Meals in a Hurry

By Carolyn Shearlock, copyright 2011 . All rights reserved.

When you’re living ashore and have had a long day, it’s easy to call out for a pizza or go out for a quick bite.  Once you’re away from a marina, you don’t have that option.

We all have those days when we just don’t feel like spending time fixing dinner.  Sometimes it’s for a “fun” reason like a hike that took longer than expected or a fantastic snorkeling expedition.  More often, it’s because repairs or maintenance took longer that expected . . . or were totally unexpected!  You’re frustrated, you’re tired, and you just want something to eat.  And there’s no McDonald’s or Domino’s.  Once again, you’re on your own.  Self-sufficiency in cruising takes many forms.

I can’t make the repairs easier, but I can give you some ideas for quick meals.  No, they’re not gourmet, many aren’t a balanced meal, and they’re not what we want to eat every day.  But then, fast food and pizza aren’t gourmet or balanced either.

Keep a List

I found it really helpful to keep a list of ideas for “meals in a hurry” on a note card stuck in with my cookbooks.  At the end of a long day — say 10 pm after tearing apart the lazarette and standing on my head to help Dave find the fuel leak in the diesel — I just didn’t have the energy to come up with an idea for food.  I could just look at my list, pick something out and fix it in about 5 minutes.  Perfect!

Canned Meats

I always keep several types of canned meat on hand.  Canned meat doesn’t need refrigeration (great if your electrical system goes down and the refrigerator is off) and is pre-cooked, making it fast to use.  Thus many of my ideas use canned meats of various types.  Check out my canned meat tips and canned meat meal ideas — most are fairly quick to make, although not all meet the 5-minute requirement I have for my list.

5-Minute Meal Ideas

  • Leftovers (great if you have some . . . but we never seemed to when we needed them)
  • Sandwiches from any of the canned meats — tuna, ham salad and roast beef are particularly good.
  • Crackers, cheese and fruit.
  • Mix a can of mixed veggies and a can of chicken (include the liquid) into chicken ramen noodles.
  • Scrambled eggs with whatever cooked meat, cheese or veggies (onion, tomatoes, or mushrooms for starters) mixed in.
  • Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.
  • Sauté a can of hash with some onions and a healthy dose of black pepper — crack an egg over the top if you feel like it.
  • Peanut butter on celery or carrots or with crackers.

More Ideas

What are your go-to fast meals?  Add them in the comments below to help others!

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  1. Karen Taylor says:

    Our favorite fast and easy meal is beef stew made with
    1 can corned beef
    1 can mixed vegetables
    1 can potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
    1 packet of beef or brown gravy mix

    Combine corned beef, mixed vegetables (and liquid), and potatoes in a medium sized sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Add the gravy mix and stir well. Bring to gentle boil for at least one minute or until desired consistency is reached. Serve with bread, crackers, or over reheated left over rice.

    Serves 2 (double canned goods to serve 4)

    • Carolyn Shearlock says:

      Sounds good! Who knows, it might end up being dinner tomorrow night — I’m pretty sure I have all the ingredients.

      Thanks for adding it!


  2. I hate pizza so never look for a pizza joint…a good restaurant is better…

  3. Michelle Beatty on Facebook says:

    never met anyone who hated pizza….hummmm

  4. i am a fan of apples and oeanut butter

  5. peanut butter to..
    dont know why I insist on replying when im on my cell

  6. Joe & Ana says:

    We like to make quesadillas, Any kind of cheese on either corn or Flour tortillas. You can add avocado if you got ‘em also any kind of left over meat makes it great too – easy to make of bbq or micro even on the stove top!!

  7. Downeaster32 says:

    Boil water, wash & slice sweet potato, drop into boiling water, let sit 5-7 mins, done.

  8. Ditto on the quesadillas, but I use a layer of refried baked beans with — or instead of cheese – with salsa and avocado if I have it. I also do the ramen trick, but instead of canned veggies, I just throw in the canned chicken along with some soy sauce or fish sauce, hot sauce, some sliced up ginger and shredded cabbage — great way to add fiber and veggies. I’m also a big fan of a simple bowl of pasta with lemon (or lime) and broccoli — cook the pasta, throw in the broccoli halfway through, drain, stir in some butter, squeeze over a lemon or two, and grind fresh pepper.

  9. Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato and/or avocado.

    Home-canned homemade soup.

    Matzo brai (family and cultural icon)

    Spaghetti (admittedly a bit more than five minutes for the pasta)

  10. I got through college with this recipe: can of Tuna, can of mushroom soup and small can of peas over toast.

  11. Saute canned chicken in olive oil with your generic Italian Seasoning mix. Mix in powdered Parmesan cheese near the end of the cooking, let rest for 5 minutes, and serve over whatever you have on hand.

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