Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Two-Minute Meals: Tasty, healthy recipes for people with better things to do than sauté.

Slow food, shmo food.

Some people have orgasms over some brand of olive oil.  

Then there's me. I can barely tell a black olive from a green one.

I can rarely tell frou-frou wine from Two Buck Chuck: "A flavorful deluge of rich black currant, hints of cherry and a long finish of sweet mocha and velvety tannins?!" It's all red wine to me. I'd rather have a diet orange soda.

Maybe you too have retarded taste buds. 

Or maybe you can taste the difference but don't care enough to spend time sautéing rather than quick microwaving.

Whether you're cooking for yourself for the first time,  a culinarily challenged bachelor or, like me, would rather eat something good that takes two minutes to prepare than something very good that takes an hour, this post's for you.

Here's a tasty (at least to me,) healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner that each takes just two minutes to prepare. 

Breakfast a la Nemko
In the morning, when my stomach starts to peep, I trudge into the kitchen and:
1. Pour some oatmeal into a paper bowl. (Washing a ceramic bowl would take too much time.)
2. Put it in the microwave for one minute.
3. While it's cooking, take my supplements (fish oil and curcumin,) put an ounce (no you don't need to measure) of frozen blueberries in a small dish, and take a bag of brown sugar and of walnut pieces from the cabinet.
4. Add the blueberries, a level tablespoon of brown sugar, and walnut pieces. Stir. Done. A healthy, filling tasty breakfast in two minutes.

I can hear you saying, "Yeah, breakfast's easy. After all, you're using Minute Oats.  How about lunch and dinner, big shot? 

Lunch a la Nemko
1. For 40 seconds, I microwave two pieces of whole wheat bread that I keep in the freezer.
2. While the bread is heating, I put some mayo in a can of tuna (or salmon) and mix.
3. I eat the tuna/mayo mixture with the bread, tomato slices and a pickle.
4. I have a fruit for dessert.

Dinner a la Nemko
1. I put a frozen chicken breast or piece of salmon in the microwave on high. The average breast takes 12 minutes, a portion of salmon, six.  (Yes, times may vary with your microwave. Mine is 1,100 watts.) Once you've learned to time it right, they come out great--juicy, perfect.
While it's cooking:
2. I put frozen broccoli  and/or string beans on a small plate, covering it with a paper towel. 
3. I make a salad: Wash the lettuce, tear it into pieces, squeeze out the water and put it in a bowl and slice in a tomato. I add blue cheese and vinegar or my favorite dressing: the award-winning Trader Joe's nonfat balsamic vinaigrette. If the chicken or fish aren't ready, I start eating the salad. 
4. When the chicken or salmon is done, I replace it in the microwave with the veggie for two minutes.
5. I season the chicken or salmon and the vegetable with curry powder, garlic powder, soy sauce, and/or parmesan cheese. 
6. I sometimes have a (cheap) glass of wine with dinner.
7. I have a fruit and/or frozen yogurt for dessert.  

And voila, a tasty, healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, each with just two minutes of prep time!

Dear reader? Do you think this has the makings of a small book, perhaps selling it in bulk to companies that make microwaves. Perhaps they'd want to use the book as a selling tool: "A free copy of Two-Minute Meals" is included with every one of our microwaves." 


Matt said...

Great article. Are there any ideas for quick easy lunches at the office? I would like to buy a few grocery items and keep them in the office kitchen so I don't have to pack a lunch every morning. I'm trying to stay away from carbs to avoid the subsequent post-lunch crash.

Marty Nemko said...

Sure. Some examples: peeled baby carrots, microwave low-fat popcorn, sliced turkey breast, fresh fruit in season.

Anonymous said...

Some of my co-workers go out for lunch almost every day. I'm not sure how they do that!

I get so tired and feel uncomfortably heavy if I go out for lunch and am not as productive as when I have something quick and light.

Aside from the calories it's also so expensive!

Normally I bring either sliced turkey breast or a few pieces of chicken breast I cooked the night before. I might have a small baked potato or small piece of bread with that. Later in the afternoon I'll have an orange to keep me going.

The other benefit of not going out for lunch is you can leave a little bit of time to take a short walk around the parking lot after eating.

p.s. If you bring canned tuna to work, you might want to be careful about eating it at your cube. It doesn't have the best odor.

Anonymous said...

Another indispensable tool for efficient cooking is the crock pot. You add the ingredients in the morning, and when you come home, dinner is served. Plus, if you have a big enough pot, you have some left over.

I've made chili on a Sunday afternoon, and had meals for almost a whole week.

Anonymous said...

I get really sleepy and sluggish if I eat too much at lunch. That's one of the reasons I really don't like going out to eat for lunch. I try to bring something light and simple, maybe take a walk during lunch then snack on a piece of fruit or nuts during the late afternoon.

Johannes Starke said...

ssibiiaI'm inspired by how fast you are able to prepare a lunch.

I'm concerned, however, about your consuming chicken and salmon. I read on your blog that you consider a life "well-lived" if one uses that life to do a lot of good and little evil and tries to reduce the amount of suffering in this world.

I'm not an expert on how conventionally farmed chickens live, but from a friend who is a veterinarian and friends who are vegan I've heard that the conventional meat industry causes a lot of suffering to animals, especially to chickens.

I'm sure you are aware of these concerns, yet you chose to eat chicken and other meat. Why?

With respect,

Marty Nemko said...

Johannes, I eat salmon and fish because it's a convenient source of healthy protein. I'm not a saint.

Anonymous said...

Great idea about the book. Very practical.


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