I think the answer will always be it depends. For most weeknights, coming home after work, I would stick with dinner options that take no more than 30-60 minutes. On the weekends when I have more time, I don't mind cooking longer roasts or braises, or baked goods. Make sure I get all my prep done first (cutting and measuring), have all ingredients at the ready and just cook.
Yeah, I just wanted to get an estimate of how much time it generally takes....I find cooking for a single person (myself) a bit of a hassle, so I mostly do with bread, cheese and smoked meat. Fruits occasionally, and veggies sometimes (salad or something).
I make a lot of things that keep well, like marinated cucumbers, kimchee, salsa, sauces, dressings, marinades, etc. that can jazz up a variety of dishes. Or I make a big pot of something that can be used for multiple meals (stewed beans can be used in chili or tacos or over rice/pasta for example). With this method, I eat more homemade (less commercially processed) food, and daily cooking and cleanup time is minimized.
As another example: when I made homemade ice cream, I would make a few gallons of mix at a time and freeze it in the milk/cream cartons, then just defrost a carton of mix and make the ice cream as needed.
I like my food crazy spicy, so I usually like to keep some hot peppers around (fresh if possible, or frozen, since my garden yielded a few gazillion ghosts, habaneros, serranos, and jalapenos this year). You can throw them into just about anything savory, and even some sweet things (like sweet sauces).
Do you just throw the harvested peppers into the freezer? I always thought that putting them into vinegar or drying them was the way to go.
Edited by grokit - 10/19/12 at 9:38pm