Quick and Easy Meals

These are the faithful Haffly-household menu stand-bys. That is, when there aren’t leftovers for lunch or I’ve worked a long hard day and don’t feel like cooking “real” food (i.e., a main dish and two side dishes), this is what we often end up eating, with fresh vegetables or fruit on the side.

Quick Quesadillas

Our good friends introduced us to this wonderfully simple almost-all-in-one-meal. In about five minutes, you can enjoy grains, vegetables, protein, and dairy! (The refried beans count for both veggie/protein.) It’s also very economical when you buy bulk — our local Costco has a large pack of refried bean cans, and we get a big bag of “Mexican shredded cheese” and a tall stack of corn tortillas from our local Safeway.

Two small servings. Five minutes.

  • 4 smallish corn tortillas (we get the Guerroro white corn tortillas, 50 pack!)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup refried beans scooped into small microwave-safe bowl (black beans work nicely, too)
  • Shredded cheese, your preference
  • Green taco sauce (we get La Victoria green taco sauce, 12 oz. bottle) or other sauce/salsa of your choice
  1. Slide out the wire rack of a toaster oven part way.
  2. Lay two corn tortillas side by side on the wire rack.
  3. Sprinkle shredded cheese generously on the tortillas. (Leave about a 1/2″ border of tortilla around the cheese, just in case the tortilla droops over an edge of the rack. I’ve had a toaster-oven fire from melted cheese before!)
  4. Push the rack in and toast for 4 minutes. (Our toaster oven has a timer; if yours doesn’t, just set it on medium-high or medium-brown and watch the clock.)
  5. While the tortillas are toasting, microwave the refried beans for 25-30 seconds on high. They may explode and get your microwave messy, so cover with something (we use paper towels) if you need to.
  6. When the first batch of tortillas are done, slide them onto a plate and start the next two in the toaster oven.
  7. Spread a spoonful of the refried beans over half of the cheesy tortilla.
  8. Pour out a dollop of the green taco sauce.
  9. Fold tortilla in half.
  10. Repeat with the other tortillas when they are ready.
  11. Enjoy!!

You will probably still be hungry after two of these quesadillas. We usually eat fresh vegetables with ranch dressing to bulk up the meal. If you’re feeling especially silly, you can make a funny face out of veggies/quesadillas:

Silly food face

Bagel with Cream Cheese and Egg

Bagel with EggThis is a Steve-specialty — he came up with it all by himself. Not bad for someone who doesn’t like to cook and possibly married me because I liked to (among other reasons, I suppose).

Two servings. Seven to ten minutes.

  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bagel (we get Noah’s bagels for cheap at Costco and freeze them)
  • Cream cheese (we like whipped cream cheese because it’s easier to spread)
  1. Put small non-stick skillet on stove and heat on medium to medium-high. Add vegetable oil and heat that, too, until hot but not smoking.
  2. While the skillet is heating, defrost bagel if necessary by microwaving for 30 seconds on high. Cut in half.
  3. Depending on how big your skillet is, break in one or both eggs and cook to your liking. (We both like unbroken fried eggs; I like mine slightly runny in the middle, Steve likes his NOT runny.)
  4. While the eggs are cooking, toast bagel halves for 4 minutes or until browned to your liking.
  5. If you are lucky or skilled, everything finishes at the same time. Spread the cream cheese on the hot bagel halves, then slide an egg onto each half.
  6. Enjoy!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This is the way my mom taught me to make grilled cheese sandwiches.

One serving. Five minutes.

  • 2 slices sandwich bread
  • 1 slice cheese (I love processed American cheese)
  • butter or margarine
  1. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat.
  2. While the pan is heating, spread the butter or margarine on one side of both pieces of bread.
  3. Stack the bread buttered sides together while waiting for the pan to heat. Lay the slice of cheese on the top of the stack.
  4. When the pan is hot, pick up just the top piece of bread and put it in the skillet, buttered side down, cheese on top. Cover it with the other piece of bread (buttered side up). The butter on the outside will help the bread to brown.
  5. Cook until the cheese starts to melt and the bottom side is toasty brown.
  6. Flip. Cook until the other side is toasty brown.
  7. For a nice presentation, cut diagonally into halves or quarters and then eat!

Poached Egg Salad

Serves 2. About 10-15 minutes.

  • 3 slices white bread
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ounces salad greens
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • ½ tablespoon + 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Remove the crusts from the bread and cut into 1″ cubes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small frying pan. Saute the bread for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they are golden brown. Remove from pan.
  3. In the meantime, boil water in a 12″ skillet (it should be almost full).
  4. Crack the eggs into small bowls or teacups.
  5. When the water is boiling, add 1 teaspoon of vinegar, then gently slide the eggs into the boiling water. Poach for 4 minutes or to your desired doneness.
  6. While the eggs are cooking, divide the salad greens between two plates. Sprinkle the croutons over the greens.
  7. Also, wipe out the small frying pan, then add the remaining olive oil, garlic, and vinegar and cook for 1 minute over high heat.
  8. Pour the dressing over the salad. Top with a poached egg.
  9. Shave Parmesan over the top and sprinkle with pepper.

