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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Challenge: Cook every night this month

Alex is usually the chef in our family, but...

...this summer we realized that we were ordering in (or picking up burritos) more often than not. We just felt distracted and busy. So! We decided to give ourselves a 30-day fall challenge: For the month of September, we would only serve homemade dinners, no matter what.

We made a list of easy, medium and hard dishes. Most dishes came from this cookbook, but the easy dishes were our own (simple) concoctions, including peppery scrambled eggs, organic sausages in whole-wheat hotdog buns with mustard, tuna avocado sandwiches, and baked potatoes with sour cream, black pepper and zucchini. Having a list of easy dinners made the whole challenge feel more doable.

Here are a few photos from last night, when Alex made shrimp rolls...
Chopping celery with shrimp.
Our fridge.
Cute.

We forgot to take photos of the finished rolls, but I swear they looked just like this! Thank you so much, Alex.

Any easy dinner recommendations? We'd love to hear...

P.S. Are you too busy?

144 comments:

Paige said...

such a great idea! it's easy to become too busy for homemade meals but this is a fantastic goal!

Rebecca Frascone said...

quinoa salad with currents, corn, and avocado. AMAZING. http://reb-em.blogspot.com/2012/09/quinoa-salad-part-deux.html

Lauren said...

Since moving to the frigid Midwest, soup has become our best friend. I love making pozole, green chile chowder, and tortilla soup. But the easiest meal we make is definitely pasta. I love tossing it with olive oil, minced garlic, kalamatas olives, and fresh arugula. My husband and I cook (or eat leftovers) 6 nights out of 7 for health and financial reasons, but Friday is always our eating out night.

Joanna Goddard said...

rebecca, that sounds fantastic! and lauren, i love that you have a regular restaurant night out. that's really fun.

Elsa de Diego said...

I love this salmon and goat cheese quiche recipe. So easy and delish at the same time! I'm trying to master it to welcome my parents in less than 48 hours!

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/smoked_salmon_dill_and_goat_cheese_quiche/

ale norris said...

my 2 favorite go-to recipes are slow-cooker pulled pork (this recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/slow-cooker-barbecued-pulled-pork?xid=DAILY052712SlowCookerBarbecued ....sooo easy and absolutely delicious. everyone always gets thirds. and soy chorizo scramble (soyrizo, chopped tomatoes, cooked onions and avocado in a skillet, then scooped in to some corn tortillas!).
-ale

Meant for a Moment Designs said...

Good thinking! I go through stages where I am inspired to create meals and when I wish it would just appear. Perhaps a challenge like this would be inspiration.

An easy meal for us is: Slow cooked balsamic pulled pork. Set it and forget it and great for left overs too!

Annette said...

My husband and I rely on an old NY Times article about Mark Bittman's 10-minute recipes. Our favorite is the New Joe's Special--ground beef, spinach, onion and egg with parmesan on top!

Carole Bee said...

I love to cook, but weeknights are SO hard after work! My FAVE quicky meal is - cooking jasmine rice and topping with big slices of tomato (really juicy ones!) and frying up some falafel ( I buy them premade ) it's a healthy and DELICIOUS quick meal!

I also love to make quesadilla's with corn tortilla's - cheddar cheese and apple slices with a side salad - yum! :)

LatteLove said...

Nom! My easy recipes are always carb-based with protein. Start with pasta, rice, quinoa, bread. Add chicken, fish, tuna, eggs. Then pick a theme for flavorings (i.e. thai curry chicken and rice, shrimp and quinoa, pasta carbonara, fish tacos)

I try to serve a vegetable side for every meal even if it doesn't really 'fit' Last night we had chicken and wild rice with edamame!

Meant for a Moment Designs said...

Oh and my FAV quickie: Linguini, Shrimp, Parm, Parsley and asparagus in a lemon butter sauce. SO fresh and simple!

The Egg said...

make a big fat pot of chili and freeze it!
so easy to grab and just heat up

xo the egg out west.

RosieB said...

Super easy is pasta with a creme fraiche sauce- cook bacon lardons until crisp in pan, add cooked veg like leeks/spinach/peas, and a big dollop of creme fraiche. Let the creme fraiche melt, add parmesan, and then stir through freshly cooked pasta and season to taste! So simple and so delicious! :)

www.ciderwithrosiebee.blogspot.com

Meadow said...

Quick and easy Italian pita - mix tuna, red kidney beans, chopped onions (I usually use 1/3 of an onion or so), a dash of olive oil, salt, pepper. Put into a pita and voila, quick and delicious.

Second Floor Flat said...

Love Real Simple and love this idea. There's something about staying in and deciding to cook a proper dinner that's intimate, cozy, and fun.

erin said...

joanna, we've pledged the same thing. james is still doing his gig at the farmer's market, so we have too much that's fresh to justify going out (tempting though it is). last night i made an eggplant lentil soup that was ridiculously easy and so satisfying. recipe here

Lauren {Stylized Existence} said...

I echo the egg! Chili is definitely my go-to. With a little cheddar cheese on top and some sour cream to cool down the heat. Amazing.

Catie Beatty said...

At first, I was thinking "this is like one of those 'have sex every day this month' challenges. Not possible." BUT this actually sounds doable, like you said! Making a list of the meals to be made makes it so much more realistic. I think my husband would really like this idea. We love eating out, so it happens more than it should. This would be a good way to save money.

