Lazy cooking-- Hints and tips, please.

I like to make delicious meals but I do not have the time or industriousness it takes to do things like the books say. I’m wondering if I’m missing out on some truly fantastic tasting food by doing things the easy way. OR. . . are there even easier, less time consuming ways to make good food. Below are some of my lazy shortcuts.

The experts say to take bunches of them, tie them with a string and hang them upside down in a cool, dry place. My lazy version: Put the name of the herbs you happen to be growing on a paper bag. When you cut too much herb for the meal you are making during the summer, toss the extras in the paper bags (you gotta make sure they’re dry. Even my lazy ass learned to take the effort to dry them before trying to dry them), put bags in a kitchen cabinet away from the stove. In the winter, you’ve got bags full of dried herbs for almost zero effort.
Soup from scratch-- My son, who is less lazy than I am, will sometimes make stock and freeze it. Me, I’m far too lazy and time constrained to cook something that can’t be eaten after I’m done cooking it, so I don’t usually make stock. But, if I’ve already roasted a hunk of meat on a bone and the family has decimated it over the course of a meal or two, that is the best time to make lazy soup from scratch.

Cut up what veggies you got into chunks-- onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic (not potatoes. This doesn’t work well with potatoes)-- the stuff you’d usually put in a stock. Put 1/8 of an inch (even less) at the bottom of a stockpot and heat it. Put all your spices in the hot oil. Toss in what veggies you have. If you are gonna be less lazy, you should toss them in in order of hardness but if you can chuck it all in at the same time.

Then take whatever carcass you’ve got and put it in. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and cover.

After this it’s all up to you. It’s like making the stock and the soup at the same time. If you got a ham you can now add split peas or, perhaps, lentils. If you’ve got a chicken, a little rice or maybe some more carrots and some peas. I like to put fideos in with beef. That’s because I’m Puerto Rican.

Maybe you should check out the recipes of Sandra Lee? (covers head with arms). Your ideas sound fine to me, and more labor-intensive than a lot of people would bother with. Cooking soup the way you describe was a mainstay of cookery for centuries, where they always had a big pot simmering on the fire and just kept adding leftovers every day so they never ran out of ‘porridge’.

I have a rice cooker with a steamer basket which fits on top. Rice in the bottom, veg in the top, takes about 2 minutes to prepare.

Along those lines, you can make rice dishes by throwing the ingredients in with the rice. I add stock powder instead of water. I make an excellent persian chicken this way: bite size chunks of chicken, sliced peaches, raisins, saffron, stock powder, cinnamon, cumin, all chucked in the rice cooker. Add onions fried in butter (and here’s my blasphemous secret. I buy the jars of already chopped onion as I have huge kein with chopping onions after working all day…I’m easily irritated). The whole thing takes five minutes of preparation and while it’s in the rice cooker, you can have a nice bath.

I’ve invested in a huge amount of takeout containers and a permanent marker. I always try to cook extra and freeze the rest. (See hint re the steamer/cooker above. 2 minutes to prepare rice and veg, 10 seconds to put frozen meal in microwave).