What’s your go-to meal?

Last week, Kelly planned to hold a carnival focusing on your go-to meal. What meal do you fall back on in a pinch, or what is the easiest or favorite or best meal you make?

She ended up postponing the carnival for this week (it’s part of her series, Show Us Your Life, and anyone can join), but it got me thinking.

Not a lot of thinking. I mean, it’s not like I sat down with my cookbooks and recipe binder, my monthly meal plan and permanent grocery list. No, that would not have been me. (That would require I have an organized binder, meal plan or grocery list. Ha!) But I did think for a minute – What is my go-to meal?

I decided that my cheesy chicken recipe worked well for this category. After all, I do make it a lot (although not lately . . . hmmm . . . perhaps I’ll make this tonight!), and it’s pretty easy and typically a crowd-pleaser.

But then last Thursday, as I wracked my brain to figure out what I could make for my dad (who was coming over for dinner and to watch Annalyn), I realized that my go-to meal is even simpler than cheesy chicken.

And its name is pizza.

I make homemade pizza at least every two weeks and sometimes, more often. It’s just so easy! And tasty. And flexible. Here’s how I do it:

1 can pizza dough (or homemade crust)
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup (or so?) spaghetti sauce
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella

I’m serious. That’s it. Now, you can add anything you want. I usually add some green peppers and onion. (I sauté the onion with the ground beef as it’s browning, but I drop the peppers on top without cooking first.) I also add shredded Parmesan to the mozzarella, if I happen to have it on hand.

Sometimes I get really crazy and mix it up, using chicken instead of beef (make sure you cook it first). Then I add red onion and sliced mushrooms (from a can, because I’m ambitious like that). And before you start thinking I’m some sort of gourmet cook here, I should tell you that the chicken combo was Smitty’s idea and influence.

Now, one more thing before I end this post that has certainly been all kinds of helpful: read the directions on your pizza dough carefully.

I typically buy the generic brand pizza dough, which does not require you to cook it before adding sauce and toppings. It’s press into the pan, top with toppings (sauce, meat, veggies, cheese – that’s my order or choice), pop in the oven, cook and eat.

But as I found one Friday night when Smitty and I made my go-to meal, other brands require you to bake the dough first. I know that, because Smitty said so and I disagreed, then we checked the directions on the can. Pillsbury had been on sale that week, and I was wrong that night.

I don’t like being wrong. But look – look how it helped me help you. Now you’ll never go astray when making easy-peasy pizza!

And when I say “easy-peasy,” don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting you add peas to this pizza. But here’s the beauty of it: you can if you want to!

It would just be gross. That’s all I’m saying.

So, that’s my go-to meal of choice. What’s yours?

This post will be linked to Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom.


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13 Comments What’s your go-to meal?

  1. The Incredible Shrinking Woman September 15, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Mine is not portable, but fast and easy. I cut up one package of the sausage from Eckrich Farms (we like the skinless kind) with a white onion in a skillet, pour in about 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce, a dash of my brother's homemade recipe of hot sauce (entitled Cowboy Kicker) and simmer till the onions are soft and the sausage is hot. Serve it with a side of corn and some sliced apples (great when the apples are eaten with the sausage and BBQ) and VOILA! Dinner is served, and it couldn't be simpler!
    Well, Chinese takeout is technically simpler…but this dish shows that Mommy makes an effort once in a while!

  2. chelleybutton September 15, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Fajitas (one of the very few things I can make;). But since Triple is pregnant, for some reason she hasn't wanted fajitas — especially mine (which she's never had, I might add:P), so when it's my turn to cook around here, it's usually spaghetti (with sauce from a jar and cheese bread from the freezer section) or pizza (frozen or takeout:). Have I ever had your pizza? I don't think I remember it…

  3. chelleybutton September 15, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I figured you'd have a post on Patrick Swayze today.

  4. VanderbiltWife September 15, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    I honestly don't make the same things over and over OR keep stuff on hand to make meals I haven't planned. But I would guess my go-to meal is baked pasta of some kind. How could spaghetti be better unless you POURED cheese over the top and let it get all bubbly and gooey? Mmmmm.

