It’s about time…

by Chef Kris Etze on September 23, 2010

Most of us are time-pressed and “what’s for dinner” is a last-minute thought.

Often we resort to takeout, fast food and pizza delivery. I am here to tell you that we can have a great meal on the table in much less than 30 minutes.

Folks tell me they HATE making salads. Think ahead. Purchase salad greens, wash and spin them in your salad spinner, and store in a plastic zipper bag with a couple of crunched up paper towels. Add shredded carrots, red cabbage and you have a quick salad base. You will be AMAZED at how many salads you can make from this, adding what else is on hand.

Cook one versatile grain each week that may be used for salads or adding sautéed veggies for side dishes. Wild rice, quinoa (keen-wah) and bulgur can be tossed with a bit of vinaigrette for a salad, or you can make a quick sauté of veggies, adding some stock and spices, and  voila! It’s a side dish. This can become a complete one-dish meal with cooked lentils or beans added.

Roast an array of veggies tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper on a sheet pan at 425 degrees for 20 minutes until caramelized. Even the most despised veggies can taste great roasted. These can be eaten as, served as a salad, or stored in your fridge to mix with your weekly grain.

Adding favorite flavors to foods can turn an ordinary dish into magic. Think turmeric, cinnamon and garlic. All contain immunity-boosting ingredients and make food taste great.

Another tip for easy is to cook once, using the protein in a variety of ways. When skinless boneless chicken breasts are on sale, purchase a huge pack and simmer them in seasoned stock until cooked. After they cool, dice some and place into freezer bags in two-cup amounts. Slice a couple and package to freeze, and leave a couple whole. In a short time, we have the basis for five or more meals.

Your crockpot can be your new best friend. Place chicken breasts into your crockpot with some cumin, garlic and a cup of chicken stock. Set it on LOW and come back after work. Now you have shredded chicken for whatever Tex Mex meal you can envision. Easy peasy! Use beef or pork if you prefer.

We take time for the things we value. Value your time and taste buds, and let’s get cooking!

Kris Etze is a personal chef and instructor. Learn more about Kris at


Marcy Kaminski September 23, 2010 at 7:09 pm

WONDERFUL article! I just dusted off my crockpot yesterday to get ready for the Fall. This makes me WANT to cook again. THANKS!

Christine Warrington September 24, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Thanks for great ideas!

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