Are you tired of feeling guilty about stopping off at McDonald’s or the Pizza Place to pick up dinner after an exhausting day at work? Turn over a new leaf by creating your own list of menus for fast food at home. It is much easier than you think. This way, you can have the ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry, ready for you to put on the table in about 30 minutes. Your family will be eating healthier and your food budget will be smaller.
One of my favorite fast food ingredients is supermarket roast chicken. You can eat it as roast chicken one night, and use the leftovers in a variety of ways. The first night, serve it with a packaged salad and a boxed rice pilaf. The second night you can shred the leftovers and add them to a main dish Caesar salad, make tacos, or pasta with Alfredo sauce.
Thin, boneless pork chops work well for fast food at home meals. You have to be careful not to overcook them, but they are tasty and good with a variety of toppings and sauces. Simply dredge them in a light coating of flour and salt and pepper and sauté for a few minutes per side in about 1-2 tablespoons of light vegetable oil. You can then add some sliced mushrooms, ¼ cup of white wine or chicken broth, let the mixture thicken and you have a delicious main course. Serve with a packaged rice or pasta blend, make a salad or quick-cooking vegetable like asparagus or broccoli and dinner is on the table in a flash.
Packaged lettuces are so easy. You only have to run them through the salad spinner for a final rinse and they are ready to go. Add a can of mandarin oranges, marinated artichoke hearts and whatever else you have on hand and you have a quick salad. Keep some favorite bottled salad dressings in your refrigerator and you are ready to go. One of my favorites is Trader Joe’s organic lettuce mixtures.
Dried pasta and packaged rice and couscous blends are handy to have in your pantry. I love Uncle Ben’s long grain and wild rice and Mahatma Spanish rice and yellow saffron rice mixes. They are great side dishes for any meat that you choose. Cook up your choice of pasta, top it with one of the tasty jars of prepared pasta sauces, make a salad and you have dinner on the table in about 30 minutes.
Start your fast food stash gradually and start creating menus, a few each week and before you know it, you will become a fast food at home junkie!
In the refrigerator: Roast chicken, packaged lettuce, Parmesan cheese and easy to prepare vegetables such as broccoli, and asparagus, plus a jar of chopped garlic and a lemon or two. A package of frozen peas adds some variety to your vegetable selection. I add a teaspoon of mint jelly to frozen peas to make them fresh tasting.
In the pantry: package rice and couscous blends, pasta of your choice, a few jars of pasta sauces, canned mandarin oranges, marinated artichoke hearts, black olives, and bottled salad dressings.
Here is a quick chicken soft taco recipe that my family loves.
Chicken Soft Tacos
(adjust amounts to your serving size)
Left over Shredded chicken (from the roast chicken or chickens you bought)
Flour or corn tortillas
Jarred Pace Picante sauce (I like the chunky stuff)
Shredded Mexican blend cheese
Mix Picante sauce with the shredded chicken until it is moistened. Let it sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Warm the tortillas in a 300 degree oven. Put the chicken, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese into serving bowls. Let everyone make their own tacos.