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Best stir-in/easy to cook sauces for quick family meals?

(27 Posts)
fuzzpig Fri 28-Sep-12 20:26:52

Inspired by the curry thread in _chat smile

I am really struggling with cooking ATM - DH has just had back surgery and I am not very well (suspected CFS/ME). So I'm taking plenty of shortcuts and I like sauces because I can still add lots of veg and I tell myself it's at least a bit better than a ready meal.

Ones I like are:
Pataks Korma, tandoori paste etc
Old el paso fajita seasoning
Chilled pesto
Pretty much any chilled tomato pasta sauce
'Seriously strong' cheese sauce (just tried it yesterday, OMG! Yum)
Homepride tomato and bacon pasta bake (recommended by a MNer - it's fab, you don't even need to cook the pasta first)

Would love some ideas.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 30-Sep-12 11:04:05

Sorry to here that you and DH are struggling, haven't got any suggestions though sorry.

ATourchOfInsanity Sun 30-Sep-12 11:14:56

Philly (maybe add a dash of cream/milk) with some fried bacon and leeks makes a decent quick pasta smile

PerfectStranger74 Sun 30-Sep-12 11:42:32

Lloyd Grossman tomato sauces are lovely, esp chilli, basil, and red pepper ones. I get them stocked up when they are on offer for a pound

seeker Sun 30-Sep-12 11:45:18

A favourite here is a packet of Boursin with peas and sweetcorn stirred into hot pasta. Make sure everyone eats some though because it's very garlicky!

LeeCoakley Sun 30-Sep-12 11:50:28

That sounds yummy insanity. Would you use the whole container of philly? I'm useless at gauging amounts!

LeeCoakley Sun 30-Sep-12 11:51:26

gauging = guaging

ivykaty44 Sun 30-Sep-12 11:53:56

My short of time or not wanting to cook days consist of

jacket potato with baked beans, cream cheese if we have on the table and grated cheese with pickles

Pasta cooked in the pan and then frozen veg of choice added, stir in pesto and some creme fraich serve with grate cheese.

Easy soup - chop onion, carrot, celery/courgette, smoked parika and thyme place in large pan, boil kettle for 3 litres of stock, pour in tin of tomato, tin of borotti beans, butter beans and then add stock and chopped curly kale or cabbage - light stove and bring to coil and cook for 30 minutes on simmer. If you want add macaroni couple of handfuls. This will do for us for three days for lunch or dinner with bread. So easy to make and then just reheat and there is a lot of goodness in the greens, beans and veggies smile

ivykaty44 Sun 30-Sep-12 11:54:24

and sorry to hear that you are struggling sad

ATourchOfInsanity Sun 30-Sep-12 11:59:26

I use about half for 2/3 of us..goes further if you add cream smile You can always add more as it melts in if it looks too dry, enjoy.

LeeCoakley Sun 30-Sep-12 12:00:47


MmeLindor Sun 30-Sep-12 12:01:39

My favourites quick meals:

Spaghetti Carbonara

cook pasta, drain and set aside.

Using same pan, fry some bacon bits in olive oil, add prechopped garlic (in tubes).

Whisk 3 or 4 eggs with some cream or milk, and some grated parmesan cheese.

Dump pasta on top of fried bacon bits, take off heat and stir in the egg mix.

Doesn't take much more time than adding a tin of sauce. You can add a handful of frozen green beans to the bacon, or chop some courgettes.

Similar - fry chicken or bacon, with mushrooms / frozen veg, add splash of white wine, then a couple of dessert spoons of Phily cheese. Use the one with herbs for a herb sauce

fuzzpig Sun 30-Sep-12 14:31:46

Those all sound fab thanks smile

Any ideas for fish or meat?

Jux Sun 30-Sep-12 14:36:30

Sharwood Hoi Sin. Pour it over chicken pieces with a small carton of orange juice, roast for an hour and voila! 'tis very yum. And very yum cold the next day too.

If you feel strong enough one day, you could also make a large quantity of, say, bolognese, and then freeze the extra in portions. It's actually really nice in a sandwich, or with rice.

Bolognese pie is good too, if you have left over mashed spud.

Can you ask your gp if there's some sort of care service in your area you can use while you are both so unwell? There are people who can come in and cook, help put kids to bed etc, provided by social services.

Hope your dh recovers well, and you do too.

