Tag Archives: fast dinner ideas

Simple soy sauce chicken

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This is a super simple recipe that I’ve used time and time again. It is great on its own, or as the base of a more complex sauce. Feel free to experiment with adding new ingredients as you become more sure of your own tastes and what flavors go well together. Ideas include: slices of lemon or orange, zest from citrus, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, fish sauce, thyme, parsley, oregano, tomato paste, pureed anchovies, olives, crushed nuts…
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Chicken is also a great meat for those on a budget. Especially if you buy dark meat like drumsticks or thighs, these are often on sale for 0.99/pound or less. You can also use chicken leg quarters, which includes both drumsticks & thigh meat. My sister, who is in college now, also loves this quick, easy, always-delicious chicken. Pair with a veggie or two & a carb for a filling, frugal meal in under 20 minutes.
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Ingredients:
  • 2-4 pieces of chicken (thighs, drumsticks, or breasts all work)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp diced garlic (or 3-4 cloves, chopped)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • Sprinkle of garlic salt or S&P
Step 1: In a frying pan, lay the chicken in a single layer. If using breasts, spray the pan or spread around 1 tbsp oil first. If using drumsticks or thighs, the chicken should release some of its own fat while it cooks so it won’t stick.
Step 2: In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, garlic, and lemon juice. Mix well, and pour over the chicken.
Step 3: Bring the heat to medium, and cook, covered, for 10-12 minutes. Flip, and cook the other side for 5-7 minutes.
Step 4: Poke with a fork or cut a small slice in the thickest part. Once you’re sure there is no pink inside, your chicken is ready!
This chicken is especially good when paired with fried rice, but it works well with any grain (white/brown rice, quinoa, barley, couscous) or potato (mashed, baked, boiled). I love fresh asparagus & boil-in-bag edamame was on sale, which rounded out this meal nicely.

Flatbread Flexibility

 

One of my favorite things to go on sale is biscuit mix. This is because the mix is so very flexible. You can of course whip up soft, flaky biscuits in ten minutes, but you can also do so much more. I’ve used it to make pizza bites, tuna pockets (more than once actually), and as a pie crust substitute.

But the best way to use biscuit mix, other than biscuits, is as a flatbread for pizzas! These are amazing because the toppings are only as limited as your creativity.

I was having a get-together, and had to make something to feed a crowd at the last minute. This was my mom’s idea, and it turned out to be brilliant. Everyone could try something different, and everyone was happy with the results.

Feel free to get creative with whatever you have in your kitchen.

Ingredients (per pizza):

  • 1 roll biscuit dough (or pizza dough)
  • Approx. 1 cup toppings
  • 1/3 cup sauce (marinara, ranch, BBQ…)

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This pizza included bacon, cooked chicken breast, spinach, shredded cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing.

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As you can see, you can make pizza pockets, in many different sizes. Just press the dough together and mold it to the size you need.

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The smaller the pizza pocket, the less time you need to cook. These all went in for about 12 minutes, and you can see the smaller pockets are a darker brown whereas the larger ones are slightly golden.

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We had some with mozzarella and pepperoni, some with red pepper and spinach, and some bacon BBQ. These would be great for birthday parties, cookouts, picnics, a casual weeknight, and more.

Vegan Tofu-Sauerkraut Lettuce Wraps

 

As I’ve been diving into the world of vegan food options, it has made me more creative with my meals, how they are cooked, what is in them, and what I can mix together.

One meal option I have fallen in love with is lettuce wraps. It is just like a taco, only completely gluten-free (depending on what you put inside), no added carbs, and very healthy. You get a dose of greens de facto because of the lettuce leaves, and skip the extra calories and added who-knows-what in the typical tortilla (refined & bleached white flour, leaveners, softeners, added sugar, GMOs, etc etc).

And, like a regular taco, you can put just about anything inside! Wraps are a great catch-all for veggies you need to use up, leftover half-batches of grains, and anything else you can think of. Here I use some of my homemade sauerkraut (which is so mind-blowingly easy to make, and delicious!), fried tofu, and mushrooms as my umami base, then load on top of it cooked rice & black beans, diced avocado & fresh salsa. Ah-maz-ing.

