I am often challenged to prepare a meal quickly and healthily for my kids. That’s because I am not the best meal planner, unlike some who write down their upcoming meals on their calendars and buy the ingredients at the beginning of the week. I do try to buy things that I will use together in many ways and figure it which way on the day. This way of shopping is sort of like picking out clothes that are mix and match instead buying a complete outfit. And even if I do plan out some meals in advance, every so often a day goes awry and can lead to what-to-cook-for-dinner-panic. Especially when our day has gotten busier than expected and dinner should have been on the table not still in the fridge/pantry. So, here are a couple of suggestions for those kind of days: what to cook when you only have a few minutes to cook. (I’ve got it listed by protein as most in U.S. consider that the focus— I can touch on that another time.) These are separate ideas and recipes not all for one night.
Fish: I use several types as go-to meals. Most fish is quick, easy, delicious and nutritious. I mostly steer clear of the bigger fish (tuna, swordfish) especially for the kids because of mercury. I also won’t buy many farm-raised because of antibiotics, PCBs and other harmful chemicals. Here is a good resource for what to buy.
It is winter here so I don’t grill as often. I will instead pan fry (in a little canola or safflower oil) some firm, thin fish like tilapia; pan roast (start on the stove, finish in the oven) thicker fish like salmon and snapper; and roast or braise other really thin or flaky fish like sole, cod (a little lemon, butter and white wine make a great combination for those). Serve the fish with rice, potatoes, and several vegetables and/or salad.
One suggestion is firm white fish (tilapia, catfish), lightly coated with Eastern spices and a little dried lemongrass, pan fried in canola oil for a few minutes on each side. I use Penzy’s Singapore Spice blend which combines curry flavors with citrus.
Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans): my staple for either all-vegetarian or partial-vegetarian dishes. I often use chickpeas to stretch the meat in a recipe. I put them in chili, Moroccan dishes and curries. I usually buy canned ones since they’re ready to use in a moment. Cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, garlic and ginger are all wonderful with chickpeas (in any combination). Throw in some tomatoes, kale and potatoes and you’ve got a complete meal.
To be continued….