SIMPLE BASIC DINNER
I remember when Blake & I were engaged eight years ago & the Pinterest iPhone app launched. I knew I’d hit the recipe jackpot! Never would I be low on creative ideas for our meals! I would have a virtual board for chicken & beef & vegetarian & cocktails because we were about to be married people & married people are fancy people! I remember sitting on the floor pinning recipe after recipe. Gosh, I was going to be the best wife. If only every 22 year old man who just a year ago happily lived off of Sharky’s burritos in Abilene could be so lucky.
Anyway, I’m certain you can guess how that all went. I made some of the recipes (& failed at some of them, too). But more often than not, I’d find myself scrolling Pinterest a solid year after I’d pinned a recipe only to see I hadn’t thought twice about making it. I love reading cookbooks (book recipes > online recipes), but sometimes cooking needs to be less of a leisurely hobby & more of a quick avenue to feeding you & your people lest hanger set in.
I like to switch things up on the menu, but I have my go-to staples that don’t require reading a recipe, will provide nutrition, & I know Blake & I will both enjoy. And the kids? Well listen, those picky little humans will not control me. If it was up to them, I’d be making macaroni & cheese or pizza three times a day. I always give them what we’re having (unless it’s spicy) because I want them to enjoy good food. BUT I’m also trying to win them over the the green side & it’s been a SLOW process thus far, so I plate their food accordingly. See below for specifics.
Here is a dinner idea you can find on our menu any given week.
MEAT SAUCE WITH VEGGIES
1 Pre-heat your oven to 415 degrees.
2 Prep whatever veggies you have on hand. Brussels sprouts. Asparagus. Broccoli. Butternut squash. Carrots. Sweet potatoes. Halve or chop. Put parchment paper on your baking sheet, spread out your veggies (make sure they’re not crowded so they can roast evenly), toss with 1-2 T avocado or olive oil, & season with a little salt & pepper, too, if you’re feeling spunky. Or switch up your spices– you do you, cooking queen. or king. Men cook too, yo. Pop those veggies in the oven. Roast for 20ish minutes, or until they are crunchy to your liking. (You can for sure take them out halfway through roasting to flip with a spatula so the bottoms won’t burn, but I forget to do this 100% of the time, & now I think I’ve just trained myself to like veggies half burnt.)
3 Dice 1/2 of a yellow onion & 2-4 cloves of garlic. Add 1 T oil to pan & saute for a few minutes over medium heat (not too high or garlic will burn). Add 1 lb of ground meat (beef/pork/chicken/turkey) & start browning. Season however you want– salt & pepper or get a little zesty with oregano or whatever. I’m not a spice queen, but I do like to test out different flavors. I also like this line of spices for when I don’t want to put together my own.
4 Once meat is for sure browned, browned, browned, pour half a jar of your favorite marinara on the meat & stir together. Bring to a simmer & let it continue simmering until you’re ready to eat. The longer it can simmer, the better the flavors will be & the thicker the sauce becomes.
5 Spoon meat sauce over veggies or keep them separate. I am not your boss. You can make these decisions.
**FOR KIDS!** I make pasta shells for them when I make this meal. I cook the pasta & then after I drain the noodles, I add butter. I serve the kids pasta as well as a small portion of the meat sauce & maybe one bite of each vegetable cut into a small stick/bite. I give them enough pasta on the first go around so if that is all they eat, they’re fine– but they have to try the vegetables before I give them more pasta. I’m such a tough cookie of a mom. The other night, Collins asked for a second helping of Brussels sprouts, & I think I saw clouds part & a glimpse of heaven.
Enjoy! If you’d like to see more go-to dinner options, don’t hide your feelings, girlfriend. Share!