Creamy Veal in a Hurry

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veal, cream and seeded mustard

Can emergency dinners be so yummy that you plan to have emergencies?  Sure! 😀

While you may not have all the ingredients on hand for this one in a genuine emergency, if you are heading to the shop for ingredients and have no clue what to make, this is fast, (ridiculously fast!) and delicious.

If you prefer fresh vegetables over frozen; chat potatoes, corn on the cob or a bag of washed salad as a side are no-preparation options.

For the veal and sauce you need:

  • Veal steaks
  • Olive oil (or whatever oil you cook with normally)
  • 1 cup (250ml) of cream (don’t get low fat: this is no time to think of your arteries)
  • 3 teaspoons of seeded mustard (or to taste)

Here are the so too fast and easy directions:

  1. Heat a little oil in a heavy based frying pan to a high heat, and cook one side of the veal . I normally reduce the heat and put a timer on for three minutes because I don’t have a multi-tasking bone in my body, but cook yours to your preference.  While it’s cooking, randomly flick a few teaspoons of seeded mustard over your veal.
  2. Turn the meat over, cook for further three minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat, pour in cream and stir around the pan to blend the flavours.    (The heat from the pan will warm the cream sufficiently, there is no need to “cook” it.  Cream that has boiled will separate and look nasty.)

That’s it!  Serve with vegetables or a side salad.

This week, spend too much time reading, at the park, out for a walk, or whatever it is you love most, and try this one out.

Chinese Cabbage Salad

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Quick for lunch, as a side, or as a main meal to satisfy your raw-foodie-cum-vegetarian inner health freak.

ingredients

Ingredients:

  • Chinese (wombok) cabbage shredded and washed
  • almonds, flaked or slivered, toasted or not
  • packet of crunchy noodles
  • half a finely chopped red (salad) onion, or 6 shallots (spring onions)
  • sesame and poppy seeds (optional, but I like them)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil

Method:

shred-the-cabbage

  1. Pour oil, honey, vinegar, soy, and sesame oil into a screw top jar, and shake.
  2. Mix onions/shallots through cabbage
  3. Sprinkle nuts and seeds over cabbage
  4. Add noodles and pour dressing over to serve

chinese-cabbage-salad

For a heartier version or use in an emergency dinner situation, add stir fried or BBQ chicken.

Simple, speedy, creamy chicken and pesto pasta!

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There is no reason for me to become a queen of emergency dinners: my life is not that busy. But I do like to read, and that means some days the well planned, nutritionally balanced, three course dinner is not going to happen!

This was very fast, 20 mins and you’re sitting down to eat. It is also easy to customize to suit your family’s tastes.

You’ll need;

  • Chicken. I had a cooked chicken from the Deli, which I had already removed the meat from and frozen, so it was grab it out and chop. No need to defrost, as it was chopped fairly finely. Alternatively, use chicken breasts, thighs, or tenderlions; cut small.
  • Pasta. I’ve made this with penne and fettucine, both work fine.
  • Cream. Fresh, long life, whichever you have on hand. Just don’t use low fat. (low fat cream-blurk! – it’s an oxymoron!)
  • Pesto. Let’s not be snobby here. It’s an emergency dinner, so grab a jar out of the cupboard! I used a surprise variety sent by our German friends (very nice!)
  • Garlic. Entirely optional, depending how much pesto you use.
  • Parmesan cheese to taste.
  1. If using fresh chicken, fry in small amount of butter and olive oil. Add garlic at this stage, if desired.
  2. Add cream and pesto to pan. (for a small, whole chicken, I used 400ml cream and half a jar of pesto) and heat gently.
  3. Add cooked pasta, and stir through. Serve topped with parmesan cheese. Easy!

Speedy chicken and corn soup

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If your day went overtime, and you’re pressed for ideas on what to pick up on the way home to feed a crowd in a hurry, it’s hard to go past this one for easy.

