The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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What’s For Supper?

Posted by thedarwinexception on November 25, 2007

So I went grocery shopping on Sunday. Usually I go on Saturday, but I didn’t feel like it, and I wanted to hit the new sales at Price Chopper which start on Sunday, rather than be stuck with all the Thanksgiving things that had been on sale from last week.

And as I was grocery shopping, I realized that I could do this shit in my sleep. I could actually shop with my eyes closed, because I buy the same things every single week. And I make the same meals from the same limited database of recipes in my head every week. I mean, we may not have meatloaf every Wednesday, but you can bet that we have it at least once every two weeks.

I need new things to make. Easy things – I mean, I watch Top Chef and enjoy it a lot, but I don’t know how to make a lemon reduction or a sevichey, and I’m not learning any time soon. So I need some new recipes. I need some new ideas. Just meals I can mix in with the homemade macaroni and cheese, the plain old baked pork chops, the plain old Ragu Spaghetti, the bland ass chili, the Shepherd’s pie, the chicken rubbed with some canned seasoning shit and the horrible Hamburger Helper that Paul thinks is just the ultimate in culinary flavor and excitement.

I think the most complicated thing I make is quesadillas – Paul loves those. But I need new things to make, if only to have new things to buy at Price Chopper. And it’s not even that I need new meats – just new ways to cook the meats I always cook. I bake the pork chops (I rarely fry anything), but what can I do to liven up the baked pork chops and make them different? What can I do to make the roast chicken different, and taste better? Is there another way to make Shepherd’s Pie? Are there new spices I should be using? New sauces and gravies?

What do you make consistently, week after week month after month? Do you have a set number of things that you always make or do you constantly make new things and try new stuff? When you try something new, how often does it suck and come out inedible?

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24 Responses to “What’s For Supper?”

  1. Val Dalton said

    Kim,

    Try this website. http://www.recipezaar.com. I use it all the time. I even have some of my own recipe’s on there. You can find everything on here. It is great!!!

  2. Holy Toledo said

    Hey, it sounds to me like you do pretty well. I eat out a lot but when I do cook, I make batches and freeze. I make a very good pot roast, chili, stuffed sandwiches (which people rave about), taco salad, and pan fried rib-eye steak. You’re smart not to fry food but that limits the menu. A friend of mine makes BBQ meatloaf which is delicious. Sounds to me like you’re just not into food all that much so I bet you’re skinny.

    HT

  3. Becky Ayers said

    Kim,
    I found your website during the Spector trial and now daily look forward to your witty but oh so informative writings. I like you am stuck in that same old same old rut of boring meals. We do enjoy having salads for dinner. We add either chicken or steak, eggs, cheese, pepperoni and the best ingredient of all are the homemade french fries. They go into the salad and are delicious with all kinds of salad dressings. We also like fried pizzas. We use frozen bread dough, let it raise and seperate into 3 or 4 pies. Roll them out and quick fry them. Have all other pizza ingredients ready,(sauce heated, cheese shredded, pepperoni nuked, onions sauted, etc) add and fold in half…enjoy.

  4. CNS said

    Hi Kim,

    Long time reader, yadda, yadda, yadda…

    Our (wife and I both cook) meals change with the seasons. In winter, we generally tend to the hearty comfort foods of our (long lost, mine is gone anyway) youth.

    Chicken Pot Pie for one. Cook some chicken pieces, remove skin and de-bone. Mix into a pan with cream of chicken soup and frozen mixed vegetables. Season to taste. Ladle into single serving-size oven-proof bowls (however many you are making) and cover with frozen (and thawed) Phyllo dough. Poke a few holes into the dough with a knife. Bake in the oven according to the instructions for the Phyllo dough. Putting them on a sheet pan makes for easier removal from the oven and protects against overflow.

    Beef and Noodles for another. Cover some lean garbage beef (cheapest stuff you can find) with canned beef consomme and cook covered until tender. Think pot roast. Cook some egg noodles and drain. Mix the noodles with the beef and consomme. Salt and pepper to taste.

