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View Full Version : What are your "Im not cooking dinner" dinners?



alexsmom
02-28-2017, 07:35 PM
I need some slacker inspiration, please.

What are the quickest, easiest things you fix for your family when youre not in the mood, or too busy / tired to prepare a typical meal?

Im coming off a flu, so have exhausted my normal standbys.
Spaghetti with (frozen) meatballs (Rebranded: Turkeyballs!) is one at our house.
Sausage (not breakfast) wrapped in crescent rolls is our other. I rebranded it as CMOT Dibblers SausageInnaBun, because surely adding a Pratchett reference makes it more interesting? Or if not, can blame it on CMOT.

Mariam
02-28-2017, 07:56 PM
DS has his own meals that are super easy because he eats about 10 different items in different combinations.

For DH and I the super-easy meals are:

Frozen burritos
Tomato soup with sandwich or crackers
Ramen soup with whatever leftover meat in the fridge/freezer and frozen veg
Pasta and sauce

It sounds like we live in a college dorm. :)

But we make our own frozen meals for ourselves too. So frequently, as long as I remember to take something out of the freezer, I have a heat and serve meal already in the fridge.

farrarwilliams
02-28-2017, 08:25 PM
Frozen pizza and salad
Roasted red pepper and tomato soup and grilled cheese
Trader Joe's Mandarin Chicken with green beans and rice
Spaghetti and Trader Joe's meatballs and a salad
Easy protein (meatballs, kielbasa) + green beans or salad or asparagus + frozen bread rolls
Bacon or sausage and eggs with fruit
Roast chicken from Costco + green beans + rolls from Costco
Frozen fish sticks with roasted potatoes and fresh cole slaw
Hot dogs and fruit salad
Chopped salads with bacon and cheese

There are others, but that's the basics... There's also the related category of 20 minute meals that involve more hands on time like...

Chili
Homemade ramen
Burgers and roasted potatoes
Chicken sandwiches and roasted potatoes
Homemade fried rice
Stir fry and rice or noodles
Chicken noodle soup

TFZ
02-28-2017, 08:36 PM
Broiler food:
Frozen meatball sandwiches under the broiler
Tuna Melts
Chicken Breast skewers - 8 min under the broiler
Cheesy garlic bread under the broiler (hot dog buns) with marinara to dip

Breakfast food:
Eggs
Waffles
Waffles/eggs
Eggs/waffles

Or PBJs

Carmaline
02-28-2017, 11:32 PM
Frozen pizza
Annie's mac and cheese
Slow cooker meals
If I'm really in a no cook mood, I point the family in the direction of the pantry and fridge, with a "lots of luck" thrown in for good measure.:)

MissLemon
03-01-2017, 12:43 AM
Frozen pizza, or Chicken and Rice in the instant pot.

Honestly, anything in the Instant Pot is good for people that hate cooking. Love that thing!

aselvarial
03-01-2017, 12:53 AM
frozen pizza is the fall back for us. Or, throw something in the instant pot and 45 minutes later eat

Luv2HS
03-01-2017, 05:10 AM
frozen pizza; frozen chicken wontons w/ rice and salad or veggie; salmon from costco w/ rice and salad/veggie; LEFTOVERS!

Deli76
03-01-2017, 08:52 AM
A crockpot meal...so easy. Put some potatoes veggies a meat and some water and I dont have to touch it after that. But my first go to is spagghetti.

RTB
03-01-2017, 09:11 AM
Bean and cheese toastadas
Egg and potato or bean and rice burritos
Beef and cabbage stir fry from Budget Byte$ (https://www.budgetbytes.com/2017/02/southwest-beef-cabbage-stir-fry/) I use a packet of taco seasoning as a short cut vs all the spices listed.
Pasta and marinara or pesto
Some type of cracker or toast toppings (nut butter, hummus, cheese, avocado) with fruit
Roasted chickpea gyros (http://www.liveeatlearn.com/roasted-chickpea-gyros/) with homemade tzatziki (I make mine less spicy than the recipe so the kids will eat it)
Worst case - cereal

Oksana
03-01-2017, 01:10 PM
I guess, all of my dinners are 'lazy' dinners, because I do not even attempt anything that takes more than 20-30 min of my direct time ever since my first child was born.

