The Park Slope Parents Cookbook

These recipes and meal ideas were submitted by Park Slope Parents as quick and easy family meal solutions.

INTRODUCTION

I am not a nutritionist, a vegetarian, or an organic-obsessive.  I am a professionally-trained cook and I teach cooking.  I live a totally food-centered life (breakfast is over, what’s for lunch?), and I believe in cooking healthy food, using ingredients that are as seasonal as possible without being boring, and incorporating lots of flavor variety.  My alternate qualifications for helping with this section are my experiences with my two children, ages 5 and 3, who are both excellent eaters.  As a general parenting philosophy I quote the great restauranteur and father of twins Danny Meyer of Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, etc. who, when asked about eating at home, said the following:  "It is always fresh and always has at least four colors on the plate, and the kids are never given a choice.  If they don’t want to experiment, they don’t eat."

When cooking for children, it has been helpful in my experience to keep the following in mind:

Children, like adults, appreciate food with flavor.  Don’t be afraid to use salt, pepper, dried spices, fresh herbs, olive oil, or butter to make your food taste good.  You wouldn’t eat a plate of plain, unadorned broccoli, so why should your kids?

THE PARK SLOPE PARENTS COOKBOOK

SOUP RECIPES

 SOUPS

 

BARLEY SOUP

Barley

Vegetables

Maggie vegetable cubes or other seasoningCook barley in water and add whatever vegetables you have at home.  Add two cubes of Maggie vegetable cubes (or any other seasoning) and just let it cook.

 

VEGETABLE CREAM SOUP

Fresh vegetables

Cream

Cook any vegetable (e.g., broccoli, asparagus, green beans, peas, or carrots, etc.) you have at home in water with some seasoning.  Once soft, put it in the blender, add some sour cream, and once it is all blended, cook it until it boils.

 

COLD FRUIT SOUP

Fresh fruit (peaches, raspberries, or frozen fruit)

Heavy cream or sour cream

Lemon juice

Cinnamon

Cloves

Cook any fruit in water, and add sugar, a little bit of lemon juice, cinnamon, and cloves.  (Put cloves in a little gauze bag so that it is easy to take them out before blending).  Cook it until the fruit gets soft.  Blend it.  Add some heavy cream or sour cream.  Cook it again until it boils.  Let it cool, and serve cold.  (I usually make it in the morning, and it is perfect by dinnertime.)  It is best with peaches or raspberries, but it can be done with any fruit, even frozen fruit.

 

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

Chicken breast

Chicken stock or bouillon

Elbow macaroni

Chopped carrots

 

Poach chicken breast in 2-3 cups simmering stock or bouillon (about 15-20 mins).  Remove chicken, bring liquid to a boil, and add elbow macaroni (or your favorite small pasta).  Cook until almost al dente, then add chopped carrots (it's very quick to cut up baby carrots for this--no peeling!).  While the pasta and carrots are cooking, chop or pull chicken into small pieces.  Add to soup.  Add more water if necessary.

 

TOMATO SOUP WITH RICE

 

Thin your favorite store-bought tomato sauce with water.  Add rice.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until rice is soft.  Voila!

 

TOMATO SOUP WITH TORTELLINI

 

We also love Imagine brand's organic tomato soup (the one in the box) with cooked tortellinis tossed in. 

 

HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK/POACHED CHICKEN MEAL

 

Whole chicken

Onion

Celery

Carrot

Bouquet Garni

 

I think it's worth it to make chicken stock, but I always got annoyed by having to save carcasses.  Instead, just poach a whole chicken with onion, celery, carrot, and bouquet garni (it takes about 1 hr) on the weekend.  You get a delicious cooked chicken that you can serve right away with veggies and mashed potatoes and get 5-6 cups of stock as well.  Also, you can let the chicken cool, tear it into pieces, and toss with your favorite dressing for delicious chicken salad. 

 

VEGETABLE NOODLE SOUP

 

Chicken broth (or veggie broth if you prefer); we use the organic tetra pak type

Carrots, broccoli or other veggies

Alphabet noodles

Parsley (optional)

Just chop up the vegetables quite small (especially if your kid tends to be picky about them), and cook them in the broth. The smaller you cut them, the faster they cook.  Then add the noodles.  If you use the tri-colored veggie type, they hide the actual veggies even better.  It takes only another 3 minutes to cook them.

