Service of Changing Pace of Your Dinner Menus

April 4th, 2024

Categories: Change, Dinner Time, Menu, Recipes

Sometimes I cheat and order takeout.

I have a pretty standard weekly dinner menu which usually includes some kind of chicken, [canned] tuna in romaine lettuce and Campari tomatoes, pasta with tomato sauce and sometimes salmon. My tiny air fryer makes yummy potato strips. If I can find Amy’s frozen margherita pizza I split it in two and punctuate the usual fare with this treat. And once or twice a winter I might make a simple version of boeuf Bourguignon.

I recently tried a recipe I picked up from The New York Times’ “Cooking” section: Peanut noodles. I already had all the ingredients: creamy peanut butter, grated parmesan, soy sauce, unsalted butter and noodles. It was delish, so simple, prepared in the time to cook the noodles and not the same-old-same-old.

One friend just brought me a basil plant and another a magnificent tomato. I added mozzarella and had the nucleus of a delicious dinner that wasn’t my usual.

I remember when, decades ago, I stopped reading Gourmet Magazine because a recipe called for me to stir a strawberry mixture outdoors over three sunny days. Who has the time and who can predict that the weather will cooperate and does everyone have an outdoor space to do this? Turned me off. But I digress.

My husband was a talented cook. I miss his creativity and the beautifully plated dishes he’d present.

To change pace, I’ll cheat and order takeout.

Have you discovered easy-to-make recipes that change the routine of your dinner menus or do you find comfort in making and serving the same things week after week?

Winter stew

12 Responses to “Service of Changing Pace of Your Dinner Menus”

  1. Helen Said:

    I cannot tell a lie. I do a lot of zapping dinner in the microwave. Sometimes I cook. Always something easy. You’d be amazed at how many things you can add to a frittata. When I have company I actually cook. The one thing I always do is bake.

  2. Hussein Ahman Uttah Said:

    Yes, I discovered that there is an easy gravlax recipe that involves simply covering uncooked salmon in sugar and salt and just leaving it there for a few days. It cooks itself over the course of time!

  3. ASK Said:

    I like to cook and do not have the same things every week except for hamburgers. Re Gourmet magazine: I used them for inspiration, but I found their recipes way too complicated to follow exactly.

  4. Martha Tepper Takayama Said:

    I understand perfectly what you wrote about your husband. My Japanese husband loved to cook, was an extremely talented and creative cook, constantly experimented with different cuisines and always presented the dishes beautifully and would select dishes and flatware that he considered most appropriate and practical for the different cuisines. He also loved the challenge of creating a meal from whatever he encountered in the refrigerator at any given time. I did think I could cook, although not wonderfully, before I met him, but he didn’t really think so. He would call me “Canned Food” and make fun of my American mid-century tastes. However, since I have been widowed I have less appetite, no interest in cooking and find mealtimes sad. I often buy foods that remain unused. I do often order food delivered and am often VERY disappointed. There are a few other resources I turn to in cluding Market Basket (The subject of a Harvard Business School case study) and Roche brothers (a high quality civic-minded market).I hope that in time I will be more flexible.

  5. TC Said:

    SAY!! MOST THOUGHTFUL OF YOU TO SEND TRIED AND TRUE HOME RECIPES!! VERY APPEALING!! BECAUSE OF MY WIFE’S KIDNEY AND DIVERTICULITIS PROBLEMS, OUR DIET IS FAIRLY RESTRICTED OR SUBJECT TO “MODIFICATIONS”. SO TUNA AND CHICKEN ARE IN. TOMATOES AND ANYTHING WITH SEEDS ARE OUT. FIRST TIME I HEARD YOU SPEAK OF HOMER’S KITCHEN SKILLS! WITH HIS BACKGROUND ABROAD, ASSUME HE LIKED TO DO MEDITTERIAN SPECIALTIES.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Helen,

    Only in the last few years have I begun to use the microwaves that have come with the apartments I live in and now only to reheat takeout food from the day before. I’m sure I’m missing lots of potentially fabulous things.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Hussein,

    Sounds wonderful. Will give it a whirl.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    I used to go through hoops to cook dinners for company that took all day Saturday to prepare [in my first marriage]. I tossed things on a plate ever after. I have little patience. Bake pies for friends and recently discovered the first blueberry muffin recipe that didn’t end up with a dozen little doorstops.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    The first year after Homer died I ate a lot of prepared frozen food from Trader Joe’s. I no longer do. It takes time to recalibrate after a shock such as a death.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    TC,

    Homer made the best pasta–with clam or tomato sauce. He also made the most scrumptious panini concoctions and veal with prosciutto and on occasion divine BLTs.

  11. Lucrezia Said:

    I have a simple palate, and find little joy in cuisine, so it’s things like chicken or chops with a salad, avocado or whatever undemanding veggie thrown in. Anything more complex is enjoyed in a restaurant where there’s someone else to scour the pans!

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    There are certain foods I couldn’t see learning to cook because there are so many great restaurants that do it better than I ever could such as Chinese or Indian.

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