What are your staples?
- purple goddess Jun 25, 2007 06:47 PM
Apropos of the "What do you cook your new love interest" post, I gots me to thinking..
When Mr Goddess and I began dating, I went the meat and potato route... Him being a meat and potato kinda guy.. but I have gradually turned him on to all sorts of other foods...
And while we are FAR from eating dodgy TV dinners every night, my repertoire gets a bit thin after a while.
Staple meals in our house are:
Bolognese/Ragu pasta sauces
Seared tuna on wilted greens
butterfly lamb roasts
curry... any sort of curry
stuff on mash (I make a mean mash)
Occasionally I';ll roast a duck, or braise a pork belly, or do something spectacular with fresh caught fish or game... but after a daily commute and a full time job, there are PLENTY of days, where it's risotto on monday. left over risotto on Tuesday and arancini made from left over risotto on Wednesday... you know what I mean??
So, Share you staples with me here, and maybe we can improve our basic "day-to-day"
Inspire me, hounders.....
There are only a couple days a week we can cook, so we have to make things that reheat well or can be used in a variety of quick ways. we don't eat the same things every week, but these are always on our repertoire (recipes change every time, depending on what looks good or is on sale at the store):
Burrito Filling (mixtures of meat/beans/veggies and spices)
Grilled Chicken and Fish
Red Sauces and Pasta
Burgers (Buffalo/Beef/Chicken/Turkey with fresh herbs and cheese in the middle)
Hearty Soups in winter
Hearty Salads in summer (top w/the grilled chicken or fish)
Eggs and Grits
Paninis w/meats, cheeses, veggies, spreads, etc.
We only have one day off together, and if the weather is nice we spend hours grilling meats and veggies, eating the best we bought that night.
*** My latest love (cheesy shrimp & grits - Paula Deen's method) ***
OR the following I try to have on hand.........
* Plugra, Plugra & more Plugra - it's really good butter
* Olivier (Williams-Sonoma) good extra virgin Olive Oil
* Apricot Jam
* Dean & Deluca Coffee (Georgetown Blend)
* Half & Half
* 2% Milk
* Splenda (the yellow packet)
* Good Honey
* Sonoma Gourmet - Blue Cheese Dressing
* Duke's Mayo
* Grey Poupon (original)
* Sonoma Gourmet - Honey Mustard Dressing
* Lemons (a huge bowl full)
* Real Vermont Maple Syrup
* Fresh Parmesan
* Free-range Eggs
* Homemade Egg &/or Tuna salad (my Grandmother's old recipe - yumyum)
* Fresh Market's Pimento Cheese
* Challah Bread (for French Toast)
* Boarshead Provisions (lunch meats/cheeses)
* Pepperidge Farm loaves (crunchy oat)
* Jif Extra Crunchy
* Diet Coke (mini bottles) & regular for guests
* Stoli - one in the freezer & another at the wet bar along with the other liquors
* Cold Yuengling Lagers (light)
* Maytag Blue
* Good water crackers
* Ginger Snaps
* Dean & Deluca Spices
* Williams-Sonoma Pasta Sauces (they're all good)
* Angel Hair &/or Penne
* Cans of Tuna
* Frozen Salmon
* Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey
* Haagen-Dazs Vanilla
* Marie Callendar's Frozen Lasagna
* Fresh Tomatoes
* Heath Bars
* Pino Grigio - good vino!
* Merlot bottles too
* Williams-Sonoma Clean Collection - kitchen soap, hand lotion, candles, etc.
I went back to full time work last year...and had to adjust back to cooking as soon as I walked in the door in the evening. It's taken a while and we had to break the intial eat out every night habit. These days here are some of our more common meals:
pasta tossed with pesto
pasta tosses with sauteed veggies(whatever is in the fridge)
Eggs of any sorts actually
Waffles(actually one of our favorite dinners)
salmon cakes servied over mixed greens
Cod, Hailbut or sole braised in wine and citrus juice
Roasted salmon with cilantro pesto
Lentils and rice
Beans and rice
Main meal salads - most commonly this is a big greek salad with some tuna tossed in or a avocado, mango and feta salad with some shrimp tossed in
Curried veggies over rice
As you can see none of this is highbrow...and we don't eat a lot of meat in general. But it puts quick tasty meals on the table most nights. I find the IQF fish at Trader Joe's to be pretty acceptable(I live in Phoenix so good fresh fish isn't easy to come by) and it thaws very quickly under running water after work.
