Confessions (2)

[Dinner, August 2009.]

Another confession: some Monday nights I’d rather do anything but cook. The weekend’s glow has long since faded, I’ve been up usually since 6.30 a.m., and even if I don’t go for a run after work I’m pretty wiped. Sometimes the last thing I feel like doing is making myself a big dinner.

So I occasionally do what I like to call ‘taking a pass.’ If I’m lucky I’ll have some sort of leftovers (soup, please, or my mom’s good vegetarian chili), or I’ll force myself somehow to put together a salad and a veggie burger, but there are nights when the fridge is nearly bare and so I’ll do what I did last night: make mac and cheese. From a box.

I know! I’m ashamed, too. Granted, it’s some sort of organic nonsense but it’s from a box


Please don’t tell anyone. It can be our secret.

Still it’s me which means it’s never just

from a package. For example, if I have spinach I’ll throw a bit in at the last moment because my poor body cannot bear to go without vegetables even when I’m taking the aforementioned ‘pass.’ Or I’ll chop up a few heirloom tomatoes and saute them first before adding the pasta, butter (!), and dried cheese. Then I’ll stir it all together and sit down with a big bowl to peruse Gourmet — oh, sweet irony! And the whole thing takes about 5 minutes to put together.

(By the way, last night this tasted really, really good. I ate and afterward read on the couch for about three hours. It was a purely decadent evening all ’round.)

Tonight, though, I’ll make up for it. I have beets waiting to be roasted and thrown into a salad, a cauliflower that might take a spin in the oven as well, little green beans that are perfectly perfect and which I should not let linger too long. I have a few more tomatoes and a beautiful patty-pan squash. There is whole-wheat couscous or quinoa that should be put to good use, and I will indeed do so.

Maybe I need these wee breaks every so often to rejuvenate my cooking spirit? For today I feel ready and willing to tackle that pile of vegetables — can hardly wait for it, really.

So tell me: what’s your favorite ‘no-cook’ meal? Confess, please. I won’t tell anyone.

(Small note: I sort-of redeemed myself today with a lunch of leftover many-vegetabled soup with pearl couscous and whole wheat pita with hummus and avocado. And a peach for dessert.)

Join the Conversation

  1. That looks like a pretty damn tasty meal considering it started from a box.

    I really like TJ’s Green Curry noodle boxes. And I will steal a bite of my boyfriend’s box mac and cheese when he makes it for himself.

  2. A variation on Olney’s pumpkin gratiné: peel and cut pumpkin into large chunks; drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper atop; scatter chopped garlic and freshly grated Parm-Reg cheese, then bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 30 minutes.

    Serve with a green salad and a glass of white wine, and you’re set.

  3. Is it totally wrong that my first reaction to that photo of doctored mac & cheese was “Oooh, that looks really, REALLY good right now”? Is it even more wrong that it’s only about 9:30 in the morning? :-)

  4. you are so cute that next time i do not feel like cooking, i will just eat you. :P

  5. peanut butter toast. muliple slices ;)

  6. Popcorn! Not from a bag though. I make it on the stove and sprinkle some Old Bay on it. Either that or I’m with you, Mac and Cheese!

  7. Fantastic Foods makes a great vegetarian chili base, all you do is add beans and (fire-roasted please!) diced tomatoes. Done in 10 mins. Have on hand lots of blue corn chips, cilantro, etc. Delicious and plentiful!

  8. As a mother of four, I have this down to an art. In five minutes, I can whip out four grilled cheese (on sourdough with Tillamook cheese – I do have some standards), and a large can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup.

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