Sunday, October 16, 2011

Express Dinners

Sometimes I'm just so tired that I need something instant and frozen for dinner. For the most part though I like to cook what I can, because I enjoy it and it's healthier.

There a ton of quick and easy cooking books on the market now-- the most famous ones being Nigella Lawson's "Express", Jamie Oliver's "Meals in Minutes", and most of Rachael Ray. To be honest though, sometimes I don't even have the energy for their idea of "fast" cooking.

For example, Nigella Lawson's mustard pork chops required me buying hard cider and heavy cream. It's certainly not the most arduous task, but it's not something I could call a "go to" recipe. They were delicious, especially with the gnocchi, but I have a tendency to overcook pork chops (i.e. dry) and I felt bit of added sugar was necessary to round out the recipe.

Now this is my idea of lazy cooking. Nigella Lawson actually gave me the idea (although it's not a particularly unique one) during one of her Express segments. She suggested items you could keep in the freezer, and fresh tortellini was one of them. "Just boil them in hot soup, and you have supper!" True, and perfect for a cold night. I just sautee an onion and a carrot in a bit of oil, add broth, some herbs and tortellini and it's honestly so, so good and simple.

My freezer is currently jam packed with various fresh stuffed pastas from President's Choice (available at supermarkets such as Loblaws, Valumart, Zehr's, etc). They're normally on the high end of $4, but right now they are on sale for $1.50!!!!!! As a student, I wept with joy.
President's Choice Trentino-Alto-Adige Porcini Tortellini is one of my particular favorites.

Savoury oats are an easy, no fuss alternative to risotto. Just cook the oats as normal, add a wedge or two of Laughing Cow Cheese, throw in some roasted pre-cut butternut squash cubes and herbs and you're done! You can also cheat and add a tiny splash of chicken stock concentrate.

Curry is supposedly easy, but still takes a bit more effort than I'm prepared for sometimes... Still, if I'm going to do it, I like to adapt Nigella Lawson's red prawn and mango curry. I follow it really loosely - I don't use mango or fish sauce (I would if I had it). But I make sure to have fresh coriander, a stalk of lemon grass broken in (it's only 50 cents or so at the supermarket), and fresh lime juice.


  1. These are some wonderful ideas. Thanks for sharing! This semester I've been terrible at making solid home-cooked meals. This is bad for both my budget AND my waistline.

  2. Ingrid you always amazed me with your creation! Your cooking looks so good and delicious!!!!

  3. totally delicious...excellent cliks again ..;P
    Tasty Appetite

  4. Thai red curry... YUM! It's only morning here right now, but I still want to eat it!

  5. Seems so yummy, I really want to try it :)

  6. @Margaret Yeah the budget is a killer... even home cooking can get expensive if you're not careful. If only I was one of those "food is fuel" people.

  7. @Jay Thanks girl, I appreciate it :-)

  8. @Fashimi Glad I've found a fellow red curry fan :) :)

  9. i am for sure buying this age rewind eraser! thank you for sharing!!