- grilled/broiled hamburgers/cheeseburgers with a salad
- grilled/broiled steak or pork chops with a salad
- grilled broiled salmon/halibut/tuna with a salad
- rotisserie chicken - home-made or store-bought with roasted potatoes
- roasted chicken legs/thighs with roasted potatoes
- stir-fry with whatever combination of meats and veggies I have
- sauteed sausage and whatever veggies I have
- lemon-butter-garlic shrimp or white fish
- chili and chili-like combinations of meats, beans and veggies
- curry-like creations from meat/fish and veggies

Worse-case scenario - cheesy noodles or buttery wild rice for kids and frozen meatballs or spoonfuls of peanut butter for myself.

...and loads of fruits/berries.

P.S. We prefer to stay low carb, so meats/fish/veggies/fruits are our main options.

fastweedpuller
03-01-2017, 01:37 PM
Popcorn is a meal at our house. So's toast.

I believe completely in the theory that meals can be skipped, so if we don't have time for honest food, we can always put popcorn kernels in the popper or bread in the toaster. Then you can forage for fruit or yogurt later.

Topsy
03-01-2017, 07:32 PM
Stir fry! I put sesame oil in the large wok-size skillet I have, and throw in whatever we happen to have on hand. If the meat is frozen or uncooked, I start with it and add some broth into the skillet and cook the meat for about 15 mins or so until mostly cooked through. Then comes the veggies. Little more sesame oil or olive oil, and then whatever veggies are in the crisper go into the skillet. Celery, thinly sliced carrots, onion, asparagus, fennel...just whatever is on hand. Of course, seasoning with s&p and my favorite garlic and herb mix as it cooks. If I feel like boiling some rice while this is happening, then we have rice, if not, just serve it with chunks of bread. Supper is usually ready in 20-25 mins this way.

TFZ
03-01-2017, 08:52 PM
I guess, all of my dinners are 'lazy' dinners, because I do not even attempt anything that takes more than 20-30 min of my direct time ever since my first child was born.

- grilled/broiled hamburgers/cheeseburgers with a salad
- grilled/broiled steak or pork chops with a salad
- grilled broiled salmon/halibut/tuna with a salad
- rotisserie chicken - home-made or store-bought with roasted potatoes
- roasted chicken legs/thighs with roasted potatoes
- stir-fry with whatever combination of meats and veggies I have
- sauteed sausage and whatever veggies I have
- lemon-butter-garlic shrimp or white fish
- chili and chili-like combinations of meats, beans and veggies
- curry-like creations from meat/fish and veggies

Worse-case scenario - cheesy noodles or buttery wild rice for kids and frozen meatballs or spoonfuls of peanut butter for myself.

...and loads of fruits/berries.

P.S. We prefer to stay low carb, so meats/fish/veggies/fruits are our main options.

This is pretty much exactly how we eat - except no shrimp because DH is allergic. No cooking cooking. Lol. If it takes longer than 25 minutes we're not going to eat it.

Zombxx
03-04-2017, 03:13 PM
Thanks to you guys, I have just purchased an instant pot, which I hadn't even heard of. :D

muddylilly
03-04-2017, 04:12 PM
In actual answer to your "I'm not cooking" question....Cereal (Cheerios or SpecialK). If they get freeze dried strawberries or they feel like peeling a banana, I call it balanced. :)
Quick cook...Egg McMuffin-style homemade sandwiches.

Petrel
03-06-2017, 04:54 PM
Tortillas get a LOT of play in these situations here. They're great for whipping up quick: cheese quesadillas (with or without chicken, olives, and/or tomatoes), fish stick "tacos" with lettuce, PB&strawberry wraps, egg/cheese/ham/bacon/"fake"on/sausage/"faux"sage wraps, hot dogs in a blanket.

Instant oatmeal or Cream of Wheat, with fruit and hard-boiled eggs or Morningstar proteins.

My eldest (12) can whip up tuna salad or nuked omelettes (he's still a little freaked out re:the gas range, not that I blame him), which is great if I'm sick and the husband isn't around.

