For many of us, Friday night means either one of two things: Ordering takeout so that you don’t have to cook, or going out to eat - so that again, you don’t have to cook. However, with two kids, in our home sometimes even just getting out of the house is more than we want to do at the end of the work week. And where we live, the delivery options are limited to $20 bucks for a warmed cardboard pizza box full of questionably preserved meats, a random mushroom or two, and some packets of powdered cheese to soak up the orange-ish grease.
(Granted, a few years ago, that would have sounded appetizing.)
Really, on Friday nights it comes down to having something easy, and increasingly these days, cheap.
With that in mind, there are a handful of low cost essential dishes that I think everyone should know how to make more or less from scratch: a simple vegetable (or chicken) soup, a basic vinaigrette, and a quick and easy homemade pasta sauce. If you stock the ingredients for these items in your pantry or refrigerator, you can cover just about any impromptu dinner gathering or simple, end of the week meal at home with very little effort. Of course, if you have room on that Visa card you can also cover it, but this is a lot more fun, and interest-free (please note the restraint in not using the word “priceless” in that description). (more…)