To begin with, I have to say pretty much anything you *know* how to make is going to be faster than even a “quick” new recipe. The trick is deciding what you’re willing to learn to make it a quick meal time after next.
Just about the easiest quickmeal:
- Broiled chicken thighs.
Starting with fresh boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I get mine at Sam’s Club– a huge flat and cook them all in a day or two; freezing the extras after they’re cooked), lay out as many will fit flat in a glass baking dish.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other favorite seasonings (I mix garlic powder, chili powder and onion powder with a little ground ginger and sprinkle it on top of the s & p) ETA: my current mix is at the bottom of this post.
Put this under the broiler for 15-20 minutes (it shouldn’t look pink any more. If it’s scorched your heat was too intense or your pan too close) then turn over, season the new side-up and repeat. A thermometer in the thickest part of the meat should read at least 165°.
While that’s cooking you can throw together a salad.
- My favorite:
Baby spinach + chopped fruit of choice (I usually do canned pears) + nuts of choice (I chop crunchy walnuts). I used to add crumbled feta before I gave up dairy. All very good.
- Another fun salad:
Chopped celery, walnuts, apple* (with the skin still on) and romaine (that would be all ingredients chopped/cut/torn to the preferred size) tossed with sweet/savory dressing:
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ Tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
If you’re not avoiding dairy, nachos are always fast:
Spread chips on a cookie sheet, cover with shredded cheese, sprinkle with a spice mixture like I mentioned for the chicken thighs earlier. Put them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes (depends on how hot/close your heat source is) and lunch is ready.
Precooked meat, canned beans (drained and risced), and various nacho-y veggies all combine well with this option.
- A box of gluten-free cereal has been our saving grace more than once.
- Fresh or dried fruits, though I usually try to combine them with a protein like nuts, cheese or a roll of sandwich meat.
- Hot cereal: GF oatmeal, cream of rice or “mighty tasty” with jam, maple syrup, or frozen fruit and nuts
- “Puffy pancake” (AKA: dutch baby) –family-meal sized:
Heat oven to 400°. In each of two 9×13 baking pans melt 2 oz (1/4 cup) butter or coconut oil– by putting them in the warming oven. While that’s going on combine:
3 cups milk (I use homemade nutmilk when avoiding dairy)
15 oz GF flour blend
1½ teaspoon gaur gum or xanthan gum
Divide between the greased pans once the oil is liquid.
Cook in the 400° oven for 20 minutes. Without opening the oven, reduce heat to 350° and cook 15-20 minutes more. Pancake is done when it puffs up and the center no longer looks shiny. If your baking pan is clear, you’ll also be able to see the edges are golden and crispy.
This is a good example of my flexible definition of “fast”. It doesn’t require a lot of thought or coordination, and it’s ready in less than an hour. That’s a pretty functional definition of my sort of quick.
Hope that’s useful to somebody. I’ll think about it some more and keep making lists as I think of things.
*To keep apples or pears from turning brown, keep a bowl of water next to the cutting board. Before you begin chopping add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the water. (If you don’t like the taste you can buy vitamin-C/citric acid powder from the store and add a teaspoon per gallon of water.) Put your fruit into the water as you cut it, and the browning will be seriously curtailed.
Bonus idea: make a full-sized batch of my white chili recipe and freeze the (cooled) leftovers flat in ziplock freezer bags. Even if you forget to take it out ahead of time, you should be able to thaw it fairly quick in a sink of cool water, then all it needs it heating up.
Just remember to *label* anything you put in the freezer: Date and contents. You’ll remind yourself to use the older stuff first, and won’t forget what it is.