Sossiges Sun 30-Sep-12 14:42:21

There's a butter chicken (mild curry sauce) which Asda and someone else (Patak's?) do which is yummy, and an Amoy roasted peanut stir-fry sauce which is good too.
I do the same thing myself to hide veggies.

Startailoforangeandgold Sun 30-Sep-12 15:10:12

Google nigel slater, sausages and mustard.

Basically, meat from good sausages, cream, mustard and pasta.

Brilliant way of using Tescos Finest sausages, that are often on offer, but have horrible hard skins.

Very easy and tasty.

Also tinned onions are the tired cooks friend.

fuzzpig Sun 30-Sep-12 15:22:05

Thanks for all these, very inspiring!

fuzzpig Sun 30-Sep-12 15:25:29

Oh also any ideas for pies? I've recently discovered Chicken in white sauce (my nan used to use it so it's a lovely nostalgia food) which I put in a dish with some frozen peas and top with ready rolled pastry - easiest meal ever! Now wondering what else I could put in?

Really grateful for all the recommendations - we don't actually go to the supermarket any more as we don't drive and have the Tesco delivery saver thing, so it is good that I can now type these things in and not have to wear myself out browsing shelves. thanks

ivykaty44 Sun 30-Sep-12 16:20:58

my dad makes smoked haddock int he microwave and adds mash or jkt potato and some pea

It is ready in about 15 minutes, he doesn't peel the puds for mash and kettle boiled starts on the mash, and pops the fish on a plate with cling film over and cooks in the microwave for around 5 minutes, then uncovers and adds grated cheese and cooks for another 2-3 minutes. Then heat up the peas in the microwave and mash the spuds or use jkts


Jux Sun 30-Sep-12 17:27:29

Do you have a slow cooker? You could make a stew in it, have that one evening and then use the rest for a pie the next day.

I'm a great believer in making one lot of cooking do two meals if poss, so tend to cook far more than is needed, simply so I don't have to do all that prepping etc the next day.

ATourchOfInsanity Sun 30-Sep-12 19:25:12

For fish just get whatever fish you like/is cheap whatever and either paste some pesto on top before cooking, or a little smoked paprika, honey, dark soy and a bit of tomato puree (just thick enough to smear on with a tea spoon) for stronger fish like mackrel. Runner beans/new pots go well and can be cooked in the steamer at the same time as fish.

Another really simple fish dish my DD and I both love for lunch is tinned mackrel in tomato on buttered toast. Open tins, pop into microwave for about 20 seconds and dish up onto the toast.

ByTheWay1 Sun 30-Sep-12 19:29:09

tinned tuna,
cooked pasta,
frozen veg,
jar of Dolmio

- mix all together, top with cheese, put in moderate oven for 20 min.

My fall back for busy days...

ATourchOfInsanity Sun 30-Sep-12 19:30:03

Agree re: slow cooker for pies too. Amazing what you can cook in them (recently did a chicken sweetcorn noodle soup, using real chicken stock and it was divine!). Very easy to do as you can leave beef and tomato (literally chunks of stewing beef, tin of tomato to cover beef with some tom puree and a teaspoon of pre-chopped garlic) in from 9-5 and the beef will be melt in the mouth tender. I do that for DD and add a lot of cheese and spaghetti (don't salt it for her, but do for me) and it is one of her faves.

Imagine you could do a chicken variety with campbells chicken and mushroom soups and add in whatever else you like veg wise for a decent pie filler, or perhaps even with suet dumplings?

Iteotwawki Sun 30-Sep-12 19:48:08

If you want to make your own tomato sauce for pasta, I was given a fab recipe a while back. You can make a large batch on a "good" day then freeze it in portion sizes.

2-3 double tins of chopped tomatoes
2-3 onions, peeled but whole (I chop tops/tails off)

Put in large pan on low & cook over 8 hours or so. You have to take the onions out after the first few hours or they start to disintegrate - I tend to leave them in until falling apart and then fish out the bigger bits.

Whizz with blender briefly to make it smoother, finish with a few glugs of olive oil & crushed or grated garlic (2 cloves).

If you keep reducing it after adding the oil & garlic it makes a great pizza sauce.

It's lovely on its own, or add combination of veges of choice & pasta. A can of mixed spicy beans added to it goes really well with pasta too.

fuzzpig Mon 01-Oct-12 17:19:26

Loving all these ideas.

Cheeky bump for any more sauce suggestions - am doing Tesco order later today. Only going for easiest ones this time round (but bookmarking others for future use!) as not in a good phase right now, even chopping/peeling is a no-no sad

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