Lazy Food

I like to cook but I am, by nature, a rather lazy person. This can be a problem at times, since good food is often labor intensive. Luckily, many of the best things you can make do not require your full attention during the making. So here are some easy recipes for great food that you can make while playing Halo. Rice

Use a rice cooker. Set and forget. You can play Halo for 20 to 30 minutes while it cooks.

Coffee in a French Press

OK. This is barely a recipe, and you don’t get to play Halo, but bear with me.

I like coffee, but making a really good drip or espresso or even moka pot shot is sometimes just too much cognitive effort. For these times, I do this

- Put two or three handfuls of beans in the grinder. Set to coarse.

- Grind it all.

- Dump in french press. I use one of the larger Bodum ones that hold around 8 cups of liquid.

- Add hot water. I fill it half way or two thirds of the way up.

Wait a while. Drink. The trick is to judge the amount of water you should put in by how many grounds you end up with, and don’t let the grounds sit in the press too long. I like to put in way too much coffee but not have it sit in the water that long before pressing it.

I hear vaccum pots are also a nice lazy way to make coffee. They make me nervous about boiling the coffee too much.

The french press also lets you be really lazy and make good tea. And tea is even less work than coffee because you can steep it multiple times. This is good for when you are sick.

Homemade Chicken and Matzoh Ball Soup

I described this to my boss one day, and he thought it sounded like too much work. So I tried to cut it down a bit.

First, buy a two or three pound package of chicken wings. Then cut up 2 onions, 2 or 3 carrots, and 2 or 3 stalks of celery. Put all this in a pot, cover with water, add salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Turn the heat on until you get a simmer. Now play Halo for 3 or 4 hours. If you are industrious, you can saute the vegetables before adding the wings and the water. You can also hack the wings in half. But these are both extra work and not really needed.

Here is the hardest part: dice an onion, 2 more carrots and 1 or 2 more celery stalks. Dice as small as you can.

Saute these in a soup pot with salt and pepper. Add a quart or two of stock, as much white wine as you like, and another quart or two of water (until you get enough soup). Simmer this for a while. Then make matzoh balls using the directions on the mix. Add to the broth, get all this to a low simmer. Go play Halo for however long you like your matzoh balls to sit.

That’s all.

Pasta with Bolognese Meat Sauce

Start with a pound and a half of ground beef.

Dice 1 or 2 onions, 3 or 4 carrots, 2 or 3 celery stalks. You want to dice this as small as you possibly can. This is the only hard work in the whole recipe.

Saute the onions in a pan with olive oil. Add carrots and celery. Add salt and pepper.

Now put the beef in with another spray of salt and pepper. Brown it until it is not red anymore.

Add a cup or so of milk. Turn the heat to simmer. Play Halo until the milk has reduced off. Check the stove between matches (every 10 minutes or so).

Add a cup or so of white wine. Do the same simmer and Halo trick.

After the white wine has cooked off, add one 28oz can of crushed tomatoes (maybe slightly more), or the same volume of fresh that you have ground up in the Cuisinart. Stir, turn the stove down as low as it will go. Play Halo for 5 or 6 hours, stirring every few rounds.

Now make your favorite pasta that is similar to penne. Mix the pasta with the sauce, grate on some Parmigiano Reggiano. Eat.

Indestructible Beef Stew

This is a variation on Pete’s Braised Beef.

Dice an onion, saute in olive oil. Throw in a pound or two of cubed stew beef. Add salt and pepper. Stir around until the beef is browned. Add sliced mushrooms and a couple cups of red wine. Put this in the an oven set to 300-350F. Go play Halo for an hour or two.

When you get all done with Halo, cut up a few potatoes, and a couple of carrots. Add this to the pot, throw it back in the oven. Play Halo for 2 or 3 more hours.

Pull the stew out, throw in frozen peas. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir it around so everything is still hot. Serve with bread or rice.

Note: I call this indestructible stew because one time I accidentally added soy sauce instead of red wine, and the stew was still edible.

What recipes do you have that require little work, and allow you to play Halo and still get credit for kitchen time?