I have a temporary health thing that prevents me from standing for more than about 10 minutes at a time, with good long rests in between attempts, and a limited number of attempts per day. I need to make myself food, but PB&J and containerized-food-like-substances don’t seem like a viable path back to wellness.
Do you have any recipes that meet the following criteria?
1. Takes 10 minutes of active prep time or 15 minutes if part of it can be done seated.
2. Ingredients are flexible; awesome friends will bring me good ingredients, I have a deep pantry, and no dietary limitations.
I make a couple meals in the crock pot, one is (1-3 pounds) chicken breasts or thighs, (2-4 cups) diced carrots, and (3-5 cups) lentils, and a curry style mix of seasoning: cumin, garlic, cinnamon, and red pepper. I don't measure those, and yours may vary based on taste preferences. I'll also add water based on how much lentils I include, about 2 cups per cup of lentils. Toss it all in the crock pot and cook on high 4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours and you're done.
Same thing can be done with stew meat, peas, diced potatoes, or whatever other veggies plus a seasoning mix of your choice.
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A recent addition to our quiver is quinoa salad. Quinoa cooks like rice but much quicker, rinse it well, 2:1 water:grain bring to a boil, turn down to low and cover, done about 20 minutes later. This grain can then be mixed with all sorts of veggies or meat chunks. Add a dressing and it is good in the fridge for days. Can be good in wraps/tacos, good on top of greens. Very flexible and I've been finding quinoa to be a grain that my body really agrees with.
Thanks, Tina and Chris, those sound delicious! A cheese plate for Christmas lunch, and oh wow, I definitely need to try that kimchi bowl, with eggs and quinoa. The foil packets also look amazing, and are perfectly timed for tomorrow’s CSA delivery that will include ground lamb.
This is so wonderful! I posted yesterday out of frustration, and now I have a fun new project, trying out all these delicious recipes! I’ll try to post pictures as I make them.
Thank you for your well-wishes, and for cheering me up with your delicious ideas!
Hmmm...90% of my meals take less than 10 minutes of actual standing/prep time but I am NOT a vegetarian which makes things much simpler.
Typical meal (multiple choice options)
Pan fried meat -- Fish in butter (heat butter in pan, put fish in, flip 3 minutes later and add spices/teriyaki sauce etc..., remove when done). Pan fried chicken breasts (boneless breasts cooked hole or in strips). Like fish, add to hot pan with oil, turn after 5 minutes. And steak which is excellent when pan fried the right way. Get pan hot, ad a generous amount of oil, sear steak on both sides for 5 minutes or so then remove. The oil does not soak into the meat but it transmits the heat which is important for a nice crispy seared outside with a tender juicy inside. Pork chops can be done the same way and breaded if desired.
Baked Chicken or Beef -- Heat up oven, put chicken breasts or roast in pan, put in oven and then remove when done. Throw a couple of small baking potatoes in the oven at the start and that is your side dish.
Basic carb/starch side dish -- rice, pasta, egg noodles, and sometimes potatoes (potatoes, unless baked hole do take a 5 minutes to wash and then chop up). Pasta or rice takes about 2 minutes of actual prep time. Just add water and rice, then boil and check once to turn down heat. For pasta just bring water to a boil, add pasta, and remove when done.
Vegetables -- Frozen veggies are the easiest since they are already chopped and cleaned. Bring pan of water to a boil with a steamer basket (optional), open bag, pour in, then remove from heat when done. Total time 2 minutes or less. Extra tip -- if you are using frozen vegetables with a short cook time like broccoli, just let them thaw and throw them on top of some mostly cooked rice to steam them to perfection without using a separate pot.
As far as leftovers -- if you are baking chicken do an extra piece. You can cut up the leftover chicken and add to cream of chicken soup which goes great over rice (chicken al-la-king) or pastam or make chicken salad for a sandwich, or add to a green salad etc.... Leftover steak also has many uses, slice it on top of a salad or my favorite is just eating it cold with a big hunk of french bread and some steak sauce.
I don't use a whole lot of spices but they can be thrown onto meat and other dishes quickly, I do however use a lot of butter on veggies and starches once plated.
In your situation I would also read cook time instructions and plan accordingly and also use a timer so you don't have to get up and check to see when things are done.
One quick meal that I like a lot is a dish inspired by the Thai ‘pad see ew’ (not sure if I got the spelling right or not). I stir fry some broccoli and garlic, make thick carrot ’noodles’ by peeling strips of carrot with a normal vegetable peeler, throw those in and stir fry for a short time, and when all the vegetables are ready I move them to one side of the pan, add some whisked eggs and cook those as a scramble, and then mix it through the vegetables. I put lots of coconut aminos over the top at the end as I don’t eat soy, but tamari or another fermented soy thing would be fine for that instead.