Catie
http://www.fleur-d-elise.net

Bobby said...

My easy go-to recipe is chicken masala with jasmine rice (perfect for chilly evenings). It's super easy. You make your spice (2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 Tbsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp garam masala). Brown onions and garlic, throw in spice. Throw in diced chicken. Add a can of tomato puree then a cup of chicken stock. Let it simmer a while and YUMMERS, you have a delicious meal :)

Reagan Bowman said...

What a great challenge! You should have a pinterest board with all of your recipes for the month!

FashionableLena said...

Anything with a crock pot. I have an electric one with a timer, and it is a Godsend.
My family's favorite meal is when I take flank steak and cook it in the crock pot. I season the meat and add in a chopper onion. I pour a bottle of chili sauce and let it cook for 6 hours. Tender and delicious. I serve over rice and with cornbread and a fresh vegetable.

M Hood said...

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/01/tomato-sauce-with-butter-and-onions/

That's our go-to spaghetti sauce :) Easy peasy.

Stella said...

I recently posted a link on my blog to seriously the yummiest, easiest chicken enchiladas! It's my mom's recipe, and they are my favorite. Especially with REALLY good salsa!

http://www.ellasmiles.com/2012/08/yummiest-easiest-enchiladas-ever.html

trinaenriquez said...

Cilantro chicken is one of my favorite Fast & Fresh recipes from Sunset. The zing of fresh lime juice mixed with chopped fresh cilantro, lots of garlic, and a bit of honey on grilled pounded chicken breasts.

Alina Valero said...

so funny! i just blogged about how my boyfriend and i are on a restaurant ban until november (including takeout/delivery!)

www.itsalina.com

also, the easiest way to cook, in my opinion, is to have a bunch of ingredients on hand and just get creative!

Lili said...

hey, a good old classic but I use a lot Jamie Oliver's book 30 minutes meal for week day dinner, easy, quick and tasty!

M. said...

Spanish Omelette (with onion ) and salad is always a nice dinner. Simple Salad, i mean: lettuce, tomatoes, onion, olive oil and vinegar. Very spanish hehe

Sneaky Magpie said...

Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals have great, easy (lots of chopping though!) meals. And so delicious, when my baby was born I cooked from this book for majority of the first year. And the best thing about it is that you don't have to go for the whole meal, just pick a couple of components and it will still be good.

From my own recipes I think roast chicken and mashed potatoes are super easy and if you spatchcock the bird it will roast really fast.

Angry Asian said...

having a csa this summer and autumn helps. i do what is lovingly called the Pile. we either sautee or roast up whatever vegs we got in our csa that week and serve it atop rice, pasta, quinoa, bread or barley. sometimes we eat it raw dressed simply in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. with the cooler temps creeping in i see soups in our future.

Mariana said...

Obviously they were delicious, because you had eaten everything before you remembered to take a photo. It happens to me, too. :)

p.s.: There are some simple and good recipes on my blog - looks under 'A recipe for...'. ;)

Mollie D said...

I think the ease of getting take out in a city like NY doesn't help. I live in the midwest and never take out because everything is fast food. If we had yummy restaurants everywhere, we'd probably do the same thing.

I ate out a lot in college because the food was fabulous and every place was open until 2-3am, not here in the burbs, it's Pizza Slut or nothin....keeps it easy to eat at home (plus we have bigger kitchens!)

Manda said...

Good idea!
Definitely quite the challenge though.
Eat Cake

Simple Country Girl said...

This is a great idea, we get stuck in the take away rut, I might suggest this to my boyfriend! x

Mallory Recor said...

Soup is our go to in the fall! It's usually pretty quick to prep, and you can do so almost any point during the day. And it tastes so good.

PS Challenge accepted. I think we're going to try this out in my house for the next month.

Katie said...

I made this steak salad for the second time and I love it all over again, http://okayteablog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/for-salad-freaks.html xx

Sammie Brooke said...

Crock pot meals rock; I make something called taco chicken with chicken breasts, taco seasoning, diced tomatoes and black beans -- it's great as a taco or burrito filling or as a meal in itself with some tortilla chips. Our other go-tos are "fried rice" -- basically just rice with stir fried veggies, meat and some scrambled eggs -- anything on the grill, or Rachael Ray's Roasted Rosemary and Garlic Chicken -- so easy! Pasta is always a speedy staple too.

Jennifer Bridges said...

Oh my gosh your darling son looks so much like your happy husband!! cute!

igotsapoodle said...

Shrimp salad sounds delicious. Lately I've been hooked on something similar: trying to replicate the tuna-apple-cranberry salad from Whole Foods. I think they put lemon juice, dill, sweetened dried cranberries, apple cider vinegar, and a few other ingredients into it, in addition to the usual celery/mayo. It's so unbelievably good, and healthy!

Kelly J. R. said...

My husband and I eat out or get takeout pizza only twice per month. He doesn't cook so I'm cooking almost every single night. One of my favorite, quick recipes is "Angel Hair with Spicy Shrimp" from Real Simple. (Find the recipe on their website). We also have clean-out-the-fridge burritos about once a week. That's a great way to use up random bits of veggies.

