What's your usual GET A HOT MEAL ON THE TABLE ASAP meal?

We’ve all been there. You just getting home from work, you’re hangry, tired and have zero patience. You want something to eat now and you want it with a minimum of fuss and drama. Using ingredients you usually have on hand, what’s your quick dinner of choice? The only rule - there has to be some actual cooking involved on your part. No reaching for a purchased microwavable frozen meal and no calling for a meal delivery or restaurant reservations.

I usually go in one of two ways:

OPTION 1 - I don’t care if in the evening, I’ll make breakfast. I can have sausage, pancakes and eggs on the table in ten minutes.

OPTION 2 - plop a frozen chicken breast into a skillet along side some chopped onion, peppers and mushrooms. When the chicken is thawed enough to permit, remove it, cut it up and return to pan with spices and a can’s worth of drained black beans or refried beans. Wrap the resulting glop into a flour tortilla and call it a day.

What’s your quick meal strategy?

Make a hamburger.

I bike past Trader Joe’s on my way home, so I grab some of their chicken sausages (90% less fat than bratwurst, though half as tasty). Sundried Tomato, Italian, Garlic, Chardonnay Apple, lots of choices. Slap those on the grill or pan while I open my bag of TJ’s Pepita/ Apricot/Kale/Spinach Salad (comes with a good Asian dressing)(my wife’s a good Asian, she concurs). End the meal with a Seinfeld reference*.

*T-Joe’s carries Chocolate Babka… and the Black & White Cookie (which cannot be eaten without someone saying “Look to the cookie!”)

Pizza. Or maybe Panda Express.

The only rule - there has to be some actual cooking involved on your part.

Ramen with an egg, some frozen veggies, maybe some chopped up Costco precooked chicken strips from the freezer and a little snipped chive from the garden.

If I’m planning ahead for something fast, chicken legs or a pork loin can be prepped and cooked pretty fast but not if they’re sitting frozen in the freezer.

Tacos. I always have tortillas, cheese, salsa and some sort of greenery around so cheese tacos are always a possibility, and if I have some leftover cooked chicken or ground meat or steak or pork I can make meat tacos. Sour cream and avocados are likely to be available as well. I can fit four tacos into one frying pan so they all come out about the same time and the whole process takes maybe ten, fifteen minutes. That’s a meal.

I’m with Jophiel on this one: ramen with frozen veggies and some kind of soy/gluten protein maybe. I might add a wee bit of grated romano cheese on top, too.

ETA: The thing is, I eat this a lot of the time even when time/desire to cook isn’t a factor. I just like ramen.

Grilled cheese/ham & cheese/whatever ingredients. Quick and easy, always have ingredients on hand.

Second would be some sort of pasta dish, but that will take at least about 15 minutes for the water to boil and the pasta to cook. For sauce, I usually do a quick arrabbiata (crushed tomatoes, oil, garlic, hot pepper flakes, olive oil) or puttanesca (anchovies, capers, olives, garlic) with pantry ingredients. It might sound somewhat fancy, but it’s super easy and tasty and quick and the reason I want to have anchovies, capers, and olives at all times.)

I got no issue with ramen and I happily eat my share of it. With that being said, some of my experiments have been less than enjoyable. In memory of my father, once a year, I’ll eat a can of spam. Ramen is a frequent home for some of it.

Mac n cheese. Or maybe a quesadilla with some beans.

Cheese or plain omelette with whatever veggies are available for steaming on the side.

Oh, yes, quesadilla, too! How did I forget that one? Well, you can fold it into the “grilled cheese” category.

Well then, a can of soup or a can of chili. I assume heating up constitutes cooking.

Ramen with a can or two of tuna and some leftover canned veggies (or some frozen veggies if there are no leftovers).

Sometimes I’ll do a quasi-Thai ramen with cumin, turmeric, and a bit of crunchy peanut butter.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup is comfort food whether I’m in a hurry or not. Bonus: my kids like it.

Omelets or fried egg sandwiches are both good in a pinch, too.

I almost always have risotto, frozen peas, and a block of parmesan cheese in the house. Risotto takes a little time and babysitting, but it’s not hard at all. Toss in the peas five minutes before it’s done, grate some parmesan into it, and Bob’s your uncle.

I’m fond of a quick frittata. In addition to being fast, they’re extremely flexible.

Dice ham, bacon or sausage fried with a little olive oil in an oven proof pan. Drain excess oil if there is any. Then add your favorite veggies or whatever is in the fridge. Mine always has chopped garlic, onion, red peppers and mushrooms. Saute those until wilted. I like to add a couple handfuls of spinach at this point. Then add the beaten eggs (I use 6) and sprinkle shredded cheese evenly through the mixture. Turn down the heat and let it cook through the bottom. Then sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top and run it under the broiler for a few minutes to lightly cook/toast the top.

Add a piece of fruit, some toast if you want some carbs, and there’s dinner. Breakfast, too!

Alpha Twit… it’s obvious you really loved your dad. Hat tip.

I am going with eggs. I’ve always got eggs. Cheese is always in my fridge. I usually have something squirreled away that I cooked and frozen, that could be an option, if it’s allowed. Pasta is quick. I make my own Italian sauce and can it when I have tomatos. So I can do pasta in the time it takes to boil noodles, say 10 minutes. Salad fixings are usually here too.

I’m reading this thread with interest without contributing much. I used to keep a lot of fridge staples around but I kept having stuff go bad. So if it’s not in my meal plan when I go grocery shopping, I often don’t have it.

I’ve recently tried keeping frozen ravioli and frozen vegetables in the freezer. I’ve thrown them into chicken broth for something soup-like on short notice.

Just like the OP… we’ll cook breakfast. We’ve always got eggs, b-fast meat, and cheese in the fridge.

Cereal is my backup plan. Cheese and crackers is the wife’s.