The Simple Meal

When life gets busy and stressful and you feel pulled in multiple directions, meal planning is often the first system to break down at home. You want someone else to get food on the table. You want someone else to clean up afterward. You want someone else to make it happen without adding any stress to your already complicated life.

Eating out at a restaurant or pulling through a drive-thru are short-term solutions to what is hopefully a short-term situation. They’re convenient and won’t do too much damage to your finances or waistline as long as they’re rare occurrences. If eating out at a restaurant and pulling through a drive-thru become your standard mode of operation, however, you’ll realize these short-term conveniences have long-term consequences.

Over the years, my husband and I have come to rely on The Simple Meal when we’re stressed and don’t want to make a production out of dinner. This meal consists of a protein, a vegetable, and a drink. From start to finish it takes the same amount of time as pulling through a drive-thru and less time than eating out at a restaurant. Plus, the cleanup is usually very simple.

The key to making the protein and vegetable interesting enough to constitute a meal are really good spices and sauces. Rustic rub catfish takes five seconds longer to make than plain catfish when you have the rustic spice rub prepared ahead of time. Honey-bourbon salmon takes 30 seconds longer to make than plain salmon as long as you have 3 Tbl of honey and 1/2 cup of bourbon already in your house. And tilapia with an olive tapenade takes just minutes to get on the table when you have olive tapenade in your pantry. All three of these proteins can be baked in the oven (with a little bit of lemon juice to help prevent sticking) in aluminum foil pouches, eliminating the need to wash a pan or baking sheet.

Fresh and frozen (buy the ones not packaged with salt or a sauce) vegetables are a breeze to fix, too. I’ll put a handful of green beans or broccoli or corn in a bowl in the microwave with a little bit of water, heat thoroughly, and then strain off the water. Once strained, I’ll add garlic salt or a little melted butter or some red pepper chili flakes or whatever will compliment the vegetables. I serve the vegetables in the same bowl I cooked them in to cut down on dish mess.

The best part about The Simple Meal is that it is almost always more nutritious and healthful than what you can get from a drive-thru, and it usually tastes better. If you don’t have a protein in house, swinging by the fish monger or butcher’s counter doesn’t take any more time than running out to get something. The Simple Meal is also great for cooks who are new to the kitchen.

If you’re new to cooking, invest in a quality meat thermometer and familiarize yourself with:

What Simple Meals do you make when under a time crunch and want to keep dinner from being a production? Share your recipes in the comments, and be sure to check out our sister site SimpliFried.com for ideas, too.

41 Comments for “The Simple Meal”

  1. posted by Heidi Poe on

    My boyfriend invented an easy chicken chili recipe a few years ago. All you need are some chicken breasts, a can of chili beans, some chopped onion, and olive oil. I fancied it up with a few more ingredients and put the recipe up on my site: http://poe.fobby.net/chickenchili.php

    It’s really simple and always have a can of chili beans on hand just in case we might want this during the week.

  2. posted by Ana on

    Pasta. We keep boxes of whole-wheat pasta and jars of sauce in the pantry, along with either bottles of artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, or canned beans. Our freezer always has spinach, and often chicken sausage that we throw in. While the water is boiling we can prep the fixins and throw it altogether with sauce.

    Our go-to meal has to be pantry/freezer stable because its not that easy for us to run out to the store if the weather is bad, or we’re sick or just exhausted (we don’t have a car).

  3. posted by Nana on

    Making double and freezing half usually worked for me. And I always have chicken half-breasts and/or tenders in the freezer … any combo of spices will do.

    Two daughters swear by new pressure cookers … quick and healthful meals in one pot.

  4. posted by Anne on

    Scrambled eggs – we do breakfast for dinner if things are busy.

  5. posted by karla on

    maybe because I’ve been doing this for 40 years (! I started making whole meals when I was about 7 or 8, although my mother claims I started earlier), but this seems like second nature to me. very few of my meals are “big productions”

    tonight, for example, I decided rice would be a good starch so I fired up the rice cooker (best invention ever) started with chicken and did a riff on an old bbq sauce recipe (yes, from 40 years ago) wherein I add jelly, ketchup, soy sauce and vinegar. I used some of the plum confiture my landlord gave us instead of jelly. I asked my husband if he prefers hot or cold veggies and didn’t get an answer, which means we’re going with the packaged salad. total prep time? maybe 15 minutes. this is situation normal at our house–while we both love to cook, no one really feels like doing it after a long day of work.

