Wednesday, July 16, 2008

the art of the emergency meal

Most who know me know that I need to be fed regularly and often, or I go into emergency-no-food-shut-down mode, which is not pleasant. P usually follows me around with granola bars to make sure I do not accidentally descend into this state. He also helps me identify when I'm actually hungry through strategic questioning.

Me (Suddenly, in the middle of getting ready to go out on a date): I'm depressed.
P: Have you eaten?
Me: Ah! I'm not depressed, I'm hungry!

Me: Rude and irritable comment.
P: Have you eaten?
Me: No, I'm sorryyyeeeee!

You get the idea. So, as much as I like to spend a long time preparing a meal, there are those times during the week when I don't want to think, and I don't want to spend a lot of time making dinner. P and I have developed a small arsenal of weeknight meals. I thought I'd share a few here and ask you to please let me know your go-to meals, as I gotta eat.

Quinoa and Edamame Salad
I make this in my rice cooker instead of following the longer directions.

My simplified process:

1 cup quinoa
2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed (10 ounces)
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried (super convenient)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup drained and diced jarred roasted red peppers (3 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, preferably toasted

  1. Rinse your quinoa in a sieve. Put it in your rice cooker with 2 parts water (I sometimes add some no-salt boullion). Take your edamame out of the freezer and let them sit on your counter.
  2. In large bowl make dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt/pepper, tarragon (fork whisking). Chop up your red peppers and throw them in the bowl if you'd like.
  3. Watch your quinoa. When it looks like it's almost done, but there's still a little water left to go, throw the edamame in the rice cooker. Again, watch it and when the edamame look heated and the quinoa looks done, throw it in the bowl with your dressing, mix it up, put your walnuts on top, EAT IT IMMEDIATELY.

Last night, we used our grill pan to make the extremely delicious
Pan-Grilled Tofu over Wilted Asian Greens
(This is also a very cheap recipe to make; get out yer grill pan.)
Original recipe here.

Block of extra firm tofu (press the water out of it and cut it in whatever size pieces you want)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger (or use ground dried if you don't have fresh)
1 small garlic clove, minced (I put mine in the garlic press, which I think is great for marinades)
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco or dried hot red pepper flakes (Tabasco is better for this, I think)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
5 heads baby bok choy (or whatever greens you want, these were delish)

  1. Stir together soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, Tabasco, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add tofu slices in 1 layer and marinate, turning over every couple of minutes, 8 minutes total.
  2. Heat yer grill pan and grill your tofu until it is hot and has toasty grill marks. Make sure to save the marinade.
  3. Heat the rest of the oil in another pan and start sauteeing your greens. Add the rest of the marinade when they just start to wilt. When they are all wilty, take them out of the marinade, put greens in two bowls and top with grilled tofu.
  4. Go outside to your yard/porch/balcony/open window and eat it in your flip flops and pajamas.

It was so good! Other emergency meals we go to are homemade tomoato/basil pizza; my Mom's "little pizzas" which are English muffin pizzas under the broiler; spaghetti with garlic, lemon, hot pepper flakes, spaghetti squash with olive oil and Parmesan....

I would love to hear about your emergency meals! I need more ideas. I need to protect my husband from Hungry L....

Thank you!


Pucho V said...

Yes, please help! If you happen to be hanging out with Leah around one of the regular mealtimes, please make sure she is fed.

JuneBug said...

I just found this website, while I was looking for a zucchini waffle recipe:

I also like to make "pasta e fagioli" soup.

Carrot, onion, celery diced and sauteed.
Add 1 can diced tomato with basil, garlic, oregano. 1 carton of chicken stock/broth. Simmer for 15 minutes or so. Add a handful of the big kind of cous cous, or some small pasta. simmer to cook the pasta. add a rinsed drained can of cannelini beans. Add leftover chicken, ham, corn, whatever else you want.

Salt pepper to taste. Can add some lemon juice to brighten it, or rosemary to "beef" up the flavor, but I like the freshness of it. WITH crusty bread, and cheese!!!

Courtney said...

From May through October, we have a fantastic farmer's market, with mostly organic, local fruits in inexpensive, walkable reach. So, my stanbys lately have included lots of roasted new potatoes (even B will eat these). They usually involve garlic, rosemary, or some other equally fantastic herb, and olive oil.

Bake at a high temp for 35-40 minutes. Best with a big of freshly grated parm on them, too.

I am also a big fan of breakfast-for-dinner, so we'll often have whole-grain blueberry pancakes (B's favorite) or else I'll use the end of a on-its-way-out loaf of bread to make French toast. Always served with NoCo maple syrup.

Do you guys have a grill? Can you? We'd be lost without it!

Courtney said...

I just made this blueberry vinaigrette:

It was fantastic, although, it made a LOT, and it's only good for about a week, so I might halve or 1/4 the recipe next time. Anyhow, did a big, leafy salad with farmer's market tomatoes, dried cranberries, blueberries, and bleu cheese, and it was on the table in under 30 minutes (and that includes the french toast I had to make for Benjamin, too!)...

L said...

By the way - I just picked up the new Real Simple which has a whole section of quickie meals... Must be the weather.

BurlingtonBride said...

So fun – I think you might have just inspired my next bee post! Quick weeknight meals for newlyweds. It's funny b/c I'm just like you! Except I get cranky AND I get migraines when I don't eat.

Some of our easy go-to meals:

1) Linguine Fini with Pesto, Olives and Feta Cheese
Pesto (costco sells a very yummy pesto)
Feta cheese
Calamata olives.

Boil water and cook pasta. Pit olives and cut up feta, put aside. Drain pasta and toss with pesto and feta. This is so easy and yummy especially when you're in the mood for salt.

2) Vegetable baked penne (or ziti).

1 lb box penne
2 zucchinis
1 medium onion
1 cup red sauce (approximately)
1 cup ricotta (approximately)
½ ball of fresh mozzarella
Pinch of salt
Dash of red pepper flake (to taste)
Dash of Oregano

Boil water and cook pasta. While penne is cooking chop zucchini and onions. Sauté onions first, then add zucchini. Under cook the zucchini a bit as it will continue to cook while baking in the oven. Then mix in a medium bowl red sauce, ricotta, salt, red pepper flakes and some oregano. Put aside. Then, cut up fresh mozzarella in 1-inch chunks.

Once the pasta is cooked (again slightly undercook as it will continue to cook in the oven), place in baking dish. Pour red sauce/ricotta mixture over the pasta and mix it up. Then pour veggies in and mix again. Finally place chuncks of cut up mozerlla in dish and mix one last time so everything is evenly distributed. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 and enjoy!!

3) Quinoa with Black Beans and Cilantro (from bon appetit magazine).
4 to 6 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups chopped white onions
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup quinoa,* rinsed, drained
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup water
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Crumbled feta cheese

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and red pepper; sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in next 4 ingredients. Add water; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is almost tender, about 14 minutes. Add beans and 1/4 cup cilantro; cook uncovered until heated through and liquid is fully absorbed, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with ¼ cup cilantro and cheese, if desired.

L said...

Oooh! I love new quinoa recipes. Thanks!