Cure for the Common Thursday

October 7th, 2010 · 13 Comments · Dinner, Organizing, Strategizing, Planning, Quick, Vegetarian

Do you guys suffer from Thursday Syndrome like I do? Symptoms include dry refrigerator, a shriveled vegetable supply, and feelings of guilt-fueled resistance to ordering in or going out. (That’s what Friday is for, you weakling!) Lucky for all of us there is a cure, and it involves a combination of the six magical grocery items below, all of which you have in your pantry already since I told you to shop for them a few days ago. (Right?)

1. Whole Wheat Pasta
2. Quinoa
3. Frozen Spinach
4. Canned or Frozen Artichokes
5. Eggs
6. Onions

I find if I have nothing else but these long-lasting pantry friends in the kitchen (plus a few basics like olive oil, soy sauce, and Parm) I can almost always churn out a fast, healthy meal that will bridge me to the weekend. Here are five of those meals below. Please feel free to recommend any combinations I’m forgetting. I can always use more meds…I mean ideas.

Option 1: Pasta with Spinach and Artichokes (shown above). Cook pasta in a large pot according to package directions. Remove from pot and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. In the same pot, add a few good glugs of olive oil, half a chopped onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add a handful of artichoke hearts (drained and chopped), a handful of spinach (thawed, squeezed dry), salt and pepper, and stir together until heated through. Toss with pasta and serve with Parm.

Option 2: Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Parmesan Cook pasta according to package directions, then drain and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Meanwhile, in a skillet over low heat, cook 2-3 onions (sliced or chopped) in olive oil on low heat for as long as humanly possible so they get nice and caramelized. Divide pasta into bowls and top with onions, a massive mound of grated Parmesan, and more olive oil.

Option 3: Quinoa with Fried Egg, Spinach, and Soy Sauce. In my house, this falls under the “After Hours” category, as in: Our kids won’t eat it, so we save it for those nights when we eat after they go to bed. If the recipe sounds familiar it’s cause I wrote about it here last spring.

Option 4: Spinach and Onion Omelet with a side of Quinoa. In a bowl, whisk together four eggs, salt, pepper, a splash of water. Cook a few sliced onions in olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Remove, then add eggs and let sit like a pancake until eggs are slightly firm. (But poke holes in the middle or pull in the sides and tilt the pan to allow egg on top to mostly cook through.) Add onions, grated Parm, and a few pinches of spinach (thawed, squeezed dry) down the center third of the omelet and fold in each side on top of the fillings. Flip over to seal and cook for another minute until filling has heated through. Serve with quinoa that has been tossed with olive oil, Parm, salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon if you have it.

Option 5: Spaghetti Omelet. OK, I’m slightly cheating here, because this one involves leftover pasta. (Do not try it with freshly made pasta. It won’t work.) Fry leftover, un-sauced spaghetti in olive oil over medium heat. Add salt and cook for five minutes until crispy on the bottom. Add a few slices of onion (scallions if you have them; and parsley if it’s not liquefied in bottom of crisper) then flip like a pancake. Add some Parmesan and 3 to 4 eggs. (You can beat them first or just crack them into the pan.) Cook until the eggs are done, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve like a pizza, cut into wedges. (My friend Adam gave us this recipe years ago. In the original email he sent, he also recommended “a nice Sancerre” to go along with it.)

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13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Molly // Oct 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    We’ve been making page 133, scrambled egg pasta (with or without bacon, depending on what we have), on those kind of nights.

  • 2 Melissa // Oct 7, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    A variation on the pasta with spinach and artichokes…especially if your children, like mine, are weird about vegetables (“I’ll eat it so long as I can’t identify it”): Pasta with some pesto combination. I got this one from Rachael Ray, and her tip for microwaving the smashed garlic in the olive oil for 30 seconds is genius. Into the food processor: artichoke hearts, lemon juice, parsley, garlic & olive oil. Toss with pasta, pass the parmesan. Spinach and arugula pesto (with pinenuts or walnuts) are also big hits. They don’t like spinach, but they’ll eat green noodles.

  • 3 phaedra // Oct 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    ohhh. love the intro.. i DO suffer from that and that’s why we just give in & do ‘breakfast for dinner’ – whatever that may entail. kiddo loves ‘breakfast for dinner’ night so it’s a win/win.

    these looks great though & will keep them in mind for when my meds.. er.. i mean ideas.. run out

  • 4 Jan @ Family Bites // Oct 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    We suffer from the same syndrome and our default is always eggs. I keep a supply of rice in my freezer so we thaw it, sautee, add eggs and whatever sad veggies we have, a touch of hoisin or soy sauce and eat.

  • 5 Jenna // Oct 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I concur about the eggs being an essential pantry item. My solution is to top everything with a fried egg. =) Or piles of parmesan . . . yep, that works too.

  • 6 MommyLisa // Oct 7, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    The spaghetti omlett sounds awesome!

  • 7 Jessica // Oct 7, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Every Thursday of my life!
    But I have school on Thursday, so I also have this perdicament on Wednesdays.
    Mmmmm, the quinoa w/ fried egg & soy sauce sounds so good! Throw in some frozen peas and we’re in business!

  • 8 Gina // Oct 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    LOVE this! Thursday is usually clean out the fridge & have lots of leftovers for us. These ideas sound great though. I’m definitely stocking all these for those last minute dinner woes.
    thanks!

  • 9 Jessica // Oct 7, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    My onions are caramelizing as we speak! I love, love, love your blog! I have started checking it every day to see what we’re having for dinner that night! :-)

  • 10 Kelly // Oct 7, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    If I wasn’t already madly in love with you and your blog, this post alone would have done the trick. Awesome! And thank you so much for the Make Dinner Not War sticker! It’s my favorite thing on my fridge.

  • 11 Shannon O'Connell // Oct 8, 2010 at 10:15 am

    I want a sticker! We just moved into a new apartment, and I have the perfect spot for it. How can I get one? :)

  • 12 Susan // Oct 8, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Thursday is bad. We use some of those ingredients above for pasta tossed with eggs, lemon (zest and juice) and parm – with spinach tossed in too. Yummy and easy.

    Any slow cooker ideas????? (ones that actually taste good and fresh?)

  • 13 Melissa // Oct 8, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Alright. I am trying to cut down the spending on books, but you got me with this post. Just finally ordered it from Amazon and can’t wait to get it. I miss Cookie and I am sure I will love the book as well. Such simple, flexible, use-what-you-have recipes.

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