    I guess it does take practice…it just never occurred to me there was any other way.

  6. posted by EJH on

    This is soooo my problem right now. I love to cook. But at 40 weeks pregnant, I just don’t have the energy to even think about a creative dinner, let alone anything with more than a few ingredients. Even the shopping is a challenge. But carry out or eating out results in heartburn induced insomnia. So I toss a protein with a spice rub, hubby fires up the grill and I pick a fresh veggie that can be grilled or steamed when I pick up the meat from the local fresh market. Couscous typcially rounds out the meal since that only requires boiling water. I sure hope my cooking energy comes back once baby girl and I are settled in.

  7. posted by Roberta on

    I roast vegetables for a quick simple side dish. Toss veggies (in the same rimmed baking pan you plan to roast them in) with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then roast in a 350 degree oven, stirring once midway through cooking as you prepare the rest of the meal. I often prepare green beans, asparagus, and brussels sprouts this way. Root vegetables take longer, of course. Slim green beans and asparagus are very quick. A splash of balsamic vinegar before serving is a nice touch, too.

  8. posted by Ramona on

    We live by the simple meal at our house! My husband and began the weekly meal plan years before we had kids so when the girls came along we only had to adjust how to make meal prep quicker. The frozen veggies in the steam bag are a staple in our freezer and I will cook a main protein that will last 2 -3 nights either on the weekend or after the girls go to bed. That means we can consistently plan on dinner taking about 15 minutes to heat up and get on the table. The crockpot is one of our friends, and we love roasted veggies, couscous, and hummus too.

  9. posted by Beverly on

    When we’re really trying to keep it simple and quick, we eat the way we ate when wandering in Europe: slices of salami, ham, or other cold cuts, slices of cheese, maybe crackers, maybe a croissant, some fruit, some nuts. No cooking, no heating up the kitchen. Yank it all out of the refrigerator, eat, toss leftovers back in refrigerator, and go on with whatever. Or linger with a glass of wine. This kind of meal really invites leisurely conversation.

  10. posted by Jean on

    How useful and very recognisable too. With 2 working parents, we usually have little time to prepare complicated time consuming dishes after work. So all our meals are simple meals, like Karla. I make up for this hasty cooking in the weekend when I usually prepare food in advance like fresh pasta sauce, quiche or stew.

  11. posted by megan @ mama is a four letter word on

    we love quinoa to start a big pot of quinoa (we usually will make double so we have some for the following night) and while it’s cooking, saute some chicken and veggies. toss it all together with any kind of sauce or eat it as is. keeping a bag of frozen or pre-chopped in season veggies around makes this so easy to throw together, and by the time the quinoa is cooked everything is ready!

  12. posted by Anne on

    Great idea. My only objection is that the examples given sound very low calorie and lack carbohydrates. They simply wouldn’t be filling enough for anyone other than small-framed, dieting women. Since the examples given use homemade preprepared ingredients, how about a homemade tomato pasta sauce (prepared earlier in batches) with chunks of chicken fried in a little olive oil and some pasta? The only cooking equipment to wash up is the frying pan and our microwave spaghetti cooker.

  13. posted by Mletta on

    Once or twice a week, depending on schedules, we cook fresh for the rest of the week. We do it when we have the energy and we make the time, because we know that at nights on a work week, we’re gonna be zonked.

    We steam veggies (sometimes roast); we make hardboiled eggs and steamed red potatoes (enough for a week to use in salads and sandwiches); we prep lettuce and cut veggies for salad.

    We invest maybe an hour or two at a time, and then, the rest of the week, we simply assemble and heat.

    We cook chicken breasts fresh (like 10 minutes at the most, longer than to walk or drive anywhere), same with fish. (The microwave is a godsend for poached fist. We keep frozen shrimp in the fridge, take it out in morning and either cook or just add the pre-cooked ones to recipes.)

    We shop once a week for fresh veggies, keep staples on hand, and pick up fish and proteins as needed (we eat a lot of vegetarian and we have veggie stores on literally every corner a block away,). Or we get them frozen and leave out in the fridge in the morning for that night.

    It’s about preplanning. Another friend spends three or four hours on Saturday making a variety of recipes, which she then freezes for the week.

    As for carbs, we’re not big on them. But you can always make couscous in a flash, make ahead rice and quickly boil pasta if needed.

