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How to Prepare Quick Meals

Quick Meals

Try some of these tips to make quick, nutritious weekday meals for yourself or your family.

Salads

Cook your favorite pasta, drain and rinse. Add bottled salad dressing, plus vegetables and meats from a salad bar. Mix marinated artichokes, vegetables, olives and torn greens. Add crunch to salads by adding nuts.

Vegetables and grains

Purchase cut-up vegetables from the supermarket salad bar and stir-fry or add to salads. Add broccoli or cauliflower florets, or slices of carrots and zucchini to a pot in which pasta is cooking. Vegetables will cook in slightly less time than dry pasta, about the same as fresh.

Drain, toss with olive oil and season. Recycle leftover cooked vegetables in salads, soups, pasta dishes or casseroles. Turn leftover potatoes into potato salad chowder or hash browns. Thin salsa with beer, or cheese spread with milk and use as a quick sauce over hot or cold vegetables. Save leftover rice for fried rice. To speed it up, add thawed frozen Oriental vegetables.

Boil more pasta than you need for a given evening, drain, toss with vegetable oil and store in the refrigerator in a zipper-lock bag for several days. To reheat, drop briefly in boiling water. Rely on rice mixes and canned beans for hearty, nutritious combinations – Spanish rice with black beans, for example.

Entrees

For a breakfast sandwich on the run, serve egg salad or scrambled eggs in a tortilla. It’s more expensive, but buying presliced or cubed cheese saves time. For a satisfying late-night supper, place a slice of cheese between two slices of toasted bread.

Microwave on microwavable paper towel on medium power (50 percent) for 1 minute. For a quick fondue, thin cheese soup with white wine or beer and serve with cubes of fresh fruit and French bread.

Marinate boneless chicken breasts in Italian dressing or barbecue sauce and grill or saute. For an easy chicken salad, combine chopped, cooked chicken with equal parts mayonnaise and plain yogurt. Season to taste. Add leftover cooked vegetables and fish to canned cream soup for a fast chowder. Stir cooked shrimp or other shellfish into your quick meals favorite spaghetti sauce and serve over pasta.

Cut fish steaks into 1-inch cubes for kebabs. Freeze on cookie sheet for one hour. Place in covered container and freeze. Thaw slightly before threading onto skewers. You’ll have kebabs at a moment’s notice. You don’t have to buy fancy bread crumbs to coat fish for sauteing. Use cornmeal and chili powder, crushed cornflakes, or crushed cracker crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Keep frozen meatballs to add to sauce.

Form seasoned ground beef into balls and freeze on a cookie sheet. Store in a zipper-lock bag for up to six months. Grill extra steaks and burgers to reheat later in the microwave. Heat leftover cubed beef in a barbecue, pizza or taco sauce and serve in tortillas, pita breads or buns

Dessert

Freeze flavored yogurt in small paper cups. Add sticks for frozen pops. Fill store-bought crepes with fruit, ice cream, pudding or whipped cream. Layer frozen poundcake with frozen yogurt and slice as you would a terrine. Saute sliced pears, apples or bananas in butter or margarine. Add brown sugar to taste, and a splash of rum, if desired.

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