If you’re like us, you’ve been there: You’re late coming home from work or the kid’s soccer practice. You’ve a million things on your schedule and seems like Friday will never come. You remember you forgot to take tonight’s dinner entrée out of the freezer to thaw.
The last thing you want is to spend time standing in a long checkout line at the supermarket. You just want to get home and relax over a decent dinner.
We have got some answers for what shall I fix for those Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday night dilemmas. Real food made with a few fresh ingredients-few enough so you can breeze through the store’s express checkout lane in a manner of minutes. This is when having a well-stocked pantry (see this month’s ‘cooking tips’ for what we have in ours) really comes in handy.
Our first menu relies on chicken, that old standby that continues to come to the table in all sorts of guises. Here the flavor of the grilled chicken resembles that of a premium cut pork chop ((in fact, my husband prefers chicken!).
Serve this over a savory pile of vegetables and you have a quick meal that will satisfy your hungriest family member. The squeeze of orange balances the spiciness of the chicken and the earthy flavor of the vegetables. Mangoes are back in season. For dessert, we’re serving one in an old-fashioned ice cream soda.
The next supper is a true budget stretcher-a hearty beef casserole that feeds 6 hungry mouths, using only 1 pound of ground sirloin. Since the casserole is full of vegetables, we’re only adding a side-salad of mixed endives. Dessert is sliced kiwifruit in a puddle of raspberry sauce.
4. Endive Salad
Most of the ingredients for this next supper are in your pantry or refrigerator. From beginning to end, this meal takes little time, but the tastes will wake up tired taste buds after a long day at work.
If you can’t purchase white veal in your neighborhood, you can substitute boneless chicken breasts or even loin lamb chops in this recipe. Also, try some of the newer variety of small potatoes that are now available at the market. Try fingerling, Yukon gold, those dark blue-fleshed ones and creamers. All you need to purchase is the veal, asparagus, and fresh strawberries on the way home.
After a long day with the children or at work, this is an easy meal that goes from the chopping block to table in a matter of minutes. We purchase red curry paste in an Asian market. It comes in a tin which keeps fresh in the refrigerator for several weeks.
This paste is hot, to say the least, so go easy. You can always add more, but you can’t remove it once it’s in the sauce. When making the basmati rice that’s imported, read the directions carefully. It likely says to rinse the rice twice to remove extra starch.
You won’t need to bother rinsing the American-grown basmati rice. The results of both kinds will be excellent, never sticky. Another day you can use firm tofu, chicken, shrimp, or beef instead of scallops with the same sauce.
Since fresh blackberries are excellent, we’re serving them with a few sections of orange for a light, refreshing finish to a hot meal. Have you ever noticed how cinnamon enhances the flavor of oranges and blackberries? Marvelous!