Crystal Patenaude said...

My fiance and I started doing this over the summer after we realized we were having grilled cheese sandwiches and/or soup every night. This chicken tostada recipe (also Martha Stewart--love her!) is one of our favorites. It's pretty fast too, except it does take a while to chop up the vegetables. Enjoy! xo

http://www.marthastewart.com/312907/chicken-fajita-tostadas

Baylee said...

fry up zucchini with steak seasoning, put it on rice. mashed cauliflower and fried up tofu sausage! yum!

Melanie said...

We limit ourselves to dining out 1X/week (and just recently we have decided that we every other one is a date night for us and pizza or pick up for them).

Here is our favorite go-to meal.
1 lb GOOD ground sausage.
2 cans of beans drained(whatever you have, we tend to like black but kidney are good too)
1 liberal splash of salsa straight out of the costco size jug. I use fresh if I have it but there are not hard and fast rules here.

brown the sausage, rinse and drain. Mix sausage, beans and salsa. heat to piping hot. Serve with salad and tortilla chips if your feeling fancy.

Abby said...

My boyfriend and I cook most nights (or eat leftovers), but we like to reserve Saturday mornings for trying out our favorite food trucks at the farmers' market. There's always something new! For easy dinners, we've been making lentils and rice, or pizza. We take turns cooking, and we're both obsessed with Cooking Light. Now that I've discovered cookbooks at the library, too, I've been checking out books on easy Indian food and trying those out. There's a lot to try!

sumslay said...

Hehe, living alone, my new year's resolution was to cook one "real" meal PER MONTH. :P "Real," meaning there were sides; you know as a girl, I consider bread and cheese to be a full meal, so I'm trying to expand my culinary skillz. ;) haha

Anyway, do you, or anyone have a cookbook that helps use a lot of the same ingredients? For example, I love making grilled cheese, pesto, and avacado sammiches, but...I don't want that every single day, but i don't want the food to go to waste.

Stephanie said...

My husband and I eat dinner at home most nights - we usually only go out to eat once or twice a month. One of our favorite recipes is spinach enchiladas verde on AllRecipes.com. We substitute pepper jack cheese for the Monterey jack to give it an extra kick. So yummy!

Meg said...

I love that you're doing this. How do you EVER find the time?!!

http://lifeatruestory4.blogspot.com/

alycia & darren said...

I made this pasta dish last night and it was crazy yummy. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pasta-with-sausage-basil-and-mustard

dolores @ Humble Ablog said...

Great challenge! We have a rule where we make home cook meals during the workweek and only order (dinner)takeout on the weekends. We've even started splitting take-out meals because we realized your normal takeout combo was just way too much food for one person. I say it's a win-win.

As for my easy dinner recommendation:

Buffalo Turkey Burgers w/ Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw.

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/05/buffalo-turkey-burgers-with-blue-cheese.html

You will not be disappointed!

StephanieRonco said...

Smitten Kitchen is the best for quick, simple, and delicious dinners. I especially love her spinach quiche (http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/09/spinach-quiche-revisited/) and pasta with cherry tomatoes and arugula (http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/12/little-ears-big-chew/)

Alexa said...

i love this idea! at first i thought, i am too busy for that! but...i am single and i live alone...aka, i'll never have so much time again. so i plan to give this a go :)

jenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Blake said...

What a fun challenge! My mom became a master of the simple pasta salad this summer. It was easy, light and delicious!

Tall and Salty said...

This chicken stuffed with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and garlic is SO easy and delicious: http://tallandsalty.blogspot.com/2012/04/easiest-chicken-ever.html

And when all else fails: TACOS.

Fancy Pants said...

Roast Chicken on a Sunday night! (Specifically Ina Garten's "Perfect Roast Chicken"). Then you'll have delicious leftovers to make other easy meals.

Liz said...

ooh, I love this idea! i'm getting lots of ideas from this comment section too :)

one of my favorite easy dinners, especially in fall, is this butternut squash & goat cheese salad . goes well with whatever leftover protein you have on hand, like roast chicken from the night before.

Leah Rosen said...

joanna, where do you STORE recipes? i am overwhelmed by my random recipes that are bookmarked, zeroxes from friends, and draft emails where i cut and paste things i sometimes stumble upon online. any strategies?

Sylvie said...

It's a real challenge cooking every night, even though it doesn't have to take all that long. I think planning is the answer. I always find that if I make a meal plan for the week and shop accordingly I do much better. This is my current go-to quick and delicious dinner: http://apotofteaandabiscuit.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/macaroni-peas-by-hugh-fearnley.html

Marta said...

We love this recipe: some fresh (green) asparagus, add Spanish extra-virgin olive oil and Iberico ham, add Manchego cheese and grill! Easy, delicious and healthy! What's not to love? Enjoy!
Marta
http://abilingualbb.blogspot.com

Red Panda said...

One of my favorite quick, yet delicious meals is spinach & feta tilapia roll-ups! All you do is saute some spinach in olive oil with salt and pepper, add some feta, then scoop the mixture onto each piece of raw tilapia. Roll each piece up, cover in italian herbs + salt + pepper, then cook for about 25 minutes in 425 degrees. I made this last night, and added some balsalmic glaze. To die for!

Ann said...

