Friday, November 11, 2011

surviving a food rut

Since Chip started his new job, we've all had to make sacrifices and improve our game, so to speak.  Before, with him traveling four or five days out of seven, Alice and I could easily eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with nary a complaint between the two of us (we love our cereal).  Now my big guy is here, living and sleeping and breathing our air every night of week.  And while that is awesome, it has also meant that cereal for dinner is in short supply.

I've come to realize that I feel comfortable cooking about seven different entrees.

And seven different entrees isn't enough to happily satisfy this family, week in and week out. 

So here's what I am proposing, my dear Minions: let's help each other, yes?  The beauty of my food rut is that it's not your food rut.  So I can share my revolving recipes without having you think THIS AGAIN?  Which means that you, too, can share two or three recipes that might be on your food rut list and they'll be entirely new to the rest of us.  I'm looking for things that are pretty quick, pretty simple, and pretty delicious.  A remodeled recipe exchange, hosted here at The Creamery.

I've posted a few of my stand-by's below, the ones that we can eat over and over (and have), but don't require so much work that they're impossible to pull together at 4pm on a Thursday night.

Feel free to use and abuse.  And your job, if you don't mind, is to post one or two (or three or four) recipes that YOU love.  Either in the comments, or on your blog (comment with a link, pretty please), or even shoot me an email and I'll repost it here.

Please help me.

Our top three dinners at the Whimsy house, in no special order:

Mom's Meatloaf (posted before because it's DEE-LISH-US) - made with either ground turkey or ground beef.  Sometimes topped with french fried onions during the last couple minutes of baking.  Yum.

The next recipe was originally gleaned from The Little Red House.  I adore Sheena - she is simple and delicious herself.  Love her.  And we LOVE this chicken & salsa dish.  It's so easy, she doesn't even have the recipe indexed on her site.  So I'm listing our version of it.  Usually I'll throw it together mid-morning on a Sunday and we come home from church to a house that smells amazing, and a dinner that doesn't need much more than some extras thrown on the table.

Salsa Chicken
Place three or four frozen chicken breasts into a crockpot set on low.  Add one can of black beans (drained), one cup of your favorite salsa, and a few sprinkles of onion salt.  Place lid on the crockpot and let cook for at least five hours.  When complete, shred the chicken mixture.  Serve with chips, sour cream, guacamole  OR serve the meat wrapped in tortillas and all the fixings.

And because I can't walk away from the whole breakfast-for-dinner thing entirely, every couple of weeks I put it together, with varying items in the Starring Role.  After some testing, our favorites are: this pancake recipe (so much better than the pre-made stuff), this easy waffle recipe, and recently when we're feeling really fancy, this french toast recipe - but I skip doing any of the brulee business and just enjoy the amazing custard-y french toast sans crunchy topping. 


Anonymous said...

This recipe from Erica has been a standard at our house for years:

Sibley Saga .... said...

In the wintertime we do a lot of soups. We do a super easy crockpot splitpea soup that literally only take 5 minutes prep. Even London likes it.

We do this parmesan roasted butternut squash thing that Joe can't get enough of. You wash, peel and cube the squash. Toss it in cream, sage, salt, and pepper. Roast it for an hour in the oven. Top it with parmesan for another 5 minutes in the oven and it's heavenly.

We also do a tomato basil soup that is fantastic. I can't stand the canned version. You get tomatoes from your garden or a big can of the diced tomatoes and toss it into a 9x13 pan. Put garlic and basil all over it. Cover it in olive oil. Roast it in the oven for about an hour. Blend it with some milk or chicken stock and serve it up with grilled cheese sandwiches. Absolutely heavenly!

We like to experiment with recipes and when one is declared to be a good one, we stick it in a big binder. The front of our binder screams FAMILY FAVORITES and we love to turn to it for good stuff.

If you want any particulars on the recipes I have just let me know and I can actually type them out with measurements for you.

Jayme said...

Here's some I've already blogged about-

Of course, most are sweets, but there are a handful of dinners on there :)

The chicken & broccoli braid we eat weekly. It never gets old.

stacie d said...

I make these easy enchiladas a lot...

Make a filling with any/all of the following: shredded chicken, corn, onion, cheese, diced chili peppers, or anything else you can think of! Add a little enchilada sauce to moisten.

Dip a tortilla (flour or corn!) in enchilada sauce and roll some of the mixture inside. Lay them side by side in an 8x10 pan and cover with more enchilada sauce.

Cover & bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until warm.

I like this recipe because it's easy, I usually have enough ingredients already in my cabinets and each time it's a little different. :)

bzzzzgrrrl said...

I love this!

My go-to dinner if I didn't think of anything else is this: Cook whole wheat rotini with some frozen vegetable (same pot, same water, same time): in my case, usually spinach or broccoli. Drain pasta. Add protein (usually either frozen chicken breast that I cook on the George Foreman grill while the pasta is cooking or a can or two of tuna fish) and a little olive oil, mix in the pot you cooked the pasta in. Serve with parmesan cheese and seasoning to taste.

Other big favorites, if I plan enough to use the Crock Pot are beef and sweet potato stew, which I serve over couscous (I don't bother to precook the beef), and chicken hominy chili.

Oh! And very easy if you can plan for it: Sweep Steak. The cooking times are not a typo.

Bird said...

Hmmm. I don't even know what I make anymore because the rut is so deep. I feel like I go through this at the start of every winter. Right now Meatball Minstrone Soup is a favorite because its a meal in a dish, Spaghetti and Meatsauce, Roast Chicken with Rice and yeah, that's all I can think of. I'll send you the recipe's if you want. All are pretty easy.

tearese said...

We make that same breaded loaf, but we use spinach instead of broccoli, and add a little curry to it.
We like these really easy enchiladas: two cans of canned chicken (or cook your own if you're not in a hurry) a cup of salsa, and a brick of cream cheese. combine and roll in tortillas. Top the tortillas with more salsa and some cheese, cook at 350 for about 25 minutes.
Another is combining drained black beans, a can of corn, two cans of diced tomatoes (we get the Italian kind), and heat on the stove. Serve over rice with cheese, and eat with tortilla chips...the chips add all the salt you need. You can also add meat if that's what your man wants.