Looking for quick meals
I often have the problem of NOT planning meals. I cant stand it to tell you the truth and I get frustrated with it. I am the only one doing LC in the house (even though other should be as well but they dont listen to their DR's). When my wife helps plan the meals it is a great help but lately she has been slacking off to make junk IMO. So its up to me to plan more. It just does not happen all the time and more often not.
Last night for example I went out with some people from work for appetizers and a few drinks (someone leaving the company). I had a few Vodka and club sodas (no carbs) and no food as I was not eating the quesadillas, fried calamari (breaded), french fries. I originally thought we were going to have a sit down meal - but nope. So I got home starving. Of course nothing in the house for a quick meal at 9:00 at night. I had a small salad (lettuce only) with LC dressing and that was is.
So what I am looking for is fast quick meal ideas. What can I have around the house that is a go to fall back meal? Something Frozen I guess that could be microwaved. I love food and cant stand bland food that I have been eating since going LC. I need flavor. And lessons on how to cook. Nuking a piece of frozen chicken will not work.
Any ideas? I have done good as far as weightloss but I can see myself going away from LC if this continues which is something I may not want to do.
I keep our freezer stocked with Bubba Burgers, Steak Umms, and sometimes turkey burgers and salmon patties. They're really quick to cook up, and satisfying.
I also keep bags of spinach, cauliflower, and broccoli in the freezer.
In the pantry: tuna, kippers, canned chicken and canned pork (we can it ourselves when it is on sale) for a quick mix with diced onion and celery and mayo, scooped up on celery or pork rinds.
In the fridge we always have eggs and cheese (late-night omelets), and chinese and thai stir-fry sauces (a little bit of sugar, but it works in my plan once in a while, and it's really easy to throw meat and veg into a pan, heat it and sauce it and then eat it).
I also tend to get big packages of whatever-meat-is-on-sale-this-week, and cook it up on the weekend. That way on week nights I can just grab a couple of already-cooked chicken thighs, or pork chops, or bratwurst, or a bowl of shredded pork or roast beef, and re-heat it quickly.
I also keep cottage cheese, cream cheese, pickled herring, cheese, and hard-cooked eggs on hand in the fridge. THese are my snacks. When I come home and I know it'll be more than 30 minutes before I can eat, I HAVE to have a snack to tide me over, or Mrs. Grumpypants comes out and terrorizes the whole household.
My family thanks me.
Bagged frozen shrimp (peeled and deveined large) , tablespoon of Old Bay or Seasoning Salt. Plop it into boiling water, reduce heat to medium, cook about 3-4 min. Have with salad.
Mussels. They're often found in a box with 2 bags in them. Plop a bag into a big pot of boiling water, boil 7 min. Cut the bag open and pour contents into a big bowl,add butter and a little garlic powder.
Next time you cook a roast or some boneless chicken breasts, slice some into portion sizes and wrap it real well to keep in the freezer. On a busy day, stop by 7/11 on your way home and grab a 2-pack of hard boiled eggs. Add those to a salad along with the chicken or meat you saved (thaw it in microwave, 40% power for 3 minutes). Or get 2 of the 2-packs of eggs, go home and smoosh them with mayo to eat with veggie strips. really good if you have some of the precooked bacon from the grocery store.
Or a quick tuna or chicken salad w/veg strips or salad--- I rinse the canned chicken because it's too salty/briny for me.
Rubbermaid and Ziplok make good individual sized flat containers that would stack well in the freezer and would nuke quickly because they are shallow. Next time you cook, make extra and freeze some portions. Beef roast with broth, boneless chicken, boston butt or other fatty pork bbq-type meats, and meatloaf all freeze well. Bone-in chicken, cooked hamburgers, and unsauced skillet-cooked meats like pork chops do not.
Oh, and for seasonings... Plain meat is NOT fun. Try topping it with butter and a sprinkle of an herb/garlic spice blend. Buy one next time you shop, and see what you think. Buy another one later. Soon you'll have lots of options!
I keep curry, stir-fry, and barbecue sauces on hand. As I said, some have more sugar that they would if I made them myself, but my plan is flexible enough to allow that once in a while.
Sour cream and hot sauce is a great, quick dip for meat. (One of my fastest dinners is hot dogs microwaved, then dipped as I eat them) So is sour cream and mustard, or horseradish.