Voila, it's prepared and cooked in about 15-20 mins, and I like to think it's quite healthful.  Your child can also sprinkle parsley on top by him or herself.  If you cook a bigger batch, you can even freeze the rest.

 

 

STEWS AND CHILIS

 

EASY VEGETARIAN CHILI

 

1 lb lentils, rinsed and drained

1 lb can chick peas, rinsed and drained

1 lb can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 large onion, chopped

1 large stalk celery, diced

1 small green pepper

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp cumin

1 1/2 Tbs chili powder (depending on strength)

1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt, to taste

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup short grain brown rice, uncooked

Shredded cheddar cheese

Light sour cream

 

Precook brown rice in 1.5 cups boiling water covered for 35 minutes.

 

Combine 5 cups of water with all ingredients except tomatoes, rice, and cheese in a Dutch oven.  Boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, until lentils are almost tender.

 

Add diced tomatoes and liquid to the mixture.  Simmer uncovered for approximately 10 minutes until the lentils are tender.

 

Serve with rice, cheese, and sour cream.

 

Servings: 8

 

CHILI WITH RICE

 

1 lb. ground beef

1 can beans

1 can tomato puree

1 can corn

chili powder

 

Saute 1 lb. of ground beef, then add 1 can of beans, 1 can of tomato puree, 1 can of corn, and chili seasoning.  It takes about 5 minutes to make and then another 10 minutes to cook.

 

CHICKEN OR TURKEY VEGETABLE STEW

Love those one-pot meals!  This is a throw-it-all-in-and-spend-the-rest-of-the-time-playing-with-your-children meal.

 

Chicken or turkey (ground or breast cut up)

Butternut squash or Japanese sweet potatoes (skinned and cut)

Ready-to-eat baby carrots

Peas

Green beans (or really any veggies your family likes)

Enough broth to cover the ingredients

A bit of dried thyme

One bay leaf

Salt to taste. 

Sauté the onions and poultry.

Add the rest of the ingredients.

Cook until veggies are tender.

You can serve it over rice if you wish.

 

ONE-POT CHICKEN WITH NOODLES

In a large pot, combine the following:

2 packs of chicken thighs (8), first removing the skin.  (You can also use boneless/skinless.)

1 bag of baby carrots (or 4-6 chopped carrots)

1-2 chopped onions (in rings)

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup chicken broth

1/2-1 cup dry sherry

Cover and cook for 1 hour.

Serve over noodles.

 

 

POTATO AND VEGGIE DISHES

 

OPEN-FACED BROILED SANDWICHES

Open faced broiled sandwiches of various sorts (my favorite is whole wheat bread spread with mustard, tomato, onion, and mushroom, then topped with extra sharp cheddar) and served with tomato soup and a salad.

 

PIZZA BAGELS

Top bagels with canned tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and toast or bake in the toaster oven.

 

BAKED STUFFED POTATOES

Bake or microwave potatoes and top with any combination of cheese, veggies, or ground beef.  Serve with salad and/or fresh fruit.

 

BAKED POTATOES WITH BROCCOLI AND CHEESE

3 potatoes

1 head of broccoli

shredded cheese

light sour cream

margarine

Bake potatoes until done.  Towards the end of the cooking time (usually 60-75 minutes at 375° to 425°), steam the broccoli.  When the potatoes are done, cut them open, add margarine, and top with broccoli.  Add shredded cheese.   Microwave for 15 to 30 seconds if necessary to melt the cheese.  Serve with sour cream.

 

SPINACH CASSEROLE

3/4 cup raw brown rice

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried parsley)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 pound well washed fresh spinach

2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter---melted

Cook brown rice, following label directions. Combine the cooked rice and shredded cheddar cheese. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir the two mixtures together, and add the raw spinach.  Pour into a buttered 2 1/2 quart casserole.  Stir together bread crumbs or wheat germ and the 1 tablespoon of melted butter.  Sprinkle over the top of the spinach casserole.

