This is my favorite beach house or summer vacation recipe. It’s inexpensive, quick to make, yet feels indulgent and fancy. You can customize the broth to your liking or whatever you find in the pantry.
It’s even relatively healthy (mussels are really high in selenium). You can make a big pot, warm up some bread, and throw together a green salad in less than 30 minutes. Perfect after a long day in the sun.
We all hit the wall at some point. It’s late summer and you’ve just returned from the farm with another box of fresh, organic CSA produce and….you feel nothing.
Don’t worry, it’s totally normal. The dog days of CSA happen to the best of us. One more eggplant or ear of corn can turn your stomach. Don’t panic. Don’t toss everything in the compost bin.
There are quick and easy ways to get a good dinner on the table and not waste those fresh vegetables. It’s name is pizza and it’s your savior at this time of year.
Dinners you know and trust. Everyone has them. They are time-tested and family-approved. The recipes or meals that you can pencil in on the weekly plan or pickup the ingredients without thinking while strolling the aisles during the weekly shopping and you know people will eat, or at least not grumble out too much when placed on the table.
For us, quick fish dinners, tacos or burgers, rank high in our easy, repeat dinner rotation. It’s something that I know I can get on the table quickly, will be nutritious and filling, and the girls won’t complain. Mostly because we’ve given up on Ally for the moment, she gets beans and rice, but still easy!
With just a little bit of forethought, you can dress up fish tacos, or burgers, with only a little additional effort. Sort of like putting the occasional bow tie on your dog.
Weeknight pizza is not typically in the cards at our house. Too many other moving parts: piano practice, homework, day care pick up. The pizza making is usually reserved for Friday or Saturday given the number of pies and the amount of time it typically takes me.
However, we are hosting Christmas dinner this year and, before we shop this weekend, we needed to clear out some space in the fridge and freezer. After I pulled out all the half-eaten jars, containers and bags, the only thing I could think of was put it on some dough, cover it all in cheese and bake it till bubbly.
It worked out ok. This pie was quick, easy, unique and relatively healthy. It paired well with the side salads from the crisper drawer clean out.
I wasn’t planning on posting, or even finding, two back pocket recipes so soon, but this recipe is so good and so easy that we’ve made it twice within a week. I’m struggling to think of anything beyond a slightly soggy bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or a steaming bowl of 69-cent high-sodium ramen that is as easy or as quick to get on the table for a week night dinner.
Pasta and beans is not something we traditionally throw together here in America often, but you will see it all the time in Sicily. It really did remind me of sitting on the family’s farm (Michelle’s father immigrated from Sicily) and eating the bowl of pasta and green cauliflower they served for lunch. That’s still a taste memory that I can call up almost at will. Never mind the great pizza we had in Rome or the fish by the coast, it’s that bowl of pasta that something still sticks in my mind (and taste buds).
One other thing occurred to both of us as we each polished off seconds for the second time in a week. These also taste like adult Spaghetti O’s. In a very good and elegant way. There’s something about that rich tomato paste sauce, oil and pasta that must have been hard-wired into our brains as latch-key children of the 80s.
Some days just leave you drained and dragging by six o’clock. The kids will always eat mac ‘n cheese or nuggets, but you are left staring into the cabinets wondering if saltines and hummus can qualify as dinner. This is when you need a back pocket recipe. A recipe that requires little thought, little effort and little time, but yields something you know you like and will leave you satisfied. One of my back pocket recipes is okonomiyaki. The most difficult part of the recipe is the pronunciation.