I try to have grilled chicken on hand - already grilled and saved in Tupperware -- that I can easily heat up and have with a salad. I also keep coleslaw mix on hand because you can make a nice quick stirfry with that if you have sesame oil, ginger and garlic on hand too. I also keep the bags of fresh cauliflower and broccoli on hand too -- the kind that you can just microwave easily - no muss and no fuss.
The easiest thing for me is to just make eggs and steam some veggies like asparagus or have sliced tomatoes along with them. If you need a quick snack, celery with Greek Yogurt dip or all-natural peanut butter is great. My fiance likes having pepperoni, cheese cubes and cocktail nuts on hand (those stall me so I can't eat those).
Good for you for resisting the treats at your after-work gathering. You should be proud.
I like to keep burger patties in the fridge for a quick meal. Just nuke, add cheese and any other toppings, jalapenos are a favorite! We usually grill burgers on the weekends so I just toss a couple more patties on to save for later.
Hard boiled eggs always! You can make deviled eggs in only minutes.
Salami or pepperoni & cheese.
Almonds & walnuts (also good with cheese).
Cucumber slices or celery w/ ranch dip.
Cans of tuna are great too!
The most important thing is that when I cook a meal, I always make a little extra either for lunch the next day or for a quick meal when I dont have time to plan or cook. Sometimes on Sunday, I will make one of LindaSue's casseroles and package it into meals for the week. That is a huge time saver.
Bacon/eggs is my standby when there is nothing much in the fridge. Or an omelette. Devilled eggs is another good option.
As others have said - have some burger patties in the freezer. They're quick to fry up. You can saute some cabbage or spinach in the same pan - yum.
A can of tuna will do in a pinch, too.
Don't leave this up to your wife if she's not committed. Spend some time on the weekend shopping to make sure you will have things for the week.
I always try to have pepperoni or landjaeger (dry sausage) on hand for a pinch, along with cheese and low carb nuts like macadamia or almonds.
Some people use the Atkins meals. Not me personally - but might be good to have one or two in the freezer for emergencies if you're not a cook.
Last night, I cooked up a couple of pounds of chicken tenders. These are quick to grab - I have some at lunch with a salad. Also prep a bunch of salad veggies and lettuce on the weekend to make this easy. You can also buy bagged, washed lettuce and other veg if you don't want to do this step.
Even if your wife is no LCing, ask her to cook extra portions of meat so you can have leftovers during the week.
Can you do the shopping for the family? Help your wife plan a menu for the week? LC or not, I would gladly cook what my husband wanted if he would do the shopping. I hate shopping. Maybe your wife hates the daily dinner grind - shopping, cooking something everyone will like. It gets to be a drag -- anything you can do to help her will probably make it easier for her to support you.
As to your appies out -- my standard choices are hot wings, a caesar salad with no croutons, dry ribs -- many places have stuff like this. You can usually find SOMETHING on the menu.
The shopping plan is a touchy subject. She likes to do it and when I say I am going to do it it starts a war. She has been helpful and eats the LC meals but she will also eat whatever.
Anyways we have been making extras when we cook and I take to work the next day for lunch.
My poor planning is what gets me in trouble when we dont have a plan for dinner.
Thanks All for the recommendations - some good ideas here.
We have a vacu-sealer and we freeze leftover meats (pulled pork, chicken, etc but in family sized portions. Maybe I should make some smaller packets as well next time.
I have a Big Green Egg Smoker (grill) that we cook allot of meals on. Just need to find some new LC recipes. I miss BBQ sauce.
We regularly grill a ton of chicken breast, slice, and flash freeze. That way it doesn't clump and you can pull out just 2-3 pieces instead of a huge frozen blob.
Chicken sausage is quick to heat and serve with a frozen veggie or two. That's a regular fall back meal here. Spinach feta, turkey ginger scallion, etc. There are lots of variations depending on where you shop.
I cook and freeze different meatballs. Traditional Italian, pork/ginger/scallion, etc. Sometimes I make them tiny for soup. I also freeze a lot of chicken stock, but you can also buy aseptic packs of chicken broth, throw in some frozen mini meatballs, and a bunch of greens like spinach or kale and have a nice, warm, healthy dinner. Great for fall and winter in particular. If I have fresh ginger, I cut a chunk, peel, and toss that in with the broth while it simmers. You can also add a splash of soy sauce and or hot sauce or fish sauce to the broth for more flavor.
We do HB eggs in the oven a lot and if the shells are intact they can stay in there for a week.
Deli meat (watch sugar content) dipped in horseradish mixed with mayo, or hot sauce added to mayo.
