The Baseball Moms, and my friend Karen, have mentioned interest in 1) easy, family-friendly recipes that 2) don’t waste ingredients (either don’t require you to buy some special ingredient that you’ll never use again, or a series of coordinated recipes that use up all of the special ingredient). I’m going to think about that, and be a little more purposeful in talking about the ease of the recipes and the expense of the ingredients.
To me, most of the recipes that I post are pretty quick and easy, because I’m a mom cooking with limited time too. And for limited tastes and appetites (at least 5 nights/week, when we have kids; two nights, it’s just John and me, and I can be more experimental). Many of the pasta dishes I’ve posted are almost entirely from the pantry with the exception of fresh onion and/or garlic and/or herbs – canned tuna, tomatoes, and beans, and dried pasta and rice, are high quality, low cost, convenient ingredients that can be reached for in a pinch.
I realize that I count a lot on my food processor and the most important tool – a super-sharp chef’s knife. Working with a dull knife makes food prep take f..o..r..e..v..e..r. You only need two high quality knives – an 8-inch chef’s knife and a paring knife. Make the investment (Target even has nice knives now, buy the best you can afford), buy a sharpening steel also so you can keep a good edge on it, and make your life 50 times easier. And regarding the food processor – people are understandably intimidated by all the attachments, bowls, and blades and therefore stash the thing in an incovenient cupboard, never to be used. Which is too bad, because the basic bowl and blade are all you really need, they’re easy to clean, and with them you can make so many delicious and quick recipes – soups, sauces, desserts, spreads, it’s pretty endless.
With a sharp knife, a food processor, and Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way, one of my very favorite cookbooks, you can put a delicious, healthy dinner on the table in less than an hour, without a lot of extra dishes or fussing. Oh, and with a few of my recipes! Some of them sound fancy – like the lamb chops with mustard and tarragon – but that’s a great example of an unbelievably easy recipe. Mustard, dried tarragon, garlic, olive oil. Smear it on chops with your hands. Broil. Voila, dinner. If you don’t like lamb, try it on pork chops. Crushed potatoes with herbs? Literally, crush boiled potatoes with some chopped herbs and butter. Done.
Write to me in comments if you have questions – I LOVE talking about food (obviously), on every level. Love to dish about high end meals I have in restaurants. Love to dish about the perfect meatloaf recipe. Love it all! And I read all the comments and respond. If you’re embarassed by asking a basic question, post it anonymously, I don’t care! If I can’t answer it, I’ll ask my friend Chef Andrew or one of my other great-cook friends or family members! Bon apetit!
Nice dinner, nothing fancy, I did put some effort into homemade tortillas, we just ate them with chicken and sliced avocado. Simple and delicious.
Thank you to everyone who is listening to Feminine Hijinx! The response has been overwhelming! I’m blown away and so honored and excited! Keep in mind – it’s raunchy, and not for everyone, which we say on the website. And it has an explicit rating on the podcast sites like iTunes. But if you don’t mind a bit of bawdy (it’s not THAT bad, ha), have a listen! Hey, I’ve got a multifaceted personality – mostly straightlaced, but I like to cut loose once in awhile. That’s who I am, naughty AND nice (and a pretty major bitch sometimes – look out!). And it’s no big surprise – I am a Badger! It takes a certain kind of person to thrive in Madtown, and a goody-two-shoes wouldn’t last a Fuck ‘Em Bucky day… Gotta like to talk (yell!) drinks, sex, vomit, and all things evil and nasty…with a big sweet smile, sorority letters, and a bag full of books. I loved it for good reason, heh, heh, heh…I AM it. AND I’m all proper and happily married and a good mommy and volunteer and I baked cookies, would you like one? (For a hilarious perspective on FH, check out what Kim’s bro published on his blog about us…woo hoo for women keepin’ it real!)