What Can I Make for Dinner?

Now that I have a seventh month old crawling around the house dinners don’t just have to be delicious, they also need to be fast and easy.  I try to get most of my prep work finished during Ava’s afternoon nap.  [Yesterday, for example, I chopped up tomatoes, garlic, basil, cilantro, and scallions for a salsa to pile onto our tacos later that night.]  Several times a week I find myself staring into the refrigerator trying to figure out what I can make out of what we have left.  Sometimes it can be a challenge, but it’s also a great way to come up with new and interesting recipes.  Here are four things that help me in my quest to put tasty, healthy, and quick dinners on the table:

1.  Fresh Produce. Having fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits on hand is one of the simplest ways to add flavor to your dishes.  Nothing beats the taste of straight from nature goodness.

2.  The Freezer. Sometimes I make a little extra just so I can freeze leftovers to use when I am really in a pinch.  I also freeze sauces, soups, and varieties of chopped up veggies so I always have what I need.

3.  Pantry Staples. There are certain things I always need to have in my pantry … vegetable stock, black beans, white beans, green chilies, tortilla shells, panko bread crumbs, dried herbs and a variety of spices, olive oil, vinegar, and brown rice.  Each person needs different staples … think about what you use most often and make sure it’s always stocked.  The last thing you need is to go for one of your ‘Old Faithful’ recipes only to find you are out of one of the key ingredients.

4.  Inspiration. Seeing food, reading about food, and of course smelling and tasting it … but when I can’t get to the market or need a little nudge in the right direction, there are a few sites I go where I know something will inspire me.  One of those sites is Smitten Kitchen.  The images are mouthwatering, the recipes are inventive, and the writing is entertaining.  And you don’t just get a photo of the finished product … you get to see the whole cooking process [love that!].  Visit the site for these recipes and more!

Romaine Pesto & Egg-Stuffed Tomatoes

Click on image for recipe

tomatoromaine

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Click on image for recipe

blueberrycrumb1

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