Other fast meal ideas:
1. Combine: 3 crumbled hard boiled eggs, 1/2 a large mashed avocado, and some hot sauce (I like Franks) - not pretty but is fast and delicious
2. Protein/coconut oil smoothie
3. Whole fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, chopped salted nuts, spoon or two sugar free preserves
You can always drive through a hamburger place on your way home from nights out and get a big burger with no bun! Really good and really fast!!
I *HIGHLY* recommend you visit LindaSue's website, here:
Linda's Low Carb Menus & Recipes - Home
She is a great contributor on this board, and her website is full of recipes, menu ideas, and ratings of all the recipes she's tried. SO many are either quick to make OR freeze well or both!
We buy hardcooked eggs at Costco, so no need to boil them ourselves at home. There are ALWAYS packs of various sausages in the freezer - whenever we fire up the grill or the smoker, we throw some sausages on - then whatever is left over from those, we bag and freeze. Very easy to pull out one or two, nuke, add some scrambled eggs and have a nice easy quick dinner.
Sometimes I also buy the precooked grilled chicken strips at Costco. They're great on a salad, and also good mixed up with some BBQ sauce (there is a recipe on LindaSue's site, as well as some good ones on this board - the search feature is your best friend here!) and just eaten with a side of veggies, pork rinds, or whatever.
Another thing I like to have on hand is cheese cubes. Either cut up a couple types of cheeses yourself, or buy pre-cubed, or Costco (again!) has a nice variety pack of 4 kinds of cracker-sized cheese slices. These are great as-is, with pork rinds, in a lettuce wrap (with some of the grilled chicken strips!) or in an omelette.
Check the Stickies at the top of this forum - there is a "three ingredients or less" thread there with tons of good, quick ideas.
Make a big pot of beanless chili, portion out and freeze (I use a 1/2 cup ice cream scooper to do this, onto a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet) and then you can bag up those frozen chili balls and pull out a couple to nuke for a very fast and filling dinner.
Also check the OAMC (once a month cooking) threads for great ideas about cook-ahead-and-freeze meals.
This is what I’d eat in the situation you describe—or anytime for a quick meal—breakfast, lunch or even dinner (maybe with a salad along side.)
If you have a small (7-8 inch) skillet and a few vegs…any sort of cooked meat in small amounts, and eggs, and a scant few minutes--you’ve got a meal! Called a Frittata, which is an Italian-style omelette that you don’t flip. I eat it right from the skillet--decided if restaurants can serve in skillets, so can I. Besides, it stays hot til it's gone..and no dishes! lol
This is how I do it…may be other ways, but this works for me. If I’m really hungry, I add extra veggies and meat…or maybe an extra egg.
Start a little snipped onion in a skillet over med heat with butter or bacon fat, to start it cooking. I add 3 or 4 of the following: mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, bagged slaw mix, chopped sweet pepper, cooked string beans, whatever is in the fridge. The more variety, better the flavor. If you start with cooked, leftover veggies…it’s even faster to make but fresh only takes a few short minutes, if chopped fairly small and stirred to cook evenly. I make entirely vegetables sometimes…but usually add meat of some sort. If you want sausage (cooked breakfast type, or smoked sausage (sliced thin), or hot & spicy), or leftover cooked chicken or any other meat from other meals). If already cooked, add after veggies are tender-crisp and let meat warm through. Now pour 2-3 eggs fork-beaten together with about 2 Tbsp cream (or water) over top of everything in the skillet, keeping heat about medium. After another minute or two, you’ll see that it’s setting up around the edge of skillet. Using a small spatula (or even a large spoon) slip between skillet and edge of cooked egg and lift, allowing the still-liquid eggs to run down underneath. Do this on around the skillet in several places, continuing till nearly all the liquid-y egg is gone. At this point, I like to top it with shredded cheese, and put a cover on the skillet for just a minute or two (turn heat off) so that cheese melts
With the number of combinations possible here, you literally have a different dish every time you make it. A favorite of mine...broccoli, red pepper, a bit of onion, with crispy bacon bits (sometimes even from the bag, for quick!) and snipped, smoked deli-turkey, with a little horseradish sauce on side. Obviously, ANY sauce or seasoning you like can be poured over, dipped…whatever! Hope this might help, at least when low on planning or time.
Check out this thread. It's wonderful.I just turned on 3 other friends to this thread.
