All growing up, there was a daily tradition that my Mom never missed: The 4 O'Clock Panic. Due to her deep-seated hatred for cooking...yet determined to provide well-balanced meals for her family...my Mother would wait until 30 minutes before dinnertime to think about, you know, actually cooking dinner.
The Panic would involve tearing through the kitchen, taking inventory of her food supply and then figuring out how to throw together a