    As to pork chops, you might try (lets see if I can get the linky to work):

    Never made it myself, but it looks similar to something my mom made.

    Ask again in spring or fall and you’ll get some higher end answers, but we both love to cook, so effort isn’t really an issue. We experiment a lot and have had a few disappointments, but never anything inedible.

  5. CNS said

    Hi again,

    Rats. No more linky-linky for me.

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pork-Chop-and-Potato-Casserole/Detail.aspx

  6. Amy said

    When I get into a rut, I’ll do the Meal Planning at http://www.savingdinner.com for a while. Lots of veggies, lots of seasonal stuff, most are very easy to make and require little prep. The person who puts them together is a dietitian, so you’re not going to be eating a bunch of boxed/canned crap that’s terrible for you.

    This time of year I like to make mashed sweet potatoes (boil sweet potatoes until they’re soft, add butter, smash, serve with brown sugar) with my pork chops. I also like to do chicken and noodles (boil the crap out of a chicken in a pot of water with carrots, onion, and celery (and a bay leaf if you’re fancy), pull the chicken out, reserving the broth. Let the chicken cool and pick off all the meat. Boil a bag of egg noodles in the chicken broth. Drain most of the broth. Add the chicken back in. Warm it up. Take the bay leaf out before serving. Serve with bread. Nummy.)

    How about homemade macaroni and cheese? Certainly not health food, but it’s so damn good. Allrecipes.com has great recipes, with hilarious reviews (“I followed your recipe, except I substituted buffalo meat for the chicken, rice for the noodles, and tomatoes for the carrots, and it turned out really weird. I don’t think I’ll make this again. Two stars.”)

    We usually have spaghetti once a week or so, just because we all love it. Otherwise, I like to mix it up. I haven’t made a meatloaf in a while. I should do that. Oh, Kraft.com is really good, too, although they tend toward the boxed/canned crap. Who knew that you could make meatloaf with Stove Top??

  7. Caroline said

    I invented this recipe one summer when I had loads of tomatoes and basil in my garden. It’s a little late in the season for this, but next summer when you have access to an abundance of tomatoes you can prepare them in advance and freeze until you are ready to use them. They can also be added to soups, stews, potroast, etc. So easy and so delicious!

    Sicilian Baked Tomatoes

    1) Enough ripe tomatoes to fill a giant lasagna pan or cookie sheet. Cut in half and tightly line ’em up in a pan.

    2) Enough fresh Basil to cover the tomatoes, Shredded. Be generous.

    3) 1-2 heads of Garlic, Chopped up, not minced.

    4) Extra virgin Olive Oil.

    Cover the tomatoes with the Basil and Garlic, drizzle with the Olive Oil and place in a 275 degree oven for two hours until caramalized. Check periodically and baste with EVOO to prevent drying out. Your house will smell divine…

    Cook some Angel Hair spaghetti and then place the cooked spaghetti in a warmed bowl. Spoon the tomatoes and pan juices over the pasta. Gently mix together and top with (optional) red pepper flakes and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

    Heaven!!

  8. Holy Toledo said

    Damn, Caroline, that sounds wonderful. I wish it were summer. I grow tomatoes and was throwing them away I had so many. I can’t wait till next summer. I’m going to write your recipe down right now. Thanks!

    HT

  9. Chesney said

    Hiya,

    I am soooo not an aventurist when it comes to cooking but I know exactly what you mean. I cook pork chops and to jazz them up I coat the top of them with stuffing – just the usual stuffing you stuff a chicken with LOL… makes a change from boring chops and well easy. I serve these with broccoli and instead of spuds I do mashed carrot & parsnip… topped with onion gravy Ahhhhh. Also when I cook chicken breasts I add a thick slice of camebert cheese plus a dollop of cranberry sauce then wrap them in tin foil and bake…now they are lush and go down a treat with salad and a jacket spud. Again well easy LOL… everything I do takes 30 mins from prep to dishing up… got it down to a fine art 🙂

    Ok I will stop there LOL… good luck 🙂

  10. mbmb said

    I invented this recipe one summer when I had loads of tomatoes and basil in my garden.