Slow-cooker Chicken Tikka Masala and Soy-Glazed and Soy-Glazed Chicken with Stir-Fried Vegetables ,both from RealSimple, are really excellent. Slow-cooker recipes can be hit or miss -- especially since so many have cream-of-crap soup as an ingredient -- but these are real winners and regulars on our monthly meal plan.

Sol Kawage said...

Chicken breasts slathered with anything from olive oil and paprika to barbecue sauce, in the oven. In the same oven at the same time a dish with cauliflower with oil, a dash of vinegar and salt. 30 minutes, 400°

Perfect dinner with 3 minutes prep time. The oven does the rest. A sliced tomato in a salad. Some cheese makes it a feast.

Gabriella said...

when I momentarily abandon my quest to eat fewer carbs, I make this easy and insanely soothing recipe for meyer lemon and goat cheese pasta:

http://www.inerikaskitchen.com/2010/06/meyer-lemon-spaghetti-with-goat-cheese.html

D2 said...

Joanna - what a great challenge. Love it. Here are some of my favorites = Green Chile Chicken Casserole (can make the morning of or night before and pop in oven later - and makes great leftovers) http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/green-chile-chicken-casserole-10000000550015/

And then another fave = Spicy Asian Noodles (so yummy) - http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-asian-noodles-with-chicken-10000001880019/

Easy pulled pork recipe = http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/3-ingredient-pulled-pork-recipe/1/

Yummy side for pork = Fresh Corn Salad - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/fresh-corn-salad-recipe/index.html

Paige Geiger said...

Baked speghetti squash with jar tomato sauce (spiffed up the addition of red pepper flakes, garlic, and a little sateed zuchini and crimini mushrooms). Super fast and easy. Had it last night and it was fabulous!

ritd said...

we make this http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/05/spinach-and-feta-pasta/ . so good and plenty of leftovers!

Ceresnicka na torte said...

I have a question,if you order or pick up the burittos do you cook for Toby or you order same for him?
I really enjoy to read your blog almost every day:)

Emily said...

Kale salad w/ garlicky-lemon vinaigrette: Finely minced/shredded lacinato kale leaves, currants, slivered almonds, shallots or scallions, avocado all with a simple vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, lots and lots of minced garlic, s & p, and 3/4 c. finely grated parmesan cheese. A complete meal w/ lots of greens!

shoegirl said...

I LOVE Real Simple recipes! They have a ginger-peanut chicken with noodles that I swear by.

One night make this crock pot chicken, but make 6-8 breasts (for leftovers): http://www.goodlifeeats.com/2010/09/crock-pot-mexican-chicken.html to have with soft chicken tacos (I highly recommend making them with a nice crunchy cabbage with lime juice and fresh cilantro). Homemade tortillas are a must. This book has the best recipe and they are SO easy: http://www.amazon.com/Quick-Easy-Mexican-Cooking-Chronicle/dp/0811872327/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347475860&sr=1-1&keywords=Quick+%26+easy+mexican+cooking

Then the next night use the rest of that tasty chicken to make a super easy tortilla soup (also from the book above). Lots of fresh veggies and super delicious. Best of all, your chicken is already done, so it takes only about 20 minutes total.

Have fun with your cooking adventures!

J+H @ Beyond The Stoop said...

we've been REALLY busy this summer... long hours at work plus nightly kickboxing classes plus living in an old brownstone with no central AC led for no time (or willingness to deal with a hot apartment from the stove) for cooking. i recently bought my other half a panini press! and we've been eating a TON of smashed sammiches.

12" baguettes 3/$1 at the corner bodega and pulled chicken in the crock pot leave lots of room for buffalo chicken paninis! smear a tiny bit of cream cheese on the bun, then the chicken, then the buffalo sauce (or franks!), smash in panini press until toasty on the outside, then add alfalfa sprouts... and done!! delicious and healthy sammiches.

also pulled chicken or pulled pork in the crock pot is cheap and easy and makes a LOT and you can make a LOT of things with it: sammiches, salads, tacos, soups, all things that take no time to make...

cheers! and good luck!

Tanya said...

I think that is a fantastic goal! My husband and I cook all of our meals at home about 5-6 nights a week,and on the weekends is when we will usually go out to lunch or dinner. It is definitely hard to cook all the time but we have a few staples, like stir-fry (so easy to throw fresh or frozen veggies and meat together and served with rice), spaghetti and meatballs, taco salad (which tastes like a chipotle bowl, we buy jennie-o taco seasoned ground turkey or buy plain and season it ourselves, top over brown rice, add shredded lettuce, blackbeans, tomato, cheese, sour cream, avocado and salsa), taco soup is also very popular in the winter and the recipe is on the back of the Jennie-O taco seasoned ground turkey (but I like to add corn and potatoes and cook corn bread too). We also use Susie Q's Santa Maria seasoning on everything! Tastes so good on salmon, chicken and steak, so when we are feeling lazy we cook one of those meats and served with steamed veggies.

christina said...

do you ever make your own bread?! seriously so easy and cheaper than a bakery...like 40 cent a loaf.! Taste great with egg sandwiches! ;)

christina said...

here is a no knead bread recipes if your interested :) just mix and let it sit over night...its that easy:

http://bitohthis.blogspot.com/2012/08/no-knead-bread.html

Bethany Seawright said...