Bake the spinach casserole at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

 

SPINACH WITH PINE NUTS AND RAISIN

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted  

1/3 cup golden raisins, currants, or apricots  

1  large bunch of spinach (approx. 2 lbs.)  

1 Tbs butter  

1 Tbs olive oil  

1 garlic clove, finely chopped  

1/2 tsp salt  

Toast pine nuts in a small, nonstick fry pan over medium heat.  Be careful they don’t burn.  They will toast quickly, in 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Soak the raisins, currants, or apricots in water for 15 minutes and drain.  Wash, dry, and remove the stems of the spinach.

In a large pan, heat the butter and oil.  Add the garlic, salt, and spinach.  Sauté over medium high heat for approximately 5 minutes or until the spinach is tender. Add the raisins, and stir in the pine nuts.  Salt to taste.

Servings: 4

 

LENTILS WITH CARROTS, ONION AND SPINACH

1 cup dried lentils

Bay leaf

Chopped carrots

Chopped onion

Spinach

Just put a cup of dried lentils in with the boiling water.  Simmer until tender, along with a bay leaf and some chopped carrots for approximately 15 minutes.  Saute the onion and spinach separately.  Toss together.

 

KIDNEY BEAN, RED ONION, AND TOMATO SALAD

This recipe is really easy, really yummy, and nutritious to boot.

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (high quality)

2 cups small, sweet cherry tomatoes

1 tsp. sea salt (more as needed)

3 14-oz. cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Combine the onions and vinegar in a small bowl.  Set aside to macerate while preparing the rest of the salad or for several hours.

Halve cherry tomatoes, and place them in the serving bowl.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt.  Add kidney beans, onion mixture, and olive oil.  Toss to mix.  Adjust salt to taste, and serve.

6 large servings

 

 

TOFU DISHES

 

TOFU AND CHINESE CABBAGE

1 lb. extra firm tofu

1 large head of Chinese cabbage or bok choy

Low sodium soy sauce

Sesame oil or hot pepper sesame oil

Slice up 1 package of extra firm tofu into rectangles and saute in canola oil until slightly brown.  Clean and slice 1 large head of Chinese cabbage or bok choy into 1/2 inch slices, place on top of tofu, sprinkle about 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce and the same amount of water and steam until the vegetable is cooked but still green (about 15 mins).  Sprinkle with sesame oil (or hot pepper sesame oil for adults), and serve.

 

BAKED TOFU WITH SOY SAUCE

It's not an entire meal, but it's a good protein to go along with rice and a vegetable.

Firm tofu

Soy sauce

Nutritional yeast

Cube the firm tofu.

Place it in a produce bag with some soy sauce (enough to cover the tofu).

Pour some nutritional yeast into the bag, and shake it up until the tofu is coated.

Spread cubes on a lightly greased baking pan (or on aluminum foil if you don't want to have to do any dishes.)

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  (This is totally flexible.  You can bake it at a higher or lower temperature for shorter or longer, and it's still good!)

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

 

TOFU SCRAMBLE

3 cloves garlic

1 small onion

Olive oil

5 sticks Boca soy breakfast sausages

1 lb. extra firm tofu

1 tsp. turmeric

Saute 3 cloves of garlic and one small onion chopped in olive oil.  When it is barely translucent, add 5 sticks of Boca soy breakfast sausages, and saute until they are soft enough to cut into bite-size pieces (by this time, the onion/garlic is lightly browned).  Add the package of extra firm tofu (crumbled), and a teaspoon or so of turmeric (for color), and mix.  Cover and steam over lower heat for about 10 mins.

 

 

PASTA DISHES

 

THAI CHICKEN OR TOFU PASTA

1/2 to 1 lb chicken strips or 1 lb. extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed

sesame oil

2 to 2 1/2 cups chicken broth (or 1 can)

1 Tbs peanut butter

2 Tbs soy sauce

crushed red pepper, to taste 

12 oz pasta (such as angel hair, thin spaghetti, or linguine)       

2 cups sugar snap peas or broccoli

1 cup carrots, thinly sliced (optional)

cashews (optional)

If you're using tofu, drain and press it ahead of time.  You may want to marinate it in some soy sauce and oil for added flavor.

