Monday, December 19, 2005

What's for Supper?

As the couple of readers I have out there know, I have recently moved into a new apartment.  Two weeks ago to be exact.  I am still ‘unpacking’; that is to say, I am still trying to find homes for things that seem to have no home in the new place.  

Anyway, in the move I realized I have an enormous collection of cookbooks, and recipes that I have clipped/printed/copied/saved from various sources through the years.  It suddenly struck me as quite funny.  You would think with the plethora of recipes I have at my fingertips, I would be able to make something besides Hamburger Helper for dinner.  

That is one of life’s greatest mysteries.  What’s for dinner?  It used to be, when my husband would ask me ‘What are you making for dinner?’  I would answer with ‘Reservations’.  That usually meant ‘I don’t have a friggin’ idea, so either come up with something on your own to make, or don’t ask me again.’  He usually left me alone. Far be it from him to actually cook dinner once in a while.

Even now, I am faced with the daily dilemma of what to make for dinner.  As a single mom that choice now falls entirely to me.  Of course, the kids get options, and they get to voice opinions, but dinner usually gets determined by any one or combination of the following factors:
1) What’s in the cabinet/fridge/freezer
2) Do I actually feel like cooking a good, healthy hearty meal or am I going to ‘call this one in’ and do quick and easy.  
3) How much mess making and clean up are involved,  
4) What else do I have to do tonight.  

That is why, regardless of how many cookbooks and recipes I may have, I still rely on the quick and easy Hamburger Helper.  

Of course I don’t like it.  Of course I’d rather have the kind of dinners I grew up with, where there were mashed potatoes and gravy with virtually every meal (Newt would love that too), where there was the main dish and at least 2 veggies to chose from and some other sort of side dish as well.  But I grew up with a stay-at-home-mom, at least until my little sister was in school all day.  By that time I was 13 and old enough to at least start cooking dinner when I got home from school.  Mom would finish when she got home from work.  

I look for recipes now that have the following criteria:

  1. Quick

  2. Easy

  3. Made with ingredients I have actually heard of and have at home

  4. Kid friendly (and by that I mean, looks good enough the kids will eat it without rolling their eyes or gagging)

  5. Not Hamburger Helper

  6. Little prep time, little mess, easy clean up

  7. And did I mention quick and easy?

Maybe Santa will bring me my own personal chef for Christmas.  Hey if my 6 year old can wish for a cell phone from Santa, I see no problem with wishing for a personal chef (who fills in as the maid too) for myself.

What’s for dinner?  Not Hamburger Helper, at least not tonight.  Maybe peanut butter and jelly.


Gary Freedman said...

Food for thought. What to make for dinner? Food for s-e-r-i-o-u-s thought.

Stephanie said...

If you ever find any recipes like this, would you send them my way??

Sorry for the late comment, I am reading your archives during a lazy day at work.