    Kim,

    Caroline has a great idea with tomato and basil. It’s the best. Here’s a short cut that I use. I buy this wonderful Vodka Sauce at Target. It’s the Archer Farm brand. I add some sweet Italian sausage, mushrooms(fresh), and basil to the sauce & serve it over linguine. It’s great, at least it seems so to my husband. But, then again he may like any thing I decide to cook. Could be because I don’t do it that often, no?

  11. Scottie Rich said

    OK….here’s the best salmon recipe you will ever find. It’s fast and easy and wonderful…every time I make it. She uses a side of fresh salmon but I only cook for two so I use two large pieces.
    For the marinade:
    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    3 tablespoons good soy sauce (I use Kikoman–it’s good enough)
    6 tablespoons good olive oil (again — whatever you have is probably OK)

  12. Lorie said

    Hi Kim,

    Try sprinkling garlic along with your salt and pepper on chicken and then bake or roast. As for Chili, try Chili-O mix from Frenchs. Throw in a can of Rotel, pour chili over Fritos brand chili/cheese Fritos, and top with colby/jack shredded cheese. It is our families favorite.

  13. Scottie Rich said

    Something happened and I sent the recipe half written—–here’s the rest:
    1/2 tsp minced garlic.

    Mix the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

    Place the salmon skin side down(if there is skin) on a hot grill or a heated grill skillet (the grill marks in this skillet make this a great stand-in for the outside grill). Discard the marinade the fish was sitting in. Grill or fry for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a wide spatula and fry for another 4 to 5 minutes. The salmon will be slightly raw in the center, but don’t worry, it will keep cooking as it sits. I usually fry the first side about 3 minutes and the other about 3 as well. Make sure the skillet is heated just til smoking so the outside will get a wonderful crispness while the inside is moist.

    Remove from the skillet and allow the fish to rest for about 10 minutes. (I put a piece of tin foil over them to keep them warm. Drizzle some of the reserved marinade over the fish and serve.

    Even people who don’t usually like fish will love this recipe.

    The recipe is from The Barefoot Contessa (that’s the she I am referring to in the first part I sent by accident. I hope this isn’t too confusing.

    It is served with a wonderful saute of snap peas and asparagus. I can give you that recipe if you want it. It’s so easy and wonderful. I think this whole thing can be done in about 30 minutes.

  14. Sandy said

    Gads Kim, you sound like me way back when. Or there are a bunch of us out there and we may actually be the norm.

    My grown kids actually place an order for these comfort meals when they visit. Someone asked if you were thin. Even though we ate this way, no one is overweight in the family. What their cholesterol level is may be up for grabs though.

    Years ago an older friend gave me a prssure cooker. I’ve used one forever and the new styles cut way down on time, almost as fast as a microwave. The meals from one are beyond in flavor and ease for cooking. You might consider trying a few meals using one, their not expensive and available in different sizes. And, no, they do not blow up.

    Aside from the pressure cooker, here are family favorites. I never measure anything and can’t actually post a real recipe. None of these are healthy and evolved from my childhood.

    Chicken and dumplings: Use cut up cooked breasts or leftovers. A couple cans of chicken broth to cook the chicken in, then add corn starch to thicken for a thin like gravy and make the dumplings from Bisquick box recipe.

    Pour a can of mushroom soup over the pork chops while cooking in the oven. Great gravy.

    Hamburger and gravy over mashed potatoes or bread: I got so sick of this and not my thing, but family can’t get enough of it.
    Use cheap hamburger and cook as patties. Remove patties, but leave grease in pan. Add about 3 T of flour, stir into hot grease, then add 2 – 3 cups of milk, mixing fast with a whisk for gravy.

    Sausage and gravy over biscuits. A breakfast favorite. Same as above, but use a flavorful ground sausage and Bisquick for easy to make drop biscuits.

    There are more, but writing is getting long. Two suggestions though for easy, quick, time tested recipes are the Bisquick box and a book called “Best Recipes…from the back of boxes, bottles, cans and jars” by Ceil Dyer. The book has been around for years, still selling and uses ingredients I remember my mom always having on hand. Bisquick (now has a website) has always been in the cupboard for many a meal. I even realized you can make cookies with it, easy as buying premixes, but this stuff makes some great cookies.