Saute chicken strips (beef or shrimp are good, too) or tofu in sesame oil.  If the tofu isn't marinated ahead of time, season it with soy sauce towards the end of cooking (when the tofu is nicely browned).

Meanwhile, bring to a boil 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water (1 1/2 cups for 8 oz. of pasta or 2 cups for 12 oz. of pasta), chicken broth, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, and crushed red pepper (to taste).  Add 8 or 12 oz. of pasta and cook until al dente.

Quickly saute 2 cups of sugar snap peas (or broccoli) and 1 cup of thinly-sliced carrots (optional)--just enough to warm the veggies.  It is best when they are still a little crisp.  Add cashew nuts towards the end of cooking.  Top pasta with chicken or tofu and veggies and cashew nuts (optional).

 

Servings: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ready in: 30 minutes

 

TORTELLINI WITH SOUR CREAM SAUCE

1 lb cheese tortellini

2 tsp unsalted butter

4 scallions, sliced thinly

2 tomatoes, diced

2/3 cups sour cream

2 tbs grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt

pepper

Cook the tortellini.  Melt butter in a medium skillet.  Add the scallions and tomatoes and saute 2 mins until hot.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, mix together sour cream, parmesan, salt, and pepper.  Drain the tortellini, and return to the pot.  Pour on the sour cream mixture, and toss to coat.  Spoon on the tomato mixture in the center of each serving.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

 

BLACK BEAN PASTA

10 oz pasta shells

1 can black beans

1 tsp. sour cream

1/4 cup medium salsa

Shredded cheddar cheese

1 tomato (chopped)

Combine beans, fresh tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream in a pot.  Heat on low or medium until warmed through, and the sour cream dissolves.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta.  Combine and top with shredded cheddar cheese.  Serve with nachos.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ready in: 20 minutes

 

SWEET NOODLE KUGEL

This is a good way to get kids to eat eggs, fruit, and dairy.  The recipe is quite sweet (more like a dessert), but it tastes very good with low-fat substitutes, such as less butter and sugar.  I got my daughter hooked on the sweet version and gradually altered the ingredients to make it more healthful.

8 oz egg noodles, medium width, cooked

1/4 cups melted butter or margarine (you can do half this amount)

3 eggs

1 can fruit cocktail (8 oz.), drained

1 cup sugar (you can taper it down to 1/4 or 1/2 cup)

1 1/2 cups evaporated milk--1 large can.  (You can use the full fat, low fat, or skim variety.)

8 oz cottage cheese (small curd)

1/2 cup raisins

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix all ingredients.  Pour into a 13x9x2 pan.  Sprinkle with extra cinnamon.  Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes.  The top should be golden brown.

 

PASTA FRESCA

An excellent, easy meal, best in late Summer and Fall when tomatoes are fresh and ripe.

4 cups chopped ripe tomatoes, vine-ripened

4 large leaves of fresh basil

1 large clove of garlic, pressed

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb butterfly-shaped pasta

1/2 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed

Grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

Salt (lots) and pepper to taste

Bring a large covered pot to a rapid boil.  Set aside 1 cup of chopped tomatoes and 2 basil leaves.

In a blender or food processor, purée the remaining tomatoes and basil with garlic and olive oil until smooth.  Add lots of salt and pepper to taste.

Cook pasta until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Cut the reserved basil leaves into thin strips.  Drain pasta and toss immediately with mozzarella cubes.  Add sauce and mix well.  Top with the reserved tomatoes, basil, and grated cheese. Serve immediately.

Servings: 4

 

PASTA WITH ROSEMARY AND CHICKPEAS

1 1/2 cups yellow onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, large, minced, or pressed

3 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 in. each

2 tsp olive oil

2 cans chick peas (15 oz.), drained

Salt and pepper to taste

1 lb short chunky pasta (such as ditalini, tubetti, or orecchiette)

2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1-2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

Combine onions, garlic, rosemary, and oil in a saucepan and saute on low heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and golden.  Add tomatoes and half of the chickpeas, and cook for 10 more minutes.  Remove the rosemary sprigs and discard; or, for a stronger rosemary flavor (recommended), strip the leaves from one sprig, and add to the blender.  In the blender, puree the tomato-chickpea mixture until smooth.  Return to the skillet, add the remaining chickpeas, salt, and pepper to taste.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente.  Toss the pasta with sauce and serve immediately.  Top with feta cheese and fresh tomatoes.

