My Top 5 Go-To Dinners: Episode 1

FullSizeRender 11 As much as I love going out for juicy bacon cheeseburgers, braised Brussels sprouts and sushi, we really don’t eat out very much. Most weeks I plan the weekly menu and aim for as a many family dinners as possible. With an increase in evening sports practices, it’s a challenge but not a deal breaker.

Since I’ve been running our kitchen this way for some time, I’ve got a few standards up my sleeve that seem to please the man-boys in my life. By popular demand (you know who you are), here are my answers to: “What are your go-to dinners?”

Super Easy Dinner #1

Build Your Own Bowl

  • Cooked Grains (white rice, brown rice, quinoa, bulgar, or any combination thereof)
  • Protein (shredded rotisserie chicken, carnitas, grilled chicken, tofu, hangar steak, ground turkey and pork, beans)
  • Veggies (shredded zucchini and carrots, torn spinach, diced red pepper, salsa, cilantro, tomatoes, cucumber, sliced radish, scallions, steamed broccoli, anything!)
  • Bonus (avocado, shredded cheese, fried egg, Greek yogurt, sour cream, salsa, Magic Sauce)

Grain + Protein + Veggie + Bonus

Optional: Pick a theme.

Is it a deconstructed burrito? Use leftover shredded pork or a rotisserie chicken. Offer black beans, flavor your rice with cumin and smoked paprika, and have avocado, chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro and salsa for a topping. I make my black beans by draining a couple cans of beans, putting them in a glass bowl with some salt and cumin, and microwaving for like 3-4 minutes. Stir and DONE.

Going Korean style with BiBimBap? Whisk together soy or tamari sauce (start with a half cup), add a tablespoon brown sugar/honey/agave, clove or two of minced garlic, lots of grated fresh ginger, splash of sriracha and a T of sesame oil. Pan fry your ground turkey and pork, then simmer for a couple minutes with (most of the) marinade. For the bowl start with rice, add the meat, and top with veggies (ideas, see above), scallions, extra sauce and an over-easy fried egg. Fancy recipe found here.

The Barrio Bowl is my riff on a fave menu item from Barrio Star, in San Diego. It’s a power combo of brown rice and quinoa, black beans, heaps of sautéed greens (spinach, kale, etc) and a cilantro lime oil drizzle. And while I can’t quite replicate their amazing dressing, I do love Magic Sauce from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks.

P.S. This is a super winner for the nights you host their hungry friends for dinner...affordable and custom for picky eaters.