One of my missions in writing about food is to encourage more people to cook for their friends and families. Many, many people tell me, “I want to cook healthy affordable meals for my family, but I’m just so busy.” So, I did a post on staple meals, since staple meals, the ones you return to on a weekly basis, are defined by ease, speed, goodness of flavor, and economy. (Another of ours is tomato basil pasta—see the iPhone video of a cool tomato water technique.) The first thing you need to do to make it easy for your busy schedule is to plan! Have a plan. The above is one of our summer favorites, the same staple meal I posted about before, only on the grill. Especially great on hot nights when you don’t want Read On »

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There are lots of ways to change the food system, and you and I aren’t likely to do it. It’s going to be our kids who do it. Two weeks ago I threw together a quick chicken curry and both the kids liked it, so I asked, “Is this a keeper?” and they nodded, chewing hungrily. So, last week, when 12-year-old James got home from school, I said, “We’re having chicken curry tonight.” He said, “Yes.” I said, “You’re going to make it.” He didn’t respond. “I’ll do all the prep and you’re going to make it.” He said, “OK.” An hour before I wanted dinner on the table, I diced an onion. I’ve already taught him how to hold a knife and halve, slice, or dice an onion; tonight I wanted him to see Read On »

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[Update 1/16: Winners have been chosen; their dishes are at the bottom of this post.] Two and a half years ago, I wrote a post on staple meals because I’m fascinated by what people eat at home when they don’t want to think about what to make, what their go-to, middle-of-the-week meal is, because they are invariably quick, efficient, economical, and well, good enough to eat once a week forever. (I think they also tell us a lot about who we are). The woman who has been cutting my hair for 12 years, three kids 16 and younger, husband not always at home, an “I don’t have a lot of time” mom. She makes chicken legs on a small rotisserie, and will do lamb or steak, with beans and rice.  Soup once a week with what’s Read On »

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I needed a dinner that was easy and delicious, would please everyone, one that also reheated well in case my daughter’s track meet ran late, and I had to be able to make it long before serving so it would be just a matter of reheating come dinnertime.  There are of course a thousand options that fit these criteria, but last week, I was in a nostalgic mood and thought back to school lunches, one of my favorites, macaroni and beef.  We were always famished by lunchtime and this dish was dependable and impossible to screw up by a 1970′s school kitchen. For a midweek meal I went as simple as could be.  The only way I’d change it, I decided would be to pile a monstrous amount of cheddar and mozzarella on top at Read On »

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