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The Go To Dinner

Do you have a list of go to dinners in your repertoire that you tend to eat week after week? I certainly do. This week my husband and I prepared macaroni and cheese, buffalo chicken with baked potatoes, beef tacos made with prepackaged seasoning and open chicken sandwiches with stock based gravy.

I bought two rotisserie chickens earlier in the week and used that chicken in three dinners and one lunch. I did find one new recipe: baked samosas, which my husband and I cooked together on Sunday night. Other than that this week was a hodge-podge of go-to meals that were easy to prepare and super quick to eat.

I always find it difficult to transition back to making nightly meals after two weeks away on vacation. Last week we turned to Noodles & Company and Papa John’s. This week I vowed to make the most of the food in our pantry and managed to cook dinner every night, even if we didn’t eat the most spectacular meals.

I definitely need to expand my repertoire though. I get awfully sick of macaroni and cheese, buffalo chicken and tacos. My husband is great about cooking dinner when I work late a few days a week, but I need to find a few more go-to meals he can prepare with little time and energy. Do you have any favorite meals that you turn to when you don’t have a lot of time to cook dinner? Do you have a list of tasty go-to meals that you find yourself preparing week after week? If so, do you ever get totally and completely sick of making them over and over again? I know I do.


Thursday 30th of September 2010

Not usually, but BF does. Hence why we hardly ever eat spag bol, chili or nachos. (Although to be fair, I'm a bit sick of pasta too).

Usually in our rotation: Thai curry, roast and veg, steak and veg, burgers, random variations of all kinds of stir fries. Also sausages and mash, and breakfast for dinner!


Wednesday 29th of September 2010

I tend toward regular recipes, which are usually my husband's favorites. However I also cook based on what's on sale at the market. One of my tricks is to buy chicken quarters or split breasts or whatever piece is cheap, boil them with a carrot, onion, and celery, and then take the chicken out. I shred a thigh or two and add noodles to the broth for soup, which is good for at least one dinner and two lunches. Then I marinate the boiled pieces in BBQ sauce or some other seasoning, and pop them under the broiler to eat with rice or vegetables for another dinner. Any remaining chicken gets shredded into chicken salad or cubed into casserole.

The only problem with this is that it gets so tiring to eat chicken all the time! So I usually do an every other day type thing - alternating with pork chops, or spaghetti, or steak if I find it at a good price. But the chicken trick, as I call it, is a great way to always have something in your fridge without falling into a rut. You can do ANYTHING with a piece of cooked chicken!

One Frugal Girl

Tuesday 28th of September 2010

I love, love, love these comments. It's nice to see that I'm not alone in the world of go-to meals.

@Pam - breakfast is always a fallback plan at our house for dinner too.

@Anonymous - Thanks for the tip on mac and cheese. I'm a big hot sauce fan so I think I'd really like your twist on an old favorite.

@Sarah - Cheeseburger Meatloaf, huh? I might have to give that one a try.

@Anonymous - Thanks for the Cheatin' Chile Verde recipe. Maybe that will get added to our rotation.


Saturday 25th of September 2010

My favorite go-to meal: Cheatin' Chile Verde picked up from the citymama blog a few years ago. We eat this once or twice a month. I know it by heart.

In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed bot, saute in olive oil 1 chopped onion, 3 chopped garlic cloves, and a whole cut-up chicken (or legs & thighs) until golden. Empty one 28-oz can green enchilada sauce over the chicken and add 1 cup chicken broth. Turn heat to low, simmer 30 minutes, then add 2 to 4 corn tortillas that have been sliced into strips. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes more. Serve with a vegetable, rice, and black beans.

Good luck. I generally enjoy cooking, but 12 years and thousands of meals later, I definitely get into ruts! Clare

Newlyweds on a Budget

Friday 24th of September 2010

I'm trying to expand my recipes but it's hard, especially when you find one you love!