    We’ve never done cereal at night (we don’t even love it at breakfast!) but we have done a simple microwaved poached egg or two, and a simple salad.

    and of course, and I hate to admit it, but some nights we are saved by the freezer where Trader Joe’s grilled chicken breasts and various frozen vegetables are quickly heated up. There are other great frozen options from them, but we do limit ourselves!

    Again, it’s planning ahead. Once you are hungry, you gotta move fast!

  14. posted by Rae on

    Most of my dinners include a simple protein like yours and frozen veggies. But I also need a carb to feel satisfied. So what I do is make a huge batch of brown rice in my rice cooker at the start of the week and I dress it up in different ways depending on how I feel. Last night I wasn’t too hungry so it was just the brown rice with a handful of veggies on top, lemon pepper seasoning, and shredded cheese.

  15. posted by Lee on

    My husband is making a pork rub as I type and I just ask him to make a larger batch so it’s handy for the next time.

    I like to make multiples of a meatloaf recipe – eat one and freeze 3. This could also be used to make meatballs. It’s not much harder to chop and mix for 4 as it is one. We often microwave a sweet potato while the meatloaf bakes.

    We also use leftover meat (chicken, salmon) in a spinach salad with blueberries, cherry tomatoes, feta, and a balsalmatic vinegarette that we make in a large bottle to have handy. We can heat rolls white making the salad. This is one of our regular meals – fast and delicious!

    We can also live off of a baked turkey breast for a week.

  16. posted by Melanie on

    We also fix typical breakfast food when needing a quick dinner. A ham steak, fried eggs and toast are a great dinner; as is a bowl of cereal; or peanut butter toast.

    I certainly am not going to make “rubbed” anything if I am in a time crunch.

    And I don’t know any way to cook actual rice or quinoa in less than 25 minutes. (Not including the “instant” pre-cooked type that requires merely reheating and not actual cooking.) Nor chicken breasts in 15 minutes.

  17. posted by Kate on

    Interesting timing as I recently decided to limit the variety of meals I make during the week, partly to watch my weight and partly because I was starting to make dinner too much of a production and it was becoming a headache. Weekends and special occasions are a different story.

    Now, my four go-to meals for weeknights are:
    beans & rice (canned okay or I slow cook the beans while at work; and I make and freeze rice ahead of time);
    chickpeas & whole wheat coucous with a veggie thrown in & herbs if I have them;
    fish grilled on the George Foreman with a steamed veg; and a big salad with some kind of protein.

    Each of these can be played around with seasonings-wise, and can be ready in under 10 minutes, 15 for the fish & veg.

  18. Avatar of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Anne — My husband is neither small framed, nor a dieting woman. Both he and I average between 1,300 and 1,700 calories a day … which is perfect since we spend most of our days on our arses behind computers. A slice of whole grain toast, a glass of milk, and/or a glass of wine could easily make the dinner 500 calories. Most sedentary people shouldn’t eat more than that at a meal. Add in an afternoon snack and it’s really easy to hit 1,700 calories in a day. You’re also missing the point of this post — The Simple Meal is not the standard dinner, it is the exception, and only for those times when your energy levels are so low that a fast food drive-thru seems like a tempting option. When you’re stressed out, it’s better to eat healthful foods that give your body energy than greasy, high caloric, artery clogging ones that rob your body of the benefits of a nutritious diet.

    It should also be noted that my husband refuses to eat pasta and rice, so those carbohydrates are never options in our house. Also banned is anything that resembles pasta or rice, such as barley.

  19. posted by Mike J. on

    I help my wife cool a couple times a week (I usually stick to grilling), but she’s made both our lives easier by storing some of our favorite easy recipes somewhere close at hand. She got us a recipe holder http://www.greatusefulstuff.com/Recipe-Organizer-p/chs01166blkrsd.htm. We have separate compartments for my recipes, hers, and even easy ones the kids make from time to time.

  20. posted by Anita on

    My boyfriend loves to cook, so he does most of it. I don’t love cooking, but I like good food, so when I’m on my own, 9 times out of 10 my meals will be very simple; they include:
    - sandwiches (prepare filling while bread toasts. 3 mins, and very little clean-up) or wraps
    - salads (lots of fresh veggies in a bowl, plus protein of your choice)
    - raw veggies, pita and hummus
    - omelets or scrambled eggs (toss in some fresh or frozen veggies or steam them and serve on the side) or hardboiled eggs (with mustard and baby carrots. Am I the only one to find this delicious?)
    - polenta (takes all of 5 minutes to make and is a very easy carb alternative to pasta or rice) topped with crumbled feta cheese, an egg (soft boiled or fried – runny yolk mixed with polenta and feta = divine), and steamed or sautéd veggies, if I’m feeling fancy
    - stir fry (another “whatever’s in the fridge” dish)
    - pasta (I’m lucky to have a fresh pasta place a few blocks away. Any kind of pasta you want, made same day, and a dozen or so home-made sauces. But dried or frozen pasta and store-bought sauce works too. Toss in some veggies which cook as the sauce warms – done in 10 mins).

