toast.....boring I know :-)

Judy T said...

Bean burritos is our go-to meal. Heat up some refried beans, open up a jar of salsa, shred some cheese and you're good to go. We've always got tortillas on hand since the children will make quesadillas for snacks regularly.

Otherwise, it would be pasta with pesto. We've got tons of pesto frozen in little cubes so I can just take out as many cubes as I need. Thaw, add in some extra olive oil and some parmesan cheese and we're golden. I've also done the egg thing on occasion.


Mama Pea said...

Dani - No microwave in our kitchen so the baked potato thing is out . . . but that does make me hungry for a good twice-baked potato, Dani. Thanks! Omlettes are always good, we eat a lot of eggs.

CR -I try to get away with pasta as often as I can (love it) but poopy Papa Pea isn't crazy about it.

Aimee - I'm not as smart as you! You've got a man who does all the cooking! Where, oh where, did I go wrong?!

Spiderjohn - You do have a way with salmon! Thanks!

JJ - Yup, thank gawd for eggs. Gotta love 'em. Hubby does not like dry cereal . . . even homemade granola. Sigh. But he does love cheese sandwiches. Even if they aren't grilled. Or I could serve eggs.

Jane - In the winter I seem to lack the fresh veggies I wanna throw on those pizza crusts. I see I spend much too much time on my tomato soup. I'm gonna go with yours! Also going to try soup made with those frozen veggies. I always have plenty of those. I need to break in my new pressure canner this coming season so I have the CANNED made-ahead foods rather than all frozen.

You guys are amazing. Keep the ideas comin'.!

Lisa B said...

grilled cheese sandwiches are the bomb, quick, easy, always have stuff ready for them or eggs in omelet or dippy which I love

Sparkless said...

Grilled cheese is one of our favorites but we also make eggs, pasta with cheese sauce and bacon. The husband can whip up a cheese pizza pretty fast too.
We also like to do a clean out the fridge night and will pretty much eat anything that is left over in the fridge.

Susan said...

I used to make "Kellys" - you know, that piece of bread with a hole cut out in the center and an egg cracked into it. Fried in butter. Now I do a quick rice linguini in clam sauce or, as Spiderjohn does, open a can of salmon and make salmon cakes, or salmon loaf. I also canned chicken for the first time and it has come in mighty handy. Get that pressure canner out and get busy, young lady!

Karen L. said...

Since everyone seems to be mentioning eggs, I'll tell you that I will make a frittata and throw whatever is in the fridge in it. Usually we will have a veggie along with it or at least a biggest salad. The other standby is some sort of panini made again with whatever is on hand such as ham, pork, salami, etc. .... and hopefully having a pickle handy to include as that seems to make the sandwich for us. Right now I am in a funk about dinner. Don't know what I want to make or eat. Don't we "housewives/cooks" ever get to retire from our "regular" job? Phooey!!!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - But what if I don't have any bread?? Grilled cheese can be SO messy that way! ;o]

Sparkless - We usually don't have much in the way of leftovers . . . they get eaten right away the next night . . . or there is such a piddly little bit that it's only enough for one. A plain, ol' cheese pizza sounds good!

Susan - Yes, Mum! Pressure canning 101 coming up!!

Karen L. - Even more than now when my hubby is retired, summers used to drive me crazy. Being a teacher he had summers "off" (yeah, right) and that was when we would do all the big projects plus I'd have the garden and all that entailed. IN ADDITION TO my regular full-time housewifey/homemaker job! I used to ask when I would get the summer "off" to be free to do all the big projects without having to handle my other stuff at the same time.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Bean burritos :)

Mama Pea said...

dr momi - Boring? Maybe, but how many times has that filled hungry tummies?

Judy - Hmmm. I never keep refried beans on hand. Guess I should start! I think there is something wrong with me 'cause I don't like pesto. I've tried it again and again in different recipes, but can't talk myself into it.

Mama Pea said...

Jen - Short and sweet! (Or spicy . . . whichever way you prefer. Ha-ha!)

Anonymous said...

Our ole standby is an egg-cheese-sprout sandwich. Basically, it is a grilled cheese sandwich which is opened up immediately after grilling (so the halves do not stick together). Then liberally sprinkle garlic granules/powder on all of the melted cheese. On one half, place a fried egg followed by a handful of very fresh, homegrown sprouts. Put the remaining piece of cheesy garlicky bread on top of egg and sprouts and squish down. Yum! It's fast and it works well with different breads, herbal flavors and cheeses etc. And no doubt, it's full of our daily cholesterol allotment!-"M"

judy said...

actually grilled cheese sounds delios right now,we hve tuna or tuna melts with lettuce ,pickle-open faced and don't forget the grey poupon

Wendy said...

My favorite go to recipe is so easy. Cream of potato soup. I always have red potatoes on hand.