Servings: 6

 

SPAGHETTINI WITH ZUCCHINI AND ROSEMARY   

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, diced

4 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/4 tsp dried)

1/2 tsp salt

20 turns of fresh ground pepper

1 lb spaghettini

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute for 10 minutes, or until tender. 

Mix in the zucchini, rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Saute, tossing often, until the zucchini is tender but not mushy (about 10 minutes).  Keep warm over low heat.

Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente.  Remove 1/2 cup of the boiling pasta water, and stir it into the zucchini mixture.  Drain the spaghettini very well.

Place the spaghettini in a large bowl, or return it to the pot.  Spoon on the zucchini sauce, and sprinkle on the parmesan cheese.  Toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

Servings: 4

 

CHICKEN STRIPS WITH PARMESAN CHEESE, BROCCOLI AND PASTA

 

Chicken strips from Fresh Direct

Olive oil

Garlic salt

Parmesan cheese

Pasta

Frozen broccoli

Cook the chicken strips in a little olive oil on the stove.  While cooking, I add some garlic salt and parmesan cheese.  My 15-month-old daughter eats them up just like that.

For me and my husband, I'll also make some pasta and broccoli (you can microwave the frozen stuff in only 2-3 minutes), and throw it all together with the chicken.

 

BROCCOLI PESTO PASTA

Broccoli (as much as you can get)

Garlic cloves (as much as you like)

Parmesan cheese

Pasta shapes (we like the twisty kind)

Salt

Red pepper flakes

Olive oil

Optional: pesto sauce from a jar

Cook the broccoli in a covered pot with slivers of garlic and salt and sprinkles of red pepper flakes.  I steam it in a small amount of water.  Cook the broccoli until it is so mushy you can smoosh it with the tines of a fork.  While the broccoli is steaming, boil your pasta.  When it is done, mix the broccoli into the pasta, add a few dribbles of olive oil to keep things moist, and stir in lots and lots of parmesan. If you add pesto, I use about 1/2 a jar at this time.  Taste it, and add more salt if necessary.  I use 3-4 cloves of garlic and only a few small sprinkles of red pepper flakes.

(This was my daughter's first meal and is still a favorite of hers.)

 

PASTA OR RICE WITH PREPARED SIMMER SAUCES

One suggestion is to use simmer sauces.  The Park Slope Food Coop sells these, as does Pumpkin's Organic, Trader Joe's, and other places.  They are basically prepared sauces (usually Indian flavors, but I've also found Carribean and Moroccan) that you can add meat, tofu, or vegetables to.  We keep them on hand and simply steam rice while the veggies/meat/tofu are simmering away.  It winds up being about 10 minutes of preparation and another 15 of cooking, and you have a great meal in the end.

 

QUICK PASTA DINNER

I sometimes make my own sauce (ahead of time--not that night), but more often I augment store-bought sauces with veggies and spices.  I make a salad, buy a good loaf of bread, and make garlic bread with grated romano cheese.  The trick is to put the water for the pasta on as soon as you walk in the door.

 

Pseudo-Chicken Cacciatore Variation:

Make the quick pasta dinner and then saute some boneless chicken breasts in a little olive oil and throw them into the sauce while it's cooking.

 

GARLIC CHICKEN WITH BASIL

Chicken strips

Olive oil

Garlic

Fresh basil

Rice or pasta

Saute the chicken strips (they can be ordered from Fresh Direct) in olive oil with two cloves of crushed garlic.  Once this is almost cooked, add some basil leaves. You can serve over one-minute rice or pasta.