Salmon with Cilantro Pesto
(this is the original recipe...when I make this I cut back a lot on the butter and use mostly olive oil)
1 1/2 lb salmon fillet
2 medium garlic clove
1/4 c walnut
1 cup fresh cilantro
2 tbls butter
1 tbls olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
For pesto: With machine running, drop garlic through feed tube of food processor and mince. Add walnuts and chop finely. Add remaining ingredient, except salmon, and process into a paste(I add the oil wtih the machine running).
Place salmon fillet skin side down on a large baking dish. (Remove pin bones). Salt, pepper, and squeeze a little lemon on the fillet. Spread pesto evenly over salmon. Bake uncovered until barely opaque through out.
less than 5 min prep:
*toast (bread, butter, and jam are all top notch) and fruit
*smoothy (it can be done in 2 minutes if you have the right stuff sitting around -- frozen fruit, orange juice, yogurt and a banana)
*Grilled lettuce with mustard dressing
*chips with lots of dips (guacamole, cheese, two or three different salsas, bean dip -- I just try to keep 'em all around)
*canned soup (not so inspiring, I guess)
*spring rolls from Trader Joe's with nuac cham dipping sauce from world market and lettuce, mint, cilantro, etc. (if I have them)
5 to 25 minutes:
*steak tacos with grilled veggies, *HOT* sauce, fresh cheese and hoppy pale ale
*huevos rancheros made with red beans
*curry made with store-bought curry paste and broth
*sauteed green beans (spicy or citrusy, depending what else I'm eating)
*eggs with fresh herbs and mustard
*pasta with some arbitrary combination from these: tomatos, olive oil, sausage, parsley/chervil, taragon, chives, basil, peppers, challots, wine, cheese, pepper flakes, chile puree, tomato paste, mushrooms (truffles if they're in season and I've recently won the lottery)
*bean, rice and cheese burritos
lots of time:
*thick cut pork chop with homemade applesauce, mashers and green beans or a salad
*fish fry (with south India spice paste mixed up fresh)
*"fresh" curry (not with a paste)
im the queen of the fritata - i always overbuy at the farmers market, so when i end up with odds and ends, it all goes into a fritata. i even tried hummus once, and i have to say, it wasn't bad.....;)
I've been trying to think what staple foods I fix at home and there are just so many things. So it's easier to say what staple categories we have.
American "meat & potato" meals
Any combination of styles
Rice & Kimchi with almost every meal
A lot of soups and stews
Any kind of non soup leftover is fair game for omeletts, pancakes, or tortilla wraps
Do you make your own kimchi or is it store bought? If you make your own, do you use fish sauce?
I love kimchi, but I have to make it in the winter because I must use the garage as a refrigerator. My wife is not an aficionado of kimchi and does not want it in the house. She does not tolerate the smell. She also does not like sauerkraut which I do. Two large heads of Napa cabbage and diakon go into my kimchi along with the most pungent chiles that I can grow or find. Fish sauce, however, is not one of the ingredients that I use.
This recipe is from a paperback book entitled HAWAII Cookbook & Backyard Luau by Elizabeth Ahn Toupin published in 1967.
2 pounds celery cabbage (I use Napa cabbage, it may be the same thing)
1/2 cup coarse salt
1 quart water
1 1/2 Tablespoons red hot peppers
1 minced garlic clove
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 scallions, finely chopped
"Wash cabbage and chop into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle with salt. Add water and let it stand overnight. Rinse cabbage with cold water and let drain. Make a paste with the rest of the ingredients and rub into the cabbage slices. Pack into a quart jar and cover. Place in a plastic bag to prevent odors from permeating other foods, and refrigerate. It will ripen in 4-5 days."
I assume that there are variations of kimchee recipes, and each Korean family must have a traditional one. I've added diakon (white radish) to my recipe. You will have to experiment until you find a recipe which suits your taste.
I also grow garlic chive ('jiao cai' in Mandarin) and use it instead of scallions. The garlic chive was given to me by a Taiwanese coworker more than 30 years ago and it survives MidAtlantic state winters. I use extremely hot chiles like Red Savinas which are cousins of the orange Habanero. I grow this cultivar in my small chile garden. The ripe chiles are processed and frozen until I make kimchee in the winter. The batch that I make probably is more like a gallon rather than a quart.
My family has Korean friends and we ate at their place a lot growing up. But I don't remember ever having kimchi. Don't know if that's because they didn't have it, or if it was because I hadn't acquired a taste for it and just don't remember it because I never ate any. She did make absolutely wonderful jap chae, though. I'm trying to get my relatives back home to get her recipe for me.
