Dare to Simplify – Multitasking at Meals

I wasn’t perfect in my goal this week not to multitask during meals. It’s amazing how HARD it is. The hardness of the goal to simply sit and eat meals with my family 3 times a day made me realize how much I need to keep working on it. Because really. If my life is as simple and balanced as I’d like it to be, that shouldn’t be difficult.

Along with these weekly goals, I’ve been drastically cutting back on my personal activities, giving up some good things that I really enjoy in order to have time to just breathe and live and be with my family. It’s been hard to let go of some of these pet projects but as each thing drops away, I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, even when the thing I was doing was a really good thing. Being involved in too many good things makes it hard to enjoy any of them.

Dare to Simplify Week 3 — Fast Quick Speedy Meals of Quickness
This week write down a list of your favorite quick dinner meals to make in a pinch when you don’t have anything planned, you don’t have time to make what you had planned or you find that you’re missing one key ingredient from the recipe you wanted to make.

This should be a list of meals for which you generally have most of the ingredients available without a trip to the store. It can include things like waffles, scrambled eggs and refried beans on toast. (I made that last one up just now. Could you tell?) Then next week come back and share your ideas in the comments section.

I find that when I’m desperate for a quick meal, I can’t think of anything so I’d like to post this list of fast ideas inside my kitchen cupboard to look at when we’re in a rush.

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19 Responses to Dare to Simplify – Multitasking at Meals

  1. Wendy says:

    Refried beans on toast?? I LOVE that! We used to always have that Sunday nights. Not really. We’d have Chinese.

    This is a great idea. Can I have your list when you’re done?

  2. I struggled a little with the meal thing too, but it was good to at least have it on my mind and try to do better. Your ideas sound like the kind of stuff I make every day anyway, but I’m TOTALLY adding refried beans on toast to my list. The first ideas that come to mind for me are quesadillas/grilled cheese, spaghetti, and of course cold cereal! (ha, I guess my list could use a little work too.)

  3. Michelle says:

    We always have pasta in the cupboard and a jar of sauce in the fridge, so when we need a quick meal, it’s pasta and sauce.

    We usually have raw spinach as well (spinach is the new lettuce), so that makes an easy green side with a little dressing. Or, if you’re into cooked greens, spinach only takes a few minutes to saute with butter and and a dash of garlic powder (yummy!).

  4. Aubrey says:

    Ok, you were joking, but when I am out of town, beans on toast is exactly what my husband eats! I mean really could he not just go to the store and get tortillas? Or put cheese on it minus the beans and have grilled cheese? Seriously!
    One of the stand by quick meals we have does have beans in it…
    Huevos Rancheros Just put corn tortillas in a pan with a little oil, cook both sides and put on paper towels, make about three per adult, and one or two for kids. Fry three eggs for adult plates and two for kids, open a can of black beans and heat, put on tortillas, next add the eggs on top, then top with cheese. You may want to pop in the microwave to melt the cheese. We always have salsa and sour cream around, if you do then put some on the top!
    (If I am really doing good, which is rarely I will cook meat and then add the beans, and a can of red enchilada sauc, Yummy!)
    My kids LOVE this meal, it makes it easier once you plate everything to cut it up for them like you would pancakes.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Whoo-hoo! Now THIS one I can do!

    I totally sucked it up for not multi-tasking. I was good for like two days.

  6. Emily says:

    So my favorite quick meal that is in my husband’s “Top Ten Best Foods ” is so easy. Open cans of corn, black beans, and chicken. Drain all of them and then mix. Put the mixture in a tortilla, add cheese and salsa then fold and fry on both sides. It takes maybe 10 minutes and is yummy!!!

  7. Wendy says:

    Argghh beans on toast, no thanks! Although I do like black beans. We eat a lot of perogies when we have no idea what to eat. Otherwise..bacon and hashbrowns for dinner, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, one of my favourite casseroles (which my husband hates), consisting of a can of black beans, 3/4 cup rice, a few cups of frozen veggies, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of tomato soup and some dill and thyme. It cooks up in about 15 minutes.
    We keep a lot of those frozen chicken kievs and fish sticks in the freezer too, for those lazy days when I don’t want to create something yummy, I just want to reheat.

    Wait a second..re-reading your post-was I supposed to wait a week to post my ideas??

  8. Sherilyn says:

    I usually have pasta & a jar of sauce in the cupboard, rising crust pizza in the freezer, some frozen waffles, soup. Grilled cheese is a good idea, but I seem to never have cheese on hand!

  9. Kork says:

    Wow! This is the first I’ve actually come over and read of you, even after FarmWife’s raves!

