So what is a default dinner you ask? Here is a hint: another default dinner is the Buttermilk Parmesan Chicken.
Here is the answer: a cheesy way for me to say: ‘even a kid could make it,’ or ‘5 minutes of effort for 50 minutes of praise,’ or ‘meals that make themselves,’ or my favorite: ‘weak-night’ meals—for nights when you are out of time, energy and ideas to answer ‘what’s for dinner?’
Default dinners are how I describe the 10 [or so] meals that I—or you, or anyone else—come back to time and again, week after week, night after night. It is a standard list of entrees that I keep making because I already know they are fail-proof meals for my family.
I was taken with the idea that my 10 are different from your 10 are different from your neighbors or sister’s or friend’s 10. It made me realize there are a lot of delicious standbys—defaults if you will—that grace the tabletops of people like you and I: people in a hurry, with a full schedule, trying to balance everything, perhaps raising children, working too many hours and maybe playing too few. Some nights we may be inspired to pull 25 ingredients together to perform a masterpiece meal. But probably not every night, in fact I am thrilled if that happens once a week (most likely for a dinner party).
So when I am not performing a chef-worthy marathon or aiming for an ‘honorary mention,’ I am cooking one of my favorite, easy, brainless, faultless meals. (Thanks to this blog and my perpetual curiosity, I am always pushing myself to try to lengthen, add to and adjust my default dinner list: by trying new recipes and asking friends for theirs).
Entrees that make the cut become default dinners. Honestly: I probably make anywhere from 2-6 new recipes for every one that appears on this blog. No, I don’t blog about all my mishaps or what this recipe ‘could have been.’ I post recipes that are worthy of my table, make the grade and gain small-time notoriety on my own humble default list.
In fact, this recent addition to my default list sort of came as a surprise. It turned out great, much better than I could have hoped for. AND of course, it meets the default requirements of taking little to no time, little to no thinking, and minimal ingredients:
Sausages & Sweet Roasted Peppers
6 oz. – 1 lb baby bell peppers
Cut sausages in half lengthwise. Slice baby bells into halves or thirds. Place on cookie sheet; lube all with olive oil, sprinkle with salt. Place sausages cut side up. Roast at 450 for 35 minutes.
Note: baby bells are mini sweet bell peppers, and now come in a small container with mixed red, orange and yellow baby bells. They are so sweet and yummy when roasted! Pull out a bottle of fruity red wine, maybe add in a green salad and a lovely baguette.
Default disclaimer: sometimes the 5 minutes will mean the macaroni and cheese or sausage lasagna are already made and waiting in my freezer. Though at one point it took a little extra time and more than a few ingredients, it maintains its safe spot on my default list because 1. I usually make multiple at a time (so I can eat one and freeze a few), 2. when it is time for dinner, the work is already done (no thought, no time required), and 3. my family loves it.