Fun, "medium-fiddly" recipes that take less than 2 hours, all in?
August 13, 2017 2:21 PM   Subscribe

I've been having a rough couple days, need to get off the internet, and would love to immerse myself in an engaging, fun, new dinner recipe that won't leave me frustrated and hungry.

I know "medium fiddly" is subjective, so I hope I can be more specific. Here are some recipes I consider to be on the money:

Shrimp Proven├žal
Swedish Meatballs
Pork Rind Chicken Tenders
Fried Pork Wontons

Some specifics:

+ No fish or anything fishy

+ Max 45 - 60 min. prep time

+ Max 1 hour cook time (I don't want to be eating at 9 or 10 pm)

+ No "fancy" or difficult-to-find ingredients (I have a regular-to-subpar local grocery. One time, they didn't even have white onions!)

+ Assume I have the basic kitchen stuff, including food processor, big pot for deep frying, and bakeware

+ If at all possible, please make the individual steps fairly plain and simple to follow. (I have the mental energy for "cut [INGREDIENT] into a small dice," but not "cut [INGREDIENT] into brunoise."

Thanks in advance!
posted by functionequalsform to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I like making these Ottolenghi meatballs, although I often just divide the turkey mixture into quarters and make burgers instead. It's great either way. The yogurt sauce calls for sumac, but you can leave that out if your store doesn't stock it. In fact, when I'm lazy or pressed for time I sometimes forego making the sauce and just buy some tzatziki or some goat cheese to crumble on top.
posted by little mouth at 2:56 PM on August 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Chicken Enchiladas
I sometimes use a Costco roasted chicken ($5) to speed up the process.
posted by artdrectr at 3:06 PM on August 13, 2017

My favorite medium-fiddly dish is chiles rellenos. They are so much better homemade and right off the skillet. But I don't know if poblano peppers qualify as easy to find. (They do where I live.)


4 poblano peppers
6 oz grated mozzarella or your favorite cheese
3 eggs
Flour for dredging
Oil for frying
Sauce (see below)

Roast the peppers until the skins are blistered and charred. If you have a gas stove, you can roast the peppers directly on a burner. (Turn them a few times and run a fan while you do it.) Otherwise, you can roast them in the oven (400┬░ for 30-45 minutes).

Meanwhile, separate the eggs. Beat the whites to stiff peaks in a large bowl. Separately, beat the yolks lightly. There's some down time here to make sauce and (if you want) accompanying dishes such as rice and beans.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel/rub off as much of the charred skin as you can while handling the peppers gently. Cut a lengthwise slit in each pepper. Use a sharp knife to cut out the seeds. Wear gloves for this step or your hands may tingle afterward (poblanos are mild but occasionally you get a hot one). Stuff each pepper with cheese, then dredge with flour, holding the seam so the cheese doesn't spill out.

Pour 1/8 inch of oil in a skillet and heat over medium. While the pan heats up, gently fold the egg yolks into the whites. When the pan is ready, roll each pepper in the foamy egg mixture and put it in the pan seam-side down. Top with any leftover egg. Use a spatula to turn each pepper when its bottom has browned nicely. When the peppers are browned on all sides, serve immediately with the sauce on top.

The sauce: I usually keep this simple -- tomato sauce from a can + diced onion + minced garlic + oregano. Substitute your favorite red sauce if you have one.
posted by aws17576 at 4:16 PM on August 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

Devil's chicken thighs and braised leeks from Smitten Kitchen is my go-to for this.
posted by colorblock sock at 4:18 PM on August 13, 2017

I like Serious Eats' Chicken and Cabbage dish a lot. I usually can only fit about half of a cabbage in the pan. I also take out some of the fat before adding cabbage because chicken + bacon can be a lot.
posted by monologish at 4:35 PM on August 13, 2017

Alton Brown's Shepherd's Pie is medium-fiddly mostly in that you make mashed potatoes as well as the filling, is delicious and comfort-food-y for me, and uses really simple ingredients. I've made it with beef and lamb; it works fine with whatever. Probably would work with turkey, too. I also invariably use one of those frozen corn-carrots-peas mixes in the final step, because I nearly always have a bag in the freezer. (Use fresh carrots earlier in the process too, though, because they caramelize really nicely.)
posted by restless_nomad at 6:04 PM on August 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Spinach Enchiladas Suizas from The Vegetarian Epicure II are great and probably the amount of fiddly you're looking for. I've always assumed the called-for chilis are the ones in little cans. If fresh, I'd saute with the onions instead of using in the sauce. Frozen spinach works fine too, although it reduces the fiddlyness just a bit.
posted by ClingClang at 7:40 PM on August 13, 2017

Pizza from scratch! The prep time is a little longer than an hour because the dough needs to rise, but the cook time is a lot less than an hour so definitely under 2 hours total. So delicious and cheap, too. I don't have my specific recipe with me at the minute but they're very easy to find online. Make the dough, while its rising make the sauce, cut up some mozzarella and other toppings. Roll out dough, add sauce, top with whatever, bake in a very hot oven on a preheated pizza stone.
posted by hazyjane at 9:24 PM on August 13, 2017

* Souffle! It has a reputation for being a majorly difficult thing, but it's way easier than you think:
- can you separate eggs?
- can you whisk flour and butter together to make a roux?
- can you whisk milk into that roux and stir until it thickens?
- can you grate cheese?
- can you whip egg whites?
- can you fold egg whites into a custard?
If you can do all of those things, you can make a cheese souffle. It will fall within a couple minutes of your taking it out of the oven, but that's just what souffle does. that's why you need to serve it immediately.

* You could also try frying chicken or making macaroni and cheese from scratch. You don't need a deep-fat fryer for frying chicken - I've always just used a skillet with an inches' worth of vegetable oil. A whole meal can be made out of from-scratch fried chicken, mac-and-cheese, collard greens and cornbread (now I'm hungry).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:48 AM on August 14, 2017

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