The Nation Has An Appetite: The House Special

Though it's occasionally a chore, one silver lining to the whole pandemic situation is that we're basically cooking everything in house. We very occasionally get something from outside, but I think we do that on average maybe once every two weeks. While it's fun to try new things, or at least get creative with ingredients before they go bad, that's still a whole lot of cooking that needs to be done. This naturally means we've all got a few go-to's that we can pull out quickly, or at least easily.

Now, we've got a home with young, picky-ass kids, so our house specials are very boring and basic. Tacos, macaroni, various non-threatening noodle and pasta dishes, but that's pretty much as far as it goes. Japanese curry is about as exotic as it gets with them. Jane and I have been trying all sorts of stuff, but the same namby-pamby retreads are the only sure things around here (yeah, I'm bringing that phrase back).

What dishes are in top rotation in your homes when you need a quick and easy win?

11 thoughts on “The Nation Has An Appetite: The House Special”

  1. Some of our pre-quarantine household staples, which we almost always have the ingredients in the pantry to make:

    - fatteh hummus
    - bucatini with butter-roasted tomato sauce
    - batadadillas with black beans
    - improvised ramen (hot or cold)
    - meatloaf (a veritable blank canvas)
    - tonkatsu or Wiener schnitzel
    - brown butter Dutch baby
    - roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, rice, and pepitas

    To that, we’re adding keema matar & menemen. Loco Moco would be on the list if Mrs. Hayes enjoyed it anywhere near as much as I love it.

  2. We've had Taco Tuesday at least five or six weeks. Lots of pasta dishes with many variations of proteins and sauces. Breakfast for dinner about once a week.

      1. there are so few actual cooking shows left on FN. It's turned into the Contrived Game Show Network.

        1. A lot have moved to the Cooking Network. PBS has a ton of cooking shows. I enjoy the competitive shows and have learned a lot from them. If you have the Food Network streaming those shows are probably an option. They've also started a whole thing (only online?) that is all about that type of show.

  3. One we do a lot is roasted vegetables with kielbasa over rice or quinoa.

    We just slice up the sausage and veggies and make all on a pan in the oven. Pretty simple.

  4. We make Grits, Eggs, and Roasted Veg - otherwise known as gev. We started this with brussel sprouts, but we’ve since moved on to anything that’ll roast. Living in the south has some positive notes such as access to stone ground grits. I tend to forgo the milk that is called for in every southern grits recipe by replacing it with stock. A handful of melting cheese at the end livens up the texture and favor. We serve this with poached eggs, but any egg will do, hot sauce, and a bib.

  5. Is this the moment where I brag that the other night BOTH of my kids ate and enjoyed a somewhat spicy mock duck curry dish?

    No? Oh, okay then. I gotta say that it's only quite recently that the peperoncino (who is nearly 7) has been open to trying a wider range of foods. Indian curries haven't been an option for YEARS here.

    I like recipes that use common elements but can be easily customized.
    -Smitten Kitchen's focaccia sandwiches are perfect for that and really simple even if you don't have experience baking bread.
    -Any sort of rice bowl in which people choose their own toppings is great. This one has a lot of cooking time if you make all the elements, but you can always swap in different ingredients.
    -Another popular one at our house is white rice with shelled edamame and egg (you make omelets and then slice them into ribbons). You could add some cucumbers too. And top with soy sauce and furikake if desired.
    -Sautéed tofu (with ginger and garlic) served with brown rice and steamed broccoli usually goes over well.*

    *To my great annoyance, the peperoncino doesn't like rice, so we typically give him toast or a tortilla as a substitute. But at least it's not a whole other meal.

  6. Last night, Greek salad topped with sauteed shrimp.
    Night before was curried rice salad.

    Tonight, sweet potato tacos, I think. Pan-roasted, diced potato makes a surprisingly delicious taco filling.

  7. Household staples:

    Stir-fry cashew chicken/tofu - with whatever veggies are available
    Burgers all summer long. So many burgers. So much joy. Rotate through toppings, including eggs.
    Eggs. Egg sandwiches, breakfast burritos, hard-boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, etc. So many eggs.
    Mashed potatoes & corn. - Served with a variety of different meats, but my kids eat mashed potatoes and corn . So much.
    I'll also regularly find a sausage of some sort, slice it out, and throw it into a spaghetti sauce, make sauerkraut and dumplings, or cabbage & onion. This approach often gives me super easy meals that seem like they should have been more work because of how good they are.

Comments are closed.