What should WE cook for dinner???

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Up to no good....
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May 11, 2007
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Does anyone have any ideas on what I should cook for dinner? Every day
I am at a loss for what to throw together for BigJohn, our daughter (6.5), my dad, and I for supper. This cooking thing after a long day of work is fine... BUT... coming up with a new exciting idea every single day is a PITA.

So fellow HBTers... lets put our heads together and throw around the ideas. What should we have for dinner? The rules... It has to be a weeknight meal that can be put together in under an hour. Nothing fancy or 'What did I cook this weekend' quality. Easy peasy fast and dirty.
Mushroom and artichoke pork?

2# pork loin, cut in 1/2" cubes
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 # mushrooms, quartered
15 oz can artichoke hearts quartered
2 tbsp dijon mustart
Butter or olive oil

Brown the pork, dump everything else but mustard in, cook until onions are translucent and pork is cooked through. Add mustard, stir around for a few minutes, serve over rice or whatever.
3-4 bell and/or poblano peppers
2 onions
6 eggs
1 lb bulk chorizo

Slice the onions and cut the peppers into strips and cook under the broiler
Cook and drain the chorizo, then scramble the eggs and pour them into the skillet with the chorizo and mix. When the eggs are done, put it all in tortillas.

Easy, quick, and (at least at my neighborhood Mexican grocery) ingredients to serve four is about $10.
Also beef & artichoke skillet. So as above, but use ground beef instead of pork, substitute 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar for the mustard and away you go.

Can you tell I picked up a bunch of artichokes recently?
Mac 'N Cheese, Tuna and Peas.

Velveeta Shells and cheese. Add a can of tuna and a can of peas. Eat with crackers or Bread.

It's not low carb, but my family (except my young one...) likes it from time to time, and even the kids can fix it up, so you can kind of place an order and a little bit later food magically appears.
Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Noodle pasta, mix in a can of Cream of Mushoom soup and a can of tuna in a baking dish. Top with crumbled crackers. Bake until the crackers are browned.

Mom used to make that. I haven't had it since I was a kid, and I'm going off memory.
Pittsburgh salad is my go-to for easy nights. French fries. Steak or chicken. Salad. Any salad toppings. Feta cheese. Done and happy in minutes.
Get a 2ish lb piece of skin-on Atlantic salmon, olive oil and salt, into the oven at 350. Put a tray of broccoli florets in there too - they'll take about the same amount of time. Rice or quinoa or whatever on the stovetop, and you're done.
My wife made a turkey the other day, so we have 12 lbs of turkey meat we are getting creative with since it's just the two of us.

The other night she made Turkey Ruebens, and that was pretty delicious. Not a lot of work, either.

As a side we often make sweet potato fries. I cut them into fry-shape, put on a baking sheet, drizzle on olive oil, and season with Cumin, Garlic, Parsley, and whatever else I feel like. Bake at 400 degrees and turn every 10 mins for about 30-40 mins. It's our go-to side for numerous dinners.

Or, something the kids might like more: Take chicken tenders, raw ones, and cover in Ranch dressing. Then roll them in crushed Goldfish and bake them however the chicken bag says. It's simple but a change of pace and very easy to make.
BLT and soup.

Grilled chicken with homemade alfredo sauce and noodles.

Brown up some ground beef with onions/mushrooms in the morning, place in crockpot with a jar of chunky italian tomato sauce, put on low, make noodles and texas toast at night.

Huge salad like CAD mentioned.

Crockpot enchiladas... frozen chicken breasts, salsa, taco seasoning go in in the morning on low, shred when you get home, stuff and bake enchiladas.

Taco salad.

Grilled Cheese and tomato soup.

Pork chops baked with cream soup, onion slices and a bit of ketchup.

Easy stuff.
Ok here is a list of my weekday goto's

Hot dogs
Chicken Alfredo (add spinach and tomatoes to change it up)
Hamburger soup (just use V-8 hamburger meat and whatever veg you have on hand like frozen pea's carrots, potatoes, whatever you got.)
Flat Iron steak grilled and a pre-made bag of salad (takes 15 mins and who doesn't like steak and salad)
crock pot roast beef or pork
various marinades for chicken legs paired with various frozen veg
enchilada casserole
frozen lasagna (stouffers)
chicken wings baked and tossed in frank hots
jambalaya (zatarain's box)
Grilled sausage cut up saute with bbq sauce with rice and beans
philly cheese steaks (you can get the rib meat already shaved or do it yourself)
Sub sandwiches
whole roasted chicken with rosemary and lemon (this will take closer to an hour in the oven but its easy you can always halve them to make it faster)
Cornish hen (1 hen per person) Take about 30 mins season like chicken
cabbage and sausage stir fry with potato hash
baked potatoes with chili, cheese, and onion
fried chicken with corn and mash

I think you get the idea...if you need any specific recipes let me know.
Here's another fast, easy crowd-pleaser:


1 lb. ground chuck
package Lipton onion soup mix
16 crushed saltines
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup bbq sauce or ketchup

Mix and bake in a loaf pan at 350 for 70 minutes.

Plenty of room in the oven, so slice some potatoes, and bake in a baking dish with butter, salt and garlic (or use granulated garlic. Or garlic salt.) Or heck, just throw in whole Russets for baked potatoes.

And throw in another baking dish of Brussels sprouts or broccoli florets or carrots or whatever.
And throw in another baking dish of Brussels sprouts or broccoli florets or carrots or whatever.