 

CREAMY PASTA WITH CHERRY TOMATOES

Here's an emergency pasta dish that tastes much better than merely the sum of its ingredients and is open to countless variations:

Garlic

Cherry tomatoes

Olive oil

Cooked ziti or campanelle

Salt, pepper

Boursin cheese (or goat cheese or other creamy cheese)

Olives, anchovies, or broccoli (optional)

Saute the garlic and halved cherry tomatoes in olive oil.  Toss with cooked pasta such as ziti or campanelle.  Season with salt and pepper, and spoon into individual dishes.  Top each serving with a heaping tablespoonful of Boursin cheese (or other creamy cheese). 

Instruct your children to toss their pasta gently until the cheese melts and is evenly distributed.  It makes a creamy Alfredo-type sauce that is quite delicious, and you only need 1 tbsp per serving so the fat content is reasonable. 

Obviously, one could add olives, anchovies, broccoli, etc. at the initial sauteeing stage.

 

 

RICE DISHES

 

EASY STIR-FRY

Tofu, chicken, shrimp, or beef

Assorted veggies

Commercially-prepared sauce

Cooking oil

Rice

I keep commercially-prepared black bean sauce, soy sauce, garlic-chili sauce, and peanut sauce on hand, so I can flavor as I choose.  I make the rice (with a rice cooker, which I think makes a huge difference) and serve with some fresh fruit (orange slices and kiwi is popular). 

 

SPANISH RICE WITH CHICK PEAS

1/2 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 clove minced garlic

1 Tbs cooking oil

1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

3/4 cup long grain white rice

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp chili powder (depending on strength)

1/8 tsp pepper

hot sauce (several dashes)

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1 14-oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

In a large skillet, cook the onion, green pepper, and garlic in oil until tender but not brown.

Stir in the undrained tomatoes, rice, sugar, chili powder, pepper, hot pepper sauce, and 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, and reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the chickpeas and cook 5-10 minutes more.

Sprinkle with shredded cheese and serve. 

QUICK FROZEN MANICOTTI WITH SAUCE

Get frozen manicotti from the meat market on PPW or from the pork store on 5th Avenue between Garfield and 1st Street.  They are excellent with store-bought marinara sauces.

 

 

BURRITOS AND QUESADILLAS

 

EASY QUESADILLAS

Cheese

Tortillas

Sour cream

Salsa

Veggies

Place the cheese between two tortilla wraps, and grill it in a saucepan, or "George Foreman"-type grill.  Serve with sour cream and salsa.

You can add other things as well, such as spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.

 

QUICK BUILD-YOUR-OWN BURRITOS

Rice

Canned beans, meat or both

Cumin

Salt

Pepper

Garlic

Onion

Mushrooms

Guacamole (prepared in advance or store-bought)

Salsa

Lettuce

Grated cheese

Black olives

Tomatoes

Cook the rice first thing.  Cook some beans or meat or both with cumin, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and mushrooms.  I make guacamole, but I buy salsa.  I grate the cheese, shred the lettuce, and slice the black olives and tomatoes.  Heat the tortillas just before eating.  Everyone assembles his or her own, putting in whatever he or she likes.

 

BEAN BURRITOS

Flour tortillas

Canned refried beans

Shredded cheddar cheese

Chopped tomato and lettuce

Sour cream

Spread the canned refried beans onto the tortillas, and put the cheddar cheese on top.  Then put it into the toaster oven to melt the cheese.  Once toasted, put chopped tomato, lettuce, and sour cream on top (and tabasco for the grown-ups).

 

 

FISH

 

GRILLED FISH KABOBS (FRESH DIRECT)

1/2 lb. assorted fish cubes (from Fresh Direct)

Cherry tomatoes

Green peppers

Onions

Teriyaki sauce (can be ordered with the fish cubes)

Rinse the fish cubes, and marinate them in teriyaki sauce for about 1/2 to 1 hour in the refrigerator.  Soak bamboo skewers in water to soften.  We use 6-inch skewers for our small George Foreman grill, but you can use longer ones.

Assemble the kabobs on skewers, alternating teriyaki fish cubes, tomatoes, green peppers, and onions.  You can also add other ingredients of your choosing, such as pineapple cubes.

Grill each kabob for 6 minutes on each side of a traditional grill.  For a home electric grill, such as the Foreman grill, you may only need 3-6 minutes total since both sides are cooking simultaneously.  Turning once during cooking is recommended. 

