November 10, 2011

What To Make for Dinner...

photos via here, here, here, and here

...when you don't know what to make for dinner.  I'm sure we all have a list of these.  Stand-by meals.  The ones we always have the ingredients for, the ones we make when we're feeling lazy or just don't have the energy to pull something new together.  Here is what's on my list:
  • Quesadillas - I always have tortillas, black beans, and cheese (I keep shredded cheese in the freezer) on hand.  I add to that whatever I might need to use up - half a red pepper, cilantro, corn... 
  • Pasta - This is on everyone's list, right?  There's nothing easier than pasta and sauce.  When I make sauce, I try to freeze half.  Also another easy dish in which to throw any extra veggies.
  • Soup and Grilled Cheese - I always freeze half of my homemade soups, so I often have soup I can pull out to enjoy, but I am certainly not above opening a can of Progresso either.  Tomato Basil is a favorite of my boys.
  • Breakfast - My husband is not a fan of breakfast for dinner, but my boys and I often enjoy eggs or pancakes when he's traveling. 
  • Pizza - I always used to make my own pizzas, but I've chosen to enjoy ordering pizza as an easy way of taking a night off of cooking dinner for the family.  We do this once or twice a month.  Although...I've also recently enjoyed making mini-pizzas on whole wheat english muffins.  Top with a little sauce, fresh mozzarella, and any veggies you might need to use up.  
  • Paninis - Hot sandwiches (ham/turkey and cheese, tuna melt...) are another easy option.  I've made these more often since I got a nice big grill pan.  Serve with fresh fruit or soup.
  • Pierogies - I often have a box of these in the freezer.  I typically serve with cinnamon apples, so I usually choose this when I have a few apples that need to be used up.  And peas, which brings me to vegetables...
It is easy to keep lots of fresh veggies in the house in the summertime, but I find it to be more difficult in the colder months.  I always have potatoes, onions, and carrots; and the three veggies I always keep in my freezer are corn, peas, and chopped broccoli.  They are super easy to microwave and add to any of these quick meals.  They are also vegetables that my boys will eat.

So now I'm curious...What's on your dinner stand-by list?


  1. We are so similar:
    pierogies are number one!
    I always have at least one of the following:
    black bean burgers, veggie burgers or morningstar grillers- they take 2 minutes to cook and are delish alone or on a sandwich
    Sweet potatoes- I bake, grill or broil them depending on what we eat them with
    quesodillas for shizz
    pasta and pesto- I have had a stash of homemade pesto ready to go in the freezer all summer and just made my last batch. Pesto is the best addition to pasta or gnocchi and it's super fast
    avocados, apples, celery, carrots, and walnuts are usually always in the fridge. I LOVE waldorf salads and any salad with avocados (and raisins)

    We are getting take out way too much lately as a quick lunch meal. I'd love some meatless quick lunch ideas! Soup is just too salty to me lately.

  2. Anonymous11.11.11

    Ditto on the pierogies - had them tonight with edamame ( a veggie staple always in the freezer). I also do all the things you mentioned and lately am adding hummus to the quick fix lunch or dinner. Just add whole wheat pita pockets, tomatoes, cucs, and some feta cheese and we are a happy family. Have you ever tried "pizzadillas"? Just put your mozzarella and pizza toppings inside a tortilla, heat through, and serve with pizza sauce on the side for dipping. My kids love them! We just got a pressure cooker, so am experimenting with that. Made black bean soup last weekend with dry beans in still in state of amazement! Kristen from Chicago


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