Busy weeks seem to fly by. This morning I woke up and for some strange reason I thought it was Wednesday. I was relieved that it’s actually the end of the work week. I’m happy to say I’ve crossed off most the things on my to do list. Some days I’ve been so busy that eating lunch at my desk. You probably know what I’m talking about and the last thing you want to do is cook. During weeks like these I’m often tempted to head to the supermarket deli or the nearby Indian restaurant for a takeaway. But then I remember the food in the pantry and freezer and always seem to come up with something quick and easy. Here are some of my favorites, and yes, some have even been made this week.
Cheese and Salsa Omelet (with oven fried potatoes)
Omelets are quick and easy and I found this combination by pure chance. I was cleaning the refrigerator one day and found half a package of shredded cheese and about half a jar of salsa. That seemed like a great combination for a quesadilla, but for some reason I thought omelet. Cook the omelet and place a handful of cheese and a couple of tablespoons of salsa down the middle, fold the omelet over and cook until the cheese melts. I like to top it with more cheese and salsa and some sour cream. It pairs really well with oven fries (yes, I always keep a package of those in the freezer too). Sprinkle with some taco seasoning and you’ve got the perfect meal.
Mile High Nachos
One of my favorite restaurants serves nachos that are okay, not quite a mile high but let’s just say it’s too much for one person to eat alone. I haven’t been to this restaurant for awhile so thought about making the same thing at home. It just so happened that the store had a sale on a new brand of all natural tortilla chips and the new Kraft Singles Melt Downs. I put the chips on a baking sheet, topped them with a can of Kuner’s Southwester Ranchero Beans, (yes, they were free with a coupon) layered on the Melt Downs and served them with sour cream and salsa. They made the idea Saturday night supper.
One of my favorite pantry standbys is canned salmon. Ideal for wraps. I mix the salmon with mayonnaise and dill, spread the mixture on the wraps and top with cucumber and lettuce. Serve with some fresh fruit and it’s a healthy and quick meal. You can also use tuna too.
Spaghetti and Meatballs (with garlic cheese bread)
Pasta tops my list of really quick meals and my pantry is never without at least two different varieties. Another pantry favorite, pasta sauce and a freezer favorite… meatballs. Why go to the trouble of making them yourself and price wise they’re probably cheaper too. I always serve this meal with homemade garlic cheese bread. Sliced Italian bread spread with low fat spread mixed with garlic powder and parmesan cheese. This is one meal that never seems to have leftovers.
I call this one the Mediterranean platter because it features the foods of Italy, Spain and Greece and makes the perfect meal when the temperature gets warmer. Pita bread, olives, feta and mozzarella cheese, sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and sometimes canned tuna. Serve yourself and make your own combination of sandwiches.
Veggie Burger and Coleslaw
One thing my freezer is never without is a package of frozen veggie burgers. I like all the Morningstar Farms varieties and best of all they’re on sale at least once a month. They cook in a few minutes and are perfect when paired with a whole wheat bun. I always serve homemade coleslaw with them. I say homemade but really it’s semi homemade. When packages of coleslaw mix go on sale I buy them and add mayonnaise, some mustard and yes, some shredded cheese and plenty of black pepper. Even people who hate cabbage seem to like the flavor the cheese gives this side dish.
Soup and Sandwich
I always say when all else fails, there’s the soup and sandwich combo to fall back on. My favorite, grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Here’s one of my favorite grilled cheese sandwich recipes (it makes four sandwiches)
8 slices of bread
1 yellow onion, halved lengthwise and then sliced
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
2 tomatoes, sliced
4 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
Tablespoon of oil
Heat skillet, add onions and sauté until they begin to color. Lightly salt them and remove them from the pan. Spread the bread with the mustard, layer on the cheese, onion, tomatoes and top with another slice of bread, return to skillet and cook until the cheese melts and the bread is lightly golden.
If I haven’t got any homemade tomato soup in the freezer, I use Campbell’s Tomato Soup and add salsa. I’ve also add corn and black beans. I top it with cheese and sour cream.
Other Favorite Standbys
Here are some other items that aren’t expensive to keep as busy day stand bys-fish sticks, perfect for tacos and pita bread. Couscous and Minute Rice. Package of Stir Fry veggies.
Ice cream or frozen yogurt and canned fruit. Best impromptu dessert combo there is.