DH2U and I alternate who makes dinner. Whenever it is his night and he has nothing planned, his go-to meal is souffle. To me that is such a treat that I wouldn’t mind more unplanned nights, especially now that the weather has cooled down and the oven isn’t adding to the heat of the day.
I desperately need a go-to meal of my own. In my attempts to be more spontaneous, I found myself not planning out my week’s worth of meals in advance (as I have done most of my adult life). Doing away with meal planning was supposed to be a fun, liberating move, like playing the home version of Chopped. It is not. Instead it is causing me to get cooking block … and frustrated.
I found myself making numerous trips to the grocery store during the week, a practice that goes against my entire being, or making a mediocre-at-best throw-together meal. That is not what cooking is supposed to be like! Cooking is fun, creative, and delicious, not a chore!
As I was writing this, I found that have been a bit hard on myself. If I’ve had a hard day, I do have a go-to meal: Pancakes! We have them with my homemade apple butter on top. Yummy! I guess what I really am looking for a couple additional meals I could prepare quickly, that we both like, which would take the pressure off.
All of this was on my mind during my last library visit. One of the features of my library that I love is they sell donated magazines for a quarter a piece. It lets me get a wide variety of publications, at a great price, supporting a wonderful cause. Sitting on the magazine display rack was an issue of Quick Cooking.
I scooped that up and gladly sat down with that issue once I returned home. Hmmmmmm…. I was unimpressed. While I’m sure the dishes could be prepared quickly, they really weren’t things I would want to eat. Everything was from cans. I definitely have lots of cans in my pantry, but normally I would never think of making an entire meal out of them, especially since these recipes did nothing to alter the flavors or even add seasonings.
So my quest continues. Please tell me about your family’s go-to meals. I’d love some suggestions!
10 thoughts on “Go-To Meal”
Well, if you’ve read my blog even once, you probably know that mac and cheese (yes, the box stuff with the yellow powder) is an all-time favorite for the Fab Hub and Kidzilla. We have also been known to do pasta with jar sauce in a pinch.
We have a chicken dish we call “magic chicken” (no idea why) which is chicken breasts or breast cutlets with Panko breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, and lemon or lime juice squeezed over it. Serve with whatever vegetable you have on hand.
We often use this quickie – bowtie pasta (although any noodle will work) with a can of diced tomatoes (go fresh if you’re ambitious), and a quick balsamic “sauce”. I have the recipe in my frequently used book – I can post it or send it. If you like balsamic vinegar, this is a great one. You can add chicken to it if you want a meat meal, but we like it as-is. A lemony pasta with capers is another quick pasta favorite of ours.
Those are the ones off the top of my head.
I also have a soft spot in my heart (and belly) for mac and cheese from the box with the powdered cheese.
The balsamic sauce sounds wonderful. What a simple, delicious meal!
Thanks for the suggestions!
Chicken cacciatore in the crockpot (chicken breasts, onion, green pepper, red pepper, jar of spag sauce, splash of sherry, garlic powder, parsley, black pepper. Slow cook for 6 hours, serve over pasta). Soup. Stovetop mac and cheese. And like you, pancakes. With Mrs. Butterworth’s.
I haven’t made chicken cacciatore in the crcckpot in ages! Thanks for reminding me of that yummy dish! I’ve got to use my crockpot more. That does involve more planning, but I feel so much more me when I plan anyway.
We had our go-to meal tonight. Pasta, steamed broccoli, sauteed bacon and garlic. Deglaze the pan with a tiny glug of sherry, throw everything together, finely grate cheese on top, sprinkle with any kind of chopped nuts if you have any. Dinner in 15.
But I want souffle….
That sounds delicious. Any recipe with “glug” in it is a keeper! 15 minutes seems just about right. Thanks!
Oh, I love what my go-to meal is. I make an Irish breakfast. It’s strange to call it that since usually I have it for dinner. But anyway. All it takes is a can of stewed tomatoes, a can of baked beans, some eggs and sometimes ham. Pop the beans in the microwave and heat up the eggs and ham on a skillet. You can take the tomatoes straight out of the can. It only takes ten minutes usually and it’s a meal my wife and I never seem to get tired of. Plus, it’s cheap. We calculated that the whole meal is only about $1.25 per person.
I had those breakfasts all the time in England. The American would be yummy … and filling! I will definitely be giving that a try.
I am becoming less and less of a dinner person. I’m really hungry in the morning – in fact – all morning. So I eat a breakfast, then a healthy snack mid morning and a pretty healthy lunch.
But my dinners are gathered from whatever – like last night, let me think, i had a bit of cottage cheese with some avocado and red pepper chopped up and mixed in. I had some baby spring greens with some walnuts I found in the cupboard, some goat cheese I had in the fridge, a steak strips left over from the grill the night before and some oil & balsamic vinegar for dressing.
Tonight we’re having some grilled chicken that I’m covered in some brown sugar & Italian Seasoning dry mix over it – the brown sugar will caramelize and then a few red potatoes.
I used to have go-to meals when my kids were home – now I love the freedom of eating whatever. My go-to meal might be a run down to Chipolte’s.
When I lived alone (or when DH2U is away), my dinners were/are exactly as you described, except you left out cereal. Cereal is my main food group when left to my own devises!
The freedom of picking of choosing sounds great, but I normally end up in an eating rut (hence the cereal).
Lately if the whole thought of cooking anything, including pancakes, is too much, my go-to meal is El Pollo Loco which is walking distance from my home.