Cooking a weeknight meal at the end of a long day can sometimes feel like a tall order.
We're tired and most likely hungry, and picking up the phone for take-out feels like a much better option than chopping up a load of vegetables.
This week on Good Food, Evan Kleiman interviews Sara Moulton of Gourmet Magazine and gleans some good tips for weeknight cooking!
Sara Moulton's advice boils down to three main points:
Have a plan
Keep your pantry stocked
Use your imagination
Seems logical, right?!
Planning meals ahead of time and heading to the grocery store with those specific recipes in mind eliminates most of the draw to fast food.
For those of us who like to leave room for spontaneity, you can plan themes like "Italian Night" and "Breakfast-for-Dinner Night" (see Using Your Imagination, below!) and look for ingredients that match those themes.
Making sure to keep your pantry stocked is a fall back for those times when the planning-ahead idea didn't quite pan out. With a very few basic ingredients on hand, you can always come up with some sort of meal!
Moulton's list of must-have items includes pasta and grains, bottled and canned vegetables (roasted red peppers, crushed tomatoes, etc.), onion, garlic, potato, cheeses, eggs, mayo, and dijon mustard. (Here are our lists for savory and sweet items we keep stocked!)
And using your imagination--that's the fun part!
Moulton finds that many people get stuck in the protein-starch-vegetable mindset, and order take-out as an alternative to boredom. In her opinion, there's nothing wrong with an egg scramble or a hearty sandwich for dinner!
We particularly love theme nights, especially when children are involved. We've heard of some crazy themed dinners over the years: All-White Dinner, Astronaut Dinner, even our own Indoor Picnic dinner!
And if dinner falls flat, no real loss. There's always tomorrow night...
What are some favorite (themed or un-themed) weeknight dinners in your house?
To hear Evan Kleiman's full interview with Alice Moulton, visit the Good Food website.
Alice Moulton's book, Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals, is available for $19.77 on Amazon.
Related: Dinner Quick: Anelletti Pasta with Sausage and Greens
(Image Credit: Amazon.com)