To be honest, lately we are looking at quick meals. Of course, our quick meals are probably pretty slow for many folks because we just don’t have fast easy ways to make things happen around here. Our systems aren’t set up for it. We don’t buy food that turns into anything interesting fast. And if you are like me and avoiding the grocery store, it’s all about planning and availability. But with all that is going on sometimes we realize at the end of the day that we have forgotten to consider dinner. What do we do about that around here?
Maybe the fastest sort of thing we could come up with is Rock Bottom Lentils or pre-cooked Cannellini beans heated up with garlic and kale served with a crusty baguette (if we have any of those things, which means we must’ve made the bread at some point recently – see? fast is a loose concept around here). I guess we might consider something with few steps fast – like a sheet tray of cauliflower, locally made sausage, garlic, and delicata slices (we call that Fall or Winter Broil, the Summer version usually has something like cherry tomatoes/zucchini/onions/chunks of cod or shrimp/etc, drizzled with olive oil and roasted high) or even sometimes just store bought spaghetti, sauce, and homemade meatballs (gasp – yes, it happens, happily!) or we whip up a Pasta Carbonara (Cook 1# pasta per directions/save a little pasta water, whisk 2 egg yolks and 1/2c of heavy cream in a small bowl, if we have time and inclination we might fry 1/2# bacon chopped small or saltpork lardons with garlic/drain fat – add pasta to bacon pan with bacon/garlic and/or stir in yolk/cream mix to pasta with pasta water – toss 1 minute over low heat – remove from heat, toss in 1c fresh parmesan and pinch nutmeg/S&P to taste, with extra Parmesan if needed – sometimes we add broccoli or cauliflower or shrimp or scallops to the boiling pasta and continue on the same).
Our pizza night isn’t too complicated, we usually have frozen pizza doughs that Josh has made previously and if we remember to pull them out to thaw (and have ‘pizza ingredients’), we’re in business. Duende lately prefers just a red sauce, maybe black olives, maybe pepperoni or salami if we have it, and cheese and we generally make a white pizza for the ‘adults’ with ricotta (because we seem to always have some homemade in the fridge) and whatever else we seasonally have (I think last week was spinach, the last of the fresh tomatoes from the CSA, and a bit of ham). But we have a system for that – Josh has baking stones and a peel, we use one of my brother’s amazing cutting boards to serve on, we have a rhythm down for game night – pizza done.
But we are not afraid to just have grilled cheese on sourdough with roasted broccolini either (like last Tues) or what I like to call ‘baked to sh@*t chicken’ – where whole legs or a variety pack of chicken parts are baked on a sheet tray with a drizzle of olive oil/salt & pepper (chicken can do no wrong in my book, it’s forgiving and easy to just bake), and a side salad (we whip up a quick vinaigrette for dressing or even just eat sliced cucumbers and wedged tomatoes), if we are feeling particularly hungry we’ll throw a tray of potato slices in as ‘fries’. Or Taco night if we have enough ‘fixins’ – I’m paranoid about my grain goods (NGMO, clean and responsible source, no additives) so I was happy to find quinoa based taco shells that were delicious. We’ve still yet to find things like hot dog/hamburger buns that aren’t questionable so we get creative with those things (Josh toys with different recipes sometimes but so far they have been time consuming and not ‘quite right’) – we use our pizza dough to wrap around hot dogs (it’s awesome), or Josh makes a great ciabatta that we use for burgers, but that’s if I’ve been able to get nitrate-free hot dogs anywhere.
We’re amazingly not really Stir-Fry people, once in a while but it’s an affair – it’s rarely as quick as it should be because there are all kinds of veggies to prepare and ingredients to pull out. Same with my Indian food dishes – they may cook up simply but the preparation is more than quick or fast might do for us. Last night we took advantage of our own bounty and cooked up some frozen homemade beet gnocchi and slathered it in our pesto but we were lucky we had them. I’m not opposed to breakfast for dinner but we rarely have it. I’ve heard another amazing local blogger (with many children; anyone with more than one children can definitely do whatever they can) offering up popcorn for dinner, we’ve tried that once or twice (since our lovely kid is already more of a ‘small meals’ kind of gal, I can cater her snacks to fulfill her dietary needs). I have to say, ‘popcorn’ for dinner sounds about right tonite.
Keep it simple, keep it sane.