My go-to fast & easy meal is broiled mustard salmon with roasted asparagus (one pan, 10 mins. total) -

Place trimmed asparagus in a single layer on one half of broiler pan or small cookie sheet, and salmon fillets (that have been lightly peppered on both sides)on the other. Sprinkle asparagus lightly with oil olive, salt & pepper. Broil both in a pre-heated oven for 4 mins. Remove pan from broiler. Spread each salmon fillet with approx. 1 teas. Dijon mustard,sprinkle with cracked pepper (if desired),and return everything to broiler. Cook for 6 mins., or until mustard is lightly browned.

(I keep a club pack of frozen salmon fillets from Wegman's on hand at all times, which makes this recipe super easy to make at a moment's notice.)

Rebecca Jones said...

you can cook a whole box of quinoa early in the week and use it for so many things! make sure you use water to cook it in. from one box you can have...

southwest quinoa - avacado, corn, tomatos, black beans, spice of choice, cilantro, salsa if you want :)
breakfast quinoa - milk, bananas, nuts
you can add it to any salad or soup for extra protein or in your yogurt in the mornings

foldedcranes said...

Cool! Like this idea, hope you are enjoying your month of cooking thus far! For another cool recipe to add to your medium list, you might like to check out my husband's kickass chickpea burrito recipe, it's a winner every time! Recipe here on our blog - enjoy: http://foldedcranes.com/2012/06/17/chickpea-burritos/

Olivia said...

I've been taking inspiration from sortedfood.com a group of childhood friends who came together to teach young people how to cook simple yet delicious foods. One of them is a chef and he teaches his inept friends recipes every day! their baking recipes are all metric since they're english but the ideas are great!

nicole said...

I cook a couple things on the weekend (big pot of soup; big bean salad, etc.) and my boyfriend and I eat leftovers for most of the week. If we get sick of it, we add a poached egg or make something quick and easy (e.g. a simple pasta dish). Not very exciting but it makes weeknights so much easier! I love using Food52, Orangette, 101 Cookbooks and other blogs to find my recipes, but I'm in the middle of reading "An Everlasting Meal" by Tamar Adler and it's really changed how I think about cooking.

Kelly Anderson said...

Lots of easy, medium and hard recipes HERE!
http://loveoflentils.blogspot.com/

Enjoy! xx.

jean goddard said...

I made some white bean soup yesterday. Just soak dried beans overnight in water. The next night saute a bunch of onions, add the beans, some rosemary and chicken stock. Then bring to a boil and simmer for about 40mins. Season. Delicious with a salad and bread. :)

Rebekah Daphne said...

Roast chicken! One meal right there, and then leftovers for at least two other meals (stir fry, salad, soup, etc).

This post is really interesting to me. We cook dinner every night, and I grew up with my mom cooking every day too-- eating out is a very rare treat. I tend to assume that everyone does the same! I guess not :)

Sarah Tucker said...

I love cooking, but time doesn't always allow. We usually cook extra for leftovers to ensure that the next day we can at least have "home-cooked" leftovers...instead of having to go out to eat :)

kati said...

a great idea! you guys are just too cute. and i love that your husband is the cooker, mine is too :)

as for easy dinners, don't ever forget BLTs! with some great bread, buttered on both sides and grilled on the stove (not toasted!)... mayo (maybe even basil mayo)... tomatoes (i love green tomatoes)... bacon cooked in the oven instead of on the stove (so much easier!) and some really good greens (i always love butter lettuce or red leaf lettuce). now i'm hungry!

Carly said...

I love this idea. We're normally very good at cooking most evenings but we went away recently which meant eating out every night and since we've been back we've really struggled to get back in to the swing of home cooked meals.

One of my favourite easy meals is brown rice and fresh veg. So simple but honestly it's so delicious.

Jamie's 30 Minute Meals has so many great recipes and you don't have to cook the whole meal which means even quicker cooking times. I do love having a free weekend so I can cook loads of various meals and then freeze them for the week ahead.

It would be great if you could share your recipes from your cooking at home month.

Ale' said...

My husband and I just decided to do the same thing. We did our finances and figured that we ate out WAY WAYtoo much! It was mind boggling.(We love to go get sushi a lot, which isnt the cheapest!) Plus we are newlyweds and have hopes to buy a home one day and we need to start saving more money anyway we can!

Ash said...

chickpeas, kale, and soy sauce.. throw it all in a pot and enjoy!

M.M. said...

Our go to easy meal is pasta (we usually use whole wheat or quinoa flour pasta) with frozen veggies (there are so many kinds out there now!), and some sausage. We throw the veg and sausage in a pan, then pour our fave sauce over it (or just to olive oil and parmesan), and then voila -- easy peasy dinner, that has manages to get some veg in there.

Cristina said...

One of my all-time favorite quick meals is stir fry. I usually make it when it's time to use up any lingering vegetables/proteins in the fridge and fry them up with ingredients I always have on hand: tamari, ginger, garlic, coconut oil, mustard, rice wine vinegar, and honey. And since we just found out we're having a baby, we've committed to cooking quite a lot at home, too!

junebug said...

Sicilian Spaghetti is one of my favorite quick meals, with a spinach salad.

