July 14, 2011

A New Suppertime Staple

Every family has 'em. Those treasured recipes that get pulled out week after week usually because they're either quick, easy, or tasty-as-in-everyone-loves-'em. Better again if it meets all three criteria! I refer to these as my suppertime staples. The recipes I can count on every time to get a warm, home-cooked, usually healthy, meal on the table in short order. Now that we have the boy around, having an assortment of these in the recipe file has become even more important, so my tastebuds were pleasantly surprised to find another one to add to the rotation last night: Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms.

Oddly enough, I realized I don`t have any cooking photos of most of our suppertime staples to share. I have plenty of the various new recipes and more complex endeavours of tried, just not of the ones we return to again and again. I guess that`s because they`re the ones we cook up after work, after the gym or when we are otherwise in a hurry. Same applies to this new discovery...I whipped it up close to 7pm last night as bellies grumbled and a teary-eyed baby fussed nearby in a bouncy chair. Needless to say grabbing the camera to snap photos wasn`t high on the priority list. Soothing my child and my stomach simultaneously was.

Fortunately, most of our fave recipes are found online where someone else has taken the time grab a snap and I can share the link to the recipe and the photo instead. I highly recommend giving these suppertime staples a try:

Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms: This one literally took about 20 minutes, including prep time. I modified slightly to make it a little healthier by cutting back on the oil, as a little sesame oil can go a long way for flavour, and I used water to finishing steaming the veggies once they were browned. I also added in a few green onions that I had figuring they would go well with the Asian flavours - and I was right. The only other change I`d make next time is using a better quality soya sauce rather than the run-of-the-mill cheapo grocery store one I had on hand.

(Skillet) Chicken Parmesan: Though not a traditional chicken Parmesan dish in preparation, it is a very tasty version. So tasty that I say it easily rivals many a traditional version. You`ll note the recipe calls for making your own tomato sauce, which I have done and it is quite good. However, I`ve also cut the cooking time down by using a favourite store-bought jar of tomato sauce with almost equally tasty results. Again, this is not intended to be gourmet Italian cuisine, but a tried and true suppertime staple, so for me the jar o sauce is a-ok. Though I still add in the wine and extra garlic, as you can really never have too much of either of those ;)

Grocery Cart Chicken Chili: This is one of several recipes from Janet & Greta Podleski`s cookbook series that is always on our stove. Even in the summertime heat, we`re known to crave the sweet chili heat. Now this one isn`t necessarily quick, but it is worth the effort. It also doubles and triples nicely (I have a dirty big cast iron dutch oven that holds a triple batch perfectly) and freezes up superbly, so of course come the fall we`ll cook up a triple batch in almost the same time as a single, then freeze the rest to enjoy for weeks on end.

This one I actually have in a cookbook!

so yummy!

Winter Minestrone: Another hearty dish perfect for those chilly autumn evenings that also doubles up and freezes very well, this one courtesy of Giada. I often omit the white potato in this dish and add in more beans to compensate for the bulk. Healthier and the beans freeze better.

Sausage and Pepper Orzo: For those of you looking for a new summertime staple, I encourage you to try this one on for size. So simple yet so good. I also often bypass the grill on this one and saute the veg and sausage instead. You do lose the smoky grill taste, but it is still very very very good. Even if cooking for two, I make the full batch of this and enjoy the leftovers al fresco the next day for lunch.

What about you, what are your family`s suppertime staples?


brooklynCREATIVE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brooklynCREATIVE said...

As you know, I already love a couple of these recipes. Can't wait to try the Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms... maybe I will tonight!

Tricia Warford said...

When you are looking for a deep fried treat.... you should try my wings.... I have been told I rival Don Cherry's!