Quick and Easy Meals

 

There are a lot of variationsĀ  on recipes out there in the world, but sometimes we need a reminder to think outside the box. These recipes are all suggestions for a quick lunch or dinner when you have a lack of time to work with. They are based on ideas offered by a grocery snailĀ mail supplement I received a couple of weeks ago.

Well, they aren’t so much recipes as guidelines that may be personalized as much as you like.

Chicken Salad
Prep your salad a day in advance. Pick up a whole roasted chicken and strip it. Mix the chicken with Greek yogurt, chopped celery, dried cranberries, chopped pecans or walnuts, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. For a little zing you might add some paprika. Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to mingle and marry. Serve on sliced sourdough bread or over a bed of mixed greens for a simple lunch or dinner. Preparing this salad ahead of time also allows you to take some for lunch!

Lemon Chicken
This sheet pan dish is easy to prepare and delicious to serve. In a large bowl mix a small amount of melted butter and lemon pepper seasoning, to taste. Dip chicken and halved baby gold potatoes in butter mixture. Lay the chicken and potatoes out on a sheet pan. Brush the chicken with a bit of honey and roast with lemon slices on top at 425F for 15-20 minutes. In the last ten minutes of baking, add honey-brushed asparagus spears. Serve over saffron rice or a bed of baby leaf spinach with fresh lemon wedges on the side. The results are a sweet/tart treat for the palate. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Elegant Mushroom Pasta
Saute sliced mushrooms in a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Add in minced garlic, chopped baby leaf spinach and chopped basil. Stir until the greens are softened. Remove from heat and toss with your favorite pre-cooked pasta. This is a tasty treatment for leftover pasta, as fresh cooked. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan or Asiago for a delicious finishing touch.

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia
Thaw your fish, if frozen, then dip them in whipped egg whites. dredge each filet in a misture of chopped pistachios, bread crumbs, and parsley. Bake at 450F for 8-10 minutes or until the fish reaches a safe internal temperature of 145F. Serve atop a bed of your favorite greens. Slices of fresh peach or pear on the side are a subtly sweet accompaniment on the side. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Enjoy!

— Ann Cathey

Burger Wells

This little dish was the result of boredom, too much internet, and what was available in the kitchen. I think it turned out rather well, and the taste testers polished their plates.DSC_0607

Brown Rice

Brown Rice

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef (or venison, pork, or turkey)
1 lb bacon
2 eggs
2 tb salsa
1tsp cumin
1tsp onion powder
1tsp garlic powder
1 tb dried parsley
1/4tsp paprika
1tb butter
2 cups brown rice, pre-cooked
1/2 cup diced mushroom (or 1 10oz can)
1/2 pound asparagus, pre-cooked
1/2 cup grated Manchego

Asparagus and Mushrooms, drained

Asparagus and Mushrooms, drained

Directions:

Beef Well

Beef Well

Mix beef, spices, salsa and one egg thoroughly. Roughly quarter into balls. Squash the ball with a greased slender cup or glass and form sides up the glass. Remove carefully and place in baking pan or on individual squares of foil for grilling. Shape the meat mixture further if needed to get evenly thick and tall sides for each beef-well.

 

 

Bacon Wapped Well

Bacon Wrapped Well

Wrap each beef-well in a slice of bacon (add a little if needed).

Mix pre-cooked brown rice, asparagus (chopped) and diced mushroom into a bowl with 1/4 cup cheese. Mix well. Fill the beef-wells with this mixture and set the remainder aside.

Stuffed Well

Stuffed Well

DSC_0605

Asparagus lined Well

NOTE: In the photographed version, asparagus stems were used to line the sides of the well. They were precooked and thus already tender.

Take the remaining bacon and slice into pieces approximately 1/5-2 inches long. Carefully place a layer of bacon pieces across the top of each stuffed beef-well. this will help to contain moisture so that the veggies don’t dry out.

Slide the tray into the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes.

Into a skillet, toss the rest of the bacon strips and cook to preferred chewiness or crunchiness. Drain and set aside.

Drop butter into the skillet and allow it to melt. Add the remaining egg and stir vigorously. Before the egg is quite done, toss in the remaining stuffing and stir while the egg finishes cooking. Add the remaining bacon with a sprinkle of cheese and toss.

Emplate one beef-well with a quarter of the stir-fry, sprinkling remaining cheese on top.

We served with crescent rolls on the side, and this made up four lovely plates.DSC_0608

Give this a try and let us know how yours turned out!

— Ann Cathey