2015
09.21

A few days ago, I wrote down many of these low spoon recipes for a friend, and I thought that I should expand upon them a bit and put them up here in service for other people who might need some low spoon cooking ideas for bad days.  Some of these need a bit more preparation than others, but those who need that generally make up for that in being great to cook a bigger batch of and then keep in the fridge and heat in portions or to eat cold in order not to have to cook again for a few days.

For these recipes, I haven’t added any measurements, because honestly I don’t really use measurements when cooking.  Most of these are pretty much just about using the ratios you want and are happy with.  Perhaps one day I feel like having a lot of tomatoes in something and another day I’m out of tomatoes and making it anyway.  None of them are set in stone.

Take them more as inspiration and some sort of foundation, then experiment with the ratios and the seasoning to suit your tastes!  I use basil a lot, but perhaps you want other herbs and like them better, so go with what you want.

General Good Things to Have at Home:

Potatoes: Cooked potatoes are good for many things and stores well in the fridge.  When I’m low on energy I tend to cook a huge batch of potatoes and just keep them around.

Herbal spices: I tend to always keep a few frozen ones around.  They make almost every dish better, and dried herbal spices tend to taste much worse and less.  I use basil, parsley, chives and some sort of ‘Provençal’ herb mix the most.  They are inexpensive and worth the investment.

Eggs: If you can, always keep eggs at home.  They are great as they are, but can also be used to make improvised pancakes and the like.  Can be used to make simple bread.

Frozen meat/fish: Go for something you really like.  I tend to always have frozen, natural salmon at home.  Can be put frozen in the oven just covered in oil and herbs and makes a great meal with potatoes.  Bacon also freezes well.  One can also cut chicken, pork and beef into smaller pieces or strips and freeze them like that for easier usage.

Frozen vegetable mixes: Good to have around for some easy frying up for rice dishes.  There is a frozen wok mix over here in Sweden which I always keep at home.

Tinned tuna: Preferably in oil as the oil can be used in the actual cooking.  Also good if accidentally out of any other oil at home.

Tinned variants of tomato: For sauces.  Crushed or pureed.

* * *

COLD FOOD

Bean salad

Ingredients:
Beans
Tomato
Olive oil
Garlic
Herbs
Salt and pepper

Choose an assortment of beans.  I tend to go for kidney beans, big white beans and small white beans on can or packet.  Rinse them under water and let drain a bit.  Dump them in a bowl.  Chop tomatoes to taste as finely as you want/have the energy for.  Dump them in with the beans.  Crush some garlic or chop it depending on where it hurts.  Dump it in with the other stuff.  Pour in some olive oil and herbs you like.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Combine by folding motions.  Keeps for several days in the fridge.  I have never tried to freeze it and I have no idea if it works.

Pro tip: great to eat with just bread, like a baguette or toast.

Tuna salad

Ingredients:
Tinned tuna, preferably in oil
Tinned corn
Pasta (but not spaghetti)
Red onion (optional, I like it)
Salt and pepper

Dump the pasta in salted, boiling water.  While waiting for it to get done, open tins of tuna.  If it’s not already in fine pieces, proceed to stab it a few times with a fork.  Open and drain the tinned corn.  Chop the red onion as finely as you please if you’re using it.  Drain the pasta when it’s done.  Pour oil (preferably from the tuna tins, if not use rapeseed) into the pot you cooked the pasta in, then the pasta.  Stir a bit to coat it with the oil so that it doesn’t become a pasta cake at the bottom.  Dump in the tuna and the corn, and the optional onion if you want it.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Keeps well in the fridge for several days.  Also freezes well.

Pro tip: Rhode Island dressing is really good to this salad.
For a vegetarian salad, substitute the tuna for assorted beans.

Chickpea thing

Ingredients:
Chickpeas
Garlic
Herbs
Olive oil
Tomato
Salt and pepper

Kind of like hummus but not quite.  Mash chickpeas roughly.  If you have a mixer, just give them a short blitz.  Put in a bowl big enough to hold all of this.  Chop the tomato however finely you’re able to, doesn’t have to be very fine.  Add to the bowl.  Crush or chop garlic depending on what is most convenient.  Put in fresh herbs, salt and pepper and olive oil to taste.  Stir vigorously.

Pro tip: Add couscous: this is really great to put leftover couscous in.  I tend to eat it as is, but it’s also good on bread, with or without the added couscous.

* * *

WARM FOOD

Potato and leek soup

(If you have a mixer this is super easy, if not and you can’t stand lumpy soup, avoid it)

Ingredients:
Potatoes, preferably soft/floury
Leek
Crème fraîche kind of thing (optional, must be boiling-proof)
White pepper
Fresh parsley (frozen works)
Pepper and salt

Dice potatoes if you have a mixer, slice if not.  Slice the leek.  Put it all in a pot.  Add salt and the two types of pepper and eventual parsley.  Let it cook until the potato is soft and is falling apart.  Add crème fraîche if you want it.  Mix it for smooth soup or eat as is.  I like both versions.

