Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and this week, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. The week will culminate with a Secret Supper in New York City, and Eatocracy invites you to participate online starting Monday July 11th at 6:30 p.m. E.T.
Rachael Ray, Robin Miller and Martha Stewart all whip up some quick-and-easy meals on TV, but for those of us who aren’t gifted in the culinary sense, they might not be that simple.
Well folks, CNN iReport has answered your cooking prayers. We’ve collected real recipes from real people as part of the cultural census for CNN's Defining America.
For each night of the busy workweek, we’ve selected five fast, delicious meals that won’t eat up too much time or leave you scratching your head.
Arturo Navarro of Chula Vista, California, can make a meal of scrumptious salmon, brown rice, and spinach salad in 15 minutes flat. The salmon cooks in virgin olive oil for three minutes on each side. In the meantime, he washes and prepares the spinach, tomato, bell pepper, and avocado salad – a favorite he makes a few times a week.
“I’ve changed my diet since last May, so I’ve been eating salmon; better nutrition than what I ate before,” he said. He now prepares fresh meals each day.
Michelle Chu’s typical weekday dinners usually consist of a protein, veggies and of course, dessert!
She and her boyfriend, who live in Richmond, Virginia, recently visited Omaha Steaks for the first time and were sold on the tender meat. “It’s something we eat frequently because it’s filling, easy to prepare and tastes great.”
Chu’s meal of steak, asparagus and whipped sweet potatoes took about 30 minutes from start to finish. And, she ended the meal on a sweet note – angel food cake drizzled with raspberries and Biscoff spread. Are we in heaven yet?
Jonathan K. Lee of Minneapolis, Minnesota, likes to make ceviche, which he says is deceptively simple to prepare but must chill in the fridge for three to four hours. The fresh raw fish marinates in lemon or lime juices, the acidity of which “cooks” the fish in a chemical reaction. If you make it in the morning, it’s the type of thing that you can set and forget.
“[It’s] one of the simplest things to prepare, yet visually stunning, and people think you've knocked yourself out to make it,” he says.
When Michelle Jeffcoat has a hankering for something “warm and comforting,” she goes back to the oven pot roast her family used to make in a cast iron pot.
“We eat this frequently because the ingredients are simple and hearty, the leftovers reheat well, and if there is anything left, we can make other things from the meat, such as shredded beef and barbecue sandwiches,” said the Muskogee, Oklahoma, resident.
The prep time is only 15 minutes and she lets the roast cook for three hours at 300 degrees to keep the meat tender.
Even with homemade pasta, Linda Rittelmann’s spinach pasta and herbed cauliflower dish only 45 minutes to make. But what makes the labor of pasta-making so quick? It doesn’t require a pasta machine.
“The Italians call this ‘Orecchiette,’ or ‘Little Ear’ pasta, but mine usually come out a little longer, so I call them Donkey Ears, or Orecchie dell'Asino instead,” says Rittelmann, who lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
What quickie meals do you enjoy after a long day at work? What are your tricks for keeping it simple? Share your photos and participate in the CNN iReport cultural census. We can’t wait to see what you have for dinner.