Make quick meals when you’re too tired to cook

Make quick meals when you’re too tired to cook

As much as a person might love to cook interesting things, spending far too much time searching through cookbooks for the next big, glorious dinner, there are times when you just don’t feel like doing all that, you know?

Maybe you’re tired or not that hungry or just not feeling it today. Does anyone want to do a full-blown dinner every night? Surely not.

The thing that puts me off attacking big cooking projects most often is the horrendous cleanup afterward. Even if you’re fanatically diligent about putting every soiled spoon, bowl and cutting board into the dishwasher as you continue cooking, you’re still going to have to wipe down splatters, deal with the trash and leftovers, and probably mop or vacuum.

Eh, that sounds too much like work.

Distractions are a meal plan killer for me. If I’m too far into a good book to put it down, I’m not going to start cooking something complicated at eight o’clock when I finally peer away from the pages for a minute.

We’re often absorbed in playing a video or board game and forget the time. With a tiny toddler in the house, meal times tend to get pushed to later after junior’s bedtime hour when we just want to sink into the couch with blankets and something warm to sip. I certainly ain’t gonna beat no egg whites or roll out fresh noodles at that hour.

You have to have some go-to backups in place for those occasions, and I’m the first to admit many of my backup plans are plain cheating or worse. In the freezer are frozen pizza rolls, French bread pizzas, edamame, cheese sticks and a couple of likely awful entrees.

I try to keep cold meats and cheeses around for a board with some fruits and dipping oil with good bread. If I happen to have some smoked salmon on hand, we like to spread goat cheese onto sliced baguette, then top with the salmon, some olive oil and capers. A few minutes in a hot oven and you’re set.

We make hummus quite a lot as it’s a great snack or can be stretched into a full meal with raw vegetables and bread. Or a plate with just the vegetables and some ranch dressing can do in a pinch.

Of course, this is all assuming you or your partner aren’t coming home ravenous after a difficult day of work. In that case appearing with a plate of radishes and ranch isn’t going to make anybody happy.

That’s when it’s good to have some soup, made ahead and frozen or right out of a can, as a backup or at least a starter. A big baked potato also is easy and can cook while you’re doing other things.

You also can flip it if you’re not all that hungry and have breakfast for dinner, a favorite at my house. You can have pancakes or waffles or eggs and bacon for dinner or just some oatmeal with fruit and yogurt. Or combine the two, with hot soup with bread to start, followed a while later by these French breakfast puffs and a hot drink — should cover any chilly evening when no one wants to make a big deal in the kitchen. These are quick and easy to make and only need two bowls and a muffin tin.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a mixing bowl, beat 6 tablespoons soft butter with 1/2 cup sugar until light, then add the egg and vanilla and mix well. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Mix the dry ingredients into the sugar and butter mixture, alternating with adding the milk until well combined. Pour the batter into 10 muffin cups and bake 20 minutes until browned. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

Once the muffins have cooled slightly, dip the tops into the melted butter and then roll in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Serve warm.

Loading next article...

End of content

No more pages to load