Keeps for several days in the fridge and can be warmed in portions.  I have never tried to freeze it and I have no idea whether or not it would work.

Pro tip: Fresh chives is a delicious addition, frozen or fresh-fresh.

Root vegetable soup

Ingredients:
Various root vegetables (I tend to use potato, swede, carrot and parsnip)
Celery (optional)
Bay leaf
Allspice
Salt and pepper

Dice the root vegetables and eventual celery, put in water with the spices.  Cook until soft.  Eat, but not the bay leaves.  If you want, fry bacon until crispy and put on the portions of soup.  It’s not as good if one boils it in the soup, but this way works better.  Keeps for several days in the fridge.

Some sort of Thai inspired thing

Ingredients:
Coconut milk
Bamboo shoots
Bean sprouts
Curry or red Thai curry
Water chestnuts
Salt

Put everything in a pot.  Cook until slightly reduced.  Serve with rice.

Keeps for several days in the fridge, also freezes well!

Pro tip: add pork or chicken.  If adding meat, cut it into shreds/strips and fry it for a moment in oil before adding the coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients.  Beef does not work very well with this dish.  Still freezes well.

Pasta with tuna sauce

Ingredients:
Tinned tuna, preferably in oil
Onion
Tomato of some description (in tin; crushed or pureed; fresh chopped; anything really)
Garlic
Herbs
Pasta

Chop the onions however.  Pour oil in a pot, preferably the oil from the tinned tuna.  Fry the chopped onions until slightly soft.  Cook the pasta while doing this.  Add everything else to the onion pot, cook until warm through.  Drain the pasta and return to the pasta pot.  Pour the sauce into the pasta and stir.

The sauce keeps for days in the fridge.  I have never tried to freeze it, but I think it would work.

If you’re like me and can eat cold food, one can make a huge batch of pasta and mix it all together, but if one does that and then heat it (with the pasta on the stove) the pasta tends to disintegrate.  Might work to heat it in a microwave oven.  Generally better to just make new pasta every day or so if there is still sauce left, or freeze the sauce by itself.

Pro tip: for extra deliciousness, buy fresh pasta.  I sometimes buy spinach pasta.  It works really well with this sauce.

Fried potatoes with egg

Ingredients:
Cooked potatoes
Eggs
Spices (I tend to go for BBQ spice)

Dice the cooked potatoes.  Put in a warm pan.  Add spices and fry, then put on a plate.  Fry eggs and put on plate.  Done.  This is not very good cold, nor does it keep well in the fridge, but for a quick, hot meal it’s really great.

Pro tip: Fry some bacon to go with it.
I tend to just add the cooked potatoes whole to the pan and just stab them a few times with the spatula until in smaller pieces.  It’s easier.

Fried herbal potatoes

Ingredients:
Cooked potatoes
Herbs
Garlic
Salt and pepper

Dice the cooked potatoes.  Put in a warm pan.  Add the herbs and the garlic and fry, then put on a plate.  Done.
This is not very good cold, nor does it keep well in the fridge, but for a quick, hot meal it’s really great.
One can add eggs to this dish as well, but one should keep the seasoning coherent.  I use salt and pepper and more herbs.

Rice with vegetables

Ingredients:
Rice
Soy sauce
Vegetables (I use frozen mixes)
Bean sprouts (optional)

Make the rice like usual.  Put the vegetables in a frying pan with some neutral oil, heat until warm.  Add soy sauce and eventual bean sprouts.  Cook for a little longer until the soy has reduced into the vegetables.  Serve with rice.

Both the fried vegetables and rice keeps rather well in the fridge.  When heating this, I take a bit of rice and a bit of vegetable mix and heat together in a pan.  The rice falls apart and gets coated with oil so it’s more difficult to eat with chopsticks, but it’s delicious anyway.  And this mix keeps for several days in the fridge.

Pro tip: If you wish to add meat, cut strips of pork, chicken or beef and fry them lightly first before adding the vegetables.

Red lentil pasta sauce

Ingredients:
Red lentils
Onion
Neutral cooking oil
Tomatoes (crushed or pureed)
Herbs
Salt and pepper

Put oil in a pot, add chopped onions and fry until softer.  Rinse the red lentils and let drain, then add the red lentils, tomato, herbs and salt and pepper.  Cook pasta, I recommend spaghetti.  Cook until lentils are soft, drain the pasta and serve the sauce with pasta.

Warning: red lentils soak up a lot of water so if you have too little tomato/liquid in it you might have to add a bit of extra water as to not burn the lentils.  Requires some stirring but keeps for several days in the fridge.  (I tend to put a chair by the stove to sit in while stirring.  Takes about ten minutes and does not require constant stirring, but if one hasn’t done things like these before one needs to be careful.)

Red lentil soup

Ingredients:
Red lentils
Onion
Thyme, oregano and marjoram (dried works here)
Salt and pepper
Vegetable stock (optional, I never use it)

Chop the onion, fry lightly in oil in a big pot until slightly soft.  Rinse and drain the lentils.  Add everything else to the pot, add water according to how soupy you like your soup.  Cook until the lentils are soft.