Lately, we've been making Smitten Kitchen's zucchini bread pancakes like fiends. They are so, so good. And you can keep them warm in the toaster oven while cooking your scrambled eggs in the same pan and the whole meal dirties so few dishes. The best!

Un coup d'aile said...

hey Jo!! go over to food gawker.com
this is where i get all the inspiration from!! good luck et bon appétit!!

HannahT said...

i can be pretty kitchen savvy but i would die without TheKitchn. You can plug anything in your fridge into the search and find a great recipe. They also have awesome instruction for basic kitchen skills [knife skills, how to cook eggs any way, etc], ingredient spotlights and product reviews. My first fall purchase -- a slow cooker! They have TONS of recipes for slow cookers...

HannahT said...

I got too excited...

http://www.thekitchn.com/

AP said...

Open face sardine sandwhiches were my go-to meal this summer.

Toast some sour-dough, spread with humus, open a can and break up one or 2 sardines, and cover with arugula tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Literally takes 5 minutes.

YUM!

Katie Thamer said...

BLTs with Avocado and cracked pepper potato chips. Simple and yummy. :)

Jennifer said...

Life is crazy busy these days for me: I'm 33 weeks pregnant, chasing a 4-year-old, an almost-2-year-old, packing a house for a move (next week!) and cleaning as I go. One dinner solution that's working for me (when we don't order in) is breakfast-for-dinner. Usually it's scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and English muffins. It makes everyone happy and is pretty easy.

The other easy stand-by, of course, is frozen cheese/spinach ravioli with a good pasta sauce (we love Rao's). I was feeling guilty about the lack of cooking (after all, we already packed up most of the kitchen), but I realized as long as I vary what we eat and make fruit dessert, we'll be just fine.

That said, I look forward to unpacking my pots, pans and knives after we move.

Also, one of my favorite recipes in the summer (as there is an abundance of zucchini) is Ina Garten's sauteed zucchini with onions and parm. HEAVEN on a plate.

CMX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aubry. said...

my favorite meal lately is a knock off of a pasta dish i ate at eataly earlier this summer.

spinach ricotta raviolis - or whatever flavor you can score from the grocery store - with a lemon butter sauce {i warmed butter and a dash of lemon juice over the stove top} and sprinkled parmesan and chopped pistachios over top. asparagus too, most times. either in the pasta or on the side.

Nomadic D. said...

Love this idea! We do a pretty good job at cooking and eating in, but sometimes life just gets too busy and hectic and it's so easy to slip into patterns of eating takeout. Keep us posted on how your month goes!

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

laco said...

i cook almost every night, but i have a great arrangement with my husband. he does prep and cleaning, i do the planning, shopping, and preparing. it works great. also, i feature great recipes on my blog every thursday (with a recap of how last week's featured recipe went down). check it out sometime: www.acomfortablecreature.blogspot.com (the creamy jambalaya pasta dish was a tremendous hit and only cost us about $7 to make).
ciao~
~L

friedapaula said...

I just bought and tried a few recipes from Rachel Khoo's "Little Paris Kitchen (http://www.amazon.com/Little-Paris-Kitchen-French-Rachel/dp/0718158113/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347490137&sr=1-1&keywords=rachel+khoo)
It's simple recipes for AMAZING French food, I love it.

face said...

Our favorite easy/quick recipes *almost* always involve a poached/fried or runny egg yolk! MMMM

Bibimbap- (with garden fresh vegetables and herbs, homemade kimchee, over quinoa or brown rice)

Pesto Nicoise salad (complete with soft boiled egg halves, pesto marinated tuna, heirloom tomatoes, arugula, and served with grainy toast)

Vegetable Soups (half blended! served with a poached egg, lots of herbs and many with dots of avocado oil or infused oil & fresh crusty bread)
If I am feeling fancy, I make two (tomato & pea or mushroom and squash etc) of different consistencies and pour them at the same time to make a "half and half" soup. So easy to freeze and save. So satisfying!



Y said...

I've been trying to make more home cooked meals as well!! So easy NOT to in nyc.
my easy go to's are always omelettes with spinach, broccoli, and peperjack cheese (or the vintage cheddar from Trader Joes which is to die for) or my favorite childhood korean staple of rice with an over-easy egg on top with a bit of soy sauce. yum.
love eggs and cheese :)

xoxox

lostintravels said...

I live in Asia and sometimes it can be really difficult to find ingredients for my go-to recipes from back in the states. Lately I've been making shredded chicken, with avocado, mayo, lime juice and garlic powder. Mashing it all up and putting it in a toasted tortilla.

Emily said...

My go to simple burrito bowls. Rice (from an inexpensive rice cooker), beans, cheese, chicken topped with salsa. Can also make this into a burrito.

Emma said...

As much as I love cooking and baking I actually hate the whole weekday dinner thing as it's super tedious.

A go to recipe I love is linguine with chopped toasted nuts of your choice, a bunch of chopped herbs, parmesan cheese and chilli, lemon and garlic infused olive oil. Super easy, healthy and delicious.

asplashofvanilla.com

whatnomints said...

My boyfriend and I have a shared Pinterest board where we post up recipes we would like to make! http://pinterest.com/rymndlxryycht/foof/ We refer to it often when compiling meals for the week - So easy!

