What's For Dinner?

Do those three words mean anything to you?  Are you the primary cook/meal planner in your family?  In our household, the role of cooking falls mainly to me.  All of the men in the household are good cooks and do cook occasionally.  It just is more efficient and suits my skill set better for me to be the main planner.  

Yet those words strike panic and anxiety in my belly.  If I haven't planned anything for the evening meal by the time dinner comes around I have to fight with myself to choose the best option for fixing something healthy and budget friendly.   If left to my own devices I either want to:

a) grab some snacky type of things e.g. crackers and cheese Which is not a healthy choice in the long run.

b) order something out- some days it doesn't matter what it is, just so long as I don't have to fix it Which is not a smart financial choice.

c) not eat at all.  Which is not an option when modeling good habits to your family or when the others in the household have Hummingbird metabolisms (As an aside, Hummingbirds can eat 1.5-3 times their body weight a day.)  

While I love to cook and I love to try new recipes, I find that the day in and day out of shopping, cooking and eating sometimes gets to be a chore. I am a DIY type of gal but if I ever win the lottery (which technically I can't because I don't gamble) I would hire a chef. 

Short of that, sometimes I need some new recipes and ideas for dinner. I find that especially so in the summer when I don't want to heat up the kitchen, chow down with anything too heavy or have to take too long in the preparation department. Seems like this summer we are dining "continental" more days than not as we are trying to make use of the daylight and are playing a lot of evening tennis.

Try as I might, I am having a hard time planning my menus this summer.  I decided to give myself permission this season not to stress too much about it.  I find that I might use some "prepared" food from the grocery store to help simplify the process.  I can add rotisserie chicken to salads, pita bread, pasta or eat it solo. 

Click here for some recipe ideas.  Or here.

I find that just looking at different websites I can get some great ideas.  I might not follow the recipe exactly (or as my son will say, I never follow the recipe exactly)  but I try to use up what is in my fridge, pantry or veggies from the garden.

Our one default recipe is to saute whatever veg and herb we have in the crisper,( e.g. zucchini, tomatoes, squash, corn, onion, garlic), add some beans (e.g. garbanzo or cannellini beans), feta cheese and top with grated parmesan and fresh basil and serve over pasta. (to add a little "moisture" I'll reserve some of the pasta liquid, or use chicken stock or olive oil to put over the pasta and veggies.   I'll cut up a fruit salad (whatever we have on hand- peaches, strawberries, blueberries, honeydew, watermelon) and may or may not serve with bread. 

What about you?  Are you a grill master?  Do you love summer time cooking? Do you get anxious about meal preparations?  What is one of your favorite recipes?  What are some of your default options when you don't want to cook?  

What's for dinner at your house?