Keeps for days in the fridge and freezes well.  This is really similar to a split pea soup, but much easier to make and requires no soaking of peas.  Great comfort food.

Pro tip: For a meatier soup, you can add diced or shredded bacon to the pot while frying the onions.  This is really, really great food.  Just make a batch and heat it whenever, or eat it cold (like I sometimes do)!

Fried bacon with leek

Ingredients:
Bacon
Leek
Potatoes for serving with (optional)

Cut the bacon into smaller pieces.  Slice leek.  Fry it all in a pan.  Eat as is or serve with fried potatoes or mashed potatoes.

Keeps all right in the fridge and can be heated in a frying pan.

Pro tip: if eating with fried potatoes, add the diced, cooked potatoes to the pan with the leek and bacon at the end to heat it.  Utterly delicious.

(Shout-out to @kerastion for introducing me to fried bacon and leek.)

Potato and lentil curry

Ingredients:
Onions
Potatoes
Red lentils
Curry (lots of it, preferably)
Garam masala
Cinnamon (optional)
Fresh or powdered ginger
Dry or fresh coriander leaves
Salt and pepper

Chop onions and fry until slightly soft.  Add curry, other spices (except coriander) and diced potatoes, salt and pepper.  Cover barely with water.  Cook until the potatoes are almost done, then add rinsed and drained red lentils, stir carefully and finish cooking on low heat until the lentils are soft.  Add the coriander leaves.  Can be eaten as is or with a side of rice.  If you plan to eat it with rice, the curry can be made somewhat runnier to work better as a sauce-thing.

Keeps for days in the fridge and can be eaten warm and cold.  I frequently eat it cold, but when cold it needs a bit of extra salt.  I doubt this thing survives freezing well.

Good to know: the red lentils suck up all the water one cooked the potatoes in, and makes the curry rather creamy.  This is a good thing and supposed to happen!  However, while learning to make it I had to underdose the red lentils until I learned the correct ratios.  It’s definitely better to take too little of them than too much, because if using too much the curry will only get stuck and burnt.

Be careful with the stirring not to crush the potatoes.  Don’t stir too often.  Takes about ten minutes for the red lentils to get cooked but if one hasn’t done things like these before one needs to be careful so that it doesn’t get stuck and burnt.

Pro tip: Add garlic and use fresh ginger.

(Shout-out to @elmindreda for teaching me this lifesaving curry!)

Side of salmon with root vegetables

Ingredients:
Side of salmon (half or whatever you feel like)
Root vegetables (I tend to go for swede, potato and carrot)
Neutral cooking oil
Herbs
Salt and pepper

Put the salmon in some sort of oiled, oven proof tray.  Cover with oil and herbs, salt and pepper.  Cut the root vegetables into sticks and put them too into the tray.  Salt and pepper them and turn them around in the oil.  Cook in an oven for a full meal.  It is also a suitably fancy dish for weekends or for guests, with barely any effort!

Keeps decently in the fridge, but is difficult to heat in a good way.  I would recommend eating the leftovers cold, or perhaps put the salmon on bread or eat cold with mashed potatoes.

Pro tip: If you want it fancier and have the extra spoons, cut gashes into the salmon meat without cutting fully through it, then add slices of garlic in the gashes.  Cover with slices of orange.

(Shout-out to @Croxus for introducing me to orange-and-garlic salmon.)

Pasta with bacon and egg

Ingredients:
Bacon
Eggs
Pasta

Start cooking the pasta as per the instructions.  Cut bacon into smaller pieces and fry it, put in a bowl.  Fry the eggs in the bacon fat while stirring to break it into bits as they set.  Drain the pasta and return to the pot, add the egg bits and the bacon.  Stir and serve.

Best fresh and warm as soon as it is done.  Not sure how well it keeps in the fridge and I’ve never tried to freeze it.

Pro tip: Add fresh chives to the pot when it’s all combined.

Improvised pancakes

Ingredients:
Eggs
Wheat flour or equivalent thereof
Some sort of cooking fat (neutral cooking oil/butter/margarine)
Salt
Sugar (optional)
Milk

Put the eggs in a bowl.  Add about half of the of the milk.  Add flour until difficult to whisk.  Add salt and the rest of the milk and then some kind of cooking fat.  If choosing margarine or butter, melt it before adding it.  Whisk again until smooth and then fry it into pancakes.

Keeps well in the fridge and can be eaten cold or reheated in an oven, a microwave oven or in a frying pan.

Pro tip: If you have too little milk to get the right batter consistency, add water until achieved.
One can also add different favourings such as orange peel and ground cinnamon and cloves.
One can also grate apple and add it to the batter.

Topping tips: Jam and/or whipped cream; honey or maple syrup (and chopped nuts if you like nuts).  Some like ice cream on pancakes, but I just find it very messy on hot pancakes as the ice cream only melts.

  1. This is awesome!
    *saves for great win*

  2. Nice recepies. I loved the potato and red lentil soup. <3