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Old 12-23-2016, 02:14 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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What do you do to avoid the Frankenmeal?

Thanks to doper joemama24_98 in this thread, I've added "frankenmeal" to my vocabulary .

More to the point: What kind of dinners can you throw together on quick notice with stuff you routinely have around the house? I need suggestions!

Our go-to lately is having a few packages of tortellini or ravioli in the freezer and jars of pasta sauce in the fridge, plus bags of veggies in the freezer. But that gets plenty boring after a while.

Since our kids are now adult-ish (19 and 22), I'm a bit more willing to say "forage! there is lunchmeat in the fridge" than I was a few years ago but that gets boring as well.
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Old 12-23-2016, 02:20 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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I like to keep a couple of bags of frozen veggies of the stirfry mix variety in the freezer, bottles of asian sauces and packets of curry sauce. Cube some chicken and cook it up, add a bag of frozen veggies and a packet of curry sauce or a few good dollops of sweet and sour or hoisin or soy sauce and mix it up but good til hot. Serve over rice or noodles. Takes 20 minutes, if that.
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Old 12-23-2016, 02:22 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is online now
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We've taken to buying boxes of frozen stuffed chicken breasts. Pop some of those stuffed breasts in the oven for ~40 minutes and you have a nice main dish. We recently found chicken parmesan in the same style, combine that with your pasta & sauce for a nice change of pace.

Last edited by Skywatcher; 12-23-2016 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 12-23-2016, 03:12 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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A popular one for us is to thaw a chicken breast, cut it in half and then pound it to about a quarter inch, stick it in an egg wash, then in a mixture of panko/grated Parmesan/dried thyme, fry it quickly in olive oil, cut it up and serve it on orzo that's been tossed with butter, salt and pepper, and thyme. Sounds more complicated than it is. It also works for a pork loin chop.
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Old 12-23-2016, 04:28 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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I'm not going to do full recipes for all of these, but if someone wants it, just ask.

Tacos:

I always have shredded pork shoulder in the freezer and flour tortillas in the fridge (they last forever!) for tacos. I quick-pickle some onions, throw together whatever veggies I have lying around (tomatoes, jalepenos, bell peppers, whatever) and some cheese, and voila, tacos. Bonus: canned/frozen beans and or canned refried beans.

Tuna Casserole:

Egg noodles, canned tuna, frozen peas, a couple cans of mushroom soup. Potato chips crunched on top. Definitely comfort food from my childhood, and completely pantry-based.

Puttanesca:

Spaghetti, canned tomatoes, kalamata olives, anchovies, capers. Yum!

Sandwiches (as mentioned in the OP)

Any number of frozen things - soups, pasta sauces, etc.

I almost always have the ingredients around to make quick chicken soup, too: chicken stock (homemade, frozen), leftover roast chicken (frozen), celery, onions, carrots, homemade dumplings.

As you can see, I'm highly dependent on my freezer!
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Old 12-23-2016, 04:45 PM
Grrr! Grrr! is offline
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Dirty rice: Saute what ever meats and veggies I have in the fridge. Then throw in some (uncooked) rice and some chicken stock.

25 minutes later dinner is ready!
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Old 12-23-2016, 04:58 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Frozen beef tips in gravy in the freezer. It can be micro-wave thawed, tossed in the pressure cooker with many ingredients, but our go-to is mixing it with onion, carrots, wild rice, tomato sauce, pepper, liquid smoke, north woods seasoning mix, vegemite, parsley and bay leaf for a quick stew. Dinner in much less than an hour, tasting like it's simmered all day.
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Old 12-23-2016, 05:27 PM
Shoeless Shoeless is online now
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Zatarain's is my friend. I usually have a few boxes of jambalaya mix, red beans & rice, or black beans & rice in the pantry. One of those with some steamed frozen veggies works great on a night when I don't feel like cooking.

I also like to keep a package of pre-made pizza shells handy. Throw some toppings on and stick it in the oven for 10 minutes. Dinner!
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Old 12-23-2016, 07:44 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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The Ukulele Lady is a finicky eater who watches every calorie, loves lean protein, and eschews white pasta, white rice, white flour, and any processed food.

The gas grill is your dinnertime friend; it takes less time to preheat than an oven. I use it all year round.

I keep boneless chicken thighs in the freezer, as well as sirloin steak cut into 4-5 oz portions. Defrost, season well, and toss onto the hot grill for five minutes on each side. And she makes her own big salad to go with.
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Old 12-23-2016, 08:20 PM
stillownedbysetters stillownedbysetters is offline
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We make a very flexible layered casserole that we usually have all the ingredients on hand to make. Start with a layer of sauce. We usually use marinara, but have tried other sauces with good results. Next a layer of ground meat, browned, or leftover cooked meat, shredded. Next add a layer of uncooked pasta, any shape. Top with shredded cheese. One that melts nicely is best. Then repeat, ending with the cheese layer. Cover and cook at 350 for 30 to 45 min (until pasta is tender). Uncover for last 5 minutes to brown up the cheese a bit.

We usually toss in some herbs and spices to taste. This, a salad, and bread makes a nice quick hot meal
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Old 12-23-2016, 09:05 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Hold the bus. UNCOOKED pasta? You look a little short on liquids, there. Is the sauce enough to render the pasta uncrunchy?
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Old 12-23-2016, 09:35 PM
Tara57 Tara57 is offline
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Breakfast for dinner - eggs, toast, fruit, maybe bacon or sausage

Soup or chili from the freezer with grilled cheese, crackers, corn bread, etc.

Chicken and yellow rice - brown chicken parts on both sides, add a package of yellow rice and water as per the package, add some frozen peas, cook according to the package

Quesadillas - leftover or quickly cooked meat and / or vegetables, cheese, fill tortillas, bake or grill until brown on both sides. The George Foreman grill is good for this.

Baked potatoes topped with cheese, cottage cheese, steamed vegetables, leftover diced meat and/or vegetables, taco meat, sloppy joe, chili, hot sauce, runny egg, etc.
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:41 PM
stillownedbysetters stillownedbysetters is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
Hold the bus. UNCOOKED pasta? You look a little short on liquids, there. Is the sauce enough to render the pasta uncrunchy?
Amazingly enough, yes. It works every time. We use a full size bottle of marinara sauce, if I didn't make that clear (and I don't think I did. Mea maxima culpa).
  #14  
Old 12-24-2016, 03:33 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoeless View Post
Zatarain's is my friend. I usually have a few boxes of jambalaya mix, red beans & rice, or black beans & rice in the pantry.
I opened a box of this last night, and it was more Weevils than rice!
  #15  
Old 12-24-2016, 03:54 PM
romansperson romansperson is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatopescado View Post
I opened a box of this last night, and it was more Weevils than rice!
Extra protein!
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