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Don't feel like cooking? Eat well with little effort

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There are times when you just don't feel like cooking. Right? Whether you live alone, or have a large family, you have to acknowledge that sometimes preparing a meal is just too much.

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It's not that it's too difficult, but the motivation may be lacking. Or, you're not really hungry, but you know you should eat something. Or, it's been a long, busy day; nothing sounds appealing, and you don't want to order in or go out for dinner.

What do you do?

Take Stock

Literally, you can take some chicken stock -- or beef or vegetable stock, whatever you have on hand. Saute a mixture of chopped onion, celery and carrots; add some garlic and spices and any other vegetables you have in the fridge. Within minutes you'll have a warm, soothing, freshly prepared bowl of vegetable soup. It's good for you, it's soothing; it's filling. The ultimate comfort food and a night in front of the TV may be just what the doctor ordered to have you up and energized for the next day.

If you're cooking for the family; add some warm bread and a green salad; then, perhaps a brownie or a scoop of ice cream for dessert and everyone should be perfectly happy.

The good thing about soup for supper is that you can't ruin the recipe; and it always turns out tasting good!

There's Nothing in the House to Eat Pizza

Occasionally, there really is nothing in the house that would qualify as dinner-worthy ingredients! It happens. For whatever reason -- poor planning, lack of motivation, too little time, or a debilitating 24-hour flu.

How to handle this occasional dilemma may be easier than you would imagine.

Simply resolve to always keep a ready-to-bake pizza dough, refrigerator biscuits, or bake-at-home bread in your fridge. It's amazing what great things you can create with that one staple.

How about pizza? Even if you have no pizza sauce, few fresh vegetables, and only scraps of cheese, you can -- again, within minutes -- have a nutritious, freshly made, filling meal on a plate. Chances are you'll also have a great lunch for the next day. What could be better than that?

Follow the directions for the pizza dough (or shape any other dough into the right form on a cookie sheet).

The Key Is Creativity

Add either pizza sauce, tomato sauce, alfredo sauce or simply olive oil (a favorite in our household). Top with anything available: chopped onion, other vegetables -- anything works: celery, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, artichoke hearts, capers. Add anything you please -- olives, bacon bits, shrimp, pepperoni, leftover chicken; as much or as little as you like.

Top with any kind of cheese you have on hand, from grated cheddar to thin slices of cream cheese, mozzarella or provalone, parmesan or roquefort.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the top, and bake until the cheese melts and the whole pizza is bubbly.

You may never order a pizza delivered again!