Alexandra said...

2 MUSTS that are healthy and super delicious:

1. Giada's California Turkey Chili
2. New York Times Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Both are so fabulous, and enoughnfor leftovers or to freeze so you don't have to cook one of your nights. Both recipes are fairly easy ifnyou get everything ready first (chopping, spices, ingredients, etc) and then start to cook.

Bon Apetit !

Stephanie said...

We cook at home every night. Last night we had super easy penne, tin of tuna, jar of tomato pasta sauce, dollop of cream. Boil pasta, drain, then stir in other ingredients. My kids favourite and very yummy.

lillies & lattes said...

This is a brilliant idea! Sometimes cooking at home feels so overwhelming (especially for one, when I become inundated with leftovers) so I love the idea of generating ideas ahead of time!

Marcie Greene said...

I swear by Jamie Oliver's recipes, I just got meals in minutes and it's really useful on weeknights. Plus we are vegetarian and there are plenty of veggie dishes!

My go-to is roasted veggie couscous - chop veggies (I usually do red pepper, onion, zucchini and corn), mix with olive oil and cumin, roast in oven at 400 for 10-15 min, then after mix with couscous and black beans. Yum, and good for leftovers too!

Fai said...

I cook every night too! Now that I'm living in Japan, I also make lunch box (obento) for my hubby!

Tasty and healthy!

x

Fai @ cosetteblog.blogspot.com

Jennifer said...

i love my shun!

Rachael said...

I've been trying these dishes:
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/08/26/magazine/corn-off-the-cob.html
So easy and you don't have to make anything warm so it's good for the end of summer!

i&mmackler said...

We had this tonight: It is delicious! My toddler was clapping her hands with glee while she waited for her seconds, too! :)
http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/01/tomato-sauce-with-butter-and-onions/#

melanie said...

We always try to cook Sun-Thurs night unless there is something mid week which interrupts the rhythm. I find making a meal list each weeks keeps things fun and unique at least a handful of nights each week. Some of my favorite easy meals are middle eastern night (grilled lamb, pita, yogurt, hummus and chopped tomato with rice), veggie tacos (corn, potato and zucchini) and pizza!

{ Nina Designs } said...

Haha...I don't know how but you're always doing what I'm thinking of doing!
In my house we don't like to cook on weekdays, so we have take away a lot, and that's not good. So I cook one week and he does the other. We'll see how it goes. But having a list definitely helps.

Tonia said...

Mackerel and chorizo hot sandwiches in ciabatta rolls with tartar sauce and a crisp salad. So easy my daughter can make them!

Serena [verdepomodoro] said...

you have to cook pasta, the Italian version! you'll love it.

Kerli said...

Chili Con Carne is the best! And also so so fast!

Gemma said...

One of our favourite quick meals is roasted broccoli (I usually roast it with olive oil, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and piment d'espelette), served with quinoa and a fried egg on top or Melissa Clark's roasted broccoli with shrimp.

Sian said...

I find a lot of the work in feeding yourself every night comes from having the right ingredients in - if you need to pop out to the shop then you may as well get take out (or that's how your mind works sometimes!). We also had to budget as we were spending way too much on food.

So, we make a weekly menu, then a weekly shopping list from the menu. Stops us overspending, stops food waste, stops you having to think about what to make for dinner when you come in from work, and stops those annoying trips out for 1 onion (or whatever)! Works for us.. we don't follow the menu rigidly (Mondays plan might get swapped with Wednesdays for instance) but it has really helped us.

Pop Neo said...

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Kelsi Jean said...

My husband and I try to do this and we always fail. This post inspired me to try again! I love cooking from any Ina Garten cookbook. Last night I made her chive risotto cakes from her back to basics cookbook.

Missy said...

I love the random things about life in the US that I learn reading this blog. I live in Australia and pretty well everyone cooks dinner 5-7 nights a week so I was very curious when I read the title of this post. I think I'm a bit jealous! I would be eating Mexican all the time too if I had a good restaurant nearby.
www.taste.com.au is a great resource if you want to try some easy dinners that are common in Australia.

Nicole Renee said...

My husband and I have also been trying to eat out/order in less. I'm a huge fan of Cooking Light - both the magazine and the cookbooks. They have a series called Fresh Food Fast that I swear by for weeknight meals. Healthy, easy, delish. I also LOVE my crockpot like only a Midwestern girl can. Again, Cooking Light has a great book - Slow Cooker something or other that has great, easy recipes. So nice to come home from a long day and have dinner ready and our apartment smelling amazing. Happy eating!

courtney said...

I love cooking at home, but I've found that since moving to NY I'm also eating out a lot! Some of my go to, super easy meals are...

chicken sang choy bao (basically minced chicken in iceberg lettuce cups - I like to add minced pork as well... AND it's a really fun hands-on meal)

tom yum goong (a thai hot and sour prawn soup)

penne with char-grilled capsicums (red bell peppers) and pine nuts

smoked salmon, caper and dill frittata

tuna & tomato salad (chuck in five bean mix, cilantro, lemon and eat with some yummy bread and you're good to go for a light dinner or lunch!)

spanish omelette

spinach & ricotta cannelloni

spaghetti bolognese (of course!)

fettucine marinara

also, you stir fries are great because at the very least you can just put a bunch of veggies in a wok, stir them around, season, and eat with rice!

