While I really do love to cook. Chopping, whirring, blending, sauteeing. There are those days when the last thing I want to think about is what to make for dinner. I’m bored with cooking. Bored with thinking. Maybe I’m just tired from sending out countless resumes, doing laundry and cleaning up the backyard. And on those days I would love to be able to just have a bowl of cereal or a tuna sandwich for dinner and be done with it.
Cereal for Dinner. Horrors!
But over the course of the past decade or so I’ve set expectations. High expectations. Expectations that I myself have set and am too stubborn to just let go. In my mind if I made Hamburger Helper and called it a meal that would be some epic failure on my part. And what if the neighbors or my friends found out that I made dinner out of a box? I don’t even make cake or brownies out of a box. Much less dinner. My culinary cred would be destroyed. That’s assuming that I actually had culinary cred. I like to think I do, but I’m most like the only one who does.
Just for the record, I am not judging those who do make things out of boxes. I am actually judging me for not loosening up enough to do so. I’m sure there’s a 12-step program.
Of course there are days when we order out. But once again I somehow feel I’ve failed. Did Julia Child get take out?? Absolutely not!
Homemade is Better!
Also, I know I’m not one to write about ‘healthy eating’ and am a big fan of butter and bourbon. But let’s face it, take out isn’t necessarily the best choice when it comes to healthy eating. I spend all that time in the gym and then sabotage all that work by getting Fried Onion Bhaji and Saag Paneer (aka spinach in some kind of rich creamy sauce with Indian cheese).
And when it comes right down to it. Homemade is better. Healthier. Unless you know how to make Fried Onion Bhaji.
If I really don’t feel like cooking I make Brie Pizza. Yes, Brie pizza. (Granted this may not be the healthiest of choices what with all that double creme Brie, but it beats Papa John’s. ) Not pizza ordered over the phone and made by a 17 year old named Ryan. It involves Brie (aka fancy cheese), chopped sage, garlic olive oil and pine nuts. That’s just obnoxious. Why can’t I just pop some pre-made pizza in the oven and call it a day? Also, one of my go to ‘I don’t feel like cooking’ meals is soft tacos with shrimp or marinated beef, fresh guacamole, fresh pico de gallo and chips. At least I don’t make my own tortillas or chips. That would be really annoying.
Obviously this isn’t really a major problem of any kind. There are just some days when I feel really lazy, want to pop a frozen dinner in the microwave and am physically unable to do so. Who would know? Me. That’s who. So…
Go to Dinners
With all that said and done I’ve decided to start posting some of my ‘Go to dinners’ that involve little effort and yet when you tell someone you made Brie Pizza for dinner they think it’s all that and more. I’m here to tell you it’s not. Piece of cake. Anyone can do it.
The other night I was so not in the mood to chop, peel, cook and/or do dishes. And I so wasn’t in the mood to look up some fab new dish. So I turned to dish that is easy to make, healthy and kind of impressive when serving guests.
Salt & Pepper Shrimp with Cabbage Slaw (slaw is a weird word isn’t it? I digress)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 cups thinly sliced cabbage, preferably napa (about 1/4 head; see Tips for Two)
- 1 small red or orange bell pepper, very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons rice flour or cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder, (see Note)
- 10 ounces raw shrimp, (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined (do this yourself or spend an extra couple of bucks and buy the ones that are ready for cooking)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded and minced
- Whisk lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar in a large bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Add cabbage and bell pepper; toss to combine.
- Combine rice flour (or cornstarch), salt, pepper and five-spice powder in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring often, until they are pink and curled, 3 to 4 minutes. Add jalapeno and cook until the shrimp are cooked through, about 1 minute more. Serve the slaw topped with the shrimp.
What did I tell you? Easy. Good. Impressive. I served this with the aforementioned Mango/Avocado Salsa, Jasmine Rice and little frozen Pork Shumai that I go at Trader Joe’s.
Recipe and Image courtesy of Eating Well (love this site and recipes!!!)
Enjoy! Until next time. Moose out.