So along this minimalistic cooking ideology, I seldom go over 1 pot or pan, and the following is a list of some of my favorite easy recipes.
A mix that you could create yourself is basically what you may already have. For instance, a 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce and 1/2 can of tomato sauce and a little chili powder. If you are feeling exceptionally chef-like, saute onions or peppers or what have you, in the pan first.
Leftovers? Pour over rice or spaghetti noodles or create a sloppy joe salad.
Haystacks, a treat kids (or men) could make:So if it is that easy, then I'll do it. This has got to be one of easiest chocolatey treat ever to make. You have 2 basic ingredients and you can add up from there. You need:
1. chocolate, baking squares will do;
2. Chinese noodles, the chow mein type.
You melt the chocolate and add enough noodles so they are covered, then drops blobs of this on wax paper or similar, let it harden, and presto!
You can upgrade this basic recipe by adding peanuts, coconut, raisins, etc.
Bread PizzasI love pizza, and I have made it from scratch, but I have discovered a pizza miracle. I use slices of bread, roll them flat, and add the tomato/spaghetti/pizza sauce, all the toppings, and put it on a cookie sheet to bake. Presto, done in 5 minutes.
Considering that it's homemade, that makes it cheaper, more nutritious, and faster than any frozen or delivery pizza, which makes it even better. This is so easy for kids to do as well. You can use other types of breads and add your choice of toppings, like spinach. You might have to chop up some toppings and grate some cheese, but over all, you can't beat bread pizzas!
Leftover magic mealsIn my fridge I had numerous leftovers from the past couple of days. One of which I actually cooked on. It went like this:
one frying pan with oil,
added the rest of the diced onions that I had chopped up for the kids hotdogs,
added the rest of the greek salad to the frying pan,
added the rest of the roasted potatoes,
added the small leftover amount of broccoli.
Fried it all up, removed from pan and fried up two veggie burgers, added mustard to the burgers and ketchup to the potatoes. It was good stuff. And only 1 pan.
I have a friend who is one of those amazing non-conforming cooks. Doesn't use a recipe and creates vegetarian masterpieces. And because she doesn't use recipes, neither does she record her creations, hence we had called them all 'MacArthur Park Recipes', never to be made again.
Real Cinnamon Toast
"Cereal is stupid food" article for more on cereal.
Try a piece of good homemade cinnamon toast, it's warm, naturally sweet and a little crunchy, all at the same time. And so much better for you. Although this does involve a toaster, don't consider it as really cooking.
The perfect meal:I am not a big fruit eater, and knowing this has caused me to always have fruit around for the kids. One way to get myself to eat fruit is to spice it up a bit somehow, and lately that somehow has been whipping cream. I have come to the conclusion that any food is better with it. If you use the real whipping cream that you have to whip up at home, then that is the safer and natural version of this topping. The point here is to improve our eating habits without increasing our consumption of chemicals from spray can whipping cream (which is really an oil/chemical hybrid product).
Grated mango and yogurt tastes like a dessert. Grated apple with celery and pine nuts and a touch of cinnamon.
Fruit is so good for you and so natural, it's important to find a way to get it in you, and if that means whipping cream, so be it!
Yes, eggs for dinner
Sweet potatoes can be used in place of the zucchini for a Frittata-like omelet. Eggs are a simple uncomplicated protein with trace elements that are not in everyday foods. Don't let the cholesterol boogie man scare you away from eggs. Fact is, any meal that you cook from scratch is eons better than any prepackaged food that you can buy.
Wraps to the rescue
If you get those seasoned wraps, that's even better! Multigrain wraps? Even better yet! Hot wraps? Cold wraps? I love bread, but I don't want it all the time, and you can't cram in tons of salad in a sandwich like you can for a wrap. Check them out, and let your imagination create something easy and nutritious.
Salad in Bags?
I love those salad bags. I still buy lettuce in the produce section, just to prove that I am not the laziest person on the planet, but by the time you cut away and bad, dirty or wilted sections, and calculated the cost vs. balance or whatever, the wonderful salad bags may have been the same, if not less, in cost.
I made the best salad dressing the other day. It was mayo, milk, shot of mustard, dill and pickle juice. I surprised myself at how good it was.
Feeding teenagers/bottomless pits
1 roasting pan (this one is medium sized)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1/2 package of spaghetti noodles (well any noodle will do, but kids don't think so)
cheese (preferably mozzarella, whatever you can afford to add)
water, 1 sauce jars worth.
Put sauce in the roasting pan, AND add a full jar of water.
Add some vegetables if you like, mixed veggies are good.
Break up the noodles into 4 - 5 pieces, they cook better this way.
Stir it all up, some noodles will stick up for now.
Bake, with lid on, for 1/2 hour, at 350 - 375.
Now you have 1/2 hour to do something, or not.
Remove roasting pan, give it a good stir to unstick some of those noodles, and return to oven, with lid.
Now you have another 1/2 hour.
With my baked spaghetti, I made a makeshift greek salad, it was missing a couple of the ingredients, but we all really liked it.
At the full one hour cooking time, remove from oven, and eat. If you are really lucky, there will be leftovers for tomorrow.
I used a medium roasting pan, consider using a larger roasting pan and doubling/tripling the recipe.
Boiling water is cooking too!
I do remember not having a microwave, among other small kitchen appliances, but once we can have hot water in 2 minutes, there seems no going back. On the other hand, nor do I want to nuke my food either, and I have found a compromise in making tea.
I do have a coffee maker, with a timer of course, but I have discovered that I can use it for other not drinks like tea! I put in my water, throw a couple of tea bags in the coffee pot, and turn it on. It is faster than boiling a kettle and requires no further effort. No listening for the whistle, no pouring of hot water into a tea pot, no turning off of an element, no usage of two separate items in order to make tea, and no reheating of tea in the first two hours. I like making tea now.
Also in my quest to seek healthy solutions in every day life, even if I don't apply it, is to add a green tea bag to my coffee. This way, you get your green tea benefits, but in a coffee. I should mention that I do use decaf varieties in both my coffees and teas, or I'd be seriously wired after one of these.
Other Peoples Cooking - my favorite!
Other peoples cooking, that's my favorite type of food now. Not necessarily Chinese cooking or vegan or something in between, but anything that I don't make myself. I would like to eat that everyday.
Cereal is stupid food:
I know that we have been brought up on cereal. Well, everyone except me, as I was never a cereal kid. I am a toast kid (now grown up of course). And I believe that the consumption of cereal has contributed to the over weightedness of our country. There is such a lack of nutrients, yet over abundance of simple carbs, chemicals, white flours and sugar, that it is inconceivable that this could, in any way, be considered good for you. The smattering of synthetic vitamins that are added cannot possibly make up for the high level of immune suppressing ingredients.
There is no law written that cereal has to be eaten in the morning, or at anytime. Nor does one need to have toast for breakfast. Think about those cereal commercials and the phrase they use, "part of a nutritious breakfast". Think about that phrase, are they describing that the entire breakfast with cereal is nutritious, or are they saying that the cereal is part of an already nutritious breakfast. Look around the table, you will see a small glass of fruit juice, small glass of milk, and some fruit, and sometimes toast. Don't believe that the cereal is the nutritious part, because it is not.
If you want grated apple and whipping cream for breakfast, I can't think of anything better.
Stupid dinners for smart moms:
I have noticed, that if I eat crap first thing in the morning, that sets the eating/craving tone for the day. Yet if I get up and avoid anything sugary or white-floury, I don't seem to get those intense cravings for crap food.