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Quick meals for busy families

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At least once a week, something unplanned happens – the meal time-table is not followed and I may need to make a quick meal for my family. Times like this call for back up meals and improvisation. A lot of improvisation… Here are tips that have saved me over the years:

Tips for Quick Meals
. Use short cuts- Preparing a meal in a hurry is not the time to follow step-by-step procedures. You may have to compromise. Instead of freshly cut vegetables, you may purchase (or already have) frozen vegetables that will still taste good.

. Use leftovers- One of the quickest ways to make a meal is to use leftovers. For example, if you have left over white rice in the fridge, it can easily become Egg Fried Rice. All you need is some seasoning and few ingredients to transform it into a new dish.

. Almost-ready meals: To make sure I am not stranded during the week, I always have boiled tomato /pepper mix in the freezer – this can easily become stew, or Jollof rice.  I also store cooked beans with no seasoning added. I store boiled beef or boiled chicken and stock – this is a good base for a lot of soups. I have vegetables, prepped and washed.

Here are a few meals you can fix fairly quickly.

RAM AND SWEET POTATO PORRIDGE
If you already have boiled beef/ram meat with stock, then this is a meal that can be put together in less than an hour

INGREDIENTS
1 kg Ram (Cooked)
2 Cups of stock
1/2 Onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons Pepper Soup Spice
5 Medium-sized Sweet Potato
3 Carrots, sliced in circles
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cameroon Pepper
1 Goat Meat Seasoning Cube s
Handful of Scent Leaves, shredded
2 Cups of Water

PREPARATION
• Transfer boiled ram meat and stock to a pot. Add pepper soup spices, carrots, sweet potato, seasoning and water. Cover and allow to cook. After 15 minutes, add chopped peppers and stir together, allow to cook for 5 more minutes. Add scent leaves, turn off the cooker and allow simmer. The steam will cook the scent leaves. Serve and enjoy!

SUYA AND PASTA STIR FRY
On the way home from work one can easily purchase Suya that will be transformed into a lovely meal for dinner. My family and I have enjoyed this dish as lunch or dinner using left over Suya and it is delicious!

INGREDIENTS
2 Cups Macaroni
1/2 Onion
1 Cup Stock (Optional)
2 Cups Water
1/2 Green Bell Pepper
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Curry
1 teaspoon Thyme
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Suya
Yaji Spice (this may already be included in the Suya)

PREPARATION
In a pot, add water, stock and bring to a boil then add macaroni and cook according to the instruction on the pack. Once it is done, transfer to a sieve to drain the water. Thinly slice Green and Red Pepper and Onions. Heat up a wok or fry pan, add 2 tablespoons oil, and allow to heat up. Add onion first and sauté before adding sliced peppers. Add thyme, curry, yaji spice and stir fry for 45 seconds. Add Suya and allow to stir-fry for 3 minutes. Pour in the sieved macaroni, stir together and allow to combine well with sauce for under a minute. Food is ready!

CHICKEN AND COLESLAW WRAP
This is a meal that is very filling, an instant hit and can be put together in 15 minutes if you have all the ingredients ready (Left over salad especially).

INGREDIENTS
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Salad (Carrot, Cabbage, Sweet Corn)
1 Chicken thigh, boneless and cut in byte sizes
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper
1 Teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1 Tortilla Wrap

PREPARATION
Heat up a pan, add vegetable oil then add boneless chicken thigh. Sprinkle Salt and Pepper and pan-fry for 2 minutes till chicken is a nice golden brown. Remove chicken then set aside. Place wrap on a flat surface, add salad, add chicken. Pull the bottom half of the tortilla to meet the top half. Fold one side in then fold the other side. Once both ends are folded in, roll the tortilla securely into a wrap and devour.


In this article:
Yemisi Odusanya
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