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Topic: AH! what to cook when you're a newlywed with NO time!!!!  (Read 3285 times)
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TazFromOz
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2010 11:41:18 PM »

Rossie's right, stirfrys are about as quick as it gets, and they have the added bonus of being a balanced meal.  I use the stir-through noodles when I'm in a hurry, and make a sauce.  Soy and honey or sweet chilli sauce is nice, as is soy and oyster sauce with garlic (I use the minced garlic in jars because it's nearly as good and much, much, easier).  I am working and studying too and do a lot of stirfrys and pre-prepared meals.  It doesn't hurt to have some frozen vegies in the freezer either - they're pretty cheap and healthy.

Some things I always have as meals / snacks.

I cook up a large batch of rice - I use my rice cooker, there is a microwave recipe on here that works well.  Brown rice is tastier and healthier so I mostly use that.  Preparation time about 2 minutes (including cleaning the rice) and you can do as many serves as you like.  I freeze some in 1 meal serving sizes ready to microwave (1-2 minutes) and use the rest to make riceballs.

When buying meat I buy in bulk and then freeze in single serving sizes (you might want to use double serving sizes).

Riceballs - a good healthy after school / work / morning tea savory snack.  Balanced and healthy.
I just add a big (410g) tin of tuna and whatever vegies I feel like (I usually steam the microwave so it doesn't take much time).  Carrots, peas, corn, are my usual staples with mashed pumpkin and / or sweet potato to hold it all together.
I make it into balls (just pop a handful into a coffee mug and bounce it around in there).  Then I wrap it in cling-wrap and freeze.
You can take them to Uni or work for lunch, snacks, etc - you'll need a microwave to defrost / heat them though.

You can serve some rice and one of those small flavoured tins of tuna (my favourite is tomato and onion) as a simple meal too.  They are easy to take to work / uni as well.

I often cook and freeze soups or casseroles as well.  They just need to be defrosted, and I usually try and make them balanced when I cook them.  If you want to tart it up when serving have some croutons and / or bacon chips in the freezer and defrost a few and serve with a dollop of cream or sour cream.

Pre-prepared or instant pasta sauce is also good to have on hand and can be served with pasta (about 15 minutes to cook and prepare), or add a whisked egg and some baby spinach (perhaps with some of the defrosted bacon chips mentioned earlier) to the drained pasta and stir through (the heat of the pasta should cook the egg) to make carbonara.

I sometimes use my steamer to cook some carrot and broccoli while poaching an egg in the bottom saucepan.  Sometimes I have add dumplings to the steamer as well (the cook from frozen in about 10 minutes, are cheap (if you get them from the right asian grocery, and not too unhealthy when steamed).  It's a balanced meal (protein - dumplings and / or the egg, vege, etc).  The egg and carrot taste awesome with soy sauce so I just dribble it over everything.

There are millions of recipes, these are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Your freezer and microwave will be your best friends!
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auroravioletta
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2010 07:23:02 AM »

Just curious... If you're working full time AND going to school, why are you the one worrying about cooking? It seems like a situation in which sharing or handing over that responsibility would be appropriate.

Also, I second the slow-cooker idea. I don't cook much, but when I use the slow cooker, it's easy (less intimidating for me), fast (and then you let it sit all day), and almost always delicious. Mine only cost 15$. Also, the best slow-cooker cookbook I have tried is Lora Brody's "Slow Cooker Cooking." The caramelized onions are amazing...
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2010 09:55:03 AM »

I will also speak the wonders of the slow-cooker. It takes less than 10 minutes to get ready in the morning and is delicious by dinner time. If you get the slow-cooker liners (they're with the aluminum foil and stuff at the grocery store) clean-up is super easy too.

I make the steam in a bag vegetables a lot. They cost about the same as normal frozen veggies, and you just throw them in the microwave for a few minutes and have tasty veggies.
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2010 10:43:34 AM »

Get yourself a crock pot. 

This is a MUST!!! Haha!
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Idle Hands
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2010 12:54:28 AM »

Below is a yummy pot roast recipe for the crock pot.  I don't like the thick slime like gravy that happens when adding the cornstarch so I leave off that part. 

I've had really good luck with this one.  I assemble everything the night before and put the ceramic part of the crock pot in the fridge.  Right before I leave for work I put the ceramic part on the electric base and turn it on LOW.  I've got dinner done when I walk in the door.  Just be careful doing this if there's any pets in the house that might try to mess with the crock pot while the humans are gone.

