what’s for dinner

I’ve been reading several food blogs lately, and they are truly lovely and inspirational.  But let’s be honest here — my life does not look like that.  I’m all for getting inspired about things, but I think we have to have realistic expectations of ourselves.  Like one time, when I decided to start making my children a hot breakfast every day.  When I got tired of it after a few weeks, I just stopped and didn’t beat myself up about it.

I really like to cook, especially when Matt is here to keep kids off of my legs and to help clean up the mess.  And I think I’m a pretty good cook, if I do say so myself.  But I can guarantee you that never in my life will I ever successfully produce something that looks like this or like this.  I also don’t look as cute as some people while cooking, judging from this and this. (On both of those links, scroll down to see the cook — can you link to just a picture?  Anybody know?)  I do read some other food blogs, but these two are up there in terms of cuteness.

Around here at dinner time, I am very often near my limit.  During the school year, we’re trying to get to activities, get homework done, and year-round everyone’s whiny (me included) and hungry.  We’re all waiting for reinforcements to arrive (read: Matt).  More often than I care to admit, my very kind and loving husband walks in the door to “Dinner is whatever you’re making,” or “How would you feel about cold cereal for dinner?”

With all of that said, I thought I’d share my ultimate, easiest-ever dinner recipe.  This is not company food.  It is not impressive.  Had I read this recipe on the back of the Minute Rice box (and I’m sure that’s the original origin) I would have thought it sounded gross.  But someone fed it to me once, and I think it’s really good.  Especially as a ratio to the amount of effort involved in making it.

Chicken Taco Skillet

Put the following in a very large skillet:

1 can (2 cups) chicken broth

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1 can chicken, drained (I never used to buy this, but its canned-ness doesn’t offend me in this recipe.  You could also use leftover chicken.)

1 can corn, drained

1 package taco seasoning

Bring to a boil.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups minute rice (another item I never used to buy).  Cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Serve with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  Dip with chips, or just eat with a fork (unless you’re four, and then, a spoon).  Tastes fine re-heated the next day, too.

This is great because all of the items are things you can keep on hand for a day when you don’t feel like making something harder.  It’s not too unhealthy either (though high in sodium, I’m sure, and don’t over-do the chips and cheese).  Just add a green salad and maybe a piece of fruit.  I’m not going to bother adding a picture — it’s not pretty enough to motivate you to try this.  But, I’m telling you, for the ease and speed, it’s pretty yummy.


10 thoughts on “what’s for dinner

  1. Taylor

    Oh Liz–The original concept for my blog was to provide realistic ideas for normal people (hence the brownies) plus some tips for techniques and tools that can SIMPLIFY the process (hence the article on chopping onions). I fear I’ve gone astray. I will try to return to my original game plan–simple, healthy, inexpensive–with a more ambitious dish every once in a while. In fact, I’ll take your chicken skillet challenge–with perhaps a minor modification or two, and even post a picture, because I’m confident that even Chicken Skillet can look beautiful.

  2. liz Post author

    Taylor, this post wasn’t meant as a criticism. I love your blog! And I don’t think your recipes are overly complicated — in fact, I was on board with the last pasta one until you threw the tilapia in, which I know I should like but I just don’t! I guess what I meant to say with this post is that sometimes I don’t have the energy even for the most basic cooking, which is when I resort to something like this recipe (or even “gasp!” Pasta Roni on occasion — but I draw the line at Hamburger Helper, which I think is truly foul). I bet you could make this skillet look great — some fresh tomatoes and avocado on top would be yum.

  3. Taylor

    I know–That’s what I really want to help people with. Dishes that are as easy as CheezyMac but have nutritional value and are palatable to people over the age of 7.

  4. Christina

    I think that looking cute while cooking is all about the apron. Pick yourself up a cute one from Anthropologie and you’ll be ready to go. I picked up a few aprons from the second hand store the other week and I just smile when I put them on! One is bright pink and the other a bright yellow and they just make me happy. The third one is wildly bright – and I haven’t been able to wear it front of the guests yet, I’m not that confident. But I love to wear it while I’m working on my painting. It’s my favorite! Anyways, the point of my comment is that I’m sure that you are cute while cooking, but the addition of the cute apron will help you feel like it!

  5. Emily

    Liz, I LOVE this post–so relatable! But I, like you, also love Taylor and NieNie’s food blogs — they’re good for the nights when I’m feeling a little more ambitious (like Sundays, when Nate is home for the duration of the preparation and clean-up of the meal.) And as one who’s not overly fond of meat, I especially appreciate NieNie’s suggestions for vegetarian living. But I’m so glad we can all just be cool with keepin’ it real with a Chicken Skillet too :) And I also think Christina’s on to something with the “cute apron=cute cook” train of thought…therefore, CuteApron=NecessityInMyLife now. Mmm-Hmm!

  6. Anne

    I concur with the apron bit. Liz, you should have picked out fabric with me that day so you and I could make one together! Let’s go to Piper’s again…

  7. kira

    gotta say…I liked the recipe!! Even Aaron and Lanette got on board. Plus, there was enough left over for another meal (I’m gonna freeze it and see how it is the 2nd time around.)

  8. sillyjillybean

    I have been motivated to try several Hall family recipes I have never tried. Had success on the chicken/rice dish and the enchilades verde. Now, to commence on another….maybe next week. Pizza sounds good right now.

  9. Pingback: A Lesson in Humility « Sarah’s Ponderings

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