I like to make up a big container of taco meat to keep in the fridge ...Taco Seasoning : 1 tsp. chili powder 3/4 tsp. paprika 1 tsp. cumin 1/2 tsp. onion powder 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 1/8 tsp. cayenne 1/4 tsp. coriander 1 /2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (I never even bother to add that ).combine with 1 lb. of cooked ground beef .Add seasonings mixture along with 1 /2 cup water & 1-2 tbsp. tomato paste I used the Contadina one simmer sauce 5 to 10 minutes ...makes 5 tsps. seasoning per batch 6 carbs -2 fiber = 4 net carbs ....I found this recipe long long ago on here but have no idea who's it was . then I just take out nuke and add some shredded iceburg and whatever else I want for taco salad I love it spicy... enjoy
Last weekend I sprung for a 4 pound chuck roast, and did it in the crock pot as Mexican shredded beef. I put the whole recipe into baggies and into the freezer. It has been fast, and very flavorful, this whole week and I still have some left! Also, I tend to keep a bowl of cream of chicken soup in the fridge to nuke.
I am learning how to do this (quick meals) as I go along too, Rob. Only one other person in my house, and she is a non LC vegetarian. Makes shopping complicated!
You've gotten such great ideas! I have just a couple of things that were my go-to staples in the past.
I use my George Foreman grill, lined with foil, to quickly cook a frozen hamburger patty. Without the foil, it only takes about 7 minutes. The foil adds another 3-4 minutes, but it's worth it to simplify clean-up.
I also use my George Foreman grill to quickly cook frozen chicken tenders. I cook them the same way as the burgers, with some sort of seasoning. My favorite is the McCormick's Rotisserie Chicken. Then, for "white gravy" that is rich and creamy, I melt cream cheese mixed with cream for a wonderful sauce.
Oh, I just thought of another! Broccoli (frozen or fresh), cooked and then mixed with jarred Alfredo Sauce and cooked chicken is really yummy and fast.
As for BBQ Sauce, here's a recipe from Lisa at 24/7 Low Carb Diner blog that I've made several times and find to be delicious!
1 cup Heinz reduced sugar ketchup
1 cup Diet Rite soda
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp chili powder (more if you like)
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
black pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together until smooth.
In a medium saucepan, simmer sauce on medium low heat for 15 minutes. It will reduce and become thicker.
8 servings at ¼ cup each
Net carbs per serving 2.43
You should check out her blog, too. I was browsing through again and see that she and her family like some spicier dishes, and you may get some good ideas from it. Just google 24/7 Low Carb Diner to find it.
Taco salad for sure. Brown meat and a little chopped onion with low carb taco seasoning, wash , dry and chop romaine, add meat , top with grated cheese, sour cream, black olives, sliced halapenos, Cholula, avocado...
Chicken Verde is another go to meal, we have it when we get home from a long journey and need something fast and yummy. Drain one large can of white meat chicken, break it up and put in a small baking dish. Add one small can of Mexican style green sauce, top with grated cheese and bake till bubbly. Or if you are starving, just put it all in a pan and heat , add grated cheese, sour cream and black olives if you have them.
Great suggestions on this thread already! No matter how well you plan, emergencies happen. . . that's when the freezer is always my best friend. A few of the things that have been by go-to's lately. These aren't particularly well-balanced meals. They're just options to get ya through.
Cocktail Shrimp w/ Crackers:
Frozen, fully cooked jumbo shrimp. Takes just a few minutes to defrost under running water. Enjoy with homemade low carb cocktail sauce (takes a few seconds to make while shrimp defrosts) and some low carb crackers. (I keep a bag of "toasty onion" skinny crisps in my freezer in case I run out of homemade.) Want to spice it up? Experiment with your favorite hot sauces in the cocktail sauce.
Hot Dogs in a Roll:
Hebrew National all-beef hotdogs are my favorite. I'll have two, cooked in the microwave with condiments of your choice. Serve in a homemade roll from freezer supply or a Tofouyan pita from nettrition. Want to spice it up? Mustards come in a zillion varieties.
Ham & Broccoli Meal:
Buy a package of good quality sliced ham and freeze meal-size portions in freezer bags. Defrost & heat ham, frozen brocolli florets, and hit the broccoli with a really generous handful of shredded cheese. Viola! Dinner is served. Want to spice it up? A premium pepper-jack cheese is oddly good on the broccoli here. You can also cut up the ham into cubes and create an ad hoc casserole, adding some pickled jalepeno and a few T. of heavy cream.
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