Thursday, June 5, 2014

What's for Dinner, Ma (or, What I Would Have Named This Blog in an Alternate Universe)

Have you ever opened the fridge and realized that, even though it's full, there is nothing to eat? 

I know I have. 

It used to happen all the time when I was a kid (and would, invariably, end up in a parent answering back "There's lots of food! Open your eyes! And shut the fridge, you're wasting electricity!") and now, even though I am what some would claim to be a full-fledged adult, it still happens. 

I think the problem is that much of the kind of food I make (or claim to make) takes HOURS to cook - beans from scratch, brown rice, that sort of thing. So, because nobody wants to make food when they're not actually hungry, I don't think about it until it's too late, and then I end up making pasta and white rice. Ok. Not really. Not together, that is. Rice and vegetables. Or pasta and stuff. Unfortunately, this is really not an ideal diet, and also tends to happen when it's gotten late and I'm hangry, cranky, and about to eat our cat.

For years, I've been trying to combat this phenomenon, in a number of failed ways. I have tried: 

sooo muuuccch tunaaaaa....
- making weekly menus 
- an app with ideas of what's for dinner, so I can come up with menus on the fly
- notebooks with said dinner ideas
- creating a fb group called "what's for dinner," which failed miserably because most people (myself included) were too embarrassed to write down that what they had had for dinner was an egg on toast. 

There is another 'what's for dinner' group on fb, and, with all due love and respect to my friends in that group, it is seriously NOT what's actually for dinner. What it is, is another form of Pinterest Lying - Facebook Bragging. 'I made a chilled tomato bisque with tomatoes that I grew from scratch organically in my back yard, coq au vin with a chicken I raised myself, melon-endives-asparagus salad, and fresh sorbet made with the tears of the starving children in Africa. Oh, and I made all that while homeschooling my 8 children.' 


Anyway, I'm writing this post before I go try to get some beans cooked before I starve and get cranky and eat the cat, but in the meanwhile, I will share with you what is, actually, for dinner more often than not.

Pasta with Stuff


  1. Heat water in your electric water kettle, in case it goes faster than on the stovetop, because you're starving and 2 minutes might be the difference between death and eating your cat. 
  2. Pour almost boiling water into pot. Add tsp of salt. Boil.
  3. Cook pasta according to cooking instructions if you like it slightly raw (aka al dente), more if you want it well done.
  4. Top with olive oil, garlic, and dried parsley (if you're feeling fancy, cook garlic in butter first); OR mix in soy sauce, peanut butter, and ginger; OR cottage cheese; OR  regular cheese; OR if you're feeling SUPER fancy and aren't starving, make a roux, add tuna, and make a lazy man's tuna casserole thing (do I need to give further explanations for that? Let me know and I will.) 
  5. Eat. (The pasta. Not the cat.)


  1. Like your blog!! And, I need tge lazy man's tuna casserole recipe. ..thanks.

    1. Thanks, and congrats on being the first blog-comment!

      It's basically a sauce made of butter, flour, milk + add-ons, I think at a ratio of 1:1:1:whatever you want. You can google the precise instructions (because it's supposed to be French and therefore they have an exact way of doing it blah blah blah) but what I do is, melt the butter (I try to not use a huuuge amount of butter, but you want a good tablespoon or two), add milk first and then flour gently (how much? Some. Like a tbs at a time until you like the consistency), and keep cooking on a low heat and stirring until you get a nice sauce consistency. It might clump and get huge bits of flour - to combat that just be careful and make sure there's lots of liquid when you add the flour, and a whisk will also help a lot. Then add 1-2 tins of tuna, some salt, maybe some nutmeg or pepper. The whole thing shouldn't take very long. Maybe 5 minutes? 10? Then dump onto pasta. Done.

      It also works with cheese to make a great cheese sauce.