It is my job to feed our family. That includes grocery shopping, meal planning, meal prep, and meal delivery. Although on weekends, it’s a free-for-all for breakfast and lunch, dinner is still my domain. During the “school year”, this is a challenge for me. I don’t ever know what to cook, I don’t plan ahead often enough, and I end up at the grocery store (one of the three I frequent) every other day. It’s neither cost nor time effective and I exist in this sort of constant state of stress and anxiety.
Because our summer days are so long, we knew I’d never be up for cooking dinner on the weeknights. Still, y’gotta eat, right? Last summer, I tried a weekly meal-planning thing where I wrote out the meals for each night, did the grocery shopping on Sunday, and then attempted to cook at least one of the meals before the week began. This left me cooking something mid-week (or hoping to, anyway) and it was a system that was hard to maintain.
This summer, with the help of a new app that includes a huge database of recipes and adds the ingredients directly to my list, I’ve been able to maintain the meal planning and prep for going on five weeks. It helps that I have an incredibly flexible wife who is happy to eat almost anything I prepare (with some parameters that I’m well aware of) and that I’ve let go of the full commitment to make The Who eat what we eat. Summer is its own beast. Weird bedtimes, weird wake times, weird meals.
The new routine is a full grocery shop at one store (maaaaybe two) on Saturday (best case) or Sunday and the prep of two full meals on Sunday that will last us through the week. Obviously, if I am only cooking one night to last us all week, it’s not going to be fresh fillets of fish or darling little fork-twists of spaghetti with chiffonades of basil. Instead, around here, it is the Summer of the Almighty Casserole.
I’m trying to keep it above a certain level of casserole. For example, one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten was a “tater tot casserole” that someone brought to a “comfort food potluck” I once hosted at my house, but it’s not exactly what I want my family to be eating all week. So, I look for ways to elevate the casserole if I can. Some weeks I am more successful than others. (Like, for example, the “Thelma’s Chicken Spaghetti Casserole.” Not so very elevated at all. The ingredients are pretty much creamy soup, cheese soup, cream cheese, and cheese. But it was damn tasty.
Do you have any favorite casserole recipes? I’m all ears over here. At least for the next four weeks.