Admitting that I’ve been “meal-ing” wrong

20 April 2016

I love to cook. That’s not a surprise or shocker to anyone. It’s probably one of my favorite passion-hobbies. However, just because I love to make food doesn’t mean I’m any good at putting together a meal.

Ok. That’s a lie. I am amazing at putting together a meal. I’m just terrible at remembering to do so.

I’m not sure if it’s years of studio kitchens, fluctuating (sometimes unreliable) income, or just outright laziness… but for way too long, I have rarely put together a proper meal. More often than not, my “meals” just consist of one dish. Pretty much just a life of entrees only. Yeah, sometimes you can do that and it’s all fine. But it’s really not a good way, or necessarily healthy way, to eat — let alone live. Mac & cheese is great and all, and I love making it from scratch, but it’s kind of a really boring meal all on it’s own.

Slowly and surely, I’ve been trying to retrain myself to not just stop at the entree but to remember the glory that are side dishes. Even if it’s just adding a salad.

Burrito & Enchilada night

Ok. So I didn’t add any salads or vegetables with that meal. Mostly because it was from the dinner where my eldest niece and and sister number 3 were visiting — neither really have much interest in green stuff if they have a choice in the matter. Since we were all making dinner together, I decided not to push it. But, we at least did have some beans & cheese and some Mexican rice on the side. As well as the chips and salsa (aka sneaky veggie dip).

Dinner with the roommates

This meal was a bit more rounded. And super simple. Garlic butter chicken and veggies (thanks Campbell’s sauce packs!) and a salad. And of course a side of bread and butter because that’s just what you do in the S. family. This meal was a big hit too. Which I sort of chuckled at because I didn’t think it was my best — and also I really didn’t have to do much (if any) work thanks to my crockpot. But the summer roommates (more on that in another post) loved it. Compared to dorm food, though, well, that’s not too hard.

Anyway. While I am doing this largely because I need to be better at adding more veggies into my life, it’s also because it’s a fun challenge. Trying to create a good flavor balance while also being maybe a tiny bit healthy. Maybe. I’ve also found that when I actually have more than just one dish for a meal, it makes me feel like a real adult. So bonus there.

What about you? Are you more likely to have one-dish or entrees & sides sort of meals? Do you have a go-to?

  • My partner is very… traditional when it comes to meals. He likes his ‘meat and two veg’ as it’s often termed. It’s not a meal, according to him, without meat, potatoes (or rice, or pasta) and at least two different vegetables. Give him roast beef with all the trimmings and he’s happy as can be.

    It’s so much easier though to do a one-pot kind of meal though – that’s definitely my kind of preference. Throw everything in a saucepan and let it bubble away, steam some veg and voila!

    • I could live with the meat and two veg thing. Sometimes I feel like I have issues with getting protein as much as I do getting veggies and fruits. Carbs and grains and starches pretty much dominate my eating life, which is something that I really need to work on.

      And I like some one-pot meals, because they do include a lot more than just one main focus, typically. I just need to remind myself that goulash or chili is not a real “one-pot” meal, despite it being from one pot. There’s just no balance when it’s on its own. 🙂

  • Kay

    I do a mix of both throughout the week, depending on time. I definitely prefer meals where I put together a side dish, mainly because it almost always results in leftovers (aka stretching the food longer which is so good for our budget!) My goal this year is to try and prep a bowl of salad for at least 4 meals a week. Right now, the only time salad gets eaten is as a meal by itself; adding it on the side will really help the veggie intake!

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