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23 January 2009 @ 12:54 pm
dinner ideas  
We need new meal ideas.

We have gotten into such a routine with our evening meals, and really, food should not be boring! However, I blame this more on a lack of time, rather than plain laziness; between us both working full-time during the week, me studying most nights & Noel's commitments to the kids (like picking Ben up from football training even on nights when they don't stay with us), spending ages preparing a meal is the last thing we feel like doing (or have time to do). Unfortunately, my imagination when it comes to food is rather limited, but I think it's time we introduced some new ideas.

So, a question for everyone: what do you have for dinner during an average week? What do you prepare when you come home from work, what are some of your favourites to cook when you don't really want to spend ages on one meal? We're not vegetarian so meat suggestions are welcome If you have them. Favourite recipes or suggestions are most definitely welcome! We just need some ideas to get us through another busy year...
 
 
Tags: food
 
 
 
Writer's Blogmegancrewe on January 23rd, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Favorite quick meals (most of our meals are quick. We're not big on cooking):

Chicken Caesar Salad (Wraps) -- the wraps part is optional -- Fry or boil up some chicken breasts and cut into little pieces. Chop up some romaine lettuce. Mix all together with Caesar dressing (I like to add extra pepper, lemon juice, bacon bits, and parmesan to the premade dressing). Serve by itself or in whole wheat tortillas.

Cajun chicken or catfish -- Put together one of the cajun spice mixtures you can find here. Then, when you want to make this dish, coat the chicken breasts or catfish fillets with egg, then bread crumbs, then the spice mixture. Then fry.

Garden Burgers -- ground beef, chopped broccoli, bread crumbs, and some other stuff, then broil... Unfortunately it's a recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook so I can't just link you to it, but I can type it up for you if it sounds particularly appealing!

Pasta with spinach and ground beef -- Cook pasta and fresh, frozen, or canned spinach together. Fry ground beef until brown in another pan. When both are done, mix together with tomato sauce, garlic, basil, and oregano, or a premade pasta sauce of your choice and heat until the sauce is hot. Sometimes I grate some cheddar cheese into it, too.

That's off the top of my head... If I think of any others I'll let you know!
d-elicatehandsdown on January 23rd, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
Falafel can make for some good meals. Personally I like it in burrito wraps - ok so that's basically a kebab, but you can fill it up with yummy veggies and/or sauces or whatever you like. Doesn't take long to prepare, it's a little bit different, and falafel is yummy ♥
d-elicatehandsdown on January 23rd, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
And another veggie meal - udon or hokkien noodles with tofu stir-fried with peanut satay sauce - so yummy! Some of my friends like to add chopped mixed veggies to theirs - carrots, peas, corn - you name it. The tofu absorbs a lot of the satay sauce (something I think a lot of people who tried tofu plain don't realise, it will take on the flavouring of whatever you cook it with - yum!)

Just two little meat free quick dishes from your friendly vegan buddy ;)
soshesayssoshesays on January 23rd, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)
We make stir-fry all the time. I buy chicken breasts and mixed vegetables in bulk, throw them in a pan, defrost, throw some sauce on them, call it good. It gets boring, but it's easy and relatively quick (and cheap, especially if you buy in bulk!).
?: ramble ramble ramblestarlakitty on January 23rd, 2009 03:28 am (UTC)
you can make chicken fried rice. cook some chicken breasts (however many you want, really) in some olive oil with some garlic powder. once browned, add into rice (i cook mine in a cooker - again, make as much as you want/need) mix the rice and chicken together in a skillet and coat liberally with soy sauce and then add a can of peas. :)

i also make stuff like smoked sauasage with sauerkraut and french fries....

burgers on the foreman grill....

fettucine is SUPER easy to make. you need *real* parmesan cheese (not kraft brand or anything), one stick of butter and heavy whipping cream. melt the butter into the whipping cream on low heat. then gradually add in parm cheese until it thickens up, add garlic powder, parsely, and black pepper. make as thick as you want.

also, i highly recommend a crock pot. 15 minutes of prep before you leave for work and you are walking into a meal!!!
outsidetherain on January 23rd, 2009 03:44 am (UTC)
A few things I make often:

Chili
Baked rotini
chicken and dumplings w/noodles
pasta w/grilled chicken and broccoli
lasagna
homemade pizza
italian meatloaf, mashed potatoes and veggies
baked barbecue chicken breasts w/various veggie sides
soup and sandwiches
grilled turkey burgers w/mac and cheese and a veggie (or baked fries)
crockpot cheesy chicken w/rice
grilled chicken caesar salad or wraps
turkey tacos (or burritos) w/black beans

I can't recommend crockpot cooking more for busy people! So quick and easy!
you got you a fast horse darlin': tori pianothebluebells on January 23rd, 2009 03:49 am (UTC)
Oooh! Cooking suggestions are good. :) Mine are:

- Rice mixed with vegetables
- Pasta, I often add green vegetables like peas, broccoli and zucchini and some goat's cheese or parmesan on top
- Cous cous
- Grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. :D Basic but I have been eating them a lot lately cos they are super quick to make.

