Monday, September 7, 2020

Around the Kitchen Table -- What We Cook When We Don't Feel Like Cooking + #Book #Giveaway



DENISE  Let’s talk about what we cook for dinner when we don't feel like cooking. What is your go to meal when you just can't think of anything else or can't stand the thought of making anything too complicated?

For me it depends on the season. In the summer, when our garden is producing, my go-to is BLT. We always have turkey bacon in the freezer and we usually have some sort of lettuce or spinach or kale, so if we have tomatoes we're all set.


In the fall or winter, my go to is toasted cheese and tomato soup.

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VICKI  Because I cook for one, and I generally like to cook, I regularly do big quantities of stews or curries in my slow cooker. I make enough for three or four meals at once, have a lovely dinner, and then freeze the left overs. So I always have something tasty in the freezer. Another bonus, is that the slow cooker doesn't heat up the kitchen, perfect in the hot months. Here's a link to one of my standbys in case you missed it the first time.  https://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com/2020/01/squash-and-lentil-curry-in-crockpot-by.html


Although I will add that Denise's sandwich looks mighty nice. 

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DARYL:  I love a chicken Caesar salad. I always have skinless roast chicken around because Sparky gets chicken breast added to his dinner. He ADORES chicken. I buy Romaine every week and a crisp cucumber. If avocados are in season, I try to have a ripe one on deck. And I keep a jar of marinated artichokes always at the ready. Add Paul Newman's Caesar dressing and a sprinkling of Parmessan cheese, and I'm set.  


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MADDIE: At this time of year, I'm all about my version of Greek salad, which I learned from my Greek friend Marios forty years ago when we were in graduate school. I pick gold cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh oregano in my garden. I always have Kalamata olives in the fridge, and I make a point of stocking feta cheese, too. Cube the veggies and cheese, add olives, and oregano leaves stripped off the stem, and toss lightly with a good olive oil. Add a crisp baguette to soak up the delicious juices and call it dinner!
  

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LUCY: If I feel overworked and undermotivated, it's spaghetti all the way. My new favorite jarred sauce is Lucini's Spicy Tuscan Tomato. Saute some onion and green pepper, simmer with the sauce, serve over good pasta (we always have Eataly pasta in the pantry) with freshly grated Parmesan chees and a green vegetable.

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LESLIE K: My go-to easy dinner is Roasted Everything. I’ll toss some chicken thighs, as well as potato wedges, and some kind of veg—broccoli spears or chunks of zucchini—with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, and salt and pepper, and spread them all out on one large baking pan, and roast at 350 degrees F until cooked. And if you want to go all fancy, you can whisk some store-bought mayonnaise with lemon juice a bit of tarragon or sage (or whatever herbs you have on hand), and serve it as a garnish!

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PEG: I'm like Denise--it's BLTs in the summer.  Hubby loves them and it never feels as if I'm taking the easy way out by making them.  In the winter it's spaghetti with clam sauce. Clam sauce sounds fancy but this is a speedy shortcut: saute some garlic in about 1/4 cup of olive oil, add two cans (the size of tuna cans) of chopped clams, heat and pour over spaghetti. You can add chopped parsley if you suddenly get a spurt of ambition!


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MAYA: Like Vicki, I warm up leftovers when I don't want to cook. If I don't have leftover dinner food, I often have tuna salad in the fridge because I always make it with at least two cans of tuna. Using it for dinner, I make a variation on a Salade Niçoise with the tuna salad, tomatoes, and either green beans or canned artichoke hearts. Traditional Salade Niçoise often includes hard-boiled egg, potatoes, and anchovies. I sometimes add the egg, but I prefer crusty bread to potatoes, and I never put in anchovies, too salty for me. Though lettuce isn't necessarily part of the traditional version of the salad, I include it, along with whatever other vegetables I have around. 



 


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LESLIE B: Depends entirely on the season. In summer, I love having a big salad in the fridge -- a green salad, a pasta salad, or some other combo. It perfectly symbolizes the abundance of the season. In winter, I'm with Lucy -- pasta is the thing. We've picked up a few small Le Creuset baking dishes so when we make our gourmet mac and cheese, the recipe makes enough for us to have a dinner or two and fill four containers, each a dinner for two with a salad, and pop them into the freezer for winter evenings. Another option: Last winter, I was craving clam chowder, but it's a lot of work so we bought three varieties and did a taste test. I'd been rooting for Ivar's from Seattle, but it came in third behind the winner, Progresso in a can, and the Friday offering from the bar a couple miles up the highway!