I buy Bonito Flakes and make a really simple easy fish broth that really does add alot to recipes.....a smoky element to whatever I use them in. Opening & smelling the bag when first opened, reminded of smoked turkey.
1 c Bonito
2 c water
1/4 AC Vinegar
Cover & simmer several hours and skim the top just before transferring to a storage jar.
* FRESH: Free Range Eggs, Raw Milk, Raw Cream, Raw Cheese
* PRODUCE: Garlic, Carrots, Beets, Cabbage, Spinach, Green Beans,
Peppers, Celery, Onions, Squash, Potatoes, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Apples,
* MEAT: 100% Grass-fed Beef, Buffalo, Chicken, Goose & Chevon. Wild Fish.
* NUTS & SEEDS: Native pecans, Sunflower Seeds. Unhulled Sesame.
* GRAINS: Oats, Wheat, Flax, Brown & wild rice.
* OILS: Coconut, Red palm & Olive oils, Coconut Milk.
* SEASONINGS: Honey, Unsulph Native Sorghum, Sucanat, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Sea Salt, ACV, Turmeric, Curry, Cumin, Cayenne, Caraway, Poppy, Basil, Oregano, and many more.
4 or 5 different kinds of cheese
Salad makings...grape tomatoes, romaine lettuce
Boneless organic chicken breasts
Roasted red peppers, Italian sweet cherry peppers, and poblanos
Chicken drummettes...We have hot wings about once/week
I end up making different things with these ingredients, but they are the everyday basics
I tend to rotate through these on a about a two week basis. We eat out maybe 2 times a week or so (depending on our schedules....as a grad student mine changes a lot) and I cook the rest of the time.
My staple meals:
Spagetti with meat sauce or sauce and meatballs (depending on how much time I want to spend on prep)
Tuna pasta (with a white wine cream sauce)
Chicken fajita tacos
Grilled Chicken Breasts (BBQ sauce, raspberry sauce or some other creation/marinade)
Burgers on the grill
Lots of salmon (at least once a week; baked or pan seared) or other fish (tilapia, tuna, mahi or whatever is on sale)
Chicken and Biscuits
Tarragon Shrimp Soup
Stir Fry (whatever we have)
Pork Chops (either breaded and pan fried with baked apples or "italian" style)
and when I'm too lazy to bother at all and feeling totally uninspired we indulge in a guilty pleasure, Frito Pie.
Rasberry Sacue is super simple, just combine 1/3 cup of rasberry preserves and 2 TBSP Balsamic over low heat in a sauce pot, heat to combine. The longer you heat the more it reduces and the flavor develops but is also equally good quickly made (this is best with simple grilled chicken seasoned with a good amount of thyme).
The Shrimp Tarragon Soup is adapted from Rachael Ray (http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/3...) . I usually make a few additions to make this a true one pot meal/soup. I almost always add a can of drained white beans when I add the shrimp. Last time I also added chopped zucchini with the veg mix which was quite good. With a loaf of crusty bread this is fab, and with the tarragon and shrimp even light enough for summer dining (if its not too hot).
Hmmm... what are our staples? (my husband is a man of simple tastes... I used to cook a lot more exotically before we were married, but he hates curry, doesn't like risotto etc. Every so often I sneak in a stirfry (and he likes it) but mostly we stick to the basics.)
Superquick (under 15-minutes prep time):
- tunasalad rolls/toast
- lunchmeat subs with the lot (virgina ham/salami, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, beetroot, salad dressing)
- salad with chicken (with boiled egg if I have a little more time)
- hamburgers (with grilled onion/mushrooms/bacon if I have a little more time)
- GOOD canned soup and cheese/tomato jaffles (toasted sandwiches).
With longer to prepare:
- grilled chicken/pork chops and veggies (sometimes fried apples or smashed potatoes with sour cream/garlic)
- chilli (often turned into nachos or burritos)
- chicken and rice/beans
- corn chowder
- chicken noodle soup
- chicken fried rice
And if I'm really well-organised and have a whole day (or longer) to prepare:
- slow-roasted bbq pork in my own special sauce
- baked ziti or lasagne
- Zuni chicken
- shepherds pie
- potato gratin or baked potato wedges (often served with bacon-wrapped chicken or old-fashioned roast chicken)
About half of my dinners are: (I use my outdoor grill probably 200 days/year)
shrimp- marinated/grilled; Veracruz style (more in winter)
lamb- burgers, loin chops. frenched rack only for love interest; none at present
grilled fish, raw tuna
a big salad
freezer always contains:
3-5 lbs. jumbo Alaskan king crab legs
Stouffers mac and cheese
covey of quail
pantry always has large supply of:
dry goods for Florida hurricane readiness
fridge always has:
fresh squozen Florida juices- I'm lucky to have a juicer a bicycle ride away
lots of cheeses
counter basket always has ripening:
perhaps not inspiring, but way better for 6 months of C'hound influence.