    I have to say that I’m going to go back and see what wonderful things you did in the first 2 weeks of this Dare to Simplify challenge thingy…

    Can I say that my challenge right now is getting OUT of the meal rut of my in-a-pinch-meals?

    Can’t wait to read more!

  10. Melissa says:

    My favorite “quick, no preparation meals” comes from Schwans…..does this count?

  11. Heffalump says:

    Do I really have to wait until next week to comment on this?
    Our go to meals are usually breakfasts. Breakfast burrito, omelets, french toast, potato latkes (hey, they are GOOD!). One of my favorite meals is Taco soup. Its browned meat (we use ground turkey here) with taco seasoning, a can of corn undrained, a can of kidney beans undrained and a small can of tomato sauce. Stir and heat. We eat it with tortilla chips instead of spoons, and we stir in cheese and sour cream. (I actually make it with two cans of corn, two cans of kidney or black beans, and one 15 oz can of Tomato sauce, but that feeds 7 of us plus a bowl or two leftover…so the smaller recipe may work better for some).
    I’ll try to post some more when I am actually supposed to be commenting about this topic next week…

  12. KYouell says:

    I’m ashamed to say that I completely forgot about the challenge. We caught some kind of series of bugs and at least one of us has been sick every day since the beginning of October. I’m talking over 2 weeks, people. I’m tired of it. Especially since Mr. Hubby has yet to be one of the sick people. What’s the deal?*

    Anyway, in the interest of cooking more of our own food and saving money, we’ve been buying the 2 whole chickens for $10 at Costco. If you roast it *breast down* for the first 60-90 mins, then flip it over for the last 30-60 mins you get nicely done skin all over. That night we feast on wings and legs and thighs and the bits on the back that are actually tastier fresh from the hot oven. Then I get 2 lazy dinners where I have a big cooked chicken breast to do with what I will. Some of my lazy dinners have been:

    Naan chicken pizza in the toaster oven (thank you Trader Joe’s)
    Mac & Cheese with the chicken (or uncured hot dogs, thank you Trader Joe’s)
    Skinless chicken reheated in the toaster oven with teriyaki sauce, a side of rice and peas

    Now that I think about it, the night I roast is fairly lazy too. Once you man-handle that raw bird into the oven, it can be ignored. Good time for snuggling and book reading while we’ve been sick. What I haven’t done is make soup, probably because we’ve been picking the bird so clean.

    *I almost said “for the love of chicken” up there and that makes me realize I should tell you that you got a laugh. I attended a conference in September and went to a workshop one day about cussing (it’s a big deal for interpreters, ya know?). We were asked to shout out interesting euphemisms we’ve heard so I contributed your “For the love of chicken!” Thanks. It was a hit. 😀

  13. TJ Hirst says:

    Kind of funny that you would say that. I do what you are talking about, and I wonder some times if it is simplification or craziness. I posted this week about how I do it.

  14. HeidiH says:

    Here are some dinner ideas:

    Ham and cheese sandwiches warmed in a George Foreman type grill – butter the outside of the bread

    Cold cereal

    Poached eggs and toast

    Fish sticks and microwaved baked potatoes, peas

    Baked potatoes with sour cream, plus some green veggies on the side

    Fried rice – I make this when I have leftover rice. I use scrambled eggs and veggies with the rice, plus chicken broth and a bit of soy sauce for the seasoning. I use meat if I have ham or cooked chicken on hand.

    Spaghetti – sometimes I precook hamburger then freeze it (first on a cookie sheet, then in a ziploc bag), so I’ll add some of that hamburger to the sauce, then serve on noodles with parmesan and green beans on the side

    Tortillas with cheese melted on top, then sliced tomatoes over the cheese

    Phankuchen (German skillet pancakes) – for every egg (I use one or more eggs per person when I’m making this), add a heaping tablespoon of flour, a scant teaspoon of sugar, and a dash of salt. Then, whisk in milk until it’s smooth and the consistency of cream. Cook one pan-sized pancake at a time in an oiled frying pan, then serve with applesauce on top.

    Salmon cooked in a George Foreman type grill, also serve couscous (easy to make instructions on the box – I always use chicken broth instead of water because it tastes better), green veggie

    Shepherd pie – a pound or so of browned ground beef mixed with 1/2 fajita seasoning packet and some cream of mushroom soup plus milk. Put the meat in the bottom of a dutch oven or oven pan, then drain 2 cans of green beans and put them on top of the meat. Next, put fake mashed potatoes (already reconstituted) over the beans, and top the potatoes with shredded cheddar cheese. Heat in the oven.

    Peanut butter and jam sandwiches cut into nifty shapes, baby carrots or other veggies with dip, chips

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