Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Life’s going to get nuts soon. It will be way too easy to pick up a pizza or make dinner out of a supermarket cheeseball spread on Triscuits with smoked sausage and pickled jalapenos. Don’t ask.

Stocking up is key. I make sure I have the makings for a quick dinner in my refrigerator or freezer just in case I don’t have the energy or time to make what I’ve planned. I keep one of those big frozen fillets (or sides) of wild Alaskan salmon, cut up into portions, in the freezer. And I do the same with boneless skinless chicken thighs. You can quickly and safely thaw what you need for dinner in a bowl of hot water.

But my real plan B is pasta. And I secretly love when that happens. As long as I have onions and garlic, some kind of pork stashed in the freezer for just this occasion – pancetta, hog jowl, bacon, sausage, ham, whatever – some breadcrumbs and parmesan, I’m good. I usually also have a can of diced tomatoes or a package of sun-dried tomatoes and some herbs to take it to the next level.

If you want a real recipe that will only take 30 minutes, here are some of my favorite quick pastas:

Linguine with White (Canned) Clam Sauce | Grabbing the Gusto

Linguine with White (Canned) Clam Sauce | Grabbing the Gusto

A few more Italian favorites:

Fish cooks quickly. Try one of these preparations using whatever fish you can get at the market or, even better, have in your freezer:

Pistachio-Crumbed Cod | Grabbing the Gusto

Pistachio-Crumbed Cod | Grabbing the Gusto

In an Asian mood? Try one of these:

Comfort food:

Wow. With all these quick meals, I really have no excuse for that cheeseball.

I hope one of these dishes will help make these holiday weeks less stressful and more enjoyable for you.

What about you? What’s your go-to, quick (but good) emergency meal?

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2 thoughts on “Quick Dinners for December Nights

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