I have lots of family stopping by in Sundays- and lots of time I am not sure who, how many, or when they are coming! So I have a few things that are easily made, tasty and can be made ahead. In the winter, there is beef stew, roast chicken, roast beef, pot roast ( a personal favorite) pasta and meatballs/sausage. ALl of these can be slow cooked, or cooked and held for a bit. I throw on the potatoes and vegatables when family arrives. Pizza and salad is also a staple- and this summer we have been loving the grill. I grill up the meats 9 last Sunday it was pork and chicken), skewer and grill the vegatables and small potatoes, and serve with some bread and a salad.
Now- if I do not have to cook for a crowd, I like to make rack of lamb, or rosotto or a maybe a recipe I find on these boards.
My Poor Sweetie! I am constantly making him try new things. But if he does not get pasta and meat at least once a week he is totally grumpy. Good thing I also love pasta.
J's Pasta staples:
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Sausage Eggplant & Ziti
Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes and Flank Steak
And His number 1 all time Favorite - American Chop Suey
Feel free to read about it on my blog:
I definitely do a lot of fritattas and omelettes with all different veggies...this week I had wilted beet greens, and it was good (albeit pink!).
other favorites on popular rotation:
- homemade hummus with veggie sticks
- wheat berry salads with fresh herbs & feta
- marinated and baked tofu
- chicken soup with wild rice
- any kind of salsas with mango, avocado, black beans, etc, over chicken, fish, or tofu
- any greens (chard, escarole, chicory, dandelion) wilted/sauteed with garlic and olive oil
I generally make those things just for myself...when my brother comes over he loves tortellini with toasted walnuts, asparagus, and pecorino (he asks for it every time I make him dinner!). if I'm entertaining (and it's cold out), I make roast chicken with mixed olives, capers, and roasted root vegetables. and I'm going to try a tabbouli with quinoa this week...could be a new classic.
For me, the freezer staples are boneless, skinless chicken breasts and ground turkey. When I buy the breasts, I separate them into one or two per sealed bag (one for when one of us is eating alone, two for when we're home together!). I try to freeze them flat. The night before, I take out a bag and stick it in the refrigerator. The next morning, even if the defrost isn't complete, I add some sort of marinade or spices, often as simples as my favorite Penzey's mix (Jerk, Trinidad, Vindaloo, Bangkok blend) plus a little olive oil. Then they're grill ready when I get home.
I use ground turkey for burgers (natch), plus taco filling, chili, meatballs, lasagne...
In my pantry I always have canned tuna, canned tomatoes, chicken stock, canned beans (garbanzo, kidney, pinto, black), several kinds of pasta, a few varieties of rice, dried lentils and quick cooking oatmeal and grits.
I buy plain, frozen vegetables on sale to add to soups and stews, or as add-ins to rice (peas and rice, for example).
We buy salad fixings, so even on the worst night, we can have a marinated, grilled chicken breast on top of a nice salad.
We make lots of chili, soup and stews on winter weekends, freezing in one or two serving containers for really busy nights. In summer, it's more likely to be gazpacho, stir fry dishes and simple tomato/basil/garlic pasta dishes.
I do the same with chicken breasts, buy them at Sam's and freeze 2 wrapped first in plastic wrap, then foil and in a big freezer bag. I too take out the portion the night before to thaw.
I make out a menu for the week and shop on the weekend.
Our pantry also has canned tuna, tomatoes and chicken broth. I got the Kitchen Aid pasta roller and cutter attachments for Christmas, so just about every weekend I make fresh pasta
During the week it's fast fixings - tacos made with half the meat, new potatoes and onions to fill in; shrimp and tuna cakes; chicken sate with peanut sauce, jasmine rice and steamed broccoli; soups that are easy to make quickly from scratch with cornbread muffins; ham and hominy, beans and rice.
On the weekends I try new recipes and if they're a hit I rotate them in.
