Sometimes, I just don’t know what to make for dinner. During some weeks, I feel eager to try new recipes or to visit old favorites. I get all the necessary ingredients on my weekly Sunday/Monday shopping excursion, and I have a clear plan for the days ahead. And those weeks feel great. I come home and fall into my routine (read: eat late lunch while I hang out with Harry and watch a little TV, take a nap, get up to make dinner). I don’t have to search around for ideas, and it’s easy to submerge myself in the preparation when I’ve been planning to do so all day long.
I haven’t always been so structured; when I was single, I ate a lot of take-out, but I also had no real plan for dinner. It was whatever occurred to me once I got around to feeling hungry. But now that I’m cooking for two, it is nice to have some order during a busy and tiring work week.
Of course, it doesn’t always happen this way.
I had no plan this week. I bought chicken on Sunday with the intention of pairing it with mango peach salsa and a fresh salad, but I had no desire to actually eat this dinner. So, on Monday, we had some pre-packaged chicken dish with a side of rice, on Tuesday we ate Panera, and on Wednesday, we ate a local pizza place. I was beginning to feel very guilty about my lack of ingenuity, but I still couldn’t come up with an idea for Thursday.
And then it came to me.
Sometimes, weird cravings work to my advantage. I was worried that it was kind of lame, but once the idea came to me, I decided to throw it out there to get Mike’s reaction:
“What about English muffin pizzas?”
“Sounds good,” he said without hesitating.
And once it was out there, I could think of nothing else until Thursday night.
I’m not a little ashamed to admit how many English muffin pizzas I’ve eaten in my adult life. Mike and I almost never eat them, but on the infrequent occasion that we do, I love every minute of it. They’re simple and they’re amazing.
Though I wouldn’t make this sort of thing a habit, once in a while, it’s nice to revert to those easy, comforting dinners. And it was a great relief to pull this meal out at the end of a very uncreative week.
English Muffin Pizzas
- Thomas’ English Muffins
- Classico Four Cheese Tomato Sauce
- Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place desired amount of split English muffins on cooking sheet and toast until light brown.
- Remove muffins from oven and spoon tomato sauce on each half. Slice mozzarella and place atop the dollops of sauce and then place back in the oven until cheese melts.
The great thing about English muffin pizzas is that you can add any sauce, any cheese and/or any topic you like. If you haven’t tried these little suckers, you’ve missing something special.
To counterbalance the simple dinner, I decided to try a recipe for a salad dressing that we first tried one night while dining with our neighbor’s. I loved the taste of the creamy dressing when I tried it then, but it did come out with a tad more of a kick when I made it myself. I blame the brand of seasoning I chose, so I’ll just have to experiment a little the next time around.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 small onion
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a blender or food processor, combine mayonnaise, onion, vinegar, and sugar. Season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
Mike’s likes the Italian greens available in most supermarkets. To his salad, I add green olives stuffed with bleu cheese, banana peppers and croutons. I am a plain kinda girl, so I go for kalamata olives and croutons, but, of course, anything will do!
The best part of the night was that Mike surprised me by bringing home one of my favorite treats: a Sonic pineapple shake. I have been really good about indulging in calories, but sometimes, you’ve got to go all in.
It might not have been the healthiest night, but it was pretty great. And the lingering smiles that lasted long after the dishes were cleared and the work clothes were replaced by pajamas were evidence enough that the departure from the norm was worthwhile.
Maybe I should go off script more often.