    For me, simple meals are all about adapting to what I have on hand, what I feel like having, and how much effort I’m willing to put into it. Come to think of it, most of my non-work life is governed by those principles, and I enjoy that flexibility over pre-established formulae and routines.

  21. posted by Marie on

    Our go-to simple cooked meal is whole wheat spaghetti or capellini, and frozen peas cooked in the microwave. My toddler get the pasta with cheese and butter, and we get cheese and sauce. If I’m worried about protein, we’ll throw in a small handful of almonds or walnuts.

    But I’m with Rae – we’ll often work our way through a pot of brown rice over a week. It can accompany fancier meals, but also be a base for very basic meals. Once I threw together vegetable fried rice out of spare veggies and an egg, and it was a surprise hit. Another thrown together meal was burritos with leftover peppers and mushrooms over rice and refried black beans. The toddler is always a fan of plain cheesy rice.

    Our simplest uncooked meal is cheese and crackers (or whole grain bread) with whatever fruit is in the house, and maybe some nuts. Needless to say, we stock really good basics, so that is always an option.

    For comparison, a more elaborate meal is veggie lasagna with multiple veggies or braised fish with stirfried veggies over a grain, or homemade pizza.

  22. posted by Melanie on

    Polenta in 5 minutes? Can I have that recipe? Mine takes 10 minutes, after the water has begun to boil.

    I am amazed that people are able to cook these things (rice, polenta, chicken breast, quinoa) quicker than I am. It reminds me of the cross-examination in My Cousin Vinny…

    Vinny Gambini: So, Mr. Tipton, how could it take you 5 minutes to cook your grits when it takes the entire grit eating world 20 minutes?
    Mr. Tipton: I don’t know, I’m a fast cook I guess.
    Vinny Gambini: I’m sorry I was all the way over here I couldn’t hear you did you say you were a fast cook, that’s it?
    Mr. Tipton: Yeah.
    Vinny Gambini: Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than anywhere else on the face of the earth?
    Mr. Tipton: I don’t know.
    Vinny Gambini: Well, I guess the laws of physics cease to exist on top of your stove. Were these magic grits? Did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans?

  23. Avatar of

    posted by austen on

    Have cooked well for 50 years, never needed a meat or candy thermometer. Timing and eyeballing work just as well. For me both would be clutter.

  24. posted by JC on

    An avocado-sardine sandwich on whole grain bread.

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/01/alton-browns-sardine-avocado-sandwich-diet.html

  25. posted by chacha1 on

    I’m all about speed and protein. My go-to preparations are broiled beef (steaks or tri-tip roast); broiled bison burgers; boneless chicken thighs, pan-grilled; and pork tenderloin, pan-grilled.

    We live in an apartment and aren’t allowed to use a real grill, and our oven is 30 years old and takes 30 minutes to preheat. I don’t use it unless I’m baking or – very rarely – roasting something big.

    Add some frozen veg and a glass of wine and we’re eating in 20-25 minutes.

    @Melanie: LOL!

  26. posted by Kelley O on

    Morningstar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Burger (2 minutes in the microwave from the freezer) and whatever veggie (usually spinach) stuffed ravioli I have in the freezer (however long it takes to boil the water plus cooking time, 4-8 minutes). Grated parmesan cheese on top. Delicious and way easy.

  27. posted by April on

    This is why I like the food blog The Stone Soup. Her recipes are healthy, usually 5 ingredients or fewer, and often only takes about 10 minutes of prep.

  28. posted by PK on

    I wish we had tilapia here in Australia. I had it when we were in the States last year, and I really like it :(

  29. posted by Jodi on

    When my kids where teenagers and I had to work late, we had “one-pot”. Super simple to make, fast, and like the name implies it dirties one pot. Slice up some onion and green pepper, saute it. While that’s going, open a couple cans of new whole potatoes and dump those in. Slice up some skinless smoked sausage into bite size pieces and throw those in, cover and your eating in 15 minutes. Super easy and my kids had dinner waiting when I got home.

