Friday, January 25, 2013

Food: It's What's For Dinner

I don't know about you, but I spend an inordinate amount of some time each day, wondering what other people are having for dinner.  I'm always curious about which of my friends are cooking, which are getting take-out, which are having leftovers, whether they remembered to take some meat out of the freezer to thaw, whether they're eating healthy (Oh, it's true.  I sit and think, sometimes, about calling certain friends to remind them to eat their vegetables.), whether they're using a cookbook or a website or a family recipe or making it up as they go along, how many pots and pans they'll have to wash... Does anyone else do this?

Nachos for dinner?  Why, yes, please!
I enjoy cooking very much.  I love trying new recipes and different ingredients, and I love that the end result of my time and effort is (usually) delicious and nourishing to the people I love.  Before I had a family of my own to cook for, I spent a lot of time in the imaginary kitchen of my mind.  That is, I paid for 2 different recipe-cards-by-mail subscriptions, and received 3 different recipe magazines each month.  I hosted and attended Pampered Chef shows like it was my job.  Then, for a while, it was my job.  In my early twenties, I spent more money on cookbooks and kitchen tools than I care to admit.
The contents of my tool turnabout.  Oh, how many diapers I could have bought for the price of all those spatulas!

It was our (now long-lost) dog who stopped my cookbook buying.  A couple of nights after we brought him home from the pound, we had to leave him alone for a few hours.  He was in the laundry room, with plenty of food and water and space to move around, but he went a little nuts anyway.  During his rampage, almost all of my cookbooks and recipe magazines ended up chewed, vomited on, or chewed and vomited out.
Long after that fateful night.  He calmed down.  Sorta.

I found out that every recipe I didn't know from memory, I was able to find on the internet.  I tried not to think about how much money I had wasted on cookbooks, and soldiered on.  I have since started writing down the recipes I invent, and keeping the notated print-outs of those I find online.
Mmm...pumpkin soup!  I had forgotten about that one!

I received a delightful cookbook, Comfortably Yum, as a gift a couple of years ago, and I'm pretty sure I haven't opened any other cookbook since.  It has really delicious recipes, written for real people who actually cook, rather than for people who simply publish cookbooks or magazines.  No glossy pictures of plasticy-looking food, no required trips to the craft store for a variety of wooden dowels or basket-weaving supplies- just recipes for food you would want to eat.  I highly recommend it.

With the hope that you'll share your dinner plans if I share mine, here is last week's list:

Last night, I made Fish Tacos with Noodle Invention on the side, as 5 y.o. complained that, "We have rice, like, every single night".  Tonight, I plan to trick Husband into eating pork chops (You know how people make jokes about the wife's cooking not being as good as her mother-in-law's?  Yeah.  He'll only eat the pork chops his mom makes.  But it's cool.  It's cool.) by cutting them up and putting them into  Hm.  I may have to rethink that idea in order to please both of my guys.

My advice?  Don't spend a whole lotta money on spatulas and recipe cards with pictures of food in handmade baskets.  Bonus advice:  try the super-simple dinner I made last night!

Fish Tacos

Cooked Fish (I used frozen sticks last night, but I've also made them with grilled fresh fish-just depends how much time you have)
Flour Tortillas, warmed
Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
Sliced Poblano Pepper
Tomatillo Salsa

Noodle Invention

1/2 box Bow-tie Pasta, cooked to package instructions
1/4 c Diced Ham
2 c Fresh Spinach
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1/4 c White Wine
1/4 c Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper

As the pasta cooks, start sauteing the ham and spinach.  Add the hot, cooked pasta, drizzle with olive oil and splash in the white wine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, cook together for about 3 minutes, then stir in the parmesan cheese just before serving.

What are your dinner plans?


  1. You're so awesome.

    I have a meal plan for the rest of the month. Tonight we're having pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce. I use last week's leftover pasta sauce and add cream and parmesan cheese. Delish!

    1. Sounds yummy!

      Is your monthly meal plan fairly flexible, or do you stick to it each day? It seems like that would take a ton of planning...and it would probably be well worth it. :)

  2. My meal planning comes in waves. Sometimes I have a week planned and sometimes I am between plans. Right now I can give you a short history more easily than a plan for coming dinners.

    Sunday: We were driving to pick up my daughter from a youth conference. We brought sandwiches and snacks for the car ride.
    Monday: take-out pizza
    Tuesday: Homemade chicken noodle soup
    Wednesday: Beef Stroganoff, the meat sauce was left from last week. I cooked new noodles.
    Thursday: Baked potatoes and salad with homemade dressing
    Friday: my husband will go out for date night and my daughters will probably have Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese.

    Oh... and Nachos for dinner? Fine by me. Yum!

  3. I'm so envious of people who can cook!! I can't cook - at all. Lived off the terrible diet of university student a few years ago, and just never learned how to cook yet - although, I'm obsessed with the food network and never watch anything else!! Wierdo. haha!

    Cheeesy chicken nachos remind me of dinners my best gf and I used to have, ahhh!!