Around here (East Village, Manhattan), I have access to virtually any foodstuff short of rattlesnake. I try to be creative, but there are definitely some staples that never fail to please the boyfriend:
--Soft tacos made with steak marinated in lots of lime juice and spices
--Grilled vegetables (I have an indoor "Griddler" and LOVE it!) with grilled haloumi cheese and grilled sausages
--Steak Tartare (sirloin, cubed and chopped in a processor, then blended with the usual ingredients, but including freshly grated horseradish)
--Crispy Whole Snapper with fresh chile sauce
--Pork Milanese (or chicken or veal, pounded flat, breaded, fried, and served under a bed of lemony baby arugula)
--Marcella's lemon roasted chicken
If memory serves (as my kitchen has been under construction since April) I used to cook on a regular basis
mustard covered rack of lamb
brown rice with wheatberries and currants
apricot balsamic chicken
broiled steak with sea salt and herbs de provence
roasted zucchini, apparagus etc.
maple curry brussel sprouts and
arctic char or salmon broiled with a ginger soy marinade
I miss my kitchen
my poor husband- i experiment on him all the time but we find ourselves including these dishes on a regular basis:
pasta with tomato sauce
pizza (ready made dough from trader joes with italian sausages)
tuna mac (canned tuna with trader joe's mac/cheese)
balsamic roasted chicken
chili (receipe from Cooks Illustrated)
meatloaf (alton's brown recipe)
Here's the chicken recipe from fellow hound, Fer Shore:
Sweet and Crunchy Mustard Chicken
3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs (panko would be fine)
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried tarragon or dried basil (tarragon is much better)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 chicken breast halves, with skin-on bone-in (I prefer thighs, more flavorful)
1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs, light brown sugar, tarragon or basil, kosher salt, and pepper.
3. Spread the mustard all over the chicken breast and sprinkle with the crumb mixture.
4. Set the breasts, skin side up, in a 9 x 13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and roast in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until they are cooked through and crisp.
I'll look for the other recipe and post it soon...
This is one of my staples too...but I always crumb both sides in the hope that maybe, THIS time, both sides will get crispy (but they never do, sigh)
--anyone have a tip on how to do this btw? maybe bake them on a rack?
Here's my list of meals I can make with whats currently in the house (thus, staples):
Penne w/ vodka cream sauce and sausage
eggplant parm, with or without pasta
Chicken tikka masala and rice
spaghetti and meatballs
tomato and mozzerella salad
baked herb potatoes
chicken and rice
TJ's masala burgers
fish and chips
ravioli in pesto or marinara
TJ's red pepper soup
chicken or fish inna bag with veggies
and then whatever is in season done some crazy way
Here's the Baked Oatmeal:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup sugar (we cut it down to 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup honey)
4 large eggs
6 cups quick cooking oats (not instant)
1 TB and 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups milk
2 chopped peeled or unpeeled apples
1 cup raisins (or any other fruit)
Mix oil, sugar, eggs with mixer until yellow and glossy. Add remaining ingredients and beat on medim speed until blended.
Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes (we find it usually takes about 40 minutes).
1 medium to large onion (I prefer vidallia if available)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Carmelize the onion (not totally necessary, but I like to do it - otherwise just cook until onion is soft), take onion out and put it to the side. Sprinkle salt and pepper and half the thyme onto the chicken breasts, put chicken into the pan to cook (with a little oil on medium high hear) sauté until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add a little salt, the preserves, vinegar, and some pepper, stirring constantly until the preserves melt. Put the onion and chicken back into pan to warm and coat.
that's it, so good and it's based on a cooking light recipe so it's not all that bad for you.
meatloaf and baked potatoes
baked chicken with corn flakes
spaghetti with marinara of some sort.
various stir fries
mixed meats on the grill
flat iron steak
soups of all sort (10+ variates)
Pizza from scratch
roast/braises of all sorts
We have a few things on regular weeknight rotation:
Bolognese (I make the Marcella Hazan recipe and just cook it on higher heat than I would on a weekend)
Pesto with pasta, potatoes, and green beans
Linguine with a tomato, tuna, and fennel seed sauce
Whole roast chicken
Fish fillets cooked in foil packs with peppers and garlic
Chicken breasts with a cucumber and cashew salad on top
Stir-fried ginger beef
Poached salmon with various sauces
Honey-hoisin pork tenderloin
1. Fish, usually cachama that we catch in: miso, tamarind, or Mexican style soups using the fish stock, tofu, vegetables; or in teriyaki or adobo (filipino style) sauce
2. Rice (accompanyment to most meals), musubi, or simple sushi
3. Chicken: poached and shredded in a lot of dishes; or the funny bits often done as stir frys or as sukiyaki
4. Cold soba (hiyashi chuuka) noodles with my own gu
5. Tacos, enchiladas, tamales, refied beans
6. Okazu--a bit of thinly sliced meat and lots of vegetables (from asparagas to bok choy to snow peas...) cooked Japanese peasant style
7. Spur of the moment curries, depending on what I have in the way of vegetables, I make up the curry mix from my spices and other ingredients