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken (breast or thighs, I dont bother cutting up because it breaks up by end. I have even thrown in frozen and cooked longer)
2 potatoes cut in chunks (peel or not, up to you. I leave it)
1 chopped onion (i would peel😀)
14 oz can diced tomatoes with juice (recipe very forgiving, sometimes I chop whole tomatoes in summer)
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp curry powder (i usually double, but we love curry)
1/2 tsp dried ginger (better w fresh if you have it)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 c sour cream or plain yogurt (add at end)
Cooked rice or quinoa to serve
Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker. Top with potato and onion. Mix all the seasonings with the tomatoes and pour over.
Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours (may be longer depending if you used a large frozen chicken breast)
Remove cinnamon stick and stir in yogurt or sour cream.
Serve over rice or quinoa.
I got this from a friend but it originally was from a budget slow cooker cookbook by Stephanie O'Dea. (Want to give credit!)
Rin, it sounds like you are getting some great suggestions. Hope they help you out.
Thanks, Tina, these are great recipies! I never thought to make carrot noodles for pad see ew, what a great idea, Kate! And Mart, raw food, good call on that and the turkey. I hadn’t thought about it, but I’ll add that to my post-holiday frugal tricks, along with Pumpkin Stewing Day on November 1st.
Another one of mine, although it takes a while to chop everything up is 'farmhouse vegetable soup':
Soak a handful or two of pearl barley overnight. Add this to a big pot of bone broth, along with some chopped bacon and lots of leeks or onions, and other vegetables, then just cook it for around an hour, or until everything is done.
I like to make big batches of this and other stews, soups and curries, and that way even if it takes a while to make the first batch, there is food ready to reheat for the next couple of days.
I find a Thai curry is super fast and really easy.
This post on reddit even takes another shortcut by using a bag of already cut up frozen veggies: Thai curry cheap(er) and healthy(er) than take out. This recipe is just four "ingredients" - raw skinless boneless chicken, curry paste, coconut milk, frozen veggies. See the poster's instructions and images and loads of good comments under the post on how to make the flavors even better and what curry pastes folks prefer.
While I wouldn't normally use frozen veggies, I totally get how they would be a huge help if someone couldn't stand or chop for very long.
Plus, while the method described in the link above says to fry/brown the cubed chicken before adding to the curry, I've taken a shortcut and just thrown the raw meat into the curried coconut milk. While that does make for a different texture and flavor, it's just that: different, and not bad at all. Also, you don't even have to fry the curry paste before adding the coconut milk. So there are lots of shortcuts to make less standing time and speed up the preparation.
The only slightly tricky part is to time all your additions by how long they will cook and how done you want them. Very hard or dense veggies like raw potato or raw squash or eggplant should be mostly cooked first - either boiled in water 20 minutes (strain afterwards - do not add the water to the curry unless you like it watered down! reserve cooking water for broth or other soup if you wish) or microwaved to partway/mostly cooked if you microwave. Then, everything else just takes about a 20-35 minute simmer in the curry paste and coconut milk - depending on the size of your "cubes," and the cooking temperature, and your preferences.
The variations possible are SO fun. I really like seeing the colors of skin-on cubes of purple eggplant and bright orange squash or sweet potato in a yellow or green curry. And of course, other proteins can be substituted for the chicken depending on taste, diet choices, budget or time. Dumping in frozen shrimp (peeled) could be even easier than cubing raw chicken, or a drained and rinsed can (or two cups cooked) of chick peas tastes great and is super easy, too.
Fun additions if they are not too taxing for you are (added at the end just before serving) fish sauce, fresh basil leaves, and/or chopped cilantro on top of each bowl.
Serve over rice and you have a hearty, filling meal.
I noticed most of the posts are from 1 year ago. Do you still have this condition, Rin?
If so, how about a quick stir fry with Chinese noodles? Any combo of stir fry e.g. assorted thinly sliced veg, your choice of meat/fish/poultry. The noodles only take 4 mins in boiling water. The sauce can be made ahead of time (e.g. combining soy with garlic, ginger, [chilli] oil) or shop bought! I've kept it vague to allow for lots of combos/possibilities.
It is necessary, therefore it is possible.
Of my go-to fast and easy recipes, the fastest and easiest is savory pancakes. I never measure, as specific ratios are not crucial...
Pancake batter (homemade or package)
Add a little salt, maybe a little cumin and black pepper
A little neutral tasting oil (grape seed oil is my fav)
Cube hard cheese, some chopped onion and hot pepper (jalapeno or serrano work). Some fresh or frozen/ defrosted peas are a nice addition.
Mix all together in bowl and carefully add water or milk to get a thick mix, not thin and syrupy.
Drop each oiled pancake on pan that is a bit below medium (cast iron being my pref) . Not one big pancakes, but rather 2- 3 small ones, like 3 inches across max.
Be prepared to flip these very quickly, do not allow to burn. This is probably the hardest part, flipping the pancakes as soon as the bottom is cooked enough to be flipped.
After flipping you can carefully flatten the flipped pancakes a bit to make them a little flatter so the cook faster
Keep flipping the pancakes until cooked through (feel free to cut one in half to check if not sure) making sure the surface does not burn.
Because of the ingredients and being thicker, these take longer than normal thin pancakes of course.
Serve with some sour cream. Leftovers freeze well for a later meal.
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