It was a week of simple, quick meals, which will continue into next week. Pretty much everything I made this week is something I’ve made before, so it was a low-effort week, which I very much needed. I’m feeling okay most of the time, but when I get hungry, it comes up on me fast, and I’m not in the mood to take forever preparing dinner. These meals were exactly what I needed this week!
Tacos! (made with homemade taco seasoning from Brown Eyed Baker)
One of the best things about making tacos is that you don’t actually have to do much cooking. I’m not sure if there’s any cooking technique easier than browning meat (well, cooking pasta, maybe). All the other prep can be done while the meat is absorbing the taco seasoning and water after browning. Geordie made himself a nice soft taco, while I opted for the taco salad route. Not exactly authentic Mexican cooking (it was Cinco de Mayo, after all), but it was tasty enough, and very easy to make!
Tofu Steaks (from La Fuji Mama), Edamame, and Gyouza
Sadly, storebought gyouza. I would love, someday, to make homemade gyouza, but that’s not something I’m willing to tackle right now. What I needed on Monday was a quick, easy meal, and this worked. The gyouza just needed to be warmed up, the edamame (frozen in the bag) spent just a few minutes in the microwave, and the tofu was pan-fried in sesame oil for about fifteen minutes. No recipe (though La Fuji Mama does provide one, but it’s more technique than recipe), and it all comes together in about 30 minutes. Perfect. And with enough edamame left over for lunch the next day. We ate our tofu with ponzu sauce, but anything would be acceptable. Another easy to adapt recipe.
Oven-Fried Chicken (from Calorie Countdown Cookbook) and Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash
Another very quick, very easy meal. I love cooking chicken this way: marinate in buttermilk, coat in seasoned panko, set over a rack on a baking sheet, and bake. Simple, flavorful, and so juicy.It’s intended as a base for a healthier chicken parmesan meal, but the truth is that it’s a good base for anything that involves pan-fried chicken. We ate ours with BBQ sauce, but any sauce would work really. I used thin chicken breasts to cut down on the cooking time, so this is another dish that can be brought together in about twenty minutes, give or take. The potato-carrot mash took longer, but most of the work in that is all the chopping involved!
Spaghetti (with homemade sauce) and Salad
When I was deciding on meals this week, I gravitated toward dishes I can make without recipes. I have been making the base for this pasta sauce for almost a decade now, and it’s just something I can throw together from the top of my head. It’s all about personal taste. Not enough sugar? Add a little more. Needs some more salt? Okay. More herbs? Yup. A little red wine? Sure thing. It’s incredibly adaptable. For this one, I added mushrooms and ground beef for more heartiness. In truth, this isn’t a fast meal – good pasta sauce needs a couple hours to develop flavor, and this one usually simmers for 2-3 before it’s ready. But it’s not work-intensive, and the extra sauce freezes terrifically. So, no complaints here. It went very nicely with the whole wheat pasta, and though I wasn’t impressed with the Romaine salad, I was glad I’d made it. The homemade croutons were the best part though!