ask the readers #4 – menus for those busy weeks 8

ask the readers #4 – menus for those busy weeks

Hi, friends. Every once in awhile when I’m curious about something, I remember that there are a whole bunch of interesting people reading the blog who probably know more than me about many things. So I take to the internet with my curiosity, and see what people have to say. I’ve gotten some neat answers to other questions I’ve had, and I think we’ve all learned a little in the process.

This week was one of those weeks where not as much got done as I was hoping. You’ve probably been there. A lot of cool things have been going on at my favorite job ever, and other things kept coming up that needed attention. I had a few recipes I wanted to get ready for the blog, but I either had to make them too fast to write down, or didn’t go back to take the nice picture of the final product yet, and suddenly it’s Friday and I’ve got nothin’.

We’re still sharing an apartment with our friends while they get their house ready, which means it’s kind of lame when I’m supposed to make dinner for everyone if I declare an emergency cereal night since I’m so busy. So I thought I would ask you all, as busy people yourselves– what are some meals/strategies/approaches you have for eating well, even when you don’t have the time you wish you had to put into it? This is actually a topic I’ve talked about before in general, but I wanted to hear your specific ideas and recipes so we can all learn from each other and get a little inspiration for when we’re dangerously close to calling in for pizza (instead of making it ourselves, of course!)

Leave your answers in the comments! Thanks.

8 thoughts on “ask the readers #4 – menus for those busy weeks

  1. Reply Becky Oct 5, 2012 9:33 am

    I always have a back up something in the freezer – like gumbo, that I just need to pull out and quick defrost. Or we have eggs. Or, whip up a quick pot of pasta. Pasta with butter, parm & peas is hands down one of our favorite quick meals – it’s the back up to the emergency cereal dinner (which gets served more than I want to admit!).
    One of my new favorite dinners was created one evening when I didn’t feel like cooking – I call it ‘antipasti pasta’ – while the pasta was cooking, I dumped in a pan some artichoke hearts, olives & sundried tomatoes – all things from the antipasti bar at the grocery store and just heated it. When I combined it with the pasta, I realized it needed something, so I heated and added some cream that was about to go in the fridge and added that, garnished with some fresh parsley. Good, good stuff.

    • Reply Todd Oct 5, 2012 9:54 pm

      Really great stuff. We often try to make “too much” of meals so we can freeze them, but between leftover lunches for both of us there usually isn’t much to save. We’re glad when we find a soup or something that we had frozen and forgotten about.

  2. Reply lisamnoble Oct 6, 2012 4:03 pm

    Hey Todd,
    I’m with Becky on the grab something from the freezer thing. Pasta is always a go-to for us, especially if there’s homemade sauce in the freezer, or at least home-dried tomatoes to add to a no-sugar commercial sauce. Eggs are my saving grace, paired with homemade bread and a quick homemade soup (potatos, carrots, garlic, broth – cook ’til potatos are soft, puree and add a little milk). Not fast, but always great was last night’s treat – pizza dough in bread machine with toppings the boys had requested earlier in the week – one went for spinach, feta and sausage, the other for a locally-made hot pepper mozzarella, with black beans and the same sausage. Totally yum on both! My secret – making the week’s menu ahead of time, with the calendar open so I know which nights need to be fast!

  3. Reply Joy Elliott Oct 7, 2012 11:04 pm

    Here is my list. Pancakes, tuna salad, tuna casserole, scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, you can also make home made pizza. You can make up dough in about 5 min let it rest while your heating the oven, getting cheese out and use can spaghetti sauce doctored up with a little italian seasoning and garlic. You can also use the same dough and roll out smaller pieces and fill with a mixture of tuna, thousand island dressing and cheese, or your favorite filling and bake till done. You could also have a store bought pie crust and mix thawed mixed veggies and canned soup left over meats and put top crust pot pie. Baked potatoes in the crock pot. Fix it and Forget It is a great series of books. Im a mom of 4 all were 14-18 months apart believe me I know about fast meals. I have a zillion ideas :-)

    • Reply Todd Oct 8, 2012 3:40 pm

      You sure do! Thanks Joy… I have a hunch I’d enjoy dinnertime if I were ever in your kitchen. A lot of those are on our list too– I’m a big fan of breakfast for dinner in particular.

  4. Reply Renee Oct 12, 2012 3:54 pm

    TVP!
    When we make turkey burgers in the summer we freeze a few so we have them later to eat in a pinch. They’re not quite as good on the stove top as they are on a charcoal grill but still pretty good. I also have some homemade curry paste in the freezer and coconut milk in the pantry – easy to cook with [almost] any kind of vegetables and/or meat and eat over rice or rice noodles. If you have a rice cooker it makes the rice much faster than the stove top. I also try to plan the meals in advance but sometimes life happens or something gets ruined in the making and we need a plan B. I can always eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but my gluten-free husband can’t!

  5. Reply Noedine Mar 16, 2013 4:35 pm

    I am a firm believer in a well stocked pantry and freezer. Some weekends I will cook several pots such as stews and curries, pasta sauce all to be packed into portions for freezing.so, on the day that I am too busy to cook, we can grab something from the freezer,thaw and warm and sit down to a decent meal.
    I also keep cans of salmon which can always be turned into delicious fish cakes in no time at all. Served with some mash potatoe and other vegetables, this is a pleasing meal. if you always have a loaf of bread in the freezer, it make a lovely accompaniment to a deliciously creamy pea soup which takes almost no time to make. And what about a frittata using leftover vegetables?

  6. Reply Chris Mar 31, 2013 3:11 pm

    I always have French onion soup, chili, and pasta sauce in the freezer for when I’m pressed for time. Also, I always have boneless chicken thighs on hand, they’re great to jerk or do a quick Asian stir fry. Having a proper rice cooker is also handy for the starch component of a meal.

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