Quick Recipes and Easy

Three-Day Recipe Blitz!

Get ready for a recipe blitz. It’s not dirt cheap, nor is it fancy, but it’s cheaper than convenience foods, nearly as quick and takes advantage of excellent condiments. We find that cheap basic food (like rice and beans) with a small expensive condiment (like Indian pickles or really excellent mustard) makes you feel like you’ve eaten well and is still affordable.

Quick Night #1: Lentils and rice
Make enough lentils and rice to feed your family with a excellent amount left over. For our 2-adults-plus-toddler family, I make a cup each of rice and lentils, dry. I have a rice cooker, so off that goes, and the lentils get underway in a huge saucepan. While the lentils are cooking in their pot, we chop up a small onion and as much garlic as we reckon we can stand, then brown that up in a small olive oil.

When the lentils are done (but not too done), drain them and add a small excellent olive oil, the onion stuff and salt/pepper to taste. Serve with the rice, cottage cheese, raw tomato and (here’s the secret ingredient) Indian pickles and/or chutney. We like Pataks garlic pickle and curried fruit chutney. If you have an Asian market in your area, look for Indian condiments there; just about every supermarket carries some form of chutney, though. Try to get a bit of everything on your fork. Lentils cook much quicker than you reckon, we time them out at about 20 minutes if they haven’t sat on your cupboard shelf for the last three years. Don’t let them get completely mushy; then they’re yucky.

Quicker Night #2: Sausage and potatoes
This is the most expensive night of the blitz. Be on the lookout for a excellent deal on sausage links, especially chicken. If you live in Trader Joes territory, this isn’t hard. A “excellent price” to me is around $3.99/lb, and for our family of four, a pound and a half works out to be just right for one blitz.

Slice up 3 potatoes for every two people into quarters. Start up a excellent size pot of boiling water (but not too much; enough to cover your sausages and taters). Throw the sausages and potatoes into the pot and cook them til they’re done. Now, this is vital: SAVE THE WATER. It is now a lovely sausagey-potatoey broth. Place it in the fridge, or the freezer if you’re not going on to night #3. Take those potatoes and some sliced up garlic cloves and enough of the cooking broth to get things going and smash them. Serve with really excellent mustard (like Plochmans…mmm!) and a green salad.

Fastest Night #3: Revenge of the leftovers soup
…aka Refrigerator Soup Version 1.0 (you will run into Refrigerator Soup a lot around here). You will be amazed how quick this goes together. Get out the cooking water/broth from last night and the leftover lentils and rice from the night before, along with a can of stewed tomatoes (the Italian kind stewed with herbs is excellent but any kind will do). Throw the whole shebang, canning liquid and all, into a pot. Well–place just enough sausage broth in to make a soup. Save the rest for another time in the freezer.

If you have any leftover sausages, just chop them up and throw them in along with the leftover mashed potatoes. Yes, really. They’ll give the soup some body. (This is also a excellent place to throw in any other leftovers lying around. Try to reckon ahead: Would these items taste excellent together?) Heat it all up, add some salt and pepper, and ta-da: REALLY excellent soup. In about 10 minutes. And it tastes like you worked really hard on it! And it’s practically free–we price it at 44 cents for the can of stewed tomatoes on sale! Imagine if I had my kitchen garden in and canned the tomatoes myself.

Lynn Siprelle is the editor of The New Homemaker ( thenewhomemaker.com thenewhomemaker.com)–a secular source of news and support for stay-at-home parents and caregivers since 1999. The New Homemaker covers parenting, homeschooling, elder care, managing money, home cooking, healthy living, crafts and more, and hosts one of the most caring, supportive and FUN communities on the Internet. Come join the conversation!

© 2002-2007 Lynn Siprelle, some rights reserved under Creative Commons, Attribution-No Deriv 3.0: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/ creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/

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