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What's For Dinner?

The question that Tonic Cookbook Reviewer, Naomi Bussin, is most frequently asked by her readers - "What should I make for dinner"? Here is a list of Naomi's favourite everyday recipes and where you can find them.

If I ask you for an eternal question, you may answer “what is the meaning of life” or “does this make me look fat?”  A more common, although less weighty question, would be “what should I make for dinner?”  I get asked for everyday recipe recommendations more than anything else.  

So, I am approaching this month’s column in a different way.  Rather than finding a cookbook and writing about it, below are some of my favourite everyday dinner dishes and where you can find similar recipes on the Internet (google them).  These work for different portion sizes and many are make ahead.  Take lots of liberties to suit your tastes.

Soup.  I am a firm believer in soup as a meal.  Some are quick and easy and others can be made and frozen in the portions that you need them.  My two favourites are minestrone filled full of vegetables, legumes and pasta, and homey chicken soup with noodles and shredded chicken.  Check out Giada de Laurentiis’ Winter Minestrone and for basic chicken soup as well as an Asian chicken version, follow Toronto’s own Bonnie Stern.  

Pasta.  Spaghetti Bolognese (aka spaghetti and meat sauce) was a childhood favourite and remains so.  For a twist try vegetarian mushroom Bolognese.  For meat sauce look at chefmichaelsmith.com and food52.com and for the vegetarian version Sevenspoons.net.  

Chicken. Served at least once a week at our house.  Whole roast chicken is a classic and once it’s in the oven your work is done.  If that doesn’t work for you time-wise, try boneless breasts or thighs marinated with lemons, rosemary and garlic.  White chicken chili garnished with tortilla chips, cheese and guacamole has become a staple.  For good chicken suggestions, check out bonniestern.com, simplyrecipes.com and thekitchn.com.

Tacos.  So many options and they are easily customized for discerning (picky) eaters.  Quickly warm tacos and fill with some combination of black bean puree, ground beef or soy, leftover shredded chicken, quick sautéed shrimp or fish, corn salad, rice and beans and coleslaw.  Try budgetbytes.com and for interesting vegetarian taco recipes I suggest loveandlemons.com and cookieandkate.com.   

Whole grain bowls.  You can go far with these meals in a bowl, which are often vegetarian.  Try vegetables and rice in a peanut sauce, quick cooking polenta with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, or Indian chickpea curry on brown rice.  For inspiration, check out thekitchn.com, noteatingoutinny.com, bonappetite.com and ohmyveggies.com.  

I am still on the lookout for that all-purpose cookbook that I would regularly use. When I find it, you’ll know.  In the meantime, I hope you will continue to meet the challenge of getting dinner on the table, whether it’s for one, two or five.  There are many supports out there on the world wide web.  I hope this helps.