I recently laughed while watching a cooking show advertising a “quick” dinner. The woman was making some “easy” roast, and only needed 15 minutes of prep. I thought: “Wow, I need to learn how to do this for a easy weekday dinner.” So, there she goes: 1/2 cup of chopped onions, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 3 chopped tomatoes, etc. Then she grabs a little white bowl with pre-chopped onions, pre-measured garlic, and same for the tomatoes. Well, yes lady, emptying a bowl in a pot is quick and easy, but where do you think the stuff INSIDE the bowl comes from?!
Consider my predicament today.
I am making stuffed peppers. I need that 1/2 cup of chopped onion. I open the fridge. Maëlys, 2, runs into the fridge. WHERE DID SHE COME FROM? This kid has an internal alarm telling her when the door of the fridge is about to open. She ALWAYS makes it in time before I click the lock back on (yep, there’s a lock on my fridge). She asks for yogurt. No, we’re eating soon. If I can cook that is. I take my teacher voice and tell her that we are going to stuff some peppers today. She can help me by finding the onion. She picks up the onion. She bites the onion. She cries. I remove the onion from her mouth. She walks away. I put the onion on the counter.
I open the cabinet and reach out for the cutting board. It’s not there. WHO TOOK MY CUTTING BOARD? Ahem, yes, now I remember. It’s outside with some of M’s sculptures on it. I open the door to the backyard. Maëlys runs outside to play. NO WE’RE NOT PLAYING WOULD YOU GO BACK INSIDE NOW. I grab the board, wash it, and place the onion on it. I find a dull knife and grossly cut that freakin’ onion. THERE, LADY OF THE TV. That’s where the onion comes from.
So … If you’re like me, quick cooking means quick. It means less than 15 minute prep, involving no major appliance (alcohol is always okay). My go-to meal is a quiche. Considering I’m French, that may come as no surprise I guess. A quiche is delicious, requires little prep if any, and can make a great dinner, a healthy and hardy breakfast, or even a quick snack.
Here is my base: a frozen pie dough (I buy bulk at Costco), 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, and 1 cup of grated cheese. If I have a leftover of heavy cream or buttermilk, I just substitute it for part of the milk. I grate the cheese myself for more flavor or buy it pre-shredded sometimes. We’re all about making quick foods here.
Now, the filling … with some combinations I love:
1/2 cup of chopped smoked salmon, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, 1/2 chopped FRESH broccoli. If you steam it, it makes the filling very watery. Watery filling = soggy dough at the bottom. Not good.
1/2 cup of cubed smoked ham, 1/2 chopped onion, 1 cup of chopped kale, 1 cup of cheddar. My all-time favorite. I pan-cook the ham, onion, and kale in the morning until fragrant and browned, and let them cool. I make the quiche later in the morning. Now, that requires prep so here is how I work. I buy a large ham every now and then, turn on the TV, and cube it, then place 1 cup of ham in individual ziplock bags which I freeze. I do the same with onions and peeled garlic.
1/2 cup of chopped sundried tomatoes, 1/2 cup of chopped FRESH peppers, 1/2 cup of kalamata olives, 1 cup of feta. Do not add salt to the batter because feta cheese is salty.
1 bag of thawed (then drained) frozen chopped spinach, 1 cup of fresh goat cheese, 1 cup of pan-cooked portobello mushrooms.