5lb red pot. cut in small chunks
1 yellow onion chopped
5 green onions chopped
2 heaping tablespoons chopped garlic (we love garlic) you can use less
2pks real bacon bacon bits
2 cups grated cheese of your choice
1 large carton half and half
1 carton chicken broth or you can use the bullion cubes if that is what you have.
4 stalks celery
2 sticks butter
1 can of corn
salt and pepper to taste

put potatoes and broth on to boil. Bring to a full boil until potatoes are fork tender...saute onions, garlic and celery with 1 stick of butter until yellow onion is clear and celery is soft....add to potatoes along with corn, bacon bits, green onions and allow to cook for another 15 min...Add the other stick of butter for the last 15 min. of cooking...if you want your soup thickened take a potato masher and mash around a few times until you get the thickness that you can also used boxed potato flakes to thicken with....serve in bowls topped with the cheese...add bread and salad if you like. This soup is good served in bread bowls or over cornbread....

Freedom Acres Farm said...

Spaghetti or pancakes and bacon. I'd write more but my computer cord broke and this iPod thing of my daughters stinks to type on. Please pray my new cord comes in the
mail quick!

kayceebeebee said...

Tuna Melts - we use those packages of tuna (not the can) and mix it with pickle relish, miracle whip and shredded cheese then spread it on buns or bread. Then "toast" it in the oven on 350 for about 10 or 15 minutes.

Fried egg sandwich or pancakes for supper.

(The word verification is brian which is my son's name!)

Unknown said...

If hubby makes supper it's one thing - eggs!
Me my quick list is pancakes on the griddle bacon in the microwave and scrambled eggs with syrup.
OR: Boil macaroni strain and heat up a can of chunky soup to pour over heap of noodles. Desert? Eat ah cookie!
French toast, grilled cheese are high on the quickie list.

Stephanie said...

Oh, forgetting to take stuff out of the freezer tends to happen to me more than I care to admit. If I really am not in the mood to cook at all, the boys will eat sandwiches w/chips. Most often though I will resort to frozen pizza, or Tyson crispy chicken strips w/fries on the side.

Leigh said...

Eggs! It's required that we eat eggs every day anyway, because we have so many. I do love grilled cheese though. How about adding a fried egg to it?

Chai Chai said...

Pancakes fast and easy
Syrup and butter taste great
bacon makes me glad

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

When I have a dab of leftovers - meat or vegetables, I put them in a plastic container in the freezer -layering in the latest contribution until the container is full and then make a pot of soup - lots of variety and you can throw in extras besides.

Sometimes when it isn't quite full and I need a quick dinner I put it in the pan and thaw, and add some onion and more carrots - or whatever else I feel it needs - and have a soup in no time (you can add some noodles too if you like). Crackers or bread and a green salad and there is a fast easy meal.

Erin said...

I used to do grilled cheese or fried egg & cheese sandwiches but we were getting tired of that so I'm with Judy, bean burritos! Bean Burritos are what hubby makes on Thursday nights, the kids and I roll in the house at 6:15 after music lessons and he gets home about 15 minutes earlier so he heats up some refried beans, adds cheese and what he calls "a secret spice" which I believe is cumin LOL and dinner is served! Baked potato with cottage cheese instead of sour cream is good too!

Tom Stewart said...

Yes there are times when even I do not feel like cooking!
Hot Dogs and Beer will fill the void sometimes!
But Breakfast foods work too!
Pancakes or Waffles, Eggs and Bacon! And do not forget the Iced Coffee!

odiie said...

More ideas? I do black beans and rice, or a quick stir fry. If that is still too much work-frozen pizza.

Dirt Lover said...

My go to meal is pasta with pesto I've frozen from the previous summer. I toss in some cooked meat, usually chicken but sometimes steak that we cook IN MASS then vacuum freeze in one meal containers. Since we've been doing that, I can't believe how often that has saved me from wanting to get a pizza from in town. Now I can have dinner on the table in less time than it would take for me to order on the phone, and run in to pick it up, then come back home. I highly recommend using a vacuum sealer and cooking meat in huge quantities.
Of course, if Hubby isn't home and the milk isn't bad, I usually opt for a bowl of cereal or oatmeal. :)

Sue said...

Soup---I have frozen soup in individual servings that I can "pop" out of their containers and have it heated in a couple minutes. I try to have at least 3 or 4 varieties on hand ------chicken/rice, cream of broccoli, bean and ham, or my new favorite turkey barley.

I will make cream of potato soup fresh (I don't like how potato soup freezes) if I have the energy-that's a quick 20 minute soup. But usually it's frozen soup on "those" days........

Cr said...