    I trust all of you posting here and your recipes. But am not confident with the online recipe stuff. Too many variations show up for “one” recipe, so I stay away from them. Or just prefer remaining bored with my comfort food of yore.

    This is fun again, enjoy all the posts and your writings Kim for allowing us to veer into other thoughts.

  15. leftcoast said

    you dont need new recipes, you need a gadget. Oprah said this was great, so I got one. A panini maker, makes old food seem new grilled between some nice bread. I got the Griddler by Cuisinart, its the greatest. You will need a place to put it though. Easily hidden under a pile of flannel. (kidding) Give it a whirl.

    http://www.cuisinart.com/catalog/category.php?cat_id=341

    Have fun,,,

  16. Poppy said

    A can of corn, drained
    A can of Black beans, rinsed & drained
    A jar of salsa
    Some cooked meat — shredded chicken, ground beef or ground turkey

    Mix, heat, spoon into taco shells and top w/ shredded cheese

  17. Marie said

    You cook? Honestly? Wow, I’m really impressed. Cooking and knitting. You’re like a lethal Martha Stewart!!

  18. I eat out a lot but when I do cook, I make batches and freeze.

    Freeze?? For later?? Like leftovers??? yeah, right. You have to keep in mind, I’m feeding Paul. Nothing is “for later”.

    When I make sloppy joe’s, (which I did last night, so that’s why I am reminded of it), I have to buy a package of the 12 burger buns *AND* a package of the 8 burger buns. Why?? Why, you might ask, since Kim will eat one, MAYBE 2 sloppy joe’s, if she is REALLY hungry. Why? When Kim is ALSO making a whole bag of either french fries or onion rings or tater tots WITH the sloppy joe’s??

    Why? Because Paul will eat no less than 12 sloppy joe’s. That’s why. That’s if he has eaten a snack before dinner, you know, so he isn’t as hungry.

    Last night he ate 11 – but that’s because he didn’t work yesterday and was able to eat while sitting and watching football all day.

    And I made tater tots, which I hate, so he ate the whole bag of those.

    Then he ate a box of Little Debbie “Christmas Tree Cakes” as a snack before he went to bed.

    Because he was hungry.

    Kim

  19. We use frozen bread dough, let it raise and seperate into 3 or 4 pies. Roll them out and quick fry them. Have all other pizza ingredients ready,(sauce heated, cheese shredded, pepperoni nuked, onions sauted, etc) add and fold in half…enjoy.

    You know, my mom used to make something like this – I had forgotten about them. I’ll have to try this.

    Kim

  20. Chicken Pot Pie for one. Cook some chicken pieces, remove skin and de-bone. Mix into a pan with cream of chicken soup and frozen mixed vegetables.

    Since you suggested this I made a turkey pot pie with the leftover Thanksgiving bird. It was VERY good.

    Kim

  21. I invented this recipe one summer when I had loads of tomatoes and basil in my garden.

    Damn, I want a garden SO bad – we sure have the room for it. I just kill every plant that comes within 50 feet of me, but maybe I’ll try a few tomato plants this Spring.

    I love fried green tomatoes, and your recipe sounds great.

    Kim

  22. Also when I cook chicken breasts I add a thick slice of camebert cheese plus a dollop of cranberry sauce then wrap them in tin foil and bake…

    OK – now this is the kind of shit I was looking for. Can I use any kind of cheese? If I add some brocolli in the foil will the brocolli cook?

    Kim

  23. Cooking and knitting. You’re like a lethal Martha Stewart!!

    Ummmm….yeah, if she hated entertaining, hated company and said FUCK a lot.

    Kim

  24. Holy Toledo said

    Holy Shit. 11 sloppy joes. Yeah, I make batches of stuff like chili, spagetti sauce, etc. to thaw and eat at another time so I don’t get sick of one thing but you’re in a completely different league than I am. I’m more or less speechless. I’d kill for his metabolism though.

    HT

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