Friday, March 12, 2010

hot dogs and corn-keepin' it real

I slacked off on my meal-planning this week and found myself at four o'clock after a busy day at work wondering what was for dinner.
Ellyn Satter says in order to be a home cook for the long-haul, you have to let go of the "food snob" mentality. I grew up in a home with a meat, starch, salad, veggie EVERY night. (Mom, I don't know how you did it...) Consequently, I feel like a bit of a failure if I don't do the same. A strange thing then happens. I don't feel like I can put together a balanced, "complete" meal, so we go out, or get take-out, which is likely to be way more expensive and also not likely to be balanced. I saw a similar dynamic when I taught cooking classes for my diabetic patients. They were so wary of adding any fat to their cooking-even a few tablespoons of olive oil to cook some veggies- that they gave up, didn't know what to do and ended up eating out and choosing meals with far higher fat content and less balance.
So, I went to the freezer and pulled out our favorite all-natural beef uncured hot-dogs with whole wheat sandwich buns that we rolled around the dogs. We ate corn and peas (M's favorite) and had some fruit with it all. We do the best we can. We all really like this meal and it was way better than what we would have ordered from the corner diner or take-out.
What are your favorite freezer or pantry meals? Are you a food snob? How do you cook and work or take care of kids every night?


  1. It sounds weird but if you saute up a pound of ground beef and then throw in a package of mixed frozen veggies, then heat the veggies through, it's delicious. Add some garlic bread, or serve over rice/pasta.

  2. sounds great! Any sauce or spices? I haven't found any way to serve mixed frozen veggies that I like. I'll have to try it. Ground beef has gotten a bad reputation. It can be a great source of iron and economical. Even grass fed organic is less than $4 a pound. The grass fed has great fat profiles too. Thanks!

  3. My toss-into-the-ground-beef go-to is cream of mushroom soup. That's what my mom would make, when I was growing up. Yeah, yeah, it's not the best thing in the whole wide world, but they make low-sodium and lower-fat versions of the stuff, eh? And you could likely get away with a milk-flour-mushrooms-or-something combination.

    Ground beef, chopped onion, and the cream of mushroom soup, simmered down so it's all thick and creamy. I cook it with the veg right in the ground beef, while my mom served veg on the side. I serve it on top of rice, my mom would have it with potatoes. And if you've got leftovers, put it on toast and eat it cold! :D

  4. As a former "non cook" I am learning from you and my "cook" friends. The other night I was home alone, had worked late, was tired and saw the ground turkey that was thawed out. I cooked it with some garlic, heated up some leftover rice pasta (as I am gluten intolerant), cut up some tomatoes and put it all in a bowl with some olive oil on the top. Added some fruit on the side and in no time I was a happy camper. I am also a big fan of natural peanut butter on apples for a snack that keeps me going.

  5. Staple pantry/freezer meals:

    1) Spaghetti with a sauce made by sweating a chopped onion and adding juice from a can or two of clams, basil, parmesan. A few minutes before the noodles are done add the clams to the sauce to heat clams. Mix the spaghetti with the sauce and serve with parmesan. If you have mushrooms or peppers or asparagus or green onions they'll go good in this too.

    2) A couple boxes of Lundberg boxed risotto, a couple cans of seafood (clams, shrimp, crabmeat) and a bag of frozen mixed veggies. I fix the risotto according to directions on the box, then add the veg while it's simmering and the seafood as it's nearly done.