August 2, 2011

Your Go-To Meals?

Spaghetti Sauce
I don't love to cook. I don't hate it either, but other than baking (which I really, really like) I rush through it, dreading the clean-up that comes afterward and feeling anxiety about whether or not the food will be any good. I'd honestly rather pour a bowl of cereal for dinner than deal with the after-dinner stove splatter and other assorted messes that come along with preparing an actual meal.

I've been working toward cooking more though. I just feel like it's something I should be doing for my husband and our daughter. Especially because Tessa is the baby equivalent of Angela Chase. (Remember that part in My So-Called Life where Angela says, "I cannot bring myself to eat a well-balanced meal in front of my mother. It just means too much to her." That's how Tessa is.) Nekos makes most of our meals because he gets a lot of pleasure from cooking and never uses a recipe to make anything. He doesn't care if I cook or not, but he's grateful for anything I do cook -- so long as it includes meat. So I've tried to put together some "go-to" simple, healthy meals that we all enjoy and that I can make again and again. 

One of them has become this chicken cornbread casserole and another is spaghetti sauce with lots of cut up vegetables (that's what's in the picture above, from last night). I've also made Jessica Seinfeld's recipe for spaghetti pie a half-dozen times, and Nekos and Tessa think it's the bees-knees. (Please don't tell Tessa it has broccoli and carrots in it.) We also do tacos once a week, but I'm looking for some more easy, one-dish type meals to add into the repertoire.

Creamy chicken and cornbread casserole
Spaghetti pie
Got any ideas?


  1. Mmm my mom makes something similar to that cornbread casserole and she calls it Tamale Pie. It's so good. I'm hungry now haha!

    Oh Jazmyn

  2. Ranch Chicken
    3 cups crushed up Wheaties
    1 packet ranch seasoning
    1 cup parm cheese
    mix all these together
    melt 1 stick of butter
    dip boneless chicken into butter then cover with dry mix
    Bake at 350 for approx 20 min.
    Also Polish hash
    cut up potatoes
    cut up bell peppers
    cut up 1 kielbasa sausage
    put all in skillet with a little oil until potatoes are cooked
    Top with ketchup
    So good!!!

  3. My easy meal is pizza on a French bread crust or tortilla crust:
    This link is my vegan recipe but my husband adds crumbled sausage (frozen breakfast patty). my new fav is BLT pizza with ranch dressing instead of tom. sauce then add sliced tomatoes, crumbled bacon, chedder cheese and romaine lettuce shreds.

  4. Spaghetti is def my go to meal! I could (and often do) eat it multiple times a week.

    A spin on it is to make three-way. Browned hamburger meat, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, pinto beans, chili seasoning and spaghetti! Easy Peasy!

    I often make veggie stews too as they are healthy, make a crapload, can feed us for a week, and you can't mess them up! Just throw whatever veggies you have in there with some spices and Voila! dinner for a week! I do all of mine with a tomato sauce/water/chicken broth base and I always add cabbage. Sometimes if it seems too watery, I'll add rice or pasta in :) And, for the man, I'll throw in some stew beef chunks after browning them :) Happy cooking!

  5. Hey Ellen!
    I know it's a little warm outside for this recipe, but this is what I make all fall/winter long. Other than all the chopping, it's super easy and really healthy. It's basically all veggies.
    Thanks for your blog! I love it!

  6. I need that casserole recipe!

    I have a great cajun pasta that is really easy! And so tasty. I will email you the recipe. Do yall like shrimp?

  7. i'm with you! Will is the chef in this house and like Nekos, he loves it and hardly ever uses recipes.
    My go-tos are any pasta dishes, those i like. salads and quesadillas!

  8. I don't enjoying cooking at all! But I feel like you in that I feel I should be doing it for my husband and 2yo son. One of both of their favorites is the following:

    Enchilada Bake:
    1 lb ground beef or "fake" ground beef crumbles
    1 package taco seasoning
    1 small block of Velveeta Cheese
    1 can of Rotel
    1 can of black beans drained
    1 package of Spanish rice
    1 package (appropriately 6) tortillas

    Brown ground beef, add taco seasoning
    Cut Velveeta into squares (about 1 inch)and melt in microwave
    Mix together cheese, meat, black beans, rice, and rotel
    "Stuff" tortillas, roll and stick in pan (I usually fit 6 in an 8x11)
    Top with left over mix

    Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

    You can also add salsa, sour cream, lettuce, fresh tomatoes, or avocados after you bake. it's super easy and pretty fast! I always wait til the last minute to get dinner going!

  9. I try to cook quite a bit and here are some of my easy, go to meals.

    Or stick anything in a crock pot!