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And the best part is, you can’t really over-eat these! There is so much veggie goodness and nutrition packed into every wrap, you can have three or four, no problem. This recipe makes enough for 4 large wraps.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large outer leaves of romaine (plus more shredded)
  • 1/2 block firm tofu, drained
  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut or raw cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 large avocado
  • 4 tbsp salsa of choice

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Step 1: I made my black beans from dried (much cheaper than canned!) by taking 1 cup of beans per 2 cups water and putting them in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. This makes the beans nice and tender and ready to eat. Cook the rice according to package directions.

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Step 2: Drain and press the tofu by placing it on a folded paper towel with another on top. Press firmly, or place a heavy object on top, for a few minutes. Then add the tofu, mushrooms, and sauerkraut to a medium-hot frying pan, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are moist and browned. Add a tbsp of water or vegetable stock if it dries out at any time.

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Step 3: Assemble the lettuce wraps. Take a large leaf of Romaine or other head lettuce and hold it in the palm of one hand. Add a tbsp or two of rice and cooked beans, then a heap of the cooked tofu-mushroom-sauerkraut mixture.

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Step 4: Add optional toppings like the diced avocado and salsa, or try sliced olives, juilenned carrot, zucchini, or radish, or shredded cheese. You could add nutritional yeast, soy sauce, sriracha, refried beans, or any other taco topping your heart desires.

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Above all, make it your own and enjoy!

 

Vegan Tofu-Sauerkraut Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 4 large outer leaves of romaine (plus more shredded)
  • 1/2 block firm tofu, drained
  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut or raw cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 large avocado
  • 4 tbsp salsa of choice

Instructions

  1. I made my black beans from dried (much cheaper than canned!) by taking 1 cup of beans per 2 cups water and putting them in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. This makes the beans nice and tender and ready to eat. Cook the rice according to package directions.
  2. Drain and press the tofu by placing it on a folded paper towel with another on top. Press firmly, or place a heavy object on top, for a few minutes. Then add the tofu, mushrooms, and sauerkraut to a medium-hot frying pan, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are moist and browned. Add a tbsp of water or vegetable stock if it dries out at any time.
  3. Assemble the lettuce wraps. Take a large leaf of Romaine or other head lettuce and hold it in the palm of one hand. Add a tbsp or two of rice and cooked beans, then a heap of the cooked tofu-mushroom-sauerkraut mixture.
  4. Add optional toppings like the diced avocado and salsa, or try sliced olives, juilenned carrot, zucchini, or radish, shredded lettuce, or shredded cheese. You could add nutritional yeast, soy sauce, sriracha, refried beans, or any other taco topping your heart desires.
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http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegan/vegan-lettuce-wraps/

Chicken, broccoli and potato dinner – SNAP meal

 

This is a super simple meal you can get together in about 10 minutes for under $1. You’ve got protein from your chicken, starch and carbs in the potato, and a healthy serving of veggies from the broccoli.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken drumstick
  • 1 medium baking potato
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli
  • Garlic salt

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Step 1: In a frying pan, cook the chicken for 10-15 minutes, until no pink at all when poked.

Step 2: Wash the potato and poke some holes in it with a fork. Microwave the potato 8-12 minutes, until soft.

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Step 3: Microwave the broccoli 5-7 minutes, until soft. Serve it all with a dash of salt and enjoy. You can add whatever else you have to top the potato: butter, sour cream, cheese, beans, salsa…

Less than 5: Tuna Salad Puffs

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On nights when you just don’t have the energy or time to cook a whole meal from scratch, these “less than 5” meals are the perfect solution. For me to title a meal as “less than 5” it must require less than 5 ingredients, and it’s an extra bonus if it also takes less than 5 minutes to make.
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For this recipe, I had several cans of tuna I had purchased during a great sale weeks prior. I didn’t want the usual tuna-salad-sandwich, or tuna noodle casserole. So I looked in the fridge, and saw I had a can of biscuits. Viola, dinner inspiration!
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Ingredients:
1 can ready to bake biscuits (or croissants, any type of dough)
1 can tuna
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp relish
Salt & pepper if you like
Step 1: Open and drain the tuna. In a bowl, combine the tuna, mayo, and relish. Mix well.
Step 2: On a sprayed baking sheet, place each biscuit about 1-2 inches apart. Tamp down a small depression with your fingers or a spoon. Fill with 1-2 tbsp tuna mixture.
Step 3: Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown on top.
You can sprinkle these with whatever spices you have on hand, or a little bit of shredded cheese too.
They are great as appetizers, or eat several for a full meal! Feel free to add in other veggies to the tuna, like diced up cucumber or cooked egg, or lemon juice.