I agree with Missy above with www.taste.com.au - there are heaps of great recipes there.


Bon appétit!

courtney said...

ah, a few typos in there but I hope you get the gist :)

also, now that the weather is getting cooler - chilli con carne is always warming. and soups are the best! shortcut spicy moroccan soup is a fave - just dried soup mix, cilantro, harissa pase, condensed tomato soup :)

Jiří Hanzelka said...

Really nice recipe blog you have my congratulation and If you like some idea for recipe you can use one of the Czech classic recipe. http://brambory-recepty.blogspot.cz/

Joanna Goddard said...

annette, can't wait to read through all bittman's ideas. thank you to everyone for these brilliant ideas!!! xoxo

LKF said...

Love this recipe: http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2012/01/buffalo-wing-turkey-lettuce-wraps.html

And this recipe:
http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/02/crock-pot-santa-fe-chicken-425-pts.html

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

I recently participated in a round-up of posts about How I Really Eat. Lots of great ideas from the various posts, if you'd like to check it out.

Have you tried menu planning? It can be a pain in the arse, but it really pays off, especially if cooking is a priority in your life.

Have you and Alex thought about joining the Locavore Challenge? I suggest you try it out!

Allez Cuisine!

rawketstarling said...

I love this! I've been trying to eschew flour/gluten for the month of september to end my dependency on the breads/pastries/tortillas/pizza that were destroying any efforts I made at the gym. So far it's been great--I feel so clean and have definitely been making strides. I have an Evernote folder piled with recipes, so I've been challenging myself to make something new and exciting several nights a week. I made a delicious quinoa salad the other night, chicken noodle soup last night, and tonight I'm trying sweet potatoes stuffed with black beans and corn! Good for you--I imagine it's easy to eat out a lot in NYC!

Becs said...

Good for you! This is my favourite quick recipe: http://m.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Penne-with-Sausage-Wild-Mushrooms-and-Spinach-15542. It's easy to make less for two people, and you can add any veggies as well as spinach and mushrooms.

Kate said...

I need to take on this challenge!


www.louiseandcostyle.blogspot.com

dinaclabaugh said...

Our staple easy din din in the woods! Actually making tonight.
Via dinaDuluth:
http://dinaclabaugh.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/our-chickpea-taco-obsession-2/

Jenny said...

Giada De Laurentis recipes (foodtv.com) have never failed me. Her recipes are simple, healthy, and easily altered to your taste.

I also like Real Simple. They have great recipes on their site. Like fish cooked in parchment paper. Fun presentation and super easy.

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/steamed-salmon-asparagus-parchment-10000001038762/index.html


Momo said...

Hi, Cup of Jo!

A friend of mine who reads your blog regularly told me that you were doing a Challenge to eat in in September! That is so awesome!

My partner and I are doing the same thing - we started last year on a whim and decided to make it an annual thing! It was a similar thinking process where we were eating out all the time in the summer (we just started dating then) and thought, hey it's fall, we really should take advantage of the produce that was being harvested!

This year things are going pretty well, I learned how to make granola, and my next "new" project is learning how to make falafel.

It makes me so happy that we independently took on this similar challenge :) Great minds think alike!

Keep cookin' and you can count me as a new reader :)

I live over at www.mightygoodeats.wordpress.com, so drop by and say hi sometime :)

momandsons said...

Look up Eugenia Bone's recipe in Food and Wine for Smoked Tukey Soup. It is one of the easiest soups and my kids are crazy for it.

LindseyLeona said...

heck yea sister. i'm on it. trying to do the same:) great timing as always for inspo!

Rosalind said...

We cook every night, I think it is more the norm in Australia. You should look up some Donna Hay cook books. Beautiful, simple fresh food - she's changed my cooking. She also has a magazine and an annual kids birthday mag you would love.

http://www.donnahay.com.au/

cheeky said...

this is a great idea! we cook a lot more now that we live in DC and can both walk to/from work. here are some recent favorites chez cheeky:

http://cheekydid.blogspot.com/2012/03/cheekydid-learn-catalan-recipes.html

http://cheekydid.blogspot.com/2012/07/cheeky-recipe-ginger-scallion-noodles.html

http://cheekydid.blogspot.com/2011/11/cheeky-recipe-korean-tacos.html

http://cheekydid.blogspot.com/2011/08/monday-meal-planning.html

good luck!

AJ said...

One of our quick and easy favs? Huevos Rancheros. We always have refried beans and eggs on hand. Everything else (tortillas vs. tortilla chips vs. quick root veggie hash, fresh veg on top, sour cream, salsas, cheeses) is based on what we have in the fridge at the time. Super yummy and can be healthy!

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Lil T said...

Oddball question: do you have a dishwasher in your apt? We love to cook most meals but not having a dishwasher tends to be the reason why we sometimes avoid cooking after bus days. Who wants to get home late, eat late and then do dishes. Yes. They could get piled up and wait for later but that no adds to the feeling of craziness. Anyway. We are talking about starting a family and making do in our small apt for now... But our one thought is to buy a portable dishwasher...ESP when and if bottles enter the picture. Thoughts from another small dweller?

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