Sunday, August 02, 2009

Quick and Easy Category

Last night we had dinner with our friends Joe and Mary Beth. Their daughter Jacqueline is a newlywed and a busy attorney. Mary Beth mentioned that Jacqueline reads the blog regularly, but doesn't have time to make many of the recipes. Soooo-I have created a new category for Jacqueline (although I suspect that it will also come in handy for Katie)--Quick/Easy. Now, there are some recipes in this category which take a while to cook in the oven, but are a snap to prepare; however, most are quick sautes and grills.

Here are a few ideas for making your hectic life easier, while still feeding your family wholesome, home-cooked meals--

First of all, make easy substitutions. If a recipe calls for you to cut up a chicken, buy one already cut up or buy a package of chicken parts. If you are supposed to cook a chicken and take it off the bone, use a rotisserie chicken from the market. If it calls for corn cut off the cob, use frozen corn. In fact, I think that frozen vegetables are great. I always have them on hand and use them almost everyday.

Secondly, prepare ahead. When I worked full time, I would chop enough onion and garlic for the entire week, bag it, and store it in the fridge. If you don't have a food processor, go now and buy one. My father-in-law gave me a Cuisinart 30 years ago, and it's still going strong. I love it for chopping large amounts of vegetables. Also, on the weekend make a double recipe of things like spaghetti sauce and freeze half for another time. Another great trick is to throw your flank steak into it's marinade before freezing it. That way,when you know that you're going to have a crazy day, you can put it in the fridge to defrost before you leave for work and grill it when you come home.

Finally, stock your pantry with the things that allow you to always make a quick dinner. I always have pancetta in the freezer, onions, canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. With these items I can make my favorite pasta sauce and have a quick dinner in about 15 minutes.

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