Thursday, August 12, 2010

Breaking (and Making) Bread


I'm so excited about the fact that I pulled out our breadmaker and made some bread this week. It's so simple! (I have to confess that I took even more shortcuts by buying a bread mix from Whole Foods).

I simply added water and oil into the breadmaker, dumped in the contents of the bread mix, made a hole for the yeast, and added it. I shut the lid and pressed start. Four and a half hours later, I had a loaf of freshly baked bread (and a delicious-smelling house!).

The plan is to use the bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches later this week.

As we prepare for the arrival of an infant in February, I'd like to add easy recipes to our binder. Right now, most of our recipes take at least 45 minutes to cook. Things like grilled cheese and ready-made ravioli from the pasta section seem like good ways to spend less time in the kitchen.

What other ideas do you have for fast, vegetarian, mainly-homemade meals?



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14 comments:

Sarah said...

In the same vein as a breadmaker (which I also love using!), we use our crockpot a lot-- in the winter because it makes great soups and stews as well as in the summer because it uses less electricity than a stove! You can find crockpot recipes online but it's a very forgiving piece of equipment-- you can throw pretty much anything in there and maintain the moisture level as needed and it'll come out fine.

If you aren't as busy now (though is that ever the case?), you can also cook easy entrees and store them in your freezer for when the baby is here and you don't want to Cook at all!

Anonymous said...

This is possibly the easiest bread in the world and it produces one of those chewy restaurant/bakery style loafs. delicious for bruschetta with summer tomatoes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/quick-meals-tricks-00000000031265/index.html

Kelsey said...

I highly recommend the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook. It's vegetarian but very healthy and all meals use common ingredients and cook up quickly.

We have especially liked making a big bean or lentil soup on the weekends. Then we'll eat that and salads for dinner throughout the week.

C├ęcy said...

I love making bread at home. I grew up in France where bread is a staple and oh so cheap and crispy.
I'm always disapointed with what I find here.
While the bread I make is neither crispy nor French I enjoy 1)the taste better 2)the fact that I can add what I want in it (flax seeds, sunflowers, etc) 3)I save money that way.

Recipe wise, a few posts back (the one on pot luck party) I mentioned a buckwheat quinoa salad. While you do need to cook the quinoa and pasta, the put together time it's pretty small, but it's more of a summer meal.
I don't know if you have a pressure cooker, but if you do you can make pressure cooker risotto which takes so much less time than the regular way and require little to no activity on your part.
Some casseroles can be a good idea too, a quiche doesn't take much prep time if you buy the dough ready made (or throw the ingredients for the dough in the food processor, chill dough 1h). If I find any worthy recipe I'll email them.

April said...

Hi Sara,

I love making a simple pasta dish for dinner. Just cook up any pasta that you enjoy. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. You just need 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, garlic, fresh spinach and roasted pine nuts. To roast the pine nuts just place them in a small skillet over low heat for about five minutes. You'll be able to smell them when they're done. Let the pine nuts cool, and add a little olive oil to a sauce pan. Place that pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and let it infuse with the olive oil for a minute. Then add the crushed tomatoes and raise the heat to medium. When the pasta has about two minutes left add the spinach and pine nuts to the sauce, so the spinach will wilt. And then you're done. Super simple and super delicious.

LauraC said...

We eat a lot of bean tacos, bean burritos, taco salads, etc.

In summer we rely on a lot of PB&J since we go to the pool almost every day.

And we use the crockpot a ton. And I often make a big meal on Sunday to eat leftovers throughout the week.

And from my perspective, one person can deal with the baby while the other cooks :) And if you take any kind of leave, a lot of people do the prep work during the day (chopping and such) and then cook everything in the evening.

practicingempathy said...

I love the recipes from thestonesoup.com. Not all of them are vegetarian, but all of them are minimalist. Some of my favorite vegetarian quick meals come from there.

Our favorite is the veggie laksa, a coconut milk curry soup.

Carrie said...

Stir frying a combo of veggies with simple spices. Our latest was summer squash, red, yellow, and orange peppers, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes with a teriyaki sauce. We added chicken, which you'd obviously leave out. I'm sure tofu would work, too.

FM said...

Huevos rancheros. Heat up some canned or otherwise pre-made beans in a pot (I use refried, but black beans would be good - and sometimes I put shredded carrot and cut-up peppers or other chopped-up veggies in my refried beans, and lots of red pepper flakes or some diced jalapeno, plus a spoon or two of spicy salsa because we like spice). Fry 1 to 3 eggs per person. While they're frying, quickly heat up a tortilla (you can just microwave for 30 seconds) and then slather with the warm beans. If you have big tortillas, you can cut in half and just use half for each person. Put 1 to 3 fried eggs on top of the beans, and spoon some good spicy salsa on top. Can top with some cilantro if you feel fancy, or cheese if you feel really hungry. Can put a salad on the side. Could also roll it up as a burrito if you want. Aweseme for any meal of the day, and takes 5-10 minutes, or 15-20 if you're chopping veggies.

The Great Askini said...

Try crockpot365.blogspot.com. I have never made one of her recipes that turned out badly and they are a godsend when you have a newborn at home.

violarulz/ducksandbooks said...

lasagna. you can make it in loaf pans for 3-4 servings each (instead of a whole giant pan of 9-12 servings) and freeze it. Then you won't get sick of it! I make at least one batch (3 loaf tins) for each of my girlfriends in town when they're about to have a baby. You can add soy meat crumbles, tofurky, or whatever veggies you want to the mix too. Take it out of the freezer the night before, and then feel totally awesome when you pop it in the oven for 35 minutes (it's smaller and doesn't need the whole 45) and serve with a side salad. Instant fresh dinner!

maya938 said...

chickpea quinoa pilaf (from Veganomican):

2T olive oil
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1T tomato paste
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of coriander
Black pepper
Salt
2c veg broth
Other veg as desired

Saute onion and garlic. Add tomato paste and spices, saute a minute. Add quinoa, saute 2 minutes. (I added asparagus for saute w/ quinoa.) Add chickpeas and veg broth. (I added frozen green peas before next step.) Cover, reduce heat to very low. Let cook 18 minutes. (I didn't have coriander so I threw in fresh cilantro instead)

Easier than Rice-a-roni, super nutritious and tasty! It makes a ton but I'm sure the leftovers will reheat nicely too.

Ms. Hoffman said...

Sara - this is my favorite quick dinner. The spinach wilts down soooo nicely, and you can easily pack it in there. The grape tomatoes become all warm and gooey, too. Enjoy!

4 oz pasta
3 Tablespoons Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
6 Taplespoons half and half (I often forget this, and when I do use it, it's skim milk...)
1 tspn salt
1 tspn hot red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
3 cups of spinach
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halfed (these don't need to be halved... I just throw them in there whole)
1 tsp EVOO
1 clove garlic, minced

Cook pasta as directed. (I like to use ziti, cavapiti, or fusilli, whole wheat or regular)

Mix the EVOO, Salt, garlic, tomatoes and red pepper in a pot about 2 min. (use a pot that is large enough to eventually mix the pasta in.
Add the half-and-half and cheese and constantly stir for about 3 min or until thick
Add the spinach and mix until wilted.
Toss in Pasta and serve.

Obviously you can add more cheese, spinach, or tomatoes! We doubled everything this weekend.

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