I honestly don’t know why I ever thought I’d have a moment to breathe this summer. My job at Healthy Way to Cook and rehearsals for a production of Zombie Prom that I’m doing with my high school’s alumni theater group both started about a month ago, and since then I’ve been running in every direction. I tell people that I literally only come home to sleep, and lately that’s been true. On most days during the week I leave my house at 7:30 AM and get back after 10 PM, sometimes later if the cast decides it’s a diner night (which, embarrassingly enough, has been known to devolve into parking lot dance parties to “Call Me Maybe”). The weekend flies by and before I know it, it’s Monday morning again. Being able to actually cook and eat a proper dinner is a luxury reserved for weekends that I don’t have 50 thousand things to do. So…basically, hardly ever.
On the days I am home for dinner, I am incredibly lazy want to be able to make healthy dishes that are quick and easy. Whatever I make, it has to have minimal ingredients, prep/cook time and cleanup. I’m also a really big fan of all-in-one meals, preferably ones that can be served in a bowl. Hey, I said I was lazy—I don’t want to mess around with plates and knives. Give me something I can curl up on the couch with and eat with one utensil while I catch up on Breaking Bad with my dog.
My standby “lazy dinner” is a pasta bowl with some kind of protein and vegetables. If I multitask it takes me about 15 minutes start to finish, and I only end up using a pot and a pan. My favorite thing about a pasta bowl is that I can use whatever I happen to have lying around. Earlier this week, I was looking through my kitchen and found whole wheat rotini, Italian turkey sausage, and peas. Bam. Pasta bowl time.
I measured out two servings of dry rotini (one for me, one for my sister, who also enjoys pasta and laziness) before I did anything else. This is my secret weapon to avoid overeating: zero leftovers. It never fails, when I make more than I need with the intentions of “putting the rest in the fridge,” it almost never actually makes it to the fridge. While the pasta was boiling, I cut up two of the raw sausages into bite size pieces so they’d cook faster. It’s a little messier, but it’s a HUGE time saver, especially since the rotini would be done in about 10 minutes. Once the sausage was cooked through, I put the frozen peas right in the pan with it until they thawed (why waste another bowl heating it separately?). The only thing left to do was drain the pasta, throw everything back into the pot with a little bit of sauce, and heat it for another couple of minutes. Seriously, so easy. Best of all, since cleanup was so simple, my sister was more than happy to do the honors.
What’s your standby quick-fix dish?