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MARY JANE:  I must say I love everyone else’s ideas and naturally plan to steal them. Around here when we suddenly realize it’s time to eat and no one has given a moment’s thought to just what might be eaten, often the solution is breakfast for dinner.  This forgetting to plan meals seems to coincide with deadlines or edits or sometimes just life. We usually have some bacon in the fridge or freezer and are never without eggs. Crisp bacon sizzled on the grill and eggs scrambled in a very hot cast-iron pan take minutes.  We feel like we’ve gotten away with something. My husband always says: “We should do this more often”.  

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KRISTA:  An open-faced sandwich is always quick and easy for me. Ham, sliced chicken breast, or sliced salmon are just fast and easy with some fresh greens. I find baby kale lasts longer than lettuce, and it has a lovely peppery bite to it. My alternative is the same as Mary Jane's–breakfast for dinner. I love eggs for any meal. When the fridge isn't offering up anything special, I default to German pancakes.


CLEO COYLE: Fun topic, Denise! Cheeseburgers or hot dogs make for easy, quick meals for us, along with a nostalgic favorite from our childhood: the Pittsburgh-Style BBQ Chipped Ham Sandwich. If you’re from the Ohio Valley or Southwestern Pennsylvania, then you’ve probably heard of it. To learn more and how to make one yourself, click here, and eat with joy, everyone! 

The Pittsburgh-Style BBQ Chipped Ham Sandwich.
Click for recipe.






TODAY'S GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment about your go-to easy meal to enter to win these books, and remember to include your email so we can contact you if you win!!

The Key Lime Crime, Lucy Burdette 
Crypt Suzette, Maya Corrigan
Come Homicide or High Water, Denise Swanson
Candy Slain Murder, Maddie Day 
A Sprinkling of Murder, Daryl Wood Gerber






156 comments:

  1. My go to easy dinner is tacos. Just ground up and cook some hamburger meat, grate a little cheese, and heat the tortillas is the microwave and you have the perfect dinner after a long day.
    Kitten143 (at) Verizon (dot) net

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    Replies
    1. Love me some tacos--any night of the week!

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    2. My go to easy meal is hamburger helper cause I can fix it in 10 minutes and my family will devour it. Thank you for this amazing opportunity to win this giveaway.

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    3. We love tacos too and have discovered that shrimp taco are easy and delish. Under ten minutes! Although sometimes that seems just too longs.

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  2. I forgot to put my email. It’s Mwutsey@aol.com

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  3. Geez now I don’t see my comment. I said salad, venison hamburgers, or chili on hotdogs as I have a recipe from my mama that’s easy and really good! Mwutsey@aol.com

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  4. In the summer it’s salad. In the winter I always have some type of soup in the freezer that I can pull out and heat up.

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    Replies
    1. I forgot my email address
      sgiden at verizon(.)net

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    2. Soup often saves the day here too! We always have it frozen. My husband loves to make it, but he never labels it and so it's usually a surprise.

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  5. Mine's a tuna sandwich or hamburgers. Sometimes when it's been a long week at work and we're really feeling lazy we go get something at the bar. The one here in town makes pretty good food.
    kozo8989(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  6. I like to make Suddenly Salad. It’s pasta and a seasoning mix in a box but you can add in whatever suits you. On an easy day a can of already cut black olives and and a handful of cubed ham is quick. If it’s cold out soup in a crock pot is my go to.

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  7. I like Bertolli frozen meals. Just open the bag and dump it in a skillet. Done in about 10 minutes. Shrimp Scampi is the best one. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

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  8. Being creative with an easy meal. Roasted veggies with grilled salmon. Yummy and quick. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. I also like breakfast for dinner. In the summer I like salads with great garden produce. Thanks for a chance to win. ljbonkoski@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. Breakfast for dinner--yum! And this time of year, salads are on the menu for dinner quite often.

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  10. Sardines, sliced tomatoes and a baguette. Tasty and so appetizing. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  11. Taco Salad is my go to! Thanks for the chance! Awesome Giveaway ��

    Jenandalana(at)gmail(dot)com

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  12. My go to is either a quesadilla, filled with leftovers or even just cheese, or a big plate of nachos!! Everything tastes good on a tortilla chip....
    sharonquilts@yahoodotcom

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    Replies
    1. I love a quesadilla. Need gluten-free tortillas, which are pretty good.

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    2. Another one to try! I love quesadillas but never make them. Time to change that.

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  13. I always keep a bag of pre-cooked breaded chicken breast fillets or grilled chicken strips in my freezer. I throw a couple fillets in the air fryer for a quick meal. They are great on a brioche bun with mayo and pickle slices, or chopped in a salad. The grilled strips are great in salad or heated and diced for quesadillas, burritos, etc.
    Add store bought potato salad or chips and fruit for a fast lunch or light supper.