The Everyday Conundrum

On a day to day basis, I think it's safe to say that I do most of our grocery shopping and cooking. It's not that M doesn't like cooking (the shopping is another matter), it's just that me making dinner is what makes sense. I get off earlier from school and work, so I don't have to suffer the post-traumatic stress it is to go to the store after 5 o'clock and generally, I say I like cooking us dinner. Only problem: what to make?

I usually ask M in the morning what he may feel like having for dinner, but being the man that he is, knowing what he'd like to eat anywhere further away than 20 minutes from the present is a question along the lines of "What is the meaning of life?" He hardly EVER has a clue. So much for inspiration, I'm telling you.

We've tried a lot of things: picking out recipes from randomly selected cookbooks that looks or sounds good; I've had M go over my delicious bookmarks, so he could find things he'd like eating; I've taken "what we had for dinner" notes for an entire month, to have that as inspiration for forthcoming months; we've scoured both Danish and American magazines to find drool-worthy (and everyday-cooking managable) recipes. I've tried to do week-to-week food plans, but something always pops up and wrecks my best attentions and the chicken ends up spoiling in the fridge. Just buying what looks good at the market on Saturday invariably leaves me with something that doesn't look nearly as good on the following Thursday. Which is also a terrible, terrible waste.

All I want is recipes that are easy, managable, not using crazy expensive ingredients, or things I have to go to specialist stores to get, or that requires hours and hours of prep work or marinating or. That lives up to my - self-prescribed - requirement of protein and two veg. This last one is probably what gives me the most problems. If I was to make dinner for myself alone, I'd live happily ever after on brown rice and avocado, but when I'm cooking for the man, I feel like there should be both protein, starch and carbs on the plate. Don't ask why, it makes no sense, and I'm trying to shed myself of it.

Making nice, nutritious food on an everyday basis is just not as easy as I would like it to be, and fast becomes a chore. A dud. An energy- and life-draining one at that. And I want my time in the kitchen to be pleasurable.

But then, then, it happens that I stumble upon keepers. Like the chicken meatballs up there. I was, once again, at the end of a day of work and trying to figure out what to eat that night, and ended up on the Gourmet website. Ta-dah! Dinner solved!

I've always passed on the minced chicken in the cooler at the market. Why, I have no idea, minced chicken just seemed a little odd to me - considering the amount of other types of minced meat we eat, it really makes no sense, but I guess I just never really knew what to do with it. Now, I make this. I've served them with a chopped salad (with this dressing) and the peperonata suggested, but I think they'd be the bomb in a sandwich, too. They even freeze well, so make a double portion and you won't have to think about what to make next Wednesday for dinner. What do you do to make sure you don't live of pasta and jarred tomato sauce every day?

I followed the recipe on the Gourmet site almost to a T, but forgot to put in the parsley, hence the scattered greens in the photo.


ChichaJo said…
I know what you mean! I work from home so making dinner usually falls on me, and I too enjoy it, but sometimes find myself groping for quick and easy (and delicious and healthy!) meals to throw together. These meatballs look great! Something to add to the dinner dishes stash :)
Paintdancer said…
Wonderful blog. I love Denmark and have visited relatives there and hope to go back someday. I found your blog after doing a search for the Svinkloev Hotel. I just finished a painting of the Svinkloev, and I hope I'll get a chance to eat there if I ever return to Denmark.
pierre said…
hello ,
If you like French creative cuisine come and see my blog you are very welcome and the last recipe is in english ! see you then !!
Cheers Pierre
Kirser said…
darling!!! Jeg bruger hakket kylling når jeg laver boller i karry... -kan ikke fordrage lugten af kogende svin, og så ligger kylling jo ligefor! -så laver jeg sovsen på kokosmælk og så er man jo fuldt ud i asien og har endnu en undskyldning til at fråde et helt bundt koriander!-)
ikaz said…
Zarah That chicken dish of yours look divine. It looks sumptious! Great blog. Will be reading your entries for inspiration! Keep on writing!:-)
Hi Zarah! I can't believe I only just noticed that you and M are having a baby! And, unless you're horrendously overdue, you are now a mummy! I hope everything went smoothly and that you're enjoying some lovely quiet (hah!) bonding time.

Loads of love, Ang
Sherry said…
The story of my life for years now. Glad it's not just me.
jilliany said…
Looks yummy!

-- Jillian
laura said…
I've made these meatballs and they were quite simple and very good - different than beef, but very flavorful with pancetta (er - except I used natural bacon since my store did not have pancetta, but I imagine the final product was similar in taste). I also added 1-2 T of tomato paste into the meatballs, which turned out nicely. I don't have a problem cooking once I have all the ingredients - but constantly restocking does wear me down! Nice blog.
These meatballs look delicious! Thank you!

shivi ku said…
I think with a good deal of expereince we tend to be creative in our kitchen and that's what cooking is all about.
Not pre plannin stuff etc.

I find your recipes real and the photos depict that of a good home cook as opposed to most prfessionals.

A realistic touch!!!
Sorin said…
Very Very visually appealing…great presentation
Chicken makes wonderful, non-greasy meatballs - these look fabulous!
So glad to know I'm not the only one looking for fast, healthy and satisfying meals - I'll be checking back with your blog for new ideas!

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