Last night, in “highly unmotivated mode,” I made macaroni and cheese from a box for dinner. Jason helped by slicing apples, and we sat down to a very ho-hum meal at 8pm. This isn’t exactly how I like to prepare food on most days, but it was an off night and I just didn’t want to try very hard. I know we’re both over it by now, and there’s good reason to keep a few boxes of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese in the pantry, but still…
When time permits, I LOVE to be in the kitchen. I’m definitely more drawn to cooking than baking–probably because I like to be able to enjoy what I’ve just made, and a savory, inventive meal almost always appeals more to me than dessert. I do love the idea of baking Christmas cookies in season, making sweet treats for our kids and their friends when they’re older, etc. But for the most part, I prefer to go a little off-recipe at times, and baking just isn’t as conducive to that habit. Instead, I’m a fan of any sort of ethnic cuisine and love to go out on a limb every once in a while. Jason and I both like spicy food, so rich, bold flavor is something I’m always trying to get right.
Ironically, despite the joy that comes with preparing a well-rounded, flavorful meal, I am often at a loss for what to make–especially during a busy work week. I suspect this will change a bit when I have more time at home during the day; I just want to expand my repertoire beyond things like tacos, spaghetti, chili, breakfast for dinner, stir fry and chicken tikka masala. I also long for the days when the grill is back in session and I can prep kabobs or burgers or fruit to make for perfect summer meals out-of-doors. Between the backyard patio, the farmer’s market and my grill-master of a husband, our summer fare is just so much more enjoyable than my routine stove top, oven and crock pot recipes.
So, as I prepare to have a bit more time to focus in the kitchen, and as I seek to better round out my culinary skills, I’m just curious…what recipe(s) do you recommend? Which ones are your go-to menu items, and which do you save for company or more labor intensive kitchen prep? What meals do you suggest for a brand new mom who is juggling life in a different way than before? What is your favorite item in the International aisle at the grocery store?
Any and all suggestions are welcome. I’m excited to mix things up a bit around here–and to be able to think a little better outside of the (mac ‘n cheese) box.
ready to tie on the apron,