Easy meals

In the spirit of the Do Less thread, what are your easy go-to meals when you Just Can’t any more? The definition of “meal” is very loose - cereal counts, a very lazy charcutier board counts (aka some cheese and whatever crackers you found in the back of the shelf and the last two slices of lunch meat).

No cooking:

  • PBJ or PB and banana sandwiches
  • Cereal

Cooking:

  • Ramen + frozen vegetables
  • Noodles, jarred sauce. Meatballs if we have any in the freezer.
  • Kitchen sink pasta. The day before the next grocery run, make pasta and throw in whatever odds and ends are still kicking around the produce drawer.
  • Quesadillas if we have the ingredients handy
  • Scrambled eggs with whatever produce thrown in and some cheese. Realistically this is often eggs, cheddar, and the least wilty spinach I can pick out and the rest of the bag goes in the trash because ew.

I have realized I need to work on freezer meals that are easier to reheat. Some of the things I divide up and freeze portions of take for-freaking ever to defrost/reheat so I end up never actually making them later, which kind of defeats the purpose. I should also check out Trader Joes next time I’m on that side of town, I hear great things about their freezer foods but have never actually gotten any.

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No cooking:
Can tuna, dill relish, Mayo. Eaten with saltines.
Toast, cream cheese, jelly
Deli ham, cream cheese, wrap a pickle

Cooking:
Oatmeal (rolled oats, microwave 90 seconds) with peanut butter and jam, or canned pumpkin/maple syrup/craisins
Chicken broth and rice in instant pot. When done, scramble eggs and mix in as a thin stream. Egg drop and rice soup.

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“Cooking” (mostly reheating/reconstituting):

Canned soup (I like progresso’s 99% fat free chicken noodle best)

Toasted cheese sandwiches (these go great with the soup if you are feeding multiple people)

Nachos (made these with a can of beans and leftover steak from Christmas dinner last night)

Boxed mac and cheese. Can mix in a can of tuna or chicken to stretch.

Frozen pizza (no room for this in our freezer these days, but used to be a go to)

English muffin/garlic bread/pita or tortilla “pizzas” (put some pasta sauce, pepperoni or ham and cheese on them, heat in oven and finish under the broiler for a couple of minutes)

Mini fritattas – throw whatever meat/veg/cheese bits you have in with the eggs. Great way to use up random leftovers.

BLTs

Egg salad on English muffin or toast (I boil up a batch of 9-10 eggs at a time, egg salad on English muffin is one of my breakfast staples)

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A quick tortilla soup: two cans of chili beans, one can of chicken, one jar of salsa. Stir together and heat, eat with tortilla chips.

I keep some frozen pulled chicken on hand. Heat it up, slap it between two slices of bread with some barbecue sauce, and a microwave “baked” potato if I’m feeling fancy. Alternately, sometimes we just put the barbecue pulled chicken in the potatoes.

When there is no salmonella or listeria circulating that we know of, bag salad with chopped-up frozen chicken patties to make a quick and dirty chef salad. Usually whatever other toppings we have lying around, too.

Spaghetti and meatballs in the instant pot. Put down a layer of store-bought frozen meatballs (we use turkey ones), then 8 ounces of whole wheat pasta, sort of fanned out, then a jar of sauce plus a jar of water. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes and do a quick release, stir, eat.

Then there are the frozen things. Frozen pizzas are our usual go to, but sometimes we’ll do a lasagna or similar instead.

ETA The tortilla soup doesn’t actually need the chicken, so it could easily be vegan.

Quick and dirty vegan groundnut stew: can of cubed potatoes, can of rutabaga, can of rotel . Heat up along with a couple teaspoons of lime or lemon juice, dash of fish sauce, and a quarter cup of soy sauce. When it’s hot, stir in a quarter cup of crunchy peanut butterAnd then either serve over rice or stir in some cooked rice.

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okonomiyiki - shredded cabbage pancakes
freezer soups - currently have a coconut curry butternut squash and a cheesy potato/zucchini/carrot one

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Frozen tortellini from Costco with a jar of Alfredo sauce. If I feel like it I make some chicken to add it in.

Frozen pizza is always in our house.

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No cooking:
Peanut butter on a tortilla/wrap with honey, raisins, seeds (whatever I have in the cupboard)
Greek yogurt with honey and frozen or fresh berries, nuts, seeds (again, whatever I have in the cupboard)

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I’ve shared it elsewhere, but this is my current favorite “I need to eat green veggies but I don’t want to cook much” meal. I don’t even LIKE cooked spinach, y’all, but this is the best!

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Pre-cooked frozen chicken breasts are great for this – I have a package in the freezer that I use for pizza toppings, etc. You can also DIY it if trying to keep cost down. But I figure $5 or so for a package of precooked chicken that I can use to make several homemade gourmet style pizzas is well worth the investment (one of my go-to pizzas that is a favorite with SO and DS is pesto, arugula, sun dried tomatoes, grilled chicken, mozz and pine nuts).

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Frozen dinosaur chicken nuggets. Add sauce/ carb/ veg if possible.

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Hummus on rice cakes. Frozen burritos. Kraft dinner/Amy’s. Oatmeal. Chips. Throw fruit and cheese near toddler. Cookies from a box, not homemade

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Pizza “rolls” --a tortilla smeared with a little marinera, some mozzerella and pepperoni on top, nuked for 30s and then rolled up. I have also been known to do cheese rolls and jelly rolls in the same way when I just want something quick.

Vegetable stir fry.

Pigs in blankets.

Minimal cooking but prep ahead required: Red pepper and sweet potato bisque.

Jarred roasted red peppers
Sweet potatoes - about 4
Broth
Miso soup packet
Ginger - 2 tsp or less (it overwhelmed everything else when I made this yesterday)

Microwave sweet potatoes in advance if you can so they’re not hot later. Scoop out sweet potato innards into a blender, drain liquid out of peppers then add them to the blender along with the other ingredients. Blend it for a while. Heat it up.

If you have the energy you can do grilled cheese to go with this.

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I made a quesadilla with cheese and marinara for lunch today, inspired by your tortilla pizzas.

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I posted this on my journal but I’ll drop it here, too – great way to use kale! I also used up some chicken broth I made last week and some Chinese sausage that had been languishing in the fridge for months – Portugese or spanish would have been better but it was still pretty good and I’d make it again that way:

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I made jerk tofu a few nights ago. Therefore…jerk tofu taco! Jerk taco rice bowl. Just adding avocado and cucumber. You could use the preseasoned baked tofu like this too. Our other veggie has been carrot sticks the premade one in the bag what is it called?

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This sounds VERY good and I’m a tofu novice. Def have to try!