My mind has been spinning and that’s rarely a good thing.

 

So in order to distract myself, I saw NothingButKnit had a few fun questions about food…and let’s face it, who doesn’t love food?!

  • What is your easy go to recipe for a quick weeknight meal?
  • Is there a recipe you make in big batches to freeze or eat over multiple days?
  • Do you have shortcut things you buy at the store that make your meal prep easier?
  • What is the recipe you have that is a ton of work but entirely worth every pot, pan, bowl and spoon you have wash after?
  • Have you tried any new products that you’d like to recommend?

 

  • Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or please leave a link to your blog so we can read your answers and try your suggestions.

 

  • What is your easy go to recipe for a quick weeknight meal?

I hardly ever use real recipes and end up slapping food together in a pan to fit whatever mood hubs and I are in.  Most weeks, our quick meal is a sukiyaki (I cook it Kansai style). It’s easy, it’s quick, it’s super tasty, and it crams in a lot of vegetables.   …but there’s no recipe.  I throw in stuff until it looks right and carry on.

So, instead, I’m answering the first question with the recipe my husband WISHES we’d have every week: Saucy Twist Pork Dish.

I use a full box of rotini and double everything except the SPAM.  It tastes even better as a cold leftover, so that’s why we always make more.  Yah, that’s right, it’s a SPAM casserole.  My Granny Boo signed my mother up to receive some sort of recipe box with a recipe card subscription when she was a kid — she was sick a lot so I think this was something to keep her occupied.  This recipe came from that box.  It looks disgusting when you put it together but I swear I had it every week as a child because it was something easy I could make. My Dad LOVED it; he would call me at college every Friday and ask if I’d come home and make it for him and I usually did make the three hour drive just for that.

When my husband (then newly minted boyfriend) came to visit where I grew up for the first time, lo and behold, my Dad asked if we’d come over and make him Saucy Twist.  He was really sick by that point and I wasn’t going to deny making anything if it would encourage him to eat.  Hubs ended up loving it just as much as Dad.  Possibly more.  I’m pretty sure it’s not one of those nostalgic “oh, this is the first meal you ever cooked for me so I have to love it!” things because if I don’t make it at least once every two weeks, he picks up the ingredients and makes it himself.

  • Is there a recipe you make in big batches to freeze or eat over multiple days?

Lots of stuff!  Any time I make a lasagna, I double it and freeze one before baking.  I make my cousin’s grandma’s Michigan hot dog sauce in huge batches and freeze it in ice cube trays — one cube is perfect for a hot dog!  Breads?  Double or quadruple and freeze all but one loaf.  Ravioli?  Make a ton and freeze most of it.

I think the one I make most often specifically to put away are spaghetti sauces, though.  A quart bag of one is perfect when we want a crazily quick meal.  I make two types of spaghetti sauce.  One is what my Grandmother makes, she’s a throw it in the pot type of cook as well.  It’s taken many years of eating her spaghetti sauce and helping her make it to be able to replicate it.  It’s tasty but not traditional (more of a meat sauce than anything remotely Italian) but, again, it’s one of those things that both Dad and my husband love…so it has been made a lot.

As a little anecdote, my Dad had a slight speech impediment and when he was in first grade they had him screened to see if he needed speech therapy.  Unfortunately, one of the most difficult words to say during the test should’ve been “spaghetti” but, it being my Dad’s favorite food at the time, he screamed “Spaghetti, spaghetti, SPAGHETTI!  Are we done?” and didn’t have to undergo therapy.

The second spaghetti sauce I make to freeze in batches in one my Mom made off and on when I was a kid.  Hilariously enough, it’s yet another of those Betty Crocker recipe cards!  It’s called Italian Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.  <– I linked it there, in case it doesn’t show up well.  🙂

  • Do you have shortcut things you buy at the store that make your meal prep easier?

I don’t do many short cuts or prepackaged foods (except for quick lunch type things like a can of soup when I don’t want to make a whole pot of it).  I’ll buy standard ingredient types of things from the store — like pastas and things like that, but I don’t think that’s extravagant or unusual at all.   …though I am starting to make my own spaghetti noodles with my KitchenAid roller!

The one short cut I do occasionally use in regular meal prep is getting butternut squash already peeled and diced.  It’s a hard squash to cut!   …as in my hubs tried once and used a meat cleaver.  He ended up cutting the cutting board in half instead.  D’oh!  So if I can save myself a lot of time and work and just get it ready to roast, I’m happy.

  • What is the recipe you have that is a ton of work but entirely worth every pot, pan, bowl and spoon you have wash after?

Oh man, a few.  The first one that came to mind was Butternut Squash Ravioli (again, linked).  It’s one of the few recipes that I don’t change a thing about.  Mom asks for it every time she’s here and our vegetarian friends lined up with plates in hands when they found out I could have more out for them in the few minutes the raviolis take to cook.  It’s involved and takes some time, so it’s one of those things I like to premake and freeze in batches — the raviolis freeze great, both with homemade pasta or using the wonton wrapper shortcut — and just toss them in boiling water.  Makes it easier if you only have to put together a sauce each time!

If I had to pick one without any pre-prep involved, I’d say German food is always well worth it.  I make a few German meals and they all use a billion pots and pans to make but when my husband’s family asks for it, they want a full spread: Jägerschnitzel, hot potato salad, spätzle, and rotkohl.  It’s all homemade day of and it really does use every single pan I own to make. Luckily my dermatologist told me no hand washing dishes, so hubs has to clean up what the dishwasher can’t handle!

  • Have you tried any new products that you’d like to recommend?

Oh, that’s a hard one.  I tend to stick to my tried and true stuff.  I mean, have you ever had to buy another brand of mayo (face it, not making that one on my own either) when the one you like isn’t in stock?  Bleck!

I think the newest thing I’ve brought home and have been devouring is Lee Kum Kee’s Panda Brand Triple Citrus Grilling and Dipping Sauce.  Let’s face it, though, I’ll eat almost anything Lee Kum Kee — their sauces are, hands down, the best premade ones you can find in my opinion.  I have to doctor most sauces to make them palatable but not these…I could probably eat an old shoe if it was covered in their sweet soy sauce and hubs hated sriracha until he tried theirs and now we’re having to buy a bottle every few weeks because he puts it on almost everything.  My favorite thing for the Triple Citrus sauce currently is using it in fresh rolls with some fried tofu, noodles, and veggies.  Soooo good!

 

 

 

 

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