8. Lao laab
9. Fancy omelettes
10. Thai style stuffed and steamed pork/beef in peppers, cabbages or kale, bittergourd...
11. Sausage, sauerkraut, and rice
12. Lots of quick Asian vegetable pickles, ume
13. Salads as a meal: from Nicoise to pasta to "Chinese chicken" ...
14. Fresh lumpia or similar stuffed and rolled using Chinese style pancakes (more like thin crepes)
Almost all of this type of stuff I can whip up quickly as long as I have the ingredients. Usually 30 minutes prep (although clean-up can take a lot, lot longer) or the time it takes for the rice to cook.
I usually cook 5 days of the week, give or take. Most of my dishes take about 30 minutes to an hour. Here are some of my staples:
Soba noodle salad with spring greens, tossed with homemade wasabi vinaigrette
Japanese-style curry and rice
Hand-rolled summer rolls (with grilled chicken and/or shrimp)
Spaghetti with sweet & hot Italian sausage
Herb roasted chicken (this of course takes longer than an hour)
Korean savory seafood pancakes (hae mul pa jun)
Most Korean soups and stews with rice
I guess most of my staples are of the Asian kind; I've definitely been trying to branch out into different cuisines but I'm definitely more comfortable around Asian cuisines.
Thai and Indian styled curries -- soups, stews, vegs and breads of all kinds
Moroccan styled seafood, chicken and lamb
Salmon, Cod or Crabcakes
Dolmas with cucumber sauce
Leafy Salad, every day
Roasted Leg of Lamb, bone-in or bone-out, stuffed with parsley sauce
Poached Salmon or other full bodied fish
Pizza made with big pita breads with whatever's in the fridge
Those packets of Indian foods that sell for like $2 apiece -- I eat a lot of those
I'm in a rut too. Now we are two we still cook for 4 and eat everything twice. We have a good homemade Italian sausage that we use a lot. I'm thinking summer as it's going to be 95 today.
Italian Sausage, Pepper, mushroom on whole wheta penne
Memphis Rice (a spicy spanish rice and ground beef in a skillet)
Stuffed peppers (filled with above)
Ratatouille a la Julia (takes time but is worth it)
Italian sausage, cabbage and potato stew
Stuffed zucchini (Italian sausage)
chicken fajitas (a la Ming Tsai)
vasrious Trader Joe's shortcuts - I am fickle with these as TJ's often stops carrying my latest find and I have to move on. That is another post.
I try to make something new at least once a week, but these are the regulars in our rotation:
Mom's baked chicken and rice (which both my sister and I swore we'd never make, and now we both do...often)
deviled chicken thighs
Cajun spiced pork tenderloin
hearty salads with chicken or beef
pasta tossed with red peppers, grape tomatoes, sausage and basil
Nancy's Lime-y Chicken (the name's stuck since college - just marinated chicken with lime, green onions and cilantro cut into strips and rolled into flour tortillas with salsa and more fresh cilantro and green onion)
I seem to eat a lot of chicken and not enough fish!
Spaghetti with basic Marinara sauce, tossed salad
Linguine Aglio Olio...sometimes with anchovies, shrimp, or VGs
Baked chicken with tomatoes
Chicken roasted with potatoes, garlic , onions
Various marinated chicken breasts with jasmine or basmati rice
Grilled wild salmon and VGs
Baked haddock topped with spicy salsa
Roasted cod w/ ubiquitous Ritz cracker/garlic/lemon/parsley topping, warm potato salad
All my staple meals include a salad after the entree. Usually no dessert except for certain seasonal fruit....as now with strawberries and rhubarb.
Lately, breakfast has been stone fruit baked with honey and cinnamon (a yummy dessert from the night before) or fresh berries, over nonfat vanilla yogurt and lowfat granola.
Whole wheat pasta with any veggies I have sauteed and thrown into a bottled tomato sauce. This can include onions, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, chard, celery, asparagus, spinach, torn up basil . . . whatever's languishing in the vegetable drawer, really.
Roasted vegetables with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper -- my favorites are asparagus, brussels sprouts, and kabocha squash.
Sauteed salmon, marinated in teriyaki sauce and served with sauteed spinach
Thai curries, including but not limited to potatoes, carrots, onions, and tofu
Chicken, cut into 8 pieces and roasted with dijon, lemon, rosemary, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper
Big salads with romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, green onion, whatever vinaigrette I'm in the mood to make, and crumbled cheese. I also often add cooked, cold broccoli or green beans.