  5. Kimberly September 15, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    My go-to meal is a spicy grilled chicken salad with corn and black beans. Husband marinates a few chicken breast in a mixture of olive oil, lime juice, and spices. Then we throw them on the George Foreman grill. Once they are done they rest on a bed of lettuce along with corn and black beans. Top the whole thing with a mexican cheese blend. As Racheal Ray would say, Yum-O!

    Now if I am home alone beause hubs is working late, my go-to meal is a bowl of cereal and a banana.

  6. Andrea September 15, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    My easiest and quickest is BBQ sandwiches. I take hamburger buns, open them up on a baking sheet, and top them with Lloyd's BBQ beef or pork (the kind in the plastic tub), both the tops and bottoms. Then I add shredded mozzarella to both sides also and bake at 400 degrees for about 6 minutes. Take them out, turn the tops over the bottoms, and they all glue together since there was cheese on both sides. Add chips and raw veggies or fruit, and it's a done deal.

  7. GollFamilyofFour September 15, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Man…so much pressure. Being a SAHM I feel as though I should have something really fabulous to offer here. But, sadly, I don't. However, we do have teriyaki chicken about twice a month. Brown some diced chicken breast, smother and simmer in teriyaki sauce, add some chopped cooked broccoli and serve over rice. Dinner is served. I do like that this is a pretty balanced one-dish meal, although the smell grosses my 4 year old out. The first time I made this, she came out of her room, pinching her nose and said, "Mommy, WHAT are you cooking down here? It smells disgusting!" Gotta love their honesty!

  8. Amy Wright September 15, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I am going to have to remember to come back and write these down!

    We end up with the same pizza a lot – although I leave out the ground beef!

    And last night I made a great go-to: cheeseburger pie. Brown a pound of ground beef, add a small can of tomato paste, line a pie plate with crescent roll dough, fill crust with meat, top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. It's a family pleaser!

  9. Becca September 15, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Can your go-to meal be the Mexican restaurant down the street? cause mine totally is :-)

  10. James September 16, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    We do hamburgers a lot. Not on a real grill, but on the ole George Forman. They take no time at all and taste fine. A few buns, tomato if we have it, lettuce if we have it, mayo, coarse mustard, and a side of tator tots. We figure the lack of veggies is made up by the fact that we make them on the GF.

    Of course, if we're really in a hurry or have NO motivation, we pop in a Red Baron pizza…or two. Becuase we are healthy eaters here. And I don't mean healthy, as in we get the veggie topped, only cheese kind. We don't. We usually get the four meat kind, but healthy as in "we eat for the lean times."

    Anyway…those are our "go-to" meals. P.S., though, we've been getting into the Crock Pot cooking recently and made lasagna in there all day. It was delicious!! And came out perfect! That might be our new go-to meal.

  11. Brenda September 17, 2009 at 4:36 am

    The go-to meal for my husband and son are egg, bean, and cheese burritos with lots of hot picante sauce. For me, just scrambled eggs and toast would be fine.

  12. Hillary @ The Other Mama September 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I love go-to meals!!
    And I have them a plenty:
    20 minute meat loaves
    Corn casserole (as a side, obviously)
    Anything I have in the freezer (usually a Homemade gourmet meal or a PIZZA!!)
    I try to plan them out, but if I'm not feeling up to THE PLAN, then I go for pizza. Mostly. Or the others, you know.
    And now I'm off to prep the meatloaves and corn casserole for tonight because I'm a lazy go-to meal kinda gal. :)

  13. HonorMommy September 18, 2009 at 3:36 am

    Um…chicken nuggets…from a bag… :-D

    Oh, you want a meal that I prepare. Hmm…

    The other day I made this really simple dish that I like to call "taco cups". Basically you make taco meat, stuff some biscuit dough in a muffin tin so that they make little cups, fill the "cups" up with taco meat and top it off with cheese. Bake it in the over for 12 minutes at 400* and …voila! The kids loved them.

    When we are having company over, we usually grill steaks and I make twice baked potatoes (it gets requested a LOT).

    I make good chili…

    I'm at a loss here Mary. If I am running short on time or energy, I fall back on chicken nuggets, hot dogs or frozen pizza. On a day to day basis, I usually make something with chicken breast and potatoes…there are a lot of dishes that can be made with just chicken and potatoes–you'd be surprised :-D.

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