Do you ever need to just whip up something quickly for dinner? Are there times that you know you need to cook, but just don’t feel up to it?
That happened to me last night. I’ve been dealing with what I’ve come to think of as a “hurricane headache” for the last two days now. As anyone who has migraines knows, barometric pressure can mess with your head and cause extreme pain. During my years of dealing with hurricanes, one thing I noticed was that whenever one was anywhere near us, my head would start throbbing with a pain that was unlike my regular migraines and much worse than a typical headache. With Jose churning off the east coast, I must be close enough to it for the pressure to be affecting me.
Anyway….I had taken out some frozen chicken breasts to thaw on Sunday but didn’t use them because my headache drove me into bed. Yesterday it was still hurting too much to cook, but I didn’t want the chicken breasts to go to waste, and I was afraid to leave them for another day. I definitely didn’t want to cook what I had planned because it involved too much prep, so I started thinking about how to take a shortcut. I had the chicken breasts and asparagus, so I thought, “Why not stir-fry?”
I always have gluten-free Teriyaki sauce in the cabinet, so I knew this was something I could cook very quickly. Preparation was as simple as cutting the asparagus into about 1-inch pieces and slicing the chicken into thin strips, then cutting the strips in half. I like to cut the pieces small so they cook more quickly. As I’ve mentioned before, whenever I cook brown rice, I cook extra and freeze it. I grabbed a bag of this out of the freezer and defrosted it in the microwave (not in the bag, of course). The whole dinner took less than 30 minutes from start to finish, and it was yummy!
Stir-frying is a great way to get a meal on the table fast. Because you cut your veggies and meat into small pieces, they cook quickly. You can even speed up the process by lightly steaming your vegetables in the microwave before adding them to the cooked meat in the stir-fry. Once your meat and vegetables are done, you just add your sauce and let it all simmer for a few minutes to meld the flavors together.
Even if you don’t like Asian flavors, you could still use the stir-fry technique — just use your favorite sauce or seasonings instead. It works well for most types of meat and vegetables, so you just choose what you want and cut it into small, fairly thin pieces.
Instead of the brown rice, you could use pasta, quinoa, or some type of potatoes for your starch if you want one. The possibilities are endless!
I have some stir-fry recipes I’ve found on Pinterest on my Pinterest page, so if you’re interested, check them out at www.pinterest.com/reclaiminghopeblog.
What are your favorite tricks for getting dinner done quickly? Please share!