By Alyaa Sadek
Most of us remember the film “Ratatouille”, about the rat that cooks in one of France’s top gourmet restaurants. And one of its quotes was:
" In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere."
This quote is straight to the point, you don’t need to dine in a fancy five star hotel or have your everyday whims catered to by a chef. Sometimes, the best work comes from within. Unfortunately, our hectic lifestyles have kept our inner chef and creativity largely at bay. Explore your options and try different creations. Here are five quick meals for different occasions.
1- Mozzarella, Walnut and Blue Cheese Bites (Approximately 10 Minutes)
Do you have friends coming over? Maybe a movie night? This meal makes for the perfect conversation finger food starter for such an occasion. Be sure to try it.
- 1 shami bread per serving
- Mozzarella cheese
- Blue cheese
- 6 walnuts (roughly chopped)
- Fresh basil leaves (optional)
- Place grill tray in the center of the oven, and then lightly toast the shami bread on one side.
- On the untoasted side sprinkle shredded mozzarella, finely crumbled blue cheese and the chopped walnuts.
- Place it under the grill and cook until the shami bread is lightly brown around the edges, and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Halfway through grilling, a leaf or two of fresh basil can be torn and thrown on, for an extra bit of color and flavor. For the final touch, cut it into triangles and enjoy.
2- Quick Stir Fry Chicken Noodles (Approximately 15 Minutes)
Quality time with your loved ones never gets old. A great way to spend time together is to have a casual dinner while watching a movie or revisiting old family videos and albums. This meal would be a great option for a family night.
- 2 finely sliced chicken breasts
- 1/2 packet Chinese egg noodles
- 3 large cups sliced broccoli
- 1 cup sliced spring onions
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped red pepper
- 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce (or soya sauce)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 cup of water
- Prepare your chicken and sautéed vegetables in sesame oil in a deep-bottomed frying pan or wok.
- Add ginger, spring onions and red pepper, then the broccoli with a little water when half ready.
- Continue to fry, while stirring lightly a couple of times to ensure even cooking.
- Add the teriyaki sauce and mix through just before you finish cooking. Turn off the heat. Don't overcook, as the vegetables should still be crunchy to bite into.
- Drop the egg noodles into lightly salted boiling water. They cook al dente. Toss the drained noodles in with the vegetables and chicken and serve immediately.quickly, and drain when nearly
3- Cheesy Egg Tacos (Approximately 10 Minutes)
Egg Tacos make a quick and easy meal for breakfast. They are also healthy and a great energy source for a strong morning boost or a post-workout snack.
- 2 white corn tortillas
- 2 table spoon tomato salsa
- 1 table spoon semi-skimmed mozzarella
- 2 eggs
- ½ table spoon olive oil
- Prepare your pan by adding the white corn tortillas, salsa and the semi-skimmed mozzarella.
- Then, microwave for 30 seconds until the mozzarella cheese is melted.
- Lightly mist a skillet with olive oil spray and heat over high.
- Add 2 beaten eggs to the pan and scramble, once cooked as desired, divide between tacos.
4- Shrimp Cocktail (Approximately 5 Minutes)
You don’t have to take your partner to a fancy restaurant; you can change the game by having a cozy meal, starting with a shrimp cocktail, topped with a special sauce by following these easy steps.
- 1 lemon (halved)
- 1 onion (quartered)
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 pounds large uncooked, (unpeeled) shrimp
- Fill a large pot three-quarters full with water; squeeze juice from lemon halves into pot and add lemon halves.
- Add onion, whole black pepper, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium; simmer for 5 minutes for flavors to blend.
- Add shrimp; cook until just opaque in center, 2-3 minutes. Drain and transfer shrimp to a large bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain again. Peel; devein, leaving tails intact.
- Arrange shrimp over a bed of ice. Serve with Thousand Island dressing and lemon-tarragon vinaigrette.
Thousand Island Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper
Mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup, salt and pepper in a small bowl until thoroughly combined, and drizzle on top of your shrimp cocktail.
5- Zucchini Pasta
This easy-to -make quick meal is a must try for your taste buds. Zucchini Pasta is the perfect choice for something fresh and different.
- 4 medium sized zucchini, finely diced.
- 3 large cups uncooked penne
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup cooking cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start with dropping the penne in boiling salted water and cook until al dente.
- While the penne is cooking, finely dice the washed zucchini and sauté in the olive oil until it is slightly soft.
- Add cream, add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and reduce quickly.
- Drain the penne well when ready, and toss in with the zucchini mix. Serve hot with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese.