DIY Fast Food
Too tired and unmotivated to cook? I get it. Most all of us have felt that way at times. So, what do you do when you feel like that, but you need to put dinner on the table?
My go-to solution is “fast food.” I don’t trek out to buy it. I just gather my “time savers,” which is what I call quick cooking ingredients. In a short time you too can have gravy, and a grain, ready to eat. Throw a few on-hand ingredients into the gravy, or on top of the grain, and you have dinner.
So, how easy is it to make gravy? Very. You just need broth and some flour or cornstarch.
Buy broth in the soup sectio in cartons or as bouillon cubes, or pastes. I use one called Better Than Broth, dissolving about a teaspoonful in a cup or two of water. I also save the liquid from cooked vegetables, and from some canned veggies like green beans. (Freeze it if you’re not going to use it within the week.) Heat a couple of cups of stock to a boil. Dissolve about two tablespoons of cornstarch in a quarter cup of water. Stir it into the boiling stock,turn the heat to low, and simmer it a minute or two, stirring frequently. You now have gravy. Add in some quick-cooking vegetables like chopped celery, pieces of cabbage, kale, and sweet peppers. Simmer them for a few minutes, until soft. Add frozen peas and/or corn, rinsed canned beans, and your choice of seasonings like garlic powder and/or onion powder. Have leftover cooked grain or pasta? Mix them in. Simmer for a few more minutes. A healthy stew for dinner! Or, just add frozen or canned vegetables to the gravy, simmer until vegetables are cooked and hot, and spoon it over toast, a quick grain, or fast cooked (microwaved) potatoes. Who doesn’t like gravy?
For fast grains, bring kasha (buckwheat groats) and couscous into your pantry. I often use kasha in place of rice. It is gluten free, with moderate protein and fiber. After you bring water to a boil, add half the amount of kasha as the amount of water you put in the pot. Turn down the heat to low, cover, cook ten minutes, fluff with a fork, and serve. You make couscous the same way, only right after you add it, and any spices you want, to the boiling water, you cover the pot, take it off the heat, and let it stand for five minutes. Fluff and serve. Is that fast or what? Pile whatever gravy dish or veggies, etc., on top or alongside the grains.
You won’t win the Gourmet Cook’s Award with this approach to cooking. But you’ll stay sane, catch your breath, and enjoy “homey” cooking. Yay for “fast food,” the kind you make fast at home.