 

FROZEN FISH AND VEGGIES

Mrs. Paul's Selects frozen fish.  They are whole pieces of fish (not chopped up and processed), along with some frozen vegetables, such as edamame.

 

 

CHICKEN AND MEAT

 

ROTISSERIE CHICKEN, VEGGIE, AND POTATO MEAL

CHICKEN SOUP

(2 Meals in 1)

MEAL #1:  Buy one of those pre-cooked chickens from somewhere like Russo's or C-Town.  Steam a veggie (broccoli, green beans, etc.), and microwave the potatoes.

MEAL #2:  Combine the leftover chicken, 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, chicken bouillon, leftover veggies (frozen veggies also work great), and potatoes into a pot, and cook while you're doing the dishes for Meal #1.  (NOTE: C-Town has a "soup packet" of veggies in the produce section that you can add if you want to make it even better).  Take out the bones before re-heating it and voila-- dinner's made for the next night.

 

ROAST CHICKEN FROM LOS POLLITOS

Roast chicken from Los Pollitos on 5th Avenue, along with one of their sides, such as fried plantains, is zero preparation, delicious, and cheap.

 

CHICKEN WITH TOMATO SAUCE AND CHEESE

Chicken cutlets

Tomato sauce

Parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese

Add salt and pepper to the chicken cutlets, and place in a baking dish.

Pour tomato sauce on top of the chicken.  Turn the chicken over so the sauce gets onto both sides.

Sprinkle parmesan or mozzarella cheese on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

 

CHICKEN BREASTS WITH FENNEL AND VEGGIES

Chicken breasts

Cornmeal

Crushed fennel seeds

Olive oil

Bell pepper slices

Polenta, steamed rice, or baked potatoes

Pound the chicken breasts flat.  Coat them in a mixture of cornmeal and crushed fennel seeds (it helps if you have a mortar and pestle to do this).  Saute in olive oil.  You can also add slices of bell peppers in different colors to incorporate veggies and color.  Serve over polenta, steamed rice, or with baked potatoes.

 

ONE-POT CHICKEN WITH NOODLES

In a large pot combine the following:

2 packs of chicken thighs (8, removing the skin).  (You can also use boneless/ skinless thighs.)

1 bag of baby carrots (or 4-6 chopped carrots)

1-2 chopped onions (in rings)

1 Tbl dried tarragon

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup chicken broth

1/2-1 cup dry sherry

Cover and cook for 1 hour.

Serve over noodles.

 

HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK/POACHED CHICKEN MEAL

 

Whole chicken

Onion

Celery

Carrot

Bouquet Garni

I think it's worth it to make chicken stock but always got annoyed by having to save carcasses; instead, just poach a whole chicken with onion, celery, carrots, and bouquet garni (it takes about 1 hr) on the weekend.  You get a delicious cooked chicken that you can serve right away with veggies and mashed potatoes and get 5-6 cups of stock as well.  You can also let the chicken cool, tear it into pieces, and toss with your favorite dressing for a delicious chicken salad. 

 

HAMBURGER ON PITA BREAD

My mother used to make this for me as a child, and I still love it:

 

Pita bread

Mayonnaise

Hamburger meat

 


Slice open a piece of pita bread.

 

Spread mayonnaise onto the bread.

 

Spread the hamburger meat onto the pita (like you're making a pizza).  I usually use about 1/3 lb on two halves of a pita.

 

Put the pita bread in the toaster oven, and broil until the meat is cooked and the pita is a little crispy.

 

It is usually best to blot the sandwich with a paper towel after cooking to collect the grease.

 

SPANISH-STYLE PORK CHOPS

 

4 to 6 pork chops (I use thin, boneless ones), trimmed of fat

salt and pepper, to taste

4 to 6 green pepper rings, thin

4 to 6 onion slices, thin

2 cups cooked rice

1 can V8 juice (12-oz. size)

1 can stewed tomatoes (original style, 15-oz. size)

 

Lie the chops in a baking dish in one layer; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake in a 375° oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place pepper and onion slices on each pork chop.  Spoon the cooked rice over the pork chops, and then add the stewed tomatoes and V8 juice.  Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 30 to 45 minutes, or until pork chops are done.