Japanese Scrambled Eggs Over Rice

I checked out a Japanese cookbook from the library and one of my favorite dishes was a sweet egg and ground beef dish. Just having the egg over rice is pretty good, too, which is what I do when I’m desperate for something to eat. Not exactly a well-balanced meal, so having some fresh fruits or veggies is advised! (I usually like to boil some frozen edamame to keep with the Japanese flavor.)

Serves two. About 10 minutes.

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • salt
  • Leftover cooked white rice (about 3/4 cup per person)
  1. Heat the oil in a small skillet or saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile, divide the rice into two bowls and microwave until hot.
  3. Add the eggs and sugar, bring the heat to medium, and scramble for two minutes.
  4. Add a pinch of salt when the eggs begin to harden.
  5. Scramble for a few more minutes until the eggs are set and are in very small pieces.
  6. Scoop the eggs on top of the rice.

Mom’s Various Versions of Fried Rice

This is comfort food for me!

Serves 2-3. Takes as little as 8 minutes or a little longer, depending on the variation.

Fried Rice with Egg

  • veggie oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 – 2 cups leftover cooked medium-grain rice (cold from the fridge works best)
  • chopped scallions, white and green parts included
  • salt
  1. Heat a largeish (10″ or 12″) skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat.
  2. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then pour into the skillet. Cook omelet-style (a flat egg pancake) at first until the egg is set, then flip the egg pancake over and cook the other side briefly until dry. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate or in a bowl.
  3. Add a little more oil, heat more.
  4. Add the rice. Break it up with a spatula and stir it around until the rice is hot.
  5. Add the egg back in and break that up with the spatula, too. Add the scallions and continue to stir until everything is heated.
  6. Add salt to taste. Stir.
  7. Serve!

Good with chopped cabbage added with the rice, as well.
Fried Rice with Egg and Chinese Sausage

  • Same ingredients as above, plus…
  • 1 or 2 Chinese sausages (la-chong)
  1. Slice the sausages on a slight angle into 3/8″ slices.
  2. Cook the egg as described above.
  3. Before adding the rice as described above, add the sausages and cook slightly until the fat just starts to turn translucent.
  4. Then add the rice, egg, scallions, salt, etc., as described above.
  5. Serve!

Curry Fried Rice

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (I usually have some in the freezer, pre-divided and wrapped up into 1/2 lb. packs. You don’t even need to defrost it.)
  • 2-3 cups leftover cooked medium-grain rice (cold from the fridge works best)
  • chopped scallions, white and green parts included
  • yellow curry powder
  • salt
  1. Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
  2. Add the ground beef. If it’s still a frozen hunk, turn it often and break off chunks. Keep breaking it apart with a spatula until cooked through.
  3. Add the rice. If you used extra-lean beef, you might want to add some vegetable oil, too. Otherwise, the fat from the beef should be enough for the rice.
  4. Stir around until the rice is hot.
  5. Add the scallions.
  6. Add a generous amount of curry powder. I use from 1-3 tablespoons depending on how flavorful I want it.
  7. Sprinkle with salt. Stir everything around until all the rice is yellow. Taste and adjust seasonings if you need to.
  8. Serve!

Unhealthy Fried Rice

This is my own invention. My mom would never teach me to cook anything that is so terrible for one’s arteries.

Serves 3-4 people, or 2 with healthy appetites.

  • 3 eggs
  • 4 slices bacon (thin or thick), chopped
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (I usually have pre-divided packs stored in the freezer, and often don’t even defrost it)
  • 2-3 cups leftover cooked medium-grain rice (cold from the fridge works best)
  • chopped scallions, white and green parts included
  • soy sauce
  • oyster-flavored sauce (optional)
  • sesame seeds
  1. Cook eggs as described above, set aside.
  2. Add bacon and cook until mostly crisp. Scoop out the bacon and set aside with the egg. Don’t drain the fat.
  3. Add the beef. If it’s still a frozen hunk, turn it often and break off chunks. Keep breaking it apart with a spatula until cooked through.
  4. Add the rice to the beef. Stir around and heat. No need to add veggie oil because there is plenty of saturated fat already in the pan.
  5. Add the onions, eggs, and bacon back to the pan.
  6. Pour in soy sauce to your liking. I think I usually use about 1-2 tablespoons.
  7. Add a generous dollop of oyster-flavored sauce. I like the taste of it.
  8. Stir until the rice is all brown.
  9. Sprinkle sesame seeds over everything and toss more.
  10. Serve!

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