Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Need to Know Tuesday, Vol. 8

My favorite kitchen appliance is my Food Saver. We got it as a wedding gift and it took me a couple years to get into using it regularly. Once I got the hang of it, I started buying meat in bulk at Sams Club, and freezing small portions individually. However, this presented me with a new challenge: planning my meals in advance, at least enough to defrost whatever it is that I'm going to use.

Most of the time, I forget and end up improvising and scrounging to pull something edible together for dinner. I was quite proud of myself Sunday, when midday I pulled out one of my frozen bags that contained two boneless, skinless chicken breasts for last night's dinner. I didn't know exactly what I was going to cook, but I knew it would be a chicken dish of sorts. And that's a start, right? Yesterday evening rolled around and I filled a pot with water to start boiling for rice. I reached into the fridge to find a bag that contained two frozen chicken breasts. Still frozen. Hard. Bummer. Again I found myself scraping and improvising for dinner.

What I need to know this week is...what is your favorite "go-to" meal to cook? I'll tell you mine: it's breakfast food. We almost always have bacon, potatoes, eggs, bread for french toast, pancake ingredients, etc., on hand. So at the last minute, I found myself frying up some potatoes, cooking bacon, and making a big omelet for dinner yesterday. Breakfast food has long been my favorite, it's relatively easy to prepare, and requires minimal planning and no defrosting. And sometimes we throw it on burritos and have breakfast burritos.

I need your help again, readers! What do you cook when dinner sneaks up on you and you haven't planned something? Or what favorite do you fall back on when your 'Plan A' doesn't work out? I'm sure my husband is getting tired of breakfast for dinner!


Cmaaarrr!!! said...

Don't I wish I could "fall back" on breakfast for dinner... :)

I ususally stock the fridge with two staples entrees - frozen breaded chicken, and bags of Trader Joe's orange chicken. Between those two, with the addition of frozen pierogis and frozen veggies, I have easy options for days when dinner planning and/or creativity falls through.

Emily said...

Fritata (a great veggie, meat, cheese catch-all). Fish with veggies and couscous. Quesadilla (anything can go in it).

Kristin said...

I like this question - I'm always asking people what they make all the time. I have a few fall backs - chicken piccata is so quick and easy and I always have lemon juice, chicken broth and capers. Another is pasta with marinara. I make a quick sauce with oil, garlic, canned plum tomatoes and basil. Breakfast food is a good one, though. What else do you make a lot?

emk said...

Taco Bell? Oh wait. ;-) Hmm-- I'm a huge fan of pasta with olive oil, basil, and seasoned salt. If I have broccoli and chicken to throw in, it's one of my fave meals. But the pasta part (or mac-and-cheese) is always a staple. I second Em2's idea about quesadillas or burritos. But I think breakfast might be the best call! Oh! I've been stocking up with California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzas since they always seem to be on sale (and they're tasty)!

melaniet42 said...

Chicken piccata sounds good - I'll have to add capers to my pantry!

My other quick and easy favorites are spaghetti with meat sauce (of course!), barbecue chicken with rice, and burritos. I always have burrito wraps on hand, and they're a great catch all for leftovers: beans, meat, cheese, sour cream, salsa, potatoes, etc. YUM!