I am a big fan of throwing everything in the oven. A little prep, throw it in the oven and you are good. Easy. Sit back and dinner is done. Clean up is super easy if you put foil on the baking pans. Roasted veg gets a nice flavor. Perfect.
You know how weird I am- NO packaged food for one- but we can throw things together quickly. We probably eat more "exotic" food that Dad and daughter might not be fans of, but I know your daughter likes things that most kids don't.

I'm a big fan of protein and veggies in a skillet. Oh, sure it's "stir fry", but it's always different. Chicken and broccoli with red pepper today, beef and snow peas and Chinese five spice tomorrow. Sauces are what you want- if you buy things like soy sauce, that makes an awesome sauce with a dab of sesame oil and the five spice powder with a shot of brown sugar. (I haven't done that since I gave up sugar and soy.............)

Your red sauce is awesome, so you can definitely have that once a week, but maybe serve it over something unexpected-like chicken breasts with cheese (also known as "chicken parmesan")

There is a lot to be said for potatoes as a side dish- the salt 'n vinegar potatoes I rave about take no time, but even without the salt and vinegar and other spices, it's a bit hit. Mashed potatoes with garlic, boiled baby red potatoes with butter and parsley, grilled potatoes, etc- all big hits and easy and will cook during the main dish cooking time.

Simple can be great- chicken breasts with celery/carrots for a bit of flavor in the skillet broth, some seasoning, and some potatoes plus a salad = dinner.
As promised, here's Cheesy Casserole. This is good and totally forgiving. Pasta and cheese shopping amounts are at the bottom. Made this the first time my wife came over 8 years ago. Its been a goto ever since. I buy block cheese and dice it myself cause it's considerably cheaper. Sometimes I use 8oz pepperjack, most of the time smoked sausage (don't think you have to cook it, just cut into bite size pieces and mix). The instruction to add cooked and uncooked noodles is accurate. This will not diappoint

Cheesy Casserole.jpg
I'm the master of the weeknight meal. Even my weekend meals look like weeknight meals ;)

Seriously, I love cooking but do not do much that is complicated. Tonight is Shepherd's Pie:

1) saute onion, carrots and parsnips (can use any root vegetable), add ground meat (we used a mix of beef and pork), add a little stock, thicken with a little cornstarch, season with sea salt and pepper.

2) make mashed potatoes

3) put #1 in individual bowls, cover with the mashed potatoes; can serve like that or briefly put them in the oven to get a little crusty on the mashed potatoes.

My go-to for when I don't know what to make is always seasonal veg + grilled protein + (potato, quinoa, rice, more veg whatever). Usually that winds up being brussel sprouts and grilled chicken. I always have frozen steamer veg and some sausage on hand for when I really don't want to cook.

But for something nicer but still stupid easy -- how about a nice Thai red curry?

I just buy red curry paste from the asian mart instead of making my own. Panfry some eggplant in coconut oil for a bit. Then take it out, cook the paste, onions/garlic, bell peps, protein of choice, add a bunch of coconut milk and water, simmer for however long you can wait. Thai basil/cilantro etc lots of things you can spice it up with if you aren't cheap. Serve over rice.
For taco night, replace the taco shells or tortillas with baked potatoes.

Or make some chili, and dump that stuff on baked potatoes.

Almost anything can be dumped on a baked potato to give new life to a common dish.

Also, think about soups. I make large batches of soups on weekends, and freeze or can them for weekday use.

Meatloaf can be premade and frozen. I do individual sized loafs so I can defrost, reheat, and serve only however many are home for dinner on a given night. Buffalo chicken loaf is also a hit here. (Ground chicken, celery onion, hot sauce, ranch dressing powder, egg, breadcrumbs. Top with additional hot sauce.)

Baked mac & cheese with upscale cheese (fontina, smoked gouda, asiago, etc...), broccoli florets, onions, garlic, a little sweet basil and/or thyme, some sort of meat: little smokies, andouille, cooked chicken, cooked beef stew meat, etc... maybe some mushrooms and/or diced carrots, with a crunchy potato chip topping.

Grilled pork steaks with some steamed veggies (frozen veggie blend) on the side. You can marinate the pork steaks in teriyaki sauce for up to 24 hrs, just set them marinating before you leave for work, when you get home drain 'em & grill 'em up. With sides like fried okra & steamed summer squash, you can't go wrong.

Egg noodles with mushroom sauce & veggies, prepare medium egg noodles al dente, add condensed cream of mushroom soup, a couple BIG glops of butter, a few dashes of soy sauce & if you need more liquid, add a bit of stock. Add some cooked (frozen) veggie blend, a bit of sweet basil (or thyme or oregano), and some cooked meat (chicken, beef or pork). Baked acorn squash with the cavity filled with butter, brown sugar & a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger is a great dessert with this.

Just about anything in the crockpot.

Stir-fried pork & brussels sprouts in black bean sauce, I use this recipe:
I alter it slightly: I use pork stew meat instead of ground pork, dark sesame oil instead of peanut or canola, I omit the cornstarch & consider the wine optional.

There are several simple & fairly quick recipes here:
Hover over "Recipes" to search in different ways (style, ingredients, etc...)

How about sliders with all the fixin's, fries & salad?

Breakfast for dinner is quick & easy too.

Beer boiled brats with all the fixin's, beer boiled little red taters (whole, cooled), and a side of veggies or salad.

Fish & chips with slaw.
Regards, GF.