Nearly two years ago I wrote about dealing with scratch cooking burnout. Even us die hard real foodies get a case of burnout every now and then and, judging from the comments, there are quite a few of us dealing with it.
Besides the fact that I cook 98% of our meals at home, I think overdoing the new and exciting recipes does me in from time-to-time. My husband and I used to joke that I never made the same thing twice in one month. That makes for great recipe development, but it’s just not sustainable anymore. We have two more children to feed now and a much more complicated day-to-day.
Instead, I now lean on meals I know I can throw together quickly, using my pantry staples, and incorporate any vegetables I might have around from the garden or market. It saves my sanity for us to eat at least a few of the same things every week, so here is a list of meals and staple ingredients we eat most weeks.
Our pantry contains the most basic foods you could think of. These items are the backbone of these quick, easy, pleasing meals. We keep a mostly wheat-free home, so a quick look into our pantry would give you:
- Dried beans and lentils
- Canned beans (my convenience food)
- Grass-fed meats (usually ground beef)
- Eggs from our hens
- Goat milk from our daily pick up
- Homemade goat milk kefir
- Natural peanut butter
Fresh & Preserved Produce
- Vegetables from the garden (still green beans and squash right now)
- Onions and garlic
- Spices and Herbs
- Jarred tomatoes
- Carrots & Cabbage from the store
- Organic white potatoes or Sweet Potatoes (sometimes our own)
- Jars of vegetable ferments
- Coconut oil
- Grass-fed butter
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Milk
- Apple Cider Vinegar
The Meals We Make
Tacos of all kinds. We eat tacos a few times a week, and sometimes daily. Our filling varies from meat to beans to eggs and we add in veggies in the form of lettuce and tomato, a Mexican slaw or kraut, or some zucchini and peppers cooked into the filling. We almost always make these non-gmo corn tortillas to go with them.
Stews. The one-pot wonder in our home usually involves protein, vegetables cooked in fat, broth if we have it from our chickens, and potatoes/rice. Chicken-sage-thyme, Pork-garlic-paprika, Beef-garlic-cumin, Bean-chili-onion are our most oft-used combinations. I have a certain six-year-old who is wild about chili, so we eat that often too.
Fried Rice. Made with leftover rice and protein along with some freshly chopped vegetables and lard or coconut oil, this is always a hit. This Gumbo Fried Rice is a nice change of pace, though.
Hash. Start with cubed potatoes – white or sweet – and add onions, vegetables, meat, or beans. A little garlic and salt and pepper finishes it well.
Big Salads. Start with a base of raw vegetables – lettuce or cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, beets, etc. – and top with a protein, some starch, and a homemade dressing.
Grain and Bean Salads. These use rice, potatoes, or beans as the base and then add flavorings like onions and garlic and vegetables like beets in the winter or tomatoes in the summer. Always add greens and herbs from the garden, if available.
Eggs & Stuff. Eggs make the simplest dinners when combined with onions and vegetables in a frittata or fried up and served atop a salad or plate of potatoes and peppers.
Those are our basics and most days you can find us eating one or two of them for lunch or dinner.