I hate to be a short-order cook, but sometimes my husband and I have very different tastes when it comes to dinner. If it were up to him, he’d eat Chinese food every single night, and if it were up to me, I’d eat pizza and spaghetti.
I don’t cook separate meals for us every night, but on certain nights when I’m craving Italian food, I’ll make Austin something else that’s quick and easy so that I’m not in the kitchen any longer than usual. I thought I’d share a peek at what those kind of nights look like, in case you’re in a similar situation and need a fast meal idea– whether you’re cooking for one or for a whole family.
The key to quick meals in my house is preparing ahead and taking advantage of our freezer. I’ll often prepare a double batch of our meals and freeze the other half for an easy meal in the future. Last week I made my Red Pepper Cream Sauce over sweet potato noodles, but I made a double-batch of the sauce and froze it in an ice cube tray (you can also use these awesome silicone trays that come with a lid). I love freezing sauce into cubes because it makes the sauce really easy to re-heat later in any portion size you need.
When I needed a meal for Austin last night, I emptied half of the frozen sauce cubes into a sauce pan over medium heat and added half a bag of frozen veggies. The frozen items started thawing in the pan while I prepared my dinner, which was a simple sauté of red onion, bell peppers, shredded cabbage and leftover pizza sauce– a cabbage “spaghetti,” if you will. I had both dinners cooking at the same time, and once the frozen stuff melted I added in a cup of cooked quinoa (which we always have ready in the fridge) and some chopped chicken to Austin’s meal. Everything ends up being warm and tender all at the same time, with only about 10 minutes of total effort. Win, win!
If you haven’t tried using shredded cabbage as a veggie-based “noodle,” I highly recommend it. When you buy it pre-shredded, it’s faster than using a spiralizer and has a less-watery texture when compared to other cooked veggie noodles, like zucchini or spaghetti squash.
Come to think of it, a lot of the meals I eat on a regular basis are ready in less than 10 minutes. As much as I love cooking, I don’t want to spend my whole day in the kitchen, so I like to take a few minutes over the weekend to prepare ahead of time. I always make a double-batch of salad dressing each weekend so that my lunch salads during the week can come together in no time, and my smoothies each morning are always ready in 5 minutes or less. Thankfully Austin will share my smoothies with me, so that’s an easy thing to make for the two of us each day.
For more time-saving tips, be sure to check out page 12 in Everyday Detox!
Reader Feedback: Do you ever make separate meals for your family? What are your family’s favorite meals to share?