5 Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas

With most of my days packed full of work, cleaning up messes, breaking up fights, and trying to keep the house in some sort of order, it often happens that 5 p.m. rolls around and I frantically start to ask myself, What’s for dinner?

Now, soup is usually my standby. It’s laughably easy – just toss whatever you have in a pot and let it simmer – but it does take some planning in advance. If I failed to put a pot of soup on the stove during the day and just need something quick, I usually resort to one of these 5 options:

  1. Everything eggs: fried or scrambled, with a few sliced vegetables in half a pita; or our favorite, French toast to use up old bread.
  2. Upgraded leftovers like rice, pasta, etc: this actually also involves eggs. If you toss some stale rice with an egg or two, add salt and spices, and pour the whole into a baking tray, you can get a good, filling meal in 20 minutes.
  3. Oatmeal: with butter and raisins, this can be a delicious dinner as well as breakfast.
  4. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Do I need to say more?
  5. Pasta. While the pasta is cooking, I can assemble a quick sauce from tomato paste, salt, diced garlic, olive oil, and oregano. Grated cheese or a dollop of butter makes it perfect.

A belated happy Hanukkah

As we’re fast approaching the end of Hanukkah, now is the last-minute opportunity to make some yummy fried treats guilt free ☺

We like these apple fritters even more than potato latkes and almost more than the deliciously decadent deep fried sufganiyot with an array of sweet fillings.

All you need is:

5 large apples, grated

1/3 cup sugar

2-3 eggs

A dash of cinnamon

1/2 cup flour (approximately)

1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix well and fry spoonfuls of the batter in hot oil on both sides. You want a nice deep golden color, but be careful not to burn them.

Enjoy and happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish readers!

Salmon fish balls

An easy and delicious alternative to meatballs!

You’ll need:

One nice big salmon filet

1-2 large shredded onions

2-3 minced cloves of garlic

2-3 grated carrots

2 eggs

Some breadcrumbs

Bake the salmon, then mash it up with a fork and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt, pepper, dried parsley, or with your favorite mix.

Form balls and fry on both sides. Be gentle when you turn the balls, or they might fall apart.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce:

1 large onion

1 zucchini

4-5 potatoes

5-6 cloves of garlic

2-3 spoons of tomato paste or canned tomatoes

Chop and sauté the onion, finely slice the potatoes, zucchini and garlic, and throw it all in the pot. Add tomato paste and water until you have the consistency of thick sauce. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and chili sauce (optional)

Cook until potatoes are soft. Then combine with the salmon balls and keep cooking for about 5 minutes longer.

Great over pasta or noodles. Enjoy!

Delicious homemade granola

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Cooked oatmeal is a great, healthy morning food, but sometimes you’re looking for something quicker, or just aren’t in the mood for hot breakfast. In this case, homemade granola might just be the thing for you. 

Most commercial granola brands are ridiculously expensive and loaded with sugar, but it’s easy to make your own, and once you try it, you’ll never look back.

Basically, you will mainly need 2-3 cups whole oats, and you can add various goodies such as:

– Sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds

– Raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricot chunks

– Coconut or almond slivers

Mix everything and add cinnamon, a couple of teaspoonfuls of coconut oil, and your favorite natural sweetener such as honey, date sugar, or maple syrup.

Spread over a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes at medium heat, or just until it gets a beautiful golden hue.

Take out of the oven and set out to cool and dry. Keep in a sealed jar.

Enjoy for breakfast or as an any-time-of-the-day treat!

The perfect pizza

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We have harvested our first bunch of tomatoes and put part of them into sauce for this delicious pizza that we had for dinner.

Here are my secrets to a perfect pizza:

1. Don’t let the dough rise too much. You want fluffy bread but pizza should be thin and gooey.

2. Roll out the dough really, really thin.

3. Peel tomatoes easily by dunking them in boiling water for a minute or two.

4. Add plenty of garlic and oregano to the sauce.

5. Be careful not to overbake – the cheese should just bubble and turn slightly golden, not brown.

Enjoy!

 

My first time making injera (with pictures)

Pop over to Mother Earth News to read about my first experience in making injera, a traditional Ethiopian fermented flatbread that forms the base of every meal (when I say base, I mean this literally, since injera also serves as the plate!):

Teff, Ethiopia’s traditional grain, has been enjoying its well-deserved spotlight as a recently discovered superfood. Teff is extremely healthy and nutritious, and certainly worth getting acquainted with. You can find teff in health food and ethnic stores. There is a darker variety and a lighter one, and it’s worth trying both to see which you like better.

The process, in pictures:

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Starting the batter.

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Day 3: Bubbles are the evidence of successful fermentation.

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Day 4: Diluting the batter with water prior to cooking.

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I let it cook a tad too long and it over-dried somewhat, but it was still really good, and I hope to do better next time.

Delicious No-Bake Energy Bites

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Sweet cravings are a serious thing in winter – the cold, dark days make us long for something sweet with our afternoon tea. If things get desperate enough, you may find yourself dipping into that secret chocolate stash you don’t want your children to know about.

That’s where these bite-sized balls of yummy goodness come along! They are simple, versatile, easy to make, require little to no processing, are full to burst with healthy nutrients, and contain no refined sugar. Please keep in mind, however, that proportions are not exact, and you will need to play with the consistency a bit until you get what you like best.

You will need:

Approx. 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup sunflower seeds, lightly crushed

A handful of sesame seeds

A handful of raisins

1/2 shredded coconut

1/2 cup natural date spread, or 10-12 processed medjoul dates

2-3 tbsp raw tahini

Shredded coconut, chopped almonds or peanuts, or sesame seeds for rolling

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until you reach a nice workable consistency. You may need to add a little water if the mixture is too dry, or a little shredded coconut or another dry ingredient if it’s too runny.

Form small balls and roll them in the coating of your choice.

Place in container, pop into freezer, and voila! You have a delicious, nutritious, easy-to-serve energy treat to curb those sweet cravings.