Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Works for me: emergency dinner

Today is another day when it seems that nothing is working for me.  The washing machine is leaking; the health insurance company is billing me incorrectly;  the car is in the shop.  But here is something that does work:  our favorite emergency dinner.  It's for those days when I forget to to take some critical action to actually put the dinner I'd planned ahead of time on the table.  Maybe I forgot to defrost a big ol' hunk of beef.  Maybe I failed to buy something I need and have no substitute for.  Or maybe I just ran out of time.

But we'll always have burritos. Or tacos.  Or some combination of tortilla/protein/cheese/condiments. If we ever run out of the main ingredients for this dinner, we're in big trouble.

Tortillas are a must.  Flour or corn, your choice.  We keep both on hand.

Refried beans are pretty standard.  Many people make them from scratch.  I like Rosarita brand!

Cheese:  pepper jack, monterey jack, cheddar...

Meat is optional.  Could be ground beef or turkey cooked with spices or some leftover chicken, pork, or steak.   Skip those little packets of taco seasoning mix; use a recipe like this one instead.

Condiments are nice.  Sauteed onions and/or red bell peppers (some people like green), jalapenos, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado,sour cream...  I usually have a jar of pickled jalapenos in the fridge and some "fresh" ones in the freezer.  (Just cut jalapenos in half, clean out the seeds, flatten them and put in a ziplock bag. This works with any sort of chile pepper.) 

Salsa and chips are nice too.  I sometimes make chips by cutting corn tortillas into 8ths and baking them. My family doesn't like those as well as commercial chips, but they will eat them all up.

I put the big griddle on the stove and let everyone make their own burrito, quesadilla, or taco the way they like it.  Easy.    

Even if you don't have a green salad on the side, it can be a healthful dinner if you go light on the cheese and heavy on the veggies. 

Stop by We Are THAT Family to see more of what works for people.  But first tell me about your favorite emergency dinner.


Sandy said...

Spaghetti. If we can't do anything else we can always boil pasta and put sauce and cheese over it. If we use the fancy Italian dishes then no one even notices it was an 'emergency dinner'.

Maria said...

Any kind of pasta with meat sauce. My husband can't call any meal complete unless there is meat or fowl involved. I always have ground beef at the ready to throw in sauce. I usually cook a pasta that's not spaghetti, like ziti or rigatoni.

christinethecurious said...

White bean soup, adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipee:

sautee a clove of garlic in olive oil. Add a can of white beans, and a can of water. Simmer with a rind of parmesagne cheese (I save them in the freezer in a zip lock bag) You can toss in some pasta too. When the cheese is gooey, (and the pasta is done) cover,take off heat, then toss in a sprig of rosemary. By the time the table is set, the soup is nicely seasoned, does need pepper.

Marbel said...

Yes, pasta is another good one. I used to make big pots of extra sauce to freeze but now I just keep a jar in the pantry.

Christine, that soup sounds so good! I think I'll make it fr a non-emergency lunch soon!

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