Two fun facts about me:
1) I’m the kind of person who can make simple complicated. But, I’m happy to share that a shift in how I spend my energy and money has lead to my working out a system for truly simple dinners that taste good, are generally healthy and not even a little bit gourmet, but work fine for weeknight “get ‘em fed” meals. Details below.
2) For the last couple years I’ve spent an inordinate time loathing dinner and everything about it from meal planning to grocery shopping to the actual making of meals while one, or two, hungry/cranky/daddy-craving kids clung to various parts of my body. By the time I finally got dinner on the table if someone so much as suggested they didn’t like something I had to resist the urge to dump the plate on their head, whether they were 3 or 38. This is a stress (and rage) I know I share with some of my friends and readers … so, here is my solution:
Grain + Protein + Vegetable + Sauce = Dinner.
Favorite grains: quinoa, brown rice (freeze batches add water and defrost), tortillas
Favorite proteins: eggs, canned tuna or salmon, chicken breasts, beans, cheese
Favorite veggies: whatever deal I can get on fresh or frozen
Favorite sauce: When my computer broke, I had to use my trust old cookbooks and learned to make a white sauce … really, it was new information to me and has changed how I make dinner. Sam hates tomatoes. Every time he tries a bite, he still hates it. So learning to make and dress up white sauce has been huge for us. I add artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, sautéed onions, lemon juice … whatever. It’s been good every time. If anyone wants details or specifics, email me … when in a real hurry, melt butter, add lemon sauce and chopped up herbs, fresh if you can.
Another thing I’ve been doing is saving myself steps and cents, even little ones, where I can … hence, the homemade taco seasoning packets.
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
repeat into as many snack-size baggies as you’d like and stash in your pantry.
I still wish dinner wasn’t every day … but I’m adjusting.