October 19: Learn A Few Recipes Really, Really Well

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

Unlike my husband, I’ll never think of cooking as “relaxing” or really enjoyable. However, after years of marriage, I have become more confident in the kitchen and I can make a variety of tasty dishes with minimal effort, even improvising as necessary.   I think that having several go-to “no-cook” dishes has definitely simplify my life.

Here are my go-to dishes when I’m tired, hungry and don’t want to think too much:

  1. Pasta Salad:  Easy to customize and great for lunch the next day, too.
  2. Pasta with tuna (and sometimes capers, olives and parmigiano): Pasta without any red sauce is a life saver when you’re not very inspired.  This one is quick to make; you simply dump in a can of tuna, preferably tuna in olive oil, and mix well. 
  3. A Big Salad: Italians generally don’t eat a salad as the main dish, but my husband and I do this often in the summers.  Open a bag of pre-mixed greens, mix a vinegrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and add in toppings such as bell peppers, avocado (a favorite of mine), carrots, tomatoes, sliced ham, artichoke hearts, cubes of cheese, goat cheese etc..
  4. Rice Salad: An Italian summer favorite. See recipe here.  Can also be lunch the next day.
  5. Frittata: I love the versatility of frittata. It’s easy to make and you can mix and match ingredients like onions, spinach, bell peppers, etc.. I prefer to keep the ingredients simple like onion and bell peppers.  Great for dinner or lunch.
  6. Oven-baked rosemary chicken and potatoes: This one takes a little more effort but you can make a big pan of chicken with potatoes for two dinners.  By effort, I mean that you do have to check the chicken and flip it around from time to time.
  7. Stir Fry: Another mix and match recipe. Saute a 3-4 ingredients in a big wok with soy sauce and oil. I generally pick 2 veggies and 1 meat or tofu. Vegetables I like include: bell peppers, mushrooms, bean sprouts, broccoli and bok choy.  Make rice in a rice cooker in the meantime.  You can also use different sauces and spices for variety.
  8. Fajitas: Saute beef (or chicken) with bell peppers, onions and a fajita mix.  Wrap in a tortilla and add hot sauce.

What are your quick and easy go-to recipes? 

I also have the vague feeling that I wrote something similar to this post before but I did not find it going through my blog archives, or it could have been an unfinished post that never saw light of day….

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