Before starting to cook lunch, breakfast, or dinner, it is necessary to decide what time it needs to be ready by, and determine how much time will be needed to prepare this meal. Also keep in mind that as soon as lunch, breakfast, or dinner is ready, it is best to serve it immediately, otherwise it will get cold and will no longer taste great.
It is important to be punctual when serving breakfast, lunch or dinner. Each dish should be delicious and have a visual appeal.
If there is too little time remaining before lunch you should select ingredients that can be cooked fast. In this case, it is better to use meat or fish-based ready-to-cook foods. You can buy different kinds of vegetables – fresh, canned, frozen – already cleaned, washed, and peeled can be purchased for this, in addition to fruit compotes.
Ready-to-cook foods used can be of different types and varieties – cutlets, steaks, shish kebabs, fish filets, etc. pre packed meat. Different types of sauces can be purchased and used for these dishes.
Lunch can be quickly made from canned food – mean or fish soups, stewed meat, fish with different sauces, corn with butter. Canned fruits and berries make excellent desserts.
Dinner preparation can be sped up by combining ready-to-cook foods with canned foods. For example, cutlets can be served with garnish of canned corn, beans or green peas. Fish filet can prepared with canned beans. Different salads can be complemented by canned fish, crab meat, crawfish, etc. Mayonnaise can be used as dressing for these types of salads.
Finally, a wide assortment of already-made products such as sausages, smoked goods, meat pates, hot dogs, bratwurst, dairy, etc., allows to prepare and serve lunch or breakfast in 10 to 15 minutes.
Using ready-to-ccok foods saves a tremendous amount to time and frees the housewife from the most labor-intensive and unpleasant work in the kitchen – cleaning fish, vegetables and meat. It makes cleaning the kitchen easier and there are not that many dishes to be washed afterwards.
Besides ready-to-make and canned foods, there are other options available in stores, such as bullion concentrates and powdered soups that can be used when meal preparation time is limited. In this case preparation time will be as quick as boiling a pot of water.
The recipes in this book contain the amount of ingredients needed to prepare a dish for approximately 4-5 people. It is understood that that if there are more or less people, the amount of ingredients must be adjusted, but proportions should remain the same. For 500 grams of meat that’s used for borscht it is recommended to take around 800 grams of different vegetables; if there is more meat, for example 750 grams, then 1,200 grams of vegetables should be used, and more water as well. Incorrect proportion of water and vegetables will made borscht either to thick or too watery. For cutlets, incorrect amounts of bread or liquid added to ground meat can make the cutlets less juicy and shapely then they otherwise could have been.
The amount of garnish should also correspond to the amount of the main product. For example, if each person is served 100 grams of meat or fish, garnish should be 150-200 grams of potatoes or 100-150 grams of macaroni or porridge.
When starting to make lunch, in order to save time it is first recommended to start on ingredients that need longer cooking, or those that need to be served cool.
Let’s take for example a three-course lunch with an appetizer of herring. First course is meat-based shchi, second course is cutlets with fried potatoes and third is kissel. Preparing this meal would begin with cooking meat and boiling broth. Part of the washed meat, placed on a board, should be put aside in a bowl for cutlets, and the rest of meat and bones should be placed in a pot with water and put on a stove. Herring that previously has been soaked in water can be cleaned, cut and served on a plate, shaped as one whole fish. Boil the potatoes, which will be needed as garnish for cutlets and herring. Then, after throughly washing hands, boil kissel, which must cool off before lunch. While kissel is being made, broth will start to boil. Fire underneath the pot needs to be reduced. Now it is time to take care about onions and cabbage for shchi – clean them, cash them and cut them, and fry them if desired.
By this time the broth is almost ready, it needs to be strained into a soup pan, put the meat there, add cabbage, salt, pepper, bay leaf and continue to boil.
While shchi is boiling, prepare ground meat and cutlets, cover them in breadcrumbs, put them before frying on a board or on a plate and cover with a towel. Boiled potatoes need to be peeled, cut and fried (part of boiled potatoes can be used as garnish for herring), and start frying cutlets on another frying pan.
In 15 to 20 minutes after this lunch will be ready. Remove meat from shchi, cut it, put it on plates, pour shchi into them, add sour cream and parsley.
Ready cutlets and garnish (fried potatoes) are placed on a plate. Pour some broth into the frying pan where cutlets were frying, boil it, strain and use as sauce for cutlets. Sprinkle potatoes with parsley.
Some lunch dishes can be prepared so that leftovers might be used for dinner or breakfast. For example, potatoes can be boiled in such amounts so that there is enough to use some for dinner’s salad. Some of leftover cutlets can be eaten during dinner or breakfast.
Finally, broth can also be made for two days. In this case, half of the broth can be used for shchi, and another half can be used the next day to make a different kind of soup.
Food storage is very important, even for short periods of time, like one or two days. Meat, fish, dairy, fresh vegetables and fruits deteriorate rapidly, losing their smell, taste and color. Cold is the best way of keeping these products fresh.
After finishing your meal, wash all dishes and silverware with hot water and soda or soap, rinse with cold water, dry it and store away. Leaving dishes unwashed is unacceptable, because food remains rot, smell and attract flies. It also makes dishes turn dark over time.