Quick Meals

The 10-Minute Meal (in 5 Super-Easy Steps)
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What to fix for dinner when you're short on time or energy but expected to whip up a tasty, nutritious meal? That can be especially challenging with a fussy eater or one who can't chew or swallow well.

This simple mix-and-match combination will keep a steady stream of pleasing meals coming to your table.

  1. Start with chopped meat or fish of your choice (such as ground beef, lean beef, pork, sole, salmon, tuna) and cook in olive oil in a pan on the stovetop.

  2. Add the vegetable(s) of your choice, such as onion, broccoli, mushrooms, sweet peppers, pea pods, and so on.

  3. At the same time, cook the carb of your choice -- rice, pasta, diced potatoes, or another grain, such as farro or barley -- in the microwave.

  4. Add a sauce, if you like, to the protein-veggie combo, such as tomato, Alfredo, or cheese. Or add a little more olive oil with vinaigrette.

  5. Add the herbs and seasonings of your choice (such as parsley, chives, oregano, pepper, salt) and then mix everything together.

If your loved one doesn't like spicy or seasoned foods, set a portion aside for him or her before you season. Dice the meat and veggies finely for someone who has difficulty with swallowing or chewing. The sauce tends to make the dish easier to get down. And it's a great way to get a little protein into a finicky eater.


almost 4 years ago, said...

My problem is coming up with something new every day as my friend Tony doesn't necessairly like the same thing I do, and I'm tired of cooking something tasty for him and then going home and eating Ramen noodles because he got the good stuff! And he doesn't like leftovers...not that I tell him that's what he's getting! Any ideas???? Thanks


almost 4 years ago, said...

Ok Keifer - if you don't respect Mercola (but who owns the New York Times?), here is another article that cites many studies regarding concerns about microwaves: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/health-hazards-to-know-about/microwave-ovens-the-proven-dangers. Clearly there are many others, not just "one man." Sorry I didn't respond sooner! Things with my mother have been a little busy:)


about 4 years ago, said...

Thank you for this! This is a wonderful as a basic recipe where one can use his/her imagination to change it to their liking and/or use what is on hand.


about 4 years ago, said...

Just knowing that I can throw veggies and sauce to make the food going down easier and adding a carb. I thank you very much, Anita


about 4 years ago, said...

CherishEachDay - You are entitled to believe one man's writings, unsupported by any objective research. I prefer to share information that has been validated by more reputable sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/health/17real.html


about 4 years ago, said...

Keifer 1301 - the US Food & Drug Administration is notoriously behind in enacting the best health standards. They are beholden to agro-business and big pharmaceuticals with many conflicts of interest on their board, etc.. even when there are respected studies that contradict their statements. Because of the political shenanigans, it often takes lawsuits and public action to get them to do their oversight job...sadly. Please read the article I provided in my first comment for more up-to-date information on this topic.


about 4 years ago, said...

Something I find incredibly useful to me is to make something slightly complex (to make) way ahead of time and freeze it so I can just throw it in the oven to warm up on days when I don't feel like cooking. One recipe that's always worked for me is an individually portioned meat loaf recipe I got from Food Network host Ina Garten (from her show "Barefoot Contessa"). I buy large quantities of ground beef from Sam's Club, the rest of the ingredients from my supermarket, get home, make double or triple the amounts the recipe calls for, let the loaves cool after taking them out of the oven, and wrap them two per package (one for Mom and one for me) in heavy duty foil before sticking them in my freezer. Then on meat loaf days, I stick them in the oven and make Betty Crocker instant mashed potatoes and either a package of microwaved steamed veggies or steamed fresh veggies, e.g. carrots. Another thing I like to do is to make soup but in large quantities so we can have soup on the day itself and then have soup for up to three additional meals. My family is of Mexican descent so we're talking about caldo de res with big chunks of cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and onions or sopa de pollo with zucchini, potatoes, and carrots, both flavored with onions, fresh garlic, cilantro, and a splash of tomato sauce and paired with "Mexican" rice or corn tortillas and guacamole. On days when we feel like soup I could always take out a container from the freezer the evening before, defrost it in the fridge, take it out, heat it up on the stove, and serve. Mmm, now I'm hungry for soup. Or meat loaf.


about 4 years ago, said...

helpful....very and healthy eating indeed. Keep them coming.


about 4 years ago, said...

Outlined what I need to do to fix a quick meal and still have it healthy.


about 4 years ago, said...

Responding to CherishEachDay: "Microwave cooking does not reduce the nutritional value of foods any more than conventional cooking. In fact, foods cooked in a microwave oven may keep more of their vitamins and minerals, because microwave ovens can cook more quickly and without adding water." US Food and Drug Administration ("http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/ResourcesforYouRadiationEmittingProducts/ucm252762.htm")


about 4 years ago, said...

1) Chopping veggies takes extra time and that is not inlcuded as a step 2) Cooking in the microwave is not healthy. It diminishes the nutrition in the food more than other kinds of cooking: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/18/microwave-hazards.aspx (includes studies and sources)


about 4 years ago, said...

I'd strongly recommend getting an electric rice cooker for steaming not only rice but vegetables, barley, quinoa, etc. I turn it on before I start preparing the main dish. Depending on how much rice or whatever you have in the pot, it should be done within a half hour, right about when you're finished cooking your stir fry. Also, most rice cookers have a warm setting so your rice will stay hot until you're ready to serve. Mine has been a godsend on those busy days when doctors' appointments overlap with errands and unexpected housecleaning "disasters." I also start it before I take off to pick up Asian takeout: the rice is done just as I'm coming through the door!


about 4 years ago, said...

I would fo with the wonderful Uncle Ben's 90 second rice dishes in a pouch. They have all kinds of flavors but also plain white, brown or wild rice. 90 seconds and done! We love them!


about 4 years ago, said...

Not sure I would cook ground beef in O.O. but all other meat, yes. And I do like Keifer's suggestion of boiling your carb vs. microwaving. But thanks for sharing this super-quick idea!!! C:


about 4 years ago, said...

Overall, a useful column. My one quibble regards cooking pasta in a microwave. I've tried it, and it works, but will take longer than ten minutes. Cooking the "carb of your choice" in a separate pot would keep the meal within the ten-minute timeline.