Ingredients;

  • whole, cooked chicken
  • 2 x 430gram cans of creamed corn
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger (I keep a jar of minced, just for such days.. )
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 litres of chicken stock (in a perfect world, it would be homemade. But tetra packs are great, and powdered stock will suffice if you’re desperate.)
  • shallots

Method;

  1. Heat stock and creamed corn in a saucepan.
  2. Discard the chicken skin, remove flesh and chop very finely. (put all the chicken on the cutting board, take your largest knife from the block, and chop like crazy while pretending you are the iron chef )
  3. Lightly beat eggs, then add chicken, ginger, and shallots to taste, into the egg mixture , mixing well. (this is what holds your chicken “suspended” in the soup)
  4. Add egg mixture to hot stock, and stir until chicken is heated.
  5. Serve with extra shallots to garnish.

Don’t forget to grab a crusty loaf to serve with it!

Pineapple mince with rice

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With not a vegetable in sight, this recipe will not be snapped up by the heart foundation. However, it is tasty, quick and easy: and for emergency dinners, that is the most important criteria.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice, cooked (sure, brown is better, but we’re going for fast here)
  • 500gms minced beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • garlic to taste (optional)
  • 450gms crushed pineapple in syrup
  • cornflour
  • paprika
  • grated cheese (I use parmesan for flavour, but any grated cheese will do)
  • a little oil for frying ( I use coconut for this recipe because it suits well)

Method:

  1. heat oil, add onion and garlic, cook until onion is soft
  2. add mince, browning thoroughly
  3. drain pineapple, reserving the syrup
  4. mix syrup with cornflour, blending well. (sorry, I don’t measure the cornflour, maybe two tablespoons?)
  5. add syrup to mince, stir until thickened to a meat and gravy consistency as you would have for a pie , remove from heat.
  6. spread base of a casserole dish or pie dish with the drained pineapple
  7. spread meat over pineapple
  8. sprinkle grated cheese all over the top of meat, dust lightly with paprika
  9. brown cheese under the grill
  10. serve over rice

This all in one version is very quick to make, or you can use the same basic idea to make individual little serves by using pineapple rings instead of crushed pineapple, by piling a little mince into the centre of the ring, and topping with cheese before grilling. These individual serves can be presented with vegetables or a salad.

Noodle omelette

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Two minute noodles are food for the poor and wretched. Yet, they have their merits. Although as a meal they are nutritionally bankrupt, they are fast, cheap, and take zero skill to cook. One way to at least partially redeem them when all other food options have been exhausted, is to make them into an omelette.

You will need;

  • 2 eggs
  • a packet of noodles (obviously!)
  • whatever extras you have on hand (parsley, diced bacon, cheese, mixed frozen veges)
  1. Cook the noodles according to the directions on the packet, without flavour satchet.
  2. Whisk eggs, adding the flavour satchet from the noodles, or not. I personally prefer not, we don’t eat processed food often, so do notice the “fake” flavour.
  3. Add drained noodles to the eggs, and any extras you have on hand *
  4. fry all in a large pan with some butter
  5. flip over, or “fold” the omelette to complete cooking. Flipping over, while a bit trickier, will result in a crispier outer on both sides.

* I find keeping around 500gms of diced bacon in the freezer very helpful. There are often times when the flavour of bacon will enhance an otherwise bland dish, and the frozen bacon will “break” easily to allow you to use only part of it, with out defrosting all.

Emergency tuna

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In a perfect world, we would be serving a beautifully presented, nutritionally superior dinner each night. But there are times when life takes us by surprise. On such occasions, it is possible to avoid takeaway by keeping a few staples in the pantry, and leave the buying of dinner as a treat to be anticipated and savoured.

Emergency Tuna

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 large tin of tuna, drained**
  • 1 tin of mushroom (whole or sliced)*
  • 1 sachet of tomato paste (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup of cream*
  • garlic/salt/pepper to taste
  1. Fry the onion (and garlic if desired) in a small amount of butter or oil until soft.
  2. Add all other ingredients, heat until warmed through.
  3. Serve over rice or pasta.

Too easy!

* I normally keep long life cream in the cupboard, however, you can substitute any of the preserved ingredients for fresh, if you have them available. The beauty of this dish is that the only fresh ingredient that is strictly necessary is the onion, and that it is super quick and easy to make.

** You can also substitute the tuna with chicken or beef: coat beef in cornflour (place strips/chunks in a bag with cornflour and shake), fry with the onion then proceed as above.  Using fresh mushrooms with beef strips is actually a worthy dinner in it’s own right, without the bonus emergency factor.