Small Step No. 14: Feeding Your Family

I grew up as far away from the kitchen as possible, knowing full well there was likely to be a mother stirring a skillet of Tuna Helper in need of someone to set the table (kids are the worst, man). And so, without a solid memory bank of practice, my food knowledge and stovetop creativity has often been limited to the handful of dishes I can nail in my sleep. Here’s lookin’ at you, bacon brussels sprouts.

Still, one can quickly tire of the same meal three times/week, and every now and then I get an urge to shake the crumbs from the proverbial apron. I generally follow my gut (literally) in the grand scheme of things, but I do rely on one simple rule to get a weeknight dinner on the table with virtually zero meal planning whatsoever:

Find your formula.

In our home, it’s simple: 1 meat + 1 veggie = dinner.


It needn’t be fancy, is what I’m saying.

Dessert, although not a regular occurrence, is anything from a giant bowl of shared cherries or a late summer peach. Perhaps a quick batch of date brownies. Biting off a triangle of dark chocolate whilst standing in front of the pantry. A cold glass of chardonnay.

There are always variations to the formula, of course (sometimes 1 meat + 2 veggies, sometimes 1 meat + 1 veggie + 1 fruit, sometimes no meat at all), and yet, I’ve found that having a go-to formula means I don’t have to spend hours on Pinterest meal-planning, nor do I open the fridge at 5pm wondering what I can possibly whip up for dinner.

Care to see a few of my favorite formulas? Right this way.


p.p.s. These are a series of small steps that will (hopefully) provide one giant leap to greater things. Not for mankind, but for me, and perhaps for you, which will always be good enough in my book. More here.

  • In my house, I’m vegetarian and the boys aren’t, Forrest needs to have dinner by 6:30 weekdays at the latest so his bedtime isn’t screwed but Matt usually doesn’t want to eat until closer to 7:30 or 8:00, so about the only time I try to do something complicated is on the weekend (family dinner!!). Otherwise it’s parts and components and blessings for a man who doesn’t mind fixing his own as long as I have caprese ingredients on hand and a jar of pizza sauce available. = )

    • hahhha – i TOTALLY get this!!!! and ken’s got a well-stocked freezer of frozen pizza for second dinner after the kids and i are asleep. :)

  • “Biting off a triangle of dark chocolate whilst standing in front of the pantry.” < I also do this on the regular! Trades Joe's pound plus bars for the win!

  • I also have this mentality most days – I figure as long as I like the individual ingredients, this + that dinners have to work, right? That said, there’s something very comforting about a dish with a few more ingredients that takes more than 10 minutes to make, for those rare evenings when I feel like spending a bit longer on cooking!

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