Those're the ones on heavy rotation, but really I like to experiment a lot and don't have a lot of other common repeats! I make sushi about once a month, meatloaf when my father asks for it, sweet and sour cabbage soup when I get an inexplicable craving for it . . . whimsy wins out over routine.
Our staples for quick and easy dinners:
Spaghetti (pasta of all kinds, really, with quick pan sauces)
Pizza (we eat a LOT of this - my husband is the pizza maker in the family, and I do love to sit on the couch and watch him cook for a change!)
Burritos (easy for busy nights and the fixings are always around)
Roasted chicken and veg
Paula Wolfert's hummus is always in our fridge, along with some kind of bean/grain salad for quick lunches
Grilled chicken thighs (can be defrosted in 15 minutes in the microwave!!)
For days when we have a bit more time to cook, our favorites include:
Jerk burgers with grilled pineapple rings and avocado/mango salsa (involved but oh so good)
Stuffed pork loin
Our "desperation dinners" are:
kitchen sink salads
veggie stir-fries with nuts
hummus with veggies and pita
pasta with tomato sauce or pesto
Spaghetti, sometimes with meatballs, sometimes with Italian sausage, sometimes with just marinara and cheese.
Meat loaf, but I make it different about every time I do it.
Chicken breast--I don't always do it the same way, but Mike especially likes my mom's old recipe that involves coating the chicken in crushed cheese crackers and baking it.
Beans of one sort or another.
Risotto, usually as a side dish but now and then I'll throw some chicken or shrimp or something into it.
Carne asada tacos with refried beans
Fish--frequently frozen tilapia seasoned according to my mood and baked
Sausages--polish, brats, etc. we love our sausages. I grill them when the weather allows, or cook them under the broiler
Sunday mornings after church we frequently do "sleep discs" (pancakes--in our house this is the perfect pre-Sunday-afternoon-nap meal) with sausage, or bacon, or whatever we're in the mood for. Or else it's pans of biscuits, bowls of gravy.
We eat a lot of spinach, usually sauteed with garlic or a shallot
Asparagus--when it's not fresh and in season we get it frozen from the Schwan's man; the local grocery doesn't have frozen asparagus
Pizza--I make it frequently, either with a premade or jiffy crust most of the time. The nearest decent place for carryout pizza is 20 miles away from here.
Other than this, I tend to raid the cookbooks and sometimes return to old favorites, sometimes try new stuff. We occasionally get stuck in a rut, but not all that often. (But given my job, I'm usually home early enough most afternoons that I can spend some time on supper. Back when I did the 8 to 5 routine, I had to plan a whole lot more carefully to keep from falling back on the same six meals or going out every night.)
I find the carbs always at hand - pasta, rice, potatoes, bread - but it's the protein element which eludes my creative can-do! We rely on: german smoked sausages (for impromptu hotdogs, or sliced into coins for pastas and soups), lamb chops (quick panfry or broil), lean bacon (instant flavour to pasta, eggs, anything), chicken breasts (panseared, used in wraps) and eggs. I sometimes forget how comforting a scrambled something or even egg salad sandwiches can be for an easy supper.
In winter, never underestimate a chunky soup with good bread or grilled cheese, and in summer, an Asian style salad with quickly seared fish or meat, sliced, with an Asian sauce.
-Tacos (soft if I have time to make tortillas, otherwise hard) with grilled chicken or fish, occasionally ground beef and whatever we have in the fridge or pantry - usually cheese (except with fish), "taco sauce" (1/4 c each sour cream or yogurt and mayo with zest and juice of one lime), grilled tomatillos, tomatoes, canned pineapple, mangoes...etc.
-Spaghetti and meatballs. I make a big batch and then freeze portions. Dinner's ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta.
-Fried rice, stir fry, or cashew chicken
-Laap with sticky rice and papaya salad
-Whole wheat pasta with feta, tomatoes, red onion, walnuts, and kalmata olives
-When it's not hot, pot roast or pork roast if I'm working from home and can braise for three hours
-Grilled chicken breasts/fish/steak/sausage and salad and roasted brussels sprouts
-TJ's gnocci, briefly boiled then panfried with a little olive oil until crispy, mixed with peas, toasted pecans, parmesan cheese, some nutmeg and black pepper
-Burgers and salad
-Chicken drumettes dipped in milk and egg, then in bread crumbs and baked
At the beginning of summertime (when I usually get a series of out-of-town guests)I make a huge pot of Cuban black beans cooked with a ham bone, oniona, green peppers, garlic, a little can of tomato sauce, and comino---then puree half the beans and return them to the pot. I freeze this in pints and quarts. With this, plus rice, plus any kind of meat or chicken or fish, a salad, and French bread, I have a quick meal to serve. In a real emergency even a supermarket rotisseried chicken will do.
