What’s For Dinner?

What’s For Dinner?

According to a ad campaign from a few years ago, the answer to that question is “Beef.  It’s what’s for dinner.” 

But that answer doesn’t really help. I can’t find a recipe for “Beef”. And deciding what to make for dinner after a long day at work frequently resulted in a decision between take-out Chinese, delivered pizza, or a fast food run. Fast. Easy. Not cheap. And resulted in my formerly broad gut.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Plan ahead. Take some time on the weekend and chart the course of your week’s meals. It saves time and effort if you know what you will make during the week. It saves money at the grocery store, too.

Simple. Easy. But what if you don’t know what to make? Where do I get my ideas for meals? I buy a lot of cookbooks and cooking magazines. And I use many of them. (If I buy one and it sit on the shelf, untouched for 6 months, I donate it to Goodwill.) Here is a selection of what is in current use. I didn’t show all the editions of each magazine, just enough to give you an idea.

I don’t use every recipe in every book, and I don’t follow the recipes precisely. I add or remove ingredients to make the recipe more to my preferences. But each of the books and magazines shown has important recipes.  One of my favorite periodical is Eating Well. Great magazine, good stories about food, and the regions of the world that produce great foods, and healthy recipes. In a previous blog post, I already talked about the Eating Well cookbooks. In the back left are cookbooks by Rocco DiSpirito. Nice books, easy to make foods. The Weight Watcher 10-minute and 15-minute meals I pick at my local Fleet-Farm (I can’t find it anywhere else), and while I don’t make the recipes for the points, my wife does. It gives all the nutritional data that I need, and the recipes are good. At the right front is Taste of Home’s Healthy Cooking. I don’t use this as much as the others, but it is a nice filler. Better Homes and Gardens produced Eat Well, Lose Weight.  And another magazine published the three Cooking Light books. I don’t subscribe to the magazine, but I like their Fresh Food Fast books. Finally, the Kraft Food and Family magazine sometimes also has recipes that are useful.

These resources have great recipes, and most recipes are accompanied by a beautiful picture. Don’t freak out when your recipe does not look at perfect as the serving on the page. It will still taste great!

And I am a fan of making food taste good, in a healthy fashion, quickly and easily. That means I will make soup “from scratch” but I don’t make my own stock. I buy canned, reduced sodium stock. I buy my pasta instead of making it. I use frozen fruit and vegetables (especially when not in season.) I will sometimes (as evidenced by my beef stroganoff recipe) use prepared ingredients.

That is how I cook and still make healthy meals. Because I believe that almost any meal made at home will be better for you (general health and financially) than eating out.

Oh, and the real answer to the question in the blog post title?  Tonight’s meal will feature salmon, probably grilled. Pictures to follow later.

2 thoughts on “What’s For Dinner?

  1. We are so bad at planning ahead… I just subscribed to e-mealz.com which looks pretty handy! I’ll let you know how it goes. I subscribed to the low fat category of meals.

  2. I tried e-mealz. Didn’t work very well for us. I take about an hour each week and plan out our meals for the week, based on what we have on hand and what’s on sale at the store. A little more challenging now that we are working so many more fresh ingredients into our meals, but it’s been really rewarding!

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