I have two go-to meals. The first is simply scrambled eggs with whatever veggies are in the fridge. The other is egg noodles with carrots, scallions (both always in the fridge), and boneless chicken breasts. Those can be sliced thin when frozen and quick sautéed in the skillet. By the time the noodles have boiled, everything else is cooked. Oil olive added after cooking provides extra flavor.

Dmarie said...

If I really don't feel like cooking, nothing is quicker than spaghetti with marinara sauce (think: open a jar!)

Lisa said...

Nachos here! We keep refried beans in our pantry, but you could make your own by mashing cooked pinto beans :) I layer each 'nacho' with refried beans, 1+ tspn. salsa per chip, cheese, mild/medium banana peppers on top then zap in microwave....or broil in oven. Not sure it fits the 'healthy, nutritious meal' requirement in your post - but it's good and fast! I enjoyed reading the comments....a lot of folks 'fast' dinners are my 'regular' dinners!
PS is that your homemade bread on those grilled cheese sandwiches? It looks delicious!

Mama Pea said...

"M" - Lots of you folks have suggested a fried egg on your grilled cheese sandwiches. Never thought of that. Thanks! (You're a good girl to keep those fresh sprouts going . . . something I'm remiss on doing!)

judy - Yep, I do an open-faced veggie, cheese, pickle sandwich often, too. No tuna though. Hmmm . . .

Wendy - Thanks for taking the time to write out the whole recipe. I love potato soup!

Freedom Acres - Thanks for the comment even though you were handicapped! It's the pits when something goes wonko with our computers!

kayceebeebee - Another vote for tuna! (Your WV would make one stop and think!)

Nancy - You are full of good suggestions! Thank you, ma'am.

Stephanie - I've resorted to PB and J sandwiches quite a few times this winter for some reason. And they taste good, too. With your two growing boys, you've got to keep lots of sandwich fixings on hand, I imagine!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - We have eggs nearly every single morning so I feel guilty when I make them again at night. Why? Just a lack of variety thing, I think. Another vote for putting a fried egg on the grilled cheese, huh?

Chai Chai - Haha! Bacon makes me glad, too!

Jo - A great "fill the container" idea!

Erin - Obviously, I need to get going on the refried bean kick! (Unless C would consent to showing up here every Thursday night [with his secret spice], too!)

Tom - Hot dogs and beer . . . I'll drink to that! I'm an iced coffee fan, too.

odiie - I rely on a stir fry IF I have leftover rice!

Lori - I've been thinking about a vacuum sealer. I may have to talk to you about that in more detail. Yep, I would be happy with dry cereal, but that wouldn't fly with hubby.

Mama Pea said...

Sue - I'm like you in that I usually have a variety of soups frozen but I always put them in quart size containers which are not so easy to defrost in a jiff. I may need to think of serving size containers as you do. Thanks!

Cr - Both quick and easy ideas! Thank you.

Dmarie - Oh, so true! I could throw in a couple of meatballs (from the freezer) for my protein lovin' hubby.

Lisa - Gosh, I haven't made nachos in ever-so-long! Yum. Is that homemade bread in my picture? No (as she hangs her head), but it sure was good! It was whole wheat with millet and sliced almonds and all kinds of good, crunchy stuff in it!

judy said... don't know if i sent this right but i wanted you to see the bridge my bil was building,might have been easier to forward to a e-mail address well ,see if it comes out ,if it doesn't thats ok too

Claire said...

Mix a jar of salsa with a jar of black beans and call it black bean soup! Can shred some cheddar on top for some cheesy delciousness.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Breakfast always works too :)

I love love love grilled cheese sandwiches but my son doesn't so I don't often go there for dinner. Also, the three other members of my immediate family always seem to need to eat about 2x as much as I do. Even when I cook what I consider a "real dinner" they are often looking in the fridge an hour later. I fear the children's adolescent years!!! (My husband is another story!)

Mama Pea said...

judy - Whoa! Something didn't work!

Claire - Well, who woulda thunk of that! Sounds good.

Jen - Be afraid, be very afraid! Those two kiddlies of yours are going to eat you out of house and home. (I don't know how you could eat very much . . . you're such a little, bitty, skinny, little Minnie!)

Katidids said...

Omelets! In them is a "fridge vegie bin clean out" or what ever else strike your fancy

Mama Pea said...

Katidids - Good ol' eggs strike again! What would we do without 'em?

mtnchild said...

Being by myself I can get away with anything!! PB&J, fried egg sandwich, butter & jam sandwich ... bowl of cereal, sometimes a couple pieces of fruit ... anything goes.

Love reading all about others easy meals - gives me ideas.

mtnchild said...

Phew, that's dome verification system you've got there ...

Mama Pea said...

Yvette - I don't envy you cooking for yourself one bit. If I were alone, I'm afraid nutrition would go down the tubes!

This new Word Verification thing that seems to be on everyone's comment section now is the pits. I often have to try two or three times to get it right! Phooey!