IQ-tips: quick meals anyone? anyone?


Because we're still up to our ears in boxes in our new home, with half the kitchen still MIA (note to self: when moving next time, be a little more liberal when labeling boxes. "Downstairs sh*t" doesn't help much when trying to locate the remote controls or extension cords), my wife and I find ourselves making a lot of little, quick, easy meals.

Lately my favorite has been an avocado/cheese melt. To make it, all you need is a tortilla (I prefer flour over corn), half an avocado and a slice or two of your fav cheese (I like provolone). Mash up the avocado, spread it on the tortilla, slap the cheese over it and heat. Once the cheese melts, take it out and dash on some red hot-sauce. It's delicious and takes a whopping 5 minutes to prepare.

The New York Times had a long list of 101 quick meals in their Dining/Wine section the other day. Here are the top ten, all of which sound rather easy except #5. Mussels just don't belong in any recipe with the words easy or quick if you want my opinion. What about you all? Have a quick, easy dish I can make in less than 10 minutes? (sans microwave, if possible)

  1. Make six-minute eggs: simmer gently, run under cold water until cool, then peel. Serve over steamed asparagus.
  2. Toss a cup of chopped mixed herbs with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a hot pan. Serve over angel-hair pasta, diluting the sauce if necessary with pasta cooking water.
  3. Cut eight sea scallops into four horizontal slices each. Arrange on plates. Sprinkle with lime juice, salt and crushed chilies; serve after five minutes.
  4. Open a can of white beans and combine with olive oil, salt, small or chopped shrimp, minced garlic and thyme leaves in a pan. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp are done; garnish with more olive oil.
  5. Put three pounds of washed mussels in a pot with half a cup of white wine, garlic cloves, basil leaves and chopped tomatoes. Steam until mussels open. Serve with bread.
  6. Heat a quarter-inch of olive oil in a skillet. Dredge flounder or sole fillets in flour and fry until crisp, about two minutes a side. Serve on sliced bread with tartar sauce.
  7. Make pesto: put a couple of cups of basil leaves, a garlic clove, salt, pepper and olive oil as necessary in a blender (walnuts and Parmesan are optional). Serve over pasta (dilute with oil or water as necessary) or grilled fish or meat.
  8. Put a few dozen washed littlenecks in a large, hot skillet with olive oil. When clams begin to open, add a tablespoon or two of chopped garlic. When most or all are opened, add parsley. Serve alone, with bread or over angel-hair pasta.
  9. Pan-grill a skirt steak for three or four minutes a side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, slice and serve over romaine or any other green salad, drizzled with olive oil and lemon.
  10. Smear mackerel fillets with mustard, then sprinkle with chopped herbs (fresh tarragon is good), salt, pepper and bread crumbs. Bake in a 425-degree oven for about eight minutes.