  30. posted by katrina on

    I keep a few standard things in the cupboard or fridge.

    Summer – Tuna and cheese salad. Whatever salad vegies I have to hand (ripped or chopped), a 1-cup tin of tuna drained and emptied onto the salad with some crumbled feta cheese (or whatever cheese I have) and a sprinking of balsamic vinegar. If I have no salad vegetables, I use steamed or microwaved frozen veg and make a hot salad.

    Winter – stirfry frozen vegetables, heat fresh udon noodles in a cup of boiling water for 1 minute then drain and add to stirfry with sauce. Sauce is 2 eggs mixed with 1/4 cup of tomato sauce or ketchup and a thick slice of cheese broken into chunks.

  31. posted by Bluecat on

    I invested in one of the double pot thermal cooker. I would wash and start boiling rice and prepare a soup or stew in the 2 separate pots in the morning. Dump in the thermal container and by the time I am home in the evening, there is a nice warm meal available for the whole family. Takes 20-30 minutes prep time.

    An all time fav protein in my family is baked salmon in soba sauce. 25 mintues in oven while everyone go do a quick washup after reaching home. By the time I set the table, dish out the rice and soup and the fish is done.

    One idea I am going to use from the contributions here is the grilled veg. May just try it together with the fish instead of stir frying separately. Thnks for all the ideas.

  32. posted by Tasmanian Minimalist on

    Always failsafe is soup, especially this one :

    Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

    • 2 tbsp olive oil

    • 2 cups thinly sliced onion

    • 4 garlic cloves, minced

    • 2 tsp. paprika

    • 1 tsp. ground coriander

    • 1 level tsp. cayenne pepper

    • 5 cups sweet potato, peeled and cubed

    • 8 cups chicken/vegetable stock

    • 14 oz. can of cream style corn

    • Pepper to taste Garnish with a dollop of fresh cream

    Directions
    1.Place oil in large soup pot . Add onion, cook uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often until softened (do not brown).

    2.Add garlic, paprika, coriander and cayenne pepper; continue to heat and stir for about 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.

    3.Add sweet potatoes and toss until coated.

    4.Add broth and stir. Increasing heat bring to a boil.

    5.Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally until sweet potatoes are tender.

    6.Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes.

    7.Process mixture in 2 batches, in a food processor, or blender until smooth.

    8.Return to pot.

    9.Add corn and pepper Stir and return to a boil on medium high.

    10.Continue to heat and stir until heated through.

    Ladle soup into bowls, dollop cream over the top. Serve immediately.

  33. posted by Kimberly on

    I make a crockpot meal once a week to make things easier. We also keep a bag of salad and make Mexican salad when we don’t feel like doing much. If I know it is going to be busy the next day, I will whip up whole wheat pasta and some sauce for the next day, or cook the pasta and chop veggies and throw together and peanut noodle salad for dinner.

  34. posted by JC on

    “Fast” at our house is 30 minutes or less. In summer it is usually a veggie salad with grilled chicken, beef, or shrimp. In winter if I haven’t put something in the slow cooker in the morning, I will make what we call “chicken biscuit”: homemade chicken pot pit filling with a layer of biscuit dough across the top instead of pie crusts. We eat a lot of stir-fry with bits of a meat and lots of veggies. I like the clean up of the stir-fry with only the wok to clean with a swish of hot water.

    Yesterday was the opposite with very slow food. My son and his friend (13 and 12 years old respectively) have entered a local outdoor dutch oven cooking competition, using dutch ovens, charcoal with no electrical tools allowed. They did a practice run yesterday. Over the course of 3 hours they made a yellow cake with chocolate ganache and blueberries and 40 garlic clove chicken with roasted potatoes and carrots.

  35. posted by Karen M on

    Hmmm. At the end of the day I’m brain-dead and can’t measure a cup of water. I eyeball everything. The handful is the unit of measure I’m capable of. This is where having a decent kitchen garden with herbs and a few summer tomatoes rescues any dish.

    We’ll use a high-protein high fiber pasta as base. It’s less starchy than regular pasta and doesn’t get sticky. Use the minimum amount of water necessary to cook, add more only as needed to keep things cooking. Too many nutrients are lost when you drain your pasta and vegs. I don’t salt the water.

    Half way through cooking the pasta, add your favorite frozen vegs to cook with it if you don’t have summer squash in the garden. I keep a broccoli-carrot-cauliflower mix on hand for this. Frozen peas are also good.

    While the pasta and veggies cook, gently fry chopped onions, celery, and garlic in a little olive oil. A few red pepper flakes are also good. Don’t overcook.

    If you didn’t use too much water, the pasta and veggies should be done with very little water left to spare. Turn off heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic mix and toss with a good can of tuna or salmon. If you have parmesan, parsley, canned artichokes, anchovies, or capers on hand, use any of these to season further. I like to finish off with a dusting of lemon zest and ground fennel seed, which I always have on hand. Or I add leaves from one of my garden herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil.

    Serve. I under-salt so that people can add that for themselves if they want.

    Btw, a ripe, deep red garden tomato, sliced, with a few drops of balsamic vinegar and good olive oil is a more gourmet salad than almost anything you can get from any restaurant, bar none. It’s the quintessential summer food, and the real meaning of luxury, in my opinion.

  36. posted by gypsy packer on

    I’m partial to 5 minute prep and 30 minutes simmer, so I can take off shoes, put feet up, and relax. My default is slow-sauteed summer squash with red bell pappers and a red jalapeno, seasoned with a diced slice of sandwich ham or a dash of Goya Sabor de Jamon. This is a side to any good brand of canned Mexican black beans, preferably with lime and jalapeno. Low-cal, high fiber, and tasty.
    Secondary choice is vermicelli topped with butter, Parmesan, loads of garlic, basil, a sprinkle of crushed mixed dried hot peppers from the garden, and chopped black olives as a second option instead of the peppers, all cut half and half with finely shredded iceberg lettuce to reduce the calories. Not so healthy, but still tasty. You may prefer olive oil on the pasta.

  37. posted by Jennifer on

    TIP FOR FREEZING RICE

    Great tips, thanks. For those of us who prefer a little starch with our Simple Meal, I have this recommendation:
    1. Cook a large batch of rice – white, brown, doesn’t matter. Just don’t add butter.
    2. Lay it out in a thin layer on sheet pans to cool.
    3. Once cooled, put the pans into freezer as is.
    4. Once frozen, chunk up the rice as best you can and put into freezer bags for easier storage.
    5. When you want a quick side dish, zap the rice in the microwave. It comes out perfectly.

  38. posted by Tiffany on

    When I lived on my own, it was pasta and tomato sauce. With meatballs if I had previously made a batch and frozen some. It’s still my ultimate comfort food, but my husband doesn’t find it as comforting as I do, so we don’t eat it that often. The simple meal in our house these days is tacos. It’s easy to keep ground beef, tortillas, and beans in the house, and the other fixings are usually floating around anyway from our normal routines.

  39. posted by Jay on

    I guess “simple” is relative. Lots of the suggestions above sound tasty but, for me, not so simple.

    When I am in the mood for a simple meal, I want to come into the kitchen, grab some food, and eat. I do not want to prepare or cook anything. I don’t even want to cut anything.

    Some components of my simple meals are as follows (these may be mixed and matched): peanut butter (eaten from the spoon), cereal, bread, milk, yogurt, raw vegetables (such as broccoli, baby carrots, or red peppers [eaten like an apple]), fruit (banana or apple), or nuts (almonds or cashews).

  40. posted by Lara on

    My summer favorite is Lazy Gazpacho – just mix up some Spicy V-8 and some salsa (proportions depend on your preference, I usually use one large bottle of V-8 and a jar and a half of salsa). On its own, it’s an easy starter/side/snack that can be made in a giant batch on Sundays and portioned out. For a full last-minute Simple Meal, I defrost some frozen shrimp and add those, and serve with a salad and a side of crusty bread. Sliced avocado makes it extra-fancy, but it’s still a 5 minute dinner.

  41. Avatar of

    posted by Laetitia in Australia on

    Thank you for knowing and correctly using the word “healthful” (as opposed to “healthy”).

    But why would you transfer your vege’s to another dish to serve them in the first place when it’s just your family at home? (I understand if you’re having a more formal dinner party.)

    Anyway, for us, if we’ve run out of extra meals from a previous meal (there’s just the two of us and a lot of our meals are cooked in family of 6 quantities) we often just steam some vege’s and add a sauce (tahini, garlic, lemon juice and water mixed together is a favourite) or go for the emergency box of samosas heated in the microwave oven.

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