I’ve recently become a fan of The Lazy Genius podcast. The show’s tagline is “be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t”. If ever there was a time in my life to decide what’s really important, this is it.
Episode 140, “Time to Create Your Winter Dinner Queue”, was particulary interesting. Host Kendra Adachi describes a dinner queue as follows: “Most likely, your dinner overwhelm is because there is too much to choose from. A dinner queue limits those choices to ones that make sense for your life”.
To create a dinner queue, Kendra says to start by “naming your season” – earth’s season and life season, and any personal parameters for the seasons. In this case, earth’s season is winter. We have CSA pickups every other week from now until the end of February. That means we’ll be getting squash, potatoes, carrots, spinach and kale regularly. It’s also dark all the time and I’m always cold. On a personal level, I’ve got about a month left of maternity leave, then I’ll be back to work. In either case, I’m not getting a lot done, I don’t have a lot of time for food prep and I’m tired. In the past, my menu plans have frequently been aspirational. Wouldn’t it be nice to have hours and energy every evening to cook an impressive meal? That is not this season and creating this dinner queue has helped me become okay with that.
Having considered my season, I could next start developing my list:
Kendra describes a Brainless Crowdpleaser as “a meal that is easy for the cook to make to the point where you can kind of go on autopilot or don’t have to constantly consult a recipe and it’s a meal is generally pleasing to the people eating.” She has a whole podcast episode about brainless crowdpleasers if you want more information. These items always work for Brian and I and generally work for our three-year-old.
- pasta and tomato sauce
- sweet potato and black bean quesadillas
- pierogies and kielbasa
- baked ziti
- polenta and sausage (with or without greens) / polenta, chickpeas and tomatoes
- macaroni and cheese
- cheese/snack plate
- chana masala (Minimalist Baker)
- spicy roasted butternut squash
From the Freezer
Due to his early arrival, I didn’t get to stock my freezer before my baby arrived. Thankfully, my parents and my in-laws all came to visit after I delivered and stocked our freezer with food. We’ve consumed some of it already, but I definitely want to thoughtfully utilize what remains in order to make life easier.
- baked ziti
- Mexican corn chili
- bean and beef chili
- tomato-beef soup
- macaroni and cheese
- Curried Butternut Squash Soup (Minimalist Baker)
- Potato and Leek
- Tortellini, Tomato and Spinach
- Chickpea Noodle
- Spicy Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup
Like many folks, I’ve been watching an embarrassing amount of the online content produced by the staff of the Bon Appétit test kitchen. I’d happily chat with you about your favorite series and personalities anytime. Even before I fell down the YouTube rabbit hole, I was really digging the recipes they were putting up on the site. Last month, I decided to show my love to BA and bought a print subscription.
In order to make my purchase worthwhile, I’m hoping to make at least one recipe from the magazine each month. In the February 2020 issue, the Chicken-Lentil Soup with Jammy Onions, Za’atar Fish and Chips, Kale Pesto with Whole Wheat Pesta, and Crispy Tofu with Maple-Soy Glaze sound yummy.
Other Easy Ideas
- baked salmon
- Baked Breaded Haddock
- Baked Lemon Cod with Garlic & Dill
- Change Your Life Chicken from The Lazy Genius
- Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Breakfast Hash from How Sweet Eats
- vegetable stir fry
- Loaded Baked Potatoes
An ongoing topic in my marriage over the past 10 years has been my inability to consistently plan sides. I often feel that the main dish of my meal is sufficient; he does not. Sometimes, I do think a side is warranted, but I forget to figure one out until the last minute. When I was telling Brian about the idea of a dinner queue, he insisted sides be included.
- kale chips
- roasted/steamed beets
- spinach salads
- roasted potatoes
- roasted/pureed squash
- drop biscuits
- Quick Collard Greens
- Chickpea Salad
In an ideal world, I’ll continue to do weekly menu planning, using this queue as inspiration. This will definitely cut down on my menu planning time. I may utilize other recipes as well, but there’s so much here that I won’t have to. And, if I don’t get a chance to plan, I’ll easily be able to pull something from this collection on the fly.