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I'm sure this scenario never happens to you: It's 6pm, you've just finished work, and you haven't even thought about what to make for dinner. Your family is hungry, and you really don't want to spend the money to order out. What's a busy cook to do?
I have an arsenal of what we call desperation meals in the BFR household. These are the meals I make when the thought of dirtying up the kitchen, chopping veggies, and waiting for flavors to develop in a simmering pot are just to too much to bear. Today I'll tell you about two of them.
The first one is quick canned chili. It involves opening five cans and one bag, chopping an onion and some garlic, and grating cheese. The second is a soup that involves about the same effort: opening a can, two boxes, and a bag and chopping an onion and garlic. Both put dinner on the table quickly with almost no work and no mess.
I make it a point to always have the ingredients for these meals on hand. Most of them are either canned or frozen, so there is no problem with shelf life.
- 2 cans chili beans (with seasonings)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can sliced black olives, drained
- 1 can chopped green chiles
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bag frozen corn
- 2 to 3 good shakes of green sauce
- grated cheese for serving
- hot sauce for serving
I usually serve this over rice. Although we normally eat only brown rice, I keep white on hand for desperation evenings because it cooks so quickly in the rice cooker. So I begin this meal by putting the white rice in the cooker, then I start opening cans. Then entire meal is ready in about 20 minutes, or when the rice is done.
- 1.5 quarts chicken broth (boxed, frozen homemade, whatever you have)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce, if that's what you have)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 box frozen chopped spinach (not shown, I forget to put it in photo)
- 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A few shakes each of oregano and basil
- a few handfuls of frozen tortellini
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
Although these are not the versions of chili or soup I'd normally use, I'm happy to know I have some very quick and tasty meals at my disposal when I need them. I'll share some other ideas in future posts.