Growing up in a household where my mom would put out dinner by hook or crook, I knew I wanted to be able to provide the same for my own family. Starting easy now with just the Man, even then I realized very quickly, it isn't easy for a working person.
After work and putting in some gym time, we often reach home at the earliest, 8pm or mostly, nearly 9pm. I struggled to put together a meal most times, mainly due to self-induced stress to provide variety for the Man (while I'm generally happy eating the same things just to live). More often than I would prefer, a lot of the meals feature many instant or processed food products put together.
But I have since realized, so what if I can't make everything from scratch? So long there's good effort to try to make the meal healthy and satisfying, my objective is achieved, no matter.
So, I want to introduce two of my favorite go-to meals when time is short.
There didn't used to be many available, but now, you can get at least two different varieties from NTUC. The Gardenia brand is the most affordable ($2.50 / 5 pieces), and comes in a few different flavor variants. If you so choose, I also like the imported ones from USA called Mission Valley, which is actually used for Mexican burritos. Tortillas and wraps can be used interchangeably. But I personally find the taste of the Gardenia wraps to be more slanted towards our local taste. I also sometimes get frozen wraps called "Flat Out", which cost $5 for a pack of 6. These are much blander, but higher in fiber and protein and can be found from time to time from The Foodie Market at Tiong Bahru.
I like wraps because they contain an element of surprise (when you don't slice them up) and you can wrap up anything you fancy. Most often, I look into the fridge and determine which ingredients need to go and then proceed to incorporate them into the meal. Easy!
Wraps are also good for quesadillas (a type of Mexican folded, crepe-like pancake) with cheese (always in our fridge) and sauteed mushrooms or shredded chicken for the Man.
2. Sandwiches / Tartines
For sandwiches, we use mainly local sliced bread, particularly, Gardenia's Low GI Multi-grain bread, as they are heartier, more substantial and more texture and taste. [side note: actually, this is the only sliced bread I buy now as I find local breads to be high in sugar in general and I am trying to cut back on added sugar in my diet]. I would have preferred to use good hearty European bread with heavier crust and more seeds/grains, but the Man doesn't like bread that is too dry or tough, so nope, European breads would not work unless the sandwich could be panini-pressed to a crisp (but I don't have the ability to do so nor would I necessary want to do that when pressed for time). So for now, Gardenia works as a compromise.
For tartines, or open face sandwiches, European style bread could work as I toast the bread slices up when they are still neat, just so they could dry up and crisp a little more. I usually get Walnut Bread from Swiss Bake but as I don't go to Cold Storage as often, I normally get Gardenia's country style loaves. My two favorite variants are: multigrain and walnut. Beware though, these Gardenia country loaves are vastly different in texture to the ones from Swiss Bake, as in they are much softer in general. But as these loaves boast no additional sugar added in the recipe, I find them healthier than regular sliced bread and so I buy them. After the initial toast, I load them with different toppings before giving them another round in the toaster to broil to heat / melt the toppings through. My favourite topping is also the easiest to prepare though, just simply fresh, ripe avocado smashed down with a fork and seasoned with a round of fresh ground pepper and salt. It's so delicious just like that!
|top: Flat Out Wrap with ham, cheese, egg; bottom: trio of tartines|