Thursday, December 10, 2009
My favorite non-fast food quick eats
Whenever I'm in Valdosta (the nearest city from where I live) I just have to drive through Taco Bell (yeah, shoot me!) for my Seven layer burrito and/or some tostadas...with the hottest hot sauce! I love Mexican food and although this is not really authentic mexican cuisine (I know, my name used to be Figueroa!) it's the quickest fix for one of my favorite tastes.
So, when I'm rushing around, here are a few things I like to make on my way out the door to avoid overbuying in the grocery store or eating at a fast food joint:
1. PB&P (that's peanut butter and pickle) sandwich. (I always buy smooth and always light whole wheat.)
2. Mock BLT using Bac-Os or similar soy bacon flavored chips in place of bacon
...and if you have just a few more minutes of time to spare (about 20 min) before you have to leave, this is a tasty and quick hot meal solution:
3. Ultra quick chow mein using ramen noodles and cabbage.
I usually always have cabbage, celery, carrots and bell peppers on hand, so that works well for this dish. I just put a little water in my trusty cooking pot, then use the chicken granules from the ramen noodles or you could use some canned chicken stock if you have it handy. The trick is to not use too much water because you don't want soup - you basically want pretty much all the water gone by the time this dish is finished. You can always check and add a little more as the dish cooks.
While that heats, chop your cabbage rather finely (I like the long thin strips so they mix well with the noodles) and chop up a little celery, maybe some long carrot peels (using the vegetable peeler on your cleaned and peeled carrot) for making nice, long strips, maybe a bit of thinly sliced bell pepper - put it in your chicken broth and give that a head start to cook down a little (but not all the way. The goal here is to cook the veggies so that they are semi-crunchy (as in stir fry.)
During the last 3 minutes or so, place your ramen noodle pack in your pot and nestle it in there with the veggies. Put some hot veggies on top to help it cook quicker. Just another few minutes later you will have a nice hot meal (for now and later) that you can enhance with a little soy sauce, hot sauce or some fresh, chopped, green onion or cilantro (if you have it.) After plating, I like to sprinkle some sunflower seeds on top for crunch and protein instead of my usual toasted sesame seeds when I make the authentic stir fry version.
As you can see, this fresh veggie dish leaves lots of room for augmentation and the sky's the limit, as long as it's fresh. Just thought I'd share a couple of quick meals so you don't have to do the fast food thing all the time.
Oh, be sure and employ your crockpot. It's the perfect time to pull it out and use it again - especially as a working parent with a family to feed. It worked wonders for me when I was there and did that.
Have a blessed season and remember to slow down just a little and avoid switching to auto pilot. Granny was right in saying: "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
REMEMBER: Safety first! You'll get there eventually - just be sure you get there alive and all in one piece!