More meals, please…

I am on a roll and for the first time ever I am cooking dinners.  In fact, one night last week I made a frozen dinner and found it entirely disgusting.  In my defense, it had been in there for a long time and did have freezer burn, but it was so disappointing after all my home cooked meals.  Most of the time I do get Amy’s frozen dinners, and I really can’t complain about them, so for my one frozen dinner night a week, I will stick with Amy’s.

Speaking of brand names we probably all know, my dad sent me these noodles and the sauce so I could make pad thai.
I was a little nervous because Ryan is not a big pad thai fan, so I decided to load it up with goodies. 
I will admit that prepping in advance is a great trick and anyone can do this, and even though I say this to clients all the time, I am finding that even for myself a little planning and prepping in advance can go a long way.  Tuesday after work I had to take the dog to the vet and then come home to cook dinner and then head to the high school volley ball game, so there was limited time.  I wanted to have steamed broccoli and tofu with my dinner, so Monday night when there was more time, I lightly steamed (still a little crisp since it would cook more when I actually made the meal), and then baked my tofu.
After that, I did marinate the tofu overnight in some of my pad thai sauce.
This made dinner so easy on Tuesday night.  I grabbed some bean sprouts, some peanuts, a red pepper and the rest of my sauce.
Then I add all of that to my tofu and broccoli, and sautéed this a little bit in a tad of olive oil.
Last step was the presentation and I just served it with the rice noodles.  Oh, and it was a success.  Ryan loved it and even took some leftovers in to work.
I wasn’t sure if I could even top that pad thai experiment, but I was determined to try on Thursday night with a four bean chili.  This recipe is from the Vegetarian Times Low Fat and Fast cook book.
Here are all my canned goods for this quick and easy chili.
Now if this doesn’t say fall, I don’t know what does. 
I love when I can add fresh items to canned items and save time and money and feel like I am getting the best of both worlds.
After cooking the onion and pepper with some garlic, I added the broth and beans.
Seriously, it was that easy.  In about 20 minutes I had a delicious meal.  This was a hit with Ryan too and he even took leftovers in for lunch.
QUESTIONS:  Do you ever prep some of your meals a day or so in advance to make better use of your time?  Do you have a favorite recipe that combines fresh and canned/frozen items?


Tricia said...

yum, it looks great!

Mari said...

everything looks great!!!! especially the thai food!

Unknown said...

I can do chili in a crock pot w/ canned and frozen things! And that's really easy, it just sits all day and then when it's dinner time, there's nothing left to do but nom nom nom!

chow and chatter said...

love that PAD Thai sauce um I add frozen veggies to everything but pretty much cook fresh daily or have leftovers the next day

Kristen (swanky dietitian) said...

You know I don't ever think I have had pad thai. It looks so delicious so I don't know why I haven't ever tried it. Yours looks delish!

I try to prep as much as I can..especially sundays. Sometimes though I am lazy but that definitely makes it more difficult.

Jessie said...

Ryan is a lucky guy to get these delicious home-cooked meals - and nice job with the pad thai! If someone has never had it before, the dish can be a little strange for him or her, but you must have nailed it because he liked it.

I really don't do much prep until right before I cook a meal - and it's definitely come back to bite me before. I'll use frozen veggies or canned beans a lot, but I tend to stick with fresh for other items.

Shannon said...

I love haing frozen veggies on hand. It removes the chopping step! The little cooking I am doing today is done in stages. Not knowing how cooperative my baby will be at dinner prep time, I have started prepping dinner whenver I can...even if its 1pm!

Emily said...

you are on a roll melinda! good for you!
i actually love pad thai, so i'm sure i would have loved your dish. glad that ryan did, too. :)

i do like to prep things ahead like soup or hummus, so they are ready for the week.

Special K said...

All my soups are done 2-3 days ahead of time...Sunday prep is perfect time for this...

get FISH sauce! It is so YUMMY! And are there sushi places on the island??

Lori said...

I love playing around with pad Thai. Mine turns out a little different every time. I always order my Thai food with tofu when I'm out, but I never make it myself. Yours looks great!

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