We go through stages...we'll forget about a few recipes for a while and then come back to them months later wondering "how could we forget about that one." A lot of times of course it will vary depending on seasonal foods, although here in Miami...well you know...
Puerto Rican or Mexican Rice with different beans
Curried chicken or lentils with Indian rice pilaf
Parpadelle with spicy sausage in different sauces
Different pesto for pastas
Bean and vegetable soup
Butternut squash soup
Skirt steak with plantains (mashed, baked, fried...)
Lechon Asado "slow cooked pork"
Rosemary Lamb Roast
Meatloaf and Mac and Cheese (my fiance's recipe...to die for...)
Fish once or twice a week (but we never make it the same...still looking for our favorite recipe...tonight it is snapper marinated in sour orange, garlic, ginger, salt, black pepper)
A collection of salad and salad dressings (our favorite is simply different tomatoes,avocados and red onions, in a simple lemon vinaigrette)
And of course favorite desserts,
Fruit salads (sometimes with a sample of the cheese of the week)
Andrew's chocolate chip cookies
Different cakes and sweet breads
And my favorite...pumpkin ginger cheesecake from last November's Gourmet Magazine....I ate so many of these during the holidays!!!
Sounds so comforting to read this...thanks for the post!
Cheese, all kinds, any kind! I even have a drawer just for cheese in my fridge. :)
Tomatoes, canned and fresh. You can do so much with them
Garlic: fresh, jarred, and powder
Any fish or chicken. You can make an easy meal out of both.
* Plugra, Plugra & more Plugra - it's really good butter
* Apricot Jam
* Dean & Deluca Coffee (Georgetown Blend)
* Half & Half
* Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey
My latest finds for staples I love are from O & Co .
The O & Co Premium Balsamic Vinegar is divine. As full , rich, syrupy, and complex as many 15 and 25 year old Balsamics at a fraction of the price.
The O & C Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Lemon is so delicious, it is always a hit. Superb Olives are cold pressed with Sicilian Lemons. This EVOO is subtle, smooth, with none of the acidity or bite of lemon. Superb in a simple Vinaigrette, or drizzled on herb grilled fish after cooking.
They have an outrageous EVOO with Mandarin Orange I am going to try, as well as an EVOO with Bergamot.
Great website, but I get mine at the Oliviers & Co shop.
Here are some things that I nearly always have on hand...
Three different cheeses.
Tomatoes, fresh and dried.
A good paprika.
A lemon or two.
Vinegars: white wine, balsamic and red.
A jar of roasted red peppers. (A big favorite, and very versatile.)
A whole chicken to roast.
A couple different mustards.
Raspberry or apricot jam.
Black pepper and kosher salt.
A good hot sauce or two, including a Jerk paste.
King Arthur flour.
A lump of Trader Joe's pizza dough.
That's my basic arsenal.
I also like this "Bronco Bob's Apricot Chipotle Sauce", also a raspberry and a mango flavor too. Sweet and spicy. Great for chicken, also makes a great salad dressing by adding mayo or vinegar and oil.
Our staples are:
Hamburgers on the grill
Beans-White Beans w Ham, Red Beans and Rice or Pinto Beans and Cornbread
Roast-cooked all day while at work with lots of carrots/onions
Pork Tenderloin-variety of sauces (marsala, madeira cream, raspberry wasabi, brown)
Breakfast-either eggs and or waffles/pancakes or cream of wheat/oatmeal
Some great ideas here! Things I make a lot from week to week:
-Pasta with either tomato, tomato and eggplant, or garlic, oil, and chili.
-Soup: bean with pasta and veggies (improvised with veggies left over)
-Soup: red lentil with another vegetable, like sweet potato or squash
-Spinach pie (make a lot and have leftovers, which also freeze well)
-Chicken: roast legs with different seasonings (zatar, garlic and rosemary, etc)
-Whole roast chickens
-Thai chili and garlic sauteed chicken breasts
-Thai green curry with veggies (when cleaning out fridge)
-Char siu pork over rice or noodles or noodle soup with greens (I make my own char siu sauce and marinate two pieces of pork at a time, one goes in freezer for next time)
-Salmon filets cooked in foil packets (lemon, s&p) with boiled potatoes and salad
-Quiche (yet another way of using leftover veggies)