Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Confessions: 3 Quick Meals...from a can

Okay, they're not all from a can...but they are all pre-made, pour-it-in-and-call-it-(practically)-done, bases.  Because I don't always make dinner from scratch.  /cue-Wilhelm-scream.    If you want to whip up something affordable without a ready-made base, check out our Midnight Spaghetti, Masoor Dal or Bolognese. However, if you occasionally find you are lacking the time / mental faculties (see also: "Sleep Deprivation") to assemble much, and ordering take-out is out of the question / unappealing, this post is for you.

Meal 1: Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup + Baps
We have extensively sampled the canned soup range and all agree Wattie's "Thai Spicy Pumpkin" is our favourite ready-made soup (when we want to deviate from trusty ol' tomato).  Pair this with a pack of Scottish baps, and you're in business.
  • Approx RRP: $5.00
  • Preparation Time: 2 minutes
  • Pros: It's so. darn. fast. and comforting to boot
  • Cons: Not really summer fare, plus it can only feed so many if purchasing singles
  • Extra: If you can muster the motiv. to run the breadmaker or knead some dough, all the better
Meal 2: Creamy Butter Chicken
Although we make excellent home-made curries around here (and they're really not that hard), sometimes tipping is all that one feels capable of.  Take Wattie's "Creamy Butter Chicken" (or Korma, also good) and simply add rice and (wait for it...) canned chicken to -- make sure you get chunks in spring water.  I've purchased the shredded stuff by mistake, and even dared to make the meal with a (classy) guest present.  /hanging head in shame.  Thankfully, she's as generous and humble as she is classy.
  • Approx RRP: $6.00
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes (thanks to the rice, not the sauce)
  • Pros: I think Wattie's offering is better than Patak's and some of the other more "authentic" brands
  • Cons: You will be conscious that you are missing a depth of flavour, but it isn't bad
  • Extras: If you can afford to splash out for Patak's pappadums, the meal is suddenly a treat (cook them in the microwave if you feel like less clean-up!)  Also, it's not that hard to add some dry chicken stock, frozen spinach, or fresh herbs to the sauce to give things a boost.
Meal 3: Southwest Pasta Salad
Featured on Wattie's food in a minute, this salad is tops.  It is way more expensive than meals one and two, but better for summer, better for left-overs, better for satisfying cravings, better for taking along to barbeques or potlucks...just...better.  Money may just buy you love, here.  Also, some more assembly is required here than tipping alone, but it's so little, I think it fits in on this list.  The key ready-made base: Eta "Southwest Chipotle."  Or if you're my mother-in-law, Southwest che-pottle.  /snort.  I can't scoff long, my MIL is the very angel who introduced me to this dish, and I am such a big fan of it, is the number one thing I beg for when she asks for requests (birthdays, etc).  It can be a whole meal, and I find it insanely delicious.  Recipe here.
  • Approx RRP: $9.00-18.00 (there will be left-over ingredients, but there are a lot of special purchases)
  • Preparation Time: 13 minutes
  • Pros: Delicious, crazy-good texture, and different.
  • Cons: /whistling: "Pricey!"
  • Extras: My MIL uses sun-dried tomato feta, and it is da baaaayst.  Also: you can switch out green capsicum for some peas, red onion for some caramelised shallot, and so on.  Dynamic, right?  Better be, for eighteen bucks!
Wattie's didn't even know I was doing this post; there was no compensation.  This is 100% my opinion, as my sponsored posts are -- but this isn't one of them.  Sharing for sharing's sake alone, peop's.  Image credit: Wattie's.

What about you?  What ready-made have you found surprisingly palatable?  Please share!  I'd love to expand the stock supply on my "in case of fatigue" shelf.
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