My Meal Making Equivalent of the 10-Second Tidy

If you were a Canadian child (or caretaker of a child) of the 90s, then you are likely familiar with the phrase “10-Second Tidy”. If not, it was one of the many aspects of a Canadian children’s television show called “The Big Comfy Couch

I work at an 8 AM to 5 PM job for an oil & gas company … but often it’s closer to 6 PM before I clue up for the day and make my way home. By the time I get home and play with my pup, who’s been home alone all day while we’re at work, I’m in no mood to to make a healthy meal that’s going to take the entire evening to prepare. And I wished that I could speed myself up like Loonette does while doing her 10-Second Tidy.

As a result we’ve come up with our favourite options for speeding up meals when we are late getting home from work:

1. Prepare chicken or salmon in advance.

We usually cook 1 to 2 packs of chicken and sometimes a pack of salmon on Sundays and keep it in the fridge all week to assemble meals to take to work, or to quickly prepare a meal once we get home. We typically just drizzle on some olive oil and some spices and bake in the oven. The spices that we’ve been using are the Clubhouse mixes like Vegetable and Lemon & Herb. I know that these have additives, sulphites, etc. so once these are gone I’m going to switch to a natural spice mix. We use the salmon as a meal in itself, but we use the chicken as a main, in salads, wraps, tacos, various recipes, etc.

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2. Roast asparagus in the oven.

Place asparagus in a glass baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle a little salt and squeeze juice of 1/2 a lemon over top. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Easy Peasy!

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3. Panini-press grilled sweet potato fries.

Chop up a sweet potato, drizzle some olive oil and your favourite spice and grill on your panini-press for 15 minutes. This method is super quick if you have your fries cut up the night before, but they will turn out a little soft (which I don’t really mind). However, I did find this recipe which has a tip for avoiding soggy fries. If I were to use their tip, I’d have my fries cut in advance, so that all I would need to do is place them in the water to soak for 30 minutes as soon as I get home so that they soak while I’m playing with our pup, Jax.

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4. Keep salad ingredients on hand.

I often make salads for lunch. I have my usual salad and my ‘I feel like a break’ salad.

My usual contains spinach, dried cranberries (Ocean Spray has a gluten-free and tree nut free statement on its package), sliced almonds (be careful of may contain ingredients), diced cheese (if I have it on hand), sliced chicken (from 1. above) and my salad dressing is usually just olive oil, balsamic oil and honey. I don’t measure out the dressing ingredients. I usually just eyeball it as I’m pouring it into a small container. It’s roughly 1 part honey, 2 parts balsamic vinegar, and 3 parts olive oil.

The other salad that I make when I want a break from the usual, contains spinach, mandarin orange segments, sliced almonds and sliced chicken. The dressing is similarly eyeballed. Its roughly 1 part sesame oil, 1 part soya sauce (I use VH soya sauce and got confirmation that it’s gluten free), 2 parts juice from the can of mandarin oranges, and 2 parts olive oil.

5. Slow-Cooker meals.

I discovered this blogger, Stephanie O’Dea, who does slow cooker recipes that are gluten-free, due to her daughter’s Celiac Disease. We use her Honey Garlic Chicken recipe on a regular basis. It is delicious! I like the fact that by using the recipe for left overs for the week that we can skim off the excess fat from the chicken thighs after it has congealed in the refrigerator. It all settles to the top so it’s very easy to skim off and dispose of.

6. Keep gluten-free pizza crusts on hand.

I like to make quick BBQ chicken using Kinnikinnick GF crusts, leftover chicken (from 1. above), BBQ sauce and cheese (if I have some on hand). In just over 20 minutes the pizza is ready.

7. Keep Ian’s Gluten-Free chicken nuggets on hand.

The package says to bake in the oven for 13 minutes but I like to bake them for just over 20 minutes to make the batter slightly crunchy.

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8. Keep cooked rice on hand (either packaged or prepared yourself and stored in the fridge).

You can use it as a quick and easy side or as filler in a wrap.

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9. Keep chopped veggies in the fridge.

Our usuals are peppers, mushrooms and onions.Use them to make a quick omelette, or fry up some peppers, onions and mushrooms with a little bit of seasoning for use in wraps, tacos, on paninnis, or simply as a side dish. Your kitchen will smell delicious as it fries.

These are just some of the ways that are able to eat in a short amount of time once we return home from work.

How about you? Do you have any 10-Second Tidy meals that you’d like to share?

Recipe: Go-Go Quinoa Salad!

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I’d like to say that this recipe was inspired by one of my favourite childhood cartoons, Inspector Gadget (and his “Go-Go Gadget Arms”), but it is in fact due to the brand of Quinoa (pronounced “Keen-wah”) mix called Go Go Quinoa.

I discovered the Go Go Quinoa Granissimo 5 Grains mix earlier this year while perusing, what I jokingly call, the “Freaky People Aisle” at Winners – the section where you find all the organic/natural and Gluten-Free items. I picked up a package of this mix and it sat in my cupboard for months before I decided to test it out. There was a recipe on the back for a Granissimo Fiesta Salad which looked really good but I decided to modify it a bit, and the result was fantastic! The mix itself is gluten-free, vegan and organic. Unfortunately at the time I didn’t have the organic version of the other ingredients in the recipe, but you could easily make this recipe completely organic (provided that you live in an area where you have access to organic groceries).

After the successful completion of the first Go Go Quinoa Salad, I decided to return to Winners to stock up on more of the mix. The thing that I’ve come to discover about the Freaky People Aisle at Winners is that it is always random and you’re never guaranteed to consecutively find a particular item. I’ve went looking for an item only to discover that a different item that I’ve tried before has been restocked (which I would advise picking up as many of the items as you can when you see it) and the item that I’m looking for is no where to be seen. Having no luck at Winners, I decided to buy a small stash of the mix online. I decided to see if the product was available from Well.ca, a Canadian online health, beauty, and baby products store. The mix is $6.69 per package and the website offers free shipping in Canada 🙂

The Granissimo Fiesta Salad calls for raw vegetables and toasted sliced almonds but I decided to sauté my version. I decided to substitute in a regular onion for a red one, a sweet potato instead of orange pepper, yellow pepper for corn, and black beans for raisins. I also left out the fresh cilantro or parsley because I didn’t have any at the time.

Ingredients:

1 cup of Granissimo
2 3/4 cups of vegetable broth
1 onion thinly sliced
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 small sweet potato diced
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
1/2 can of black beans (I keep the other half for a chimmichanga recipe)
1/2 cup slivered almonds (make sure they are gluten-free)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Juice of one lime

Directions:

In a medium pot, cook Granissimo in broth until most of the liquid is absorbed. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. In a frying pan, fry vegetables and slivered almonds. In a salad bowl, mix the oil, lime juice and balsamic vinegar. Add all of the ingredients and cooked mix. Refrigerate until time to serve.

You could easily serve this recipe warm if you wish (which is what I did once when I was pressed for time) and my guy says that he prefers it this way. Either way, the result is delicious! 🙂