I feel like I write about this every year around this time, but, listen folks, I am out of ideas for what to make for dinner tonight. In fact, I’ve just spent the last hour wandering around on epicurious.com to try to get inspired. Sure, I’ve managed to decide on what to make tomorrow and how to use this leftover pork tenderloin that’s been in the freezer for a month, but the menu for tonight continues to be blank, blank, blank.
See, I started off wanting to use this pumpkin purée I have left over from Christmas pumpkin pie. I’d planned on pumpkin ravioli and already bought the wonton wrappers so I wouldn’t have to make the pasta. Well, when I started searching for recipes, I discovered that pumpkin ravioli is served almost exclusively with a butter, cream or butter-cream sauce.
Since I continue to limp along in my diet (could I get any hungrier, please?), I figured it was best to avoid those ingredients. And though I briefly considered offsetting the butter-cream by pairing the ravioli with a huge salad, there would still be that sauce in the house. That sauce that would taste delicious at 9 p.m. when brushed up from the pan with thick, crusty bread.
So, no go on the ravioli.
My search then morphed into looking for any entrée featuring pumpkin, except that pumpkin, apparently, is almost exclusively reserved for baking: pies, cakes, cookies, muffins. So, now I’m going to make pumpkin muffins because, even though “muffin” might as well just be another word for “small cake that poses as a breakfast food,” the recipe calls for buttermilk, and I have buttermilk in the fridge I need to get rid of. So, even though I’m sure to get even fatter, at least I’ll have used two ingredients before they spoil.
So now I’m thinking I basically need to have something for dinner made almost exclusively of vegetables to offset the muffins. But oh God, I am just so sick of the vegetables in the produce section in the grocery store. They are all from Peru or Mexico or some other far-flung locale, so that by the time they get to Kentucky they taste exactly like nothing because they’ve been sprayed with whatever it is that keeps them very colorful and very cardboardy. So I stand there and stare at the lump of cauliflower and think: Again? I have to have cauliflower again?
No, I am not going to have a dinner made exclusively of vegetables either.
Stew is out, since I’ve made every damn kind of stew in the world in the past month, and I’ve reached my limit on tender chunks of meat. We just had roast chicken Sunday, burgers and rib eye are too summery and it’s now 5 p.m. so I’m out of options for something delicious that takes a long time, like roast or lasagne. Soup? Gross. Fish? No. Asian? Won’t be able to find the ingredients.
OK, think, think, think. The thing to do is start at the beginning. A quick look in the fridge shows me that, a), I need to clean the fridge and, b), I have a lot of eggs.
Eggs are just 85 calories apiece. OK. Let’s start there. Quiche? No, too rich. Omelette for dinner? Too 1990s California. Scrambled? How metaphoric. Hard-boiled? Wait. In a salad with chicken and croutons and a wedge of cheese to keep things interesting. With cornbread on the side? Could use more of the buttermilk, keep the muffins for breakfast.
Phew. I’m exhausted and haven’t even turned on the oven yet.