Mariam
04-17-2017, 02:19 PM
This has provided some much need inspiration right now. :)

jcketal
10-05-2017, 08:59 AM
My husband prepared grilled king fished with butter & lemon. We also ordered pizza for our girls.

crunchynerd
11-15-2017, 11:52 PM
Even gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free eating can be done slackerly! We had a weeklong power outtage recently, and I discovered a new depth of scraping together food they could all eat, out of things that require little or no prep!

Simply Lays are too salty for my taste, but at potatoes, salt, and sunflower oil, are on the menu as a starch.
Canned plain vegetables like green beans, kidney beans, and spinach, are fine in a pinch, when you have no power. When you have power, frozen are even better.

Natural Peanut butter and bananas make a good breakfast. If you have power, you can mash them together and microwave them into insta-cake. Add cacao powder and you have 3-ingredient insta-browie-in-a-mug, which happens to be loaded with potassium, protein, fiber-rich carbs, healthy fats, and magnesium from the cacao.

There is nothing wrong with pouring hot water into instant mashed potatoes and stirring canned vegetables and leftover meat into it, and eating it out of a bowl. With ketchup if it makes it taste better.

And raw broccoli is crunchy, and if dipped in mustard with sugar or honey stirred in, becomes a "snack tray" to munch on. Can also do that with any raw veg in the fridge: cauliflower, carrots, cukes...I can tell the kids "Prep a veggie tray with dip!" and they can do it on their own. Then they all tend to eat more veg than they would otherwise because competition creeps in, when it's a communal plate.

That power outtage helped me lower my standards and see that we all survived. Previously, the "I don't want to cook" dinner was usually leftovers from my deliberately making a hot "double lunch" with the intention of having instant-reheat dinner made ahead of time, with the same effort that lunch took.

But now? I have learned that if necessary, everyone can live on oatmeal, apples dipped in peanut butter, and a bag of potato chips, for dinner. Or else a bowl full of chopped lettuce onto which canned drained kidney beans are dumped, along with whatever toppings each person wants or can have, which might be cheese, sliced avocado if we have avocados, salsa, sunflower seeds, leftover sliced cold meat, or other veg like tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, spinach leaves, you name it. Whatever we have that sounds good.

I try to keep something in the fridge like cooked rice or boiled potatoes, to build a quick one-skillet or one-bowl meal from, and always save meat juice for soup base.
That way, when I have more leftovers than anything else in the fridge, usually by the end of the week, it all goes into the soup pot along with all reserved meat broths, and we have Soup For Dinner, sometimes with rice or rice noodles in it.

MapleHillAcademy
11-16-2017, 07:43 AM
We also lose power for long stints at a time living so far out in boonies. If there is a wide spread power outage like we had a couple of winters ago during a freak snow storm that dumped as much snow in one night as we typically get in a year, we can be without power for a week or more. Or it can be sunny, not a cloud in the sky and the power goes out because they are horrible about keeping limbs trimmed away from power lines around here. :mad:

Dh often has cereal for dinner when I just can't bring myself to cook or we have no electricity at dinner time. Quesadillas are another quick and simple dinner. Sometimes I make them with two tortillas, put one in a dry pan (no oil) put some meat and cheese on it. When it is about ready to be turned, I put another tortilla on top, flip it like a pancake and immediately sprinkle a little extra cheese on top and let the second tortilla brown a little. Take it out of the pan, cut it into pizza slices and you have "Mexican pizza", lol! We have a little butane burner that is rated for indoor use and requires no electricity so we use it a lot when the electricity won't cooperate at dinner time. Trying to boil a pot of water on it will eat up a can of butane in no time flat but something like scrambled eggs or quesadillas is doable.

While not an "I'm not cooking" meal but still quick and easy is ground beef stroganoff. Brown ground beef, dried minced onions (or chop an onion, I keep dried minced onion on hand though. Onion powder is another option if you want less work lol) and a little garlic powder and pepper to taste (I like it heavy on the pepper). Drain, return to the pan and add a can of cream of mushroom soup (or equivalent homemade), 1 cup of water and a beef bullion cube (or 1 cup beef broth). Whisk to combine, bring to boil and then reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally. While it is simmering, cook some egg noodles according to the package directions. When noodles are done, drain the water off, check on the your meat mixture, if it hasn't reduced and thickened enough to your liking (it should be gravy like), add a little bit of cornstarch slurry (spoonful of cornstarch and enough water to make it liquid) and whisk well while still over the heat used for simmering. Serve over the egg noodles. I usually make green beans to go with this and dh likes to have garlic bread with it too if we have it.

With our various food allergies, most notably my anaphylactic tomato allergy, I can't use boxed "Helper" type meals so I make all kinds of homemade versions. They come together just as quickly as the boxed ones and are cheaper. Cheeseburger, lasagna (I use pureed roasted red peppers in place of tomato sauce) and taco are favorites around here. I have an oriental version I'm getting ready to try.

Chicken and rice or chicken and noodles which literally are just chicken breasts, boiled in broth then chopped (I usually leave pretty big but still bite size chunks), added back to the pot with egg noodles or rice and usually frozen peas and carrots and boiled until everything is cooked through. Quick, easy comfort food that isn't too terrible health wise.

My kids love chicken tortilla soup in the crockpot, though I can't eat it due to allergies. Just dump 2 cans diced tomatoes (with or without green chiles, liquid and all), 2 cans pinto or black beans undrained, 1 can chopped green chiles if you didn't use tomatoes with green chiles and a cup of salsa or picante sauce. Put one or two chicken breasts in (frozen is fine) Cook all day on low or if starting at lunch time on high. Just before serving, remove chicken breasts and chop or shred (if you have a stand mixer, put them in the bowl, straight from the crockpot, with a paddle attachment and run on medium speed until shredded), return chicken to crock pot and stir. Top individual bowls with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.

Mariam
11-16-2017, 11:25 AM
We also lose power for long stints at a time living so far out in boonies. If there is a wide spread power outage like we had a couple of winters ago during a freak snow storm that dumped as much snow in one night as we typically get in a year, we can be without power for a week or more. Or it can be sunny, not a cloud in the sky and the power goes out because they are horrible about keeping limbs trimmed away from power lines around here. :mad:


On another note - how to you prepare your food? This is a concern of mine, as our winters keep getting worse.

MapleHillAcademy
11-16-2017, 12:59 PM
On another note - how to you prepare your food? This is a concern of mine, as our winters keep getting worse.

We have this butane burner (https://www.amazon.com/Iwatani-Corporation-America-ZA-3HP-Portable/dp/B006H42TVG) that does not require any electricity, just cans of butane which we keep on hand. It is rated for indoor use but we usually crack a window open just a little while it is running just to be safe.

We have also used the grill outside to heat water over a fire or "bake" meals wrapped in tin foil. We want to eventually install a wood stove for both heat and the ability to cook on it in a pinch. On my someday list is a screened porch with a built in outdoor kitchen that could be used during a power outage. Something like this (http://www.eatdrinksetx.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Outdoor-Kitchen-Nederland-Texas.jpg), but screened in.

Above and beyond that, we are looking into a generator, most people around here have at least a small one. But we will probably use the non-electric options to cook still, generators are expensive to run long term. Also Grandma, who lives next door, has a propane stove so if we want to actually bake something, we can go to her house and do it. It's an older one so no electricity needed to light it if the pilot goes out for some reason.

Our biggest problem when the power goes out isn't cooking, it's water lol! We are on a well and when the power goes out, the pump can't run. No pump means no running water once the pressure tank is depleted and that doesn't take much! I want to get a solar pump with battery back up. They are really expensive though so for now we just keep jugs of water on hand.

Erielle
02-16-2018, 02:33 PM
Chili (made in the instant pot)
Chicken tortilla soup (also made in the instant pot)
Tacos/burritos
Breakfast burritos/scramble
Fried eggs over spinach w/ a side of bacon or sausage
"Mock" eggs benedict w/ spinach & tomato
Chicken wings w/ roasted potatoes & veggie sticks
Hot sandwich w/ soup or chips
A big salad w/ ham/bacon, cheese, and chopped hard-boiled egg
Cheeseboard (w/ cheese, crackers, hard salami, some fruits & veggies/olives/pickles)
Churrasco w/ a side salad & guacamole
Caldo de pollo
Cheese quesadillas