Maybe check out this site too. Love you! xxxx
Psychadelic dancing cactus candytastycactuar on January 23rd, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
Two of my favorite foods are Shish-ke-bab and Kung Pao chicken. You can make them both in pretty large batches, and they reheat really well.
Oliviaonlywords on January 23rd, 2009 09:07 am (UTC)
My two current quick favourites are Lebanese bread pizza which you can throw anything on and 10-15 in the oven and it is ready. I prefer the wholemeal version and generally chuck whatever vegies I have and some pine nuts and things on top and okonomiyaki. Not muh prep but a bit of cooking time. I use the vegetarian recipe I linked to but it isn't traditionally a vego meal so you can easily add meat to it:-). I make it really easy by mixing up the batter and chopping up the veg and chucking it straight in. No ingredients that require pre-cooking.
samantharazorwireshrine on January 23rd, 2009 09:45 am (UTC)
my favourite is tofu with rice :) i usually put some soy sauce in the pan with it & then add grated cheese to the whole thing when it's done. it's basically all i eat when i'm living alone lol =p xx
Effortlessly Controversialmoonborn on January 23rd, 2009 10:06 am (UTC)
Two standbys in this house; gnocchi and stirfry.

The gnocchi you add to boiling water, wait till it rises to the sirface thenm drain (takes all of approx 2 mins), grate some cheese, toss it over the drained gnocchi with a handful of basil (dry or fresh), serve. My version of mac and cheese. :p

The stirfry always starts with a few cloves of crushed garlic browned in light oil. Add meat or vegetables to taste. Add soy or fish sauce or sesame oil to taste. Add either more garlic, black pepper, fresh basil and/or chilli. Served with microwaveable easy rice because I was introduced to it by a friend and OMG it's so easy.
sillylambsillylamb on January 23rd, 2009 10:23 am (UTC)
We have lots of salads. I chop up a whole bunch of fresh salad stuff into really small pieces. Then I braise some meat, maybe lamb or pork or even some salt and pepper squid If I could be arsed and tip all the juices etcetera in with the salad with maybe some lemon then mix it all up together. The cooking juices kind of coat it all and it comes good in the end, I promise! Despite how gross it sounds lol. Just make sure you season the meat really well with salt and pepper and it'll be gorgeous.
We also buy the cheap mexican kit things and just use beef mince and lots of finely chopped veggies like eggplant, capsicum etc. mooshed up together for taco fillings or burritos or whatever with fresh salad greens and some light sour cream. Tricks us into eating veggies. We are pretty crap at eating veggies!
Pasta kind of bores us lately. Salads are the key! And fresh lebanese bread wrapped around ANYTHING is bliss xx

(If all else fails, a BBQ chicken, packet of lebanese bread and a large tabbhouli feed us for at least two days and can all be bought in the first aisle of woolworths ;))
sillylambsillylamb on January 23rd, 2009 10:24 am (UTC)
Oh and stir fry obviously is so quick.
There's these ones at woolies called 'sizzle steak'. They're usually two packets for $9. They're cut super dooper thin and if you use that it takes no time at all to cook. We mix thick rice noodles through at the end, and use soy, oyster and sweet chilli sauces to flavour.
xx
a is for the ache in achilles: balloonturnedoffneon on January 23rd, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
this is completely OT... but i found this website and it's so nice... http://www.oncewed.com/ and i'm not even getting married! x
Dancing to a Symphony: s&s: feeling like crapglenvorian on January 25th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
I've been in a food rut lately too. Good luck on finding new stuff!
sailorsuitcat on January 25th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
Pasta is always good and most sauces (napoli, matriciana, mushroom, arrabiata, olive oil/garlic/chilli, norma) are easy and quick to make - same with risotto, the only bugger with risotto is the stirring.

I do a very nice butter chicken (although I use vegetables rather than chicken - usually eggplant, potato, zucchini and pumpkin) which is just as good as if not better than the butter chicken the Indian place I love does. And it's sooo easy and quick. Link here: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/9741/butter+chicken

Szechuan chicken: my recipe is from Charmaine Solomon's cookbook with a couple of small variations. The longest part is doing the chicken; the meal itself if you didn't cut up, coat and fry the chicken would be ready in 15 mins (ie basic stirfry). I've also substituted eggplant for the chicken with success.

Tuna casserole: my mum's recipe. You can either put it together on a weeknight or make one big one (or several smaller ones) and freeze and when you're pushed for time during the week or can't be bothered cooking, just pull one out of the freezer. I also do this with curry and lasagne, both of which are easy to make in bulk.

Tagines are fairly easy to make and couscous is ready in an instant. Arabesque by Claudia Roden has a fantastic chicken tagine which is on the table in under an hour. The book also has an excellent list of salads, and there's a fish, tomato and chermoula stew (baked in oven) which is to die for and ready in about half an hour.

Any sort of grilled/baked/steamed fish with either a salad or something else. The most recent one I made was fish with a herbed crust - I made the crust in about 5 minutes and the whole thing was ready to eat in less than 30 mins.

Jacket potatoes - easy to do in microwave and then just add fillings according to your taste.

Burritos/tacos/enchiladas are super easy and quick and tasty!

Salads. Love a good Greek salad or veggie salad. I do one where I roast pumpkin pieces for about 30 mins in the oven, then toast pine nuts and mix both with spinach leaves, fetta, red onion, avocado and an olive oil/balsamic dressing. You could add meat or tofu for protein too. Another good one is chickpeas with mint, lemon juice, olive oil, red onion and goat's cheese. I also love Puy lentils - there are plenty of good salad recipes with lentils (and otherwise) on taste.com.au and on their forums.

Sushi/sashimi, if you have a good fishmonger near home/work. Although maybe the kids wouldn't be too into it, I hated all fish (raw and cooked) with a passion until I was in my early 20s.

I don't think the above are terribly taxing either time-wise or ingredient-wise. The last thing I usually want to do after a 10 hour day at work is cook for an hour or two. Although I do admit, I enjoy cooking, but only when I have the time for it, which is usually not on work nights. Have fun!