We all know that sometimes “Quick” is the best thing you can get on the table at suppertime. No, I am not referring to the chocolate stuff (but my 9 year old sure would be pleased!). Rather, how quickly can you get a healthy meal on the table (or into the lunch box!)…Stocking a few helpful and healthy staples in your pantry, fridge and freezer can be a huge help, and a money saver…the idea being that you are then avoiding Take Out! We all know that “Take Out” is a deal breaker…too much of everything: salt, calories, fat, $$ and not enough fibre or nutrients (well okay, you can get that, but then it is $$$$). A little planning and research can help keep the delivery drivers on someone else’s doorstep, or help keep the car out of the drive-thru!
First, review the freezer, because sometimes a dinner as easy as thawing out spaghetti sauce is right there. We also keep fresh tortellini (not a bad price from Costco for the three pack) in the freezer…Fresh tortellini and Mr Newman’s Own marinara sauce is Rob’s Specialty, with a side of “Colander Salad”. Frozen chicken breasts (the kind that come in the 4Kg box), are another time saver: for some yummy spicy chicken wraps, cook thawed chicken breasts (seasoned with a touch of cumin and chilli powder) for about 10 minutes under the broiler (put the rack on level down, and keep a close eye) flipping halfway through cooking. Slice cooked chicked and add it with whatever salad fixings are kicking around (leftover bean salad is a favourite, or Greek salad is fantastic) and voila, you have created your own “fast food” your kids can eat in the car on the way to soccer or karate or skating.
I guess maybe we should have checked the fridge first! Leftovers can be remade into a quick supper. This is something I have become a “planner” of in my years of Motherhood. I am NOT a fan of leftovers (or eating a repeat of the same meal two nights or two meals in a row), Rob, on the other hand, could eat the same thing four nights in a row. So, when I make a menu, I try and plan what to do with the leftovers…This week’s example: leftover pork chops and one steak, leftover roast potatoes and a big old salad. With some green onions and a little bit of seasoning (oregano and salt and pepper) and roast potatoes become “fried” potatoes, chops and steak get sliced and warmed and get added on top of the salad on the plates: fried potatoes with steak salad (with sliced pork and beef!).
The next place to look is the pantry. Here of course, we are starting from scratch…What do we have? A can of chick peas and a jar of roasted red peppers…Sounds like some yummy hummus to me! The quickest way to make hummus is with a hand blender (much like what we used for the “Potage” yesterday). Most hummus recipes call for Tahini (or sesame butter), but if your pantry doesn’t have that, you can easily substitute peanut butter. I will save the recipe for Hummus for another post. A meal of hummus and bread or pita and some raw veggies and your kids have had something healthy and quick. Hummus is a great lunchbox choice, with the same sides as listed here (altho maybe not on the same day as they have had it for supper!!).