Serves: 6

3 to 3 1/2 pounds beef chuck pot roast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (I use Lawry's)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 onion cut into 8 wedges
3 carrots cut into 1" slices
4 potatoes cut into 8ths
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons cornstarch  + 1/4 c water (optional)

Trim visible fat from beef and rub with seasonings.
Place vegetables in bottom of crock pot.
Pour broth over vegetables.
Place seasoned beef on top of vegetables.
Cover and cook on LOW until beef and vegetables are tender, about 8 or 9 hours.
For a thick gravy dissolve cornstarch in water, add to cooker, cover & cook on HIGH 15-20 min.
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Hey_Cinderella
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2010 09:41:11 AM »

If you can get your hands on a pressure cooker, for me that is a must. I'm much more of a last minute person as opposed to a plan in advance person so pressure cookers are better for me than slow cookers. I toss in a roast or ham steak with cut carrots (or baby carrots to save time) cut potatos, cabbage (if doing ham) and maybe a halved onion or some garlic cloves, add water cover and it takes about 30 minutes to have dinner on the table. You just bring to high pressure, reduce the heat to keep it going at a moderate pressure and cook for 20 minutes. Simple.

I also found this great recipe recently: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/12/thick-and-hearty-split-pea-soup.html it's for an awesome split pea soup that can also be made in about 30 minutes via the pressure cooker. It's vegan, but I am not so I added bacon instead of liquid smoke and it worked out great.

As for a non pressure cooked meal my husband loves I make croque madame. It's basically a grilled ham and swiss sandwich. You then top it with more cheese, put it in the oven to melt it more, fry an egg and when the sandwich has melted top it with the egg and some white sauce if you like. Rachel Ray makes has a great recipe for a nutmeg sauce for the top: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/croque-madame-recipe/index.html.

Hope this helps! I know how you feel, I'm in roughly the same boat.

C
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BoxOfRocks
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2010 07:17:50 PM »

Just curious... If you're working full time AND going to school, why are you the one worrying about cooking? It seems like a situation in which sharing or handing over that responsibility would be appropriate.

Agreed.

I like whipping up large batches of quinoa mixed with ground turkey breast, veggies, and canned beans.  High protein, healthful (remember to rinse off salt form canned products), and pretty quick.

Whenever you get a chance, make larger batches of sauces, cut up meats, vegetables, etc.  Throw them in labeled freezer bags for future use.

Personally, I'm not opposed to mixing canned or frozen veggies or beans with fresh stuff, particularly on weeknights. 
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Pentoon
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2010 05:03:35 PM »

I'm a full time student with two kids - so I know how hectic it can get!

One thing that I do is make a huge pan of soup, any recipe, though I tend to do root vegetable (I just chop up some sweet potatoes, swede, carrots, onion, herbs, parsnips and celeriac and boil them together in some chicken stock and when they're soft enough I blend the hell out of it). It's great for a quick veggie fix. Once it's cooled I put some in the fridge and the rest i freeze in individual portions. Really good when it's cold weather, sprinkle a little cayenne or paprika to add a little kick. To make it a full meal I serve it with garlic bread.

I also make huge lasagnes and shepherds pies and use them two days running.

For a lighter meal I really love warm feta salad. Just cut some feta into cubes, about an inch square. Cover them with olive oil, garlic and some roemary and thyme, if you've got it. Cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge for at least two hours. Then spread on a shallow baking dish, you can pop some cherry tomatoes in there too, if you like. Put it in an oven at about 180 degrees celsius (sorry, I don't know the conversion) fo about fifteen mins. If the feta hasn't browned a quick blast under the grill will sort it. Then serve in with your favourite salasy bits, I like to use mixed leaves and olives.
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cookielynn
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2010 11:02:01 AM »

I have the same problem. We were doing ok for awhile after we first moved in together, but then we were both working until 11pm or midnight, and cooking dinner became way too much of a hassle. It's been over a year since we worked that late, but I guess my cooking habits are completely lost. (For now.)

Of course, my problem is further complicated by the fact that we are both vegetarian, yet he doesn't like vegetable. I'm getting very tired of pizza and pasta, but he never seems to.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2010 05:02:11 PM »

I have the same problem. We were doing ok for awhile after we first moved in together, but then we were both working until 11pm or midnight, and cooking dinner became way too much of a hassle. It's been over a year since we worked that late, but I guess my cooking habits are completely lost. (For now.)

Of course, my problem is further complicated by the fact that we are both vegetarian, yet he doesn't like vegetable. I'm getting very tired of pizza and pasta, but he never seems to.  Roll Eyes

Hmm, that's hard. My BF wasn't a huge vegetable fan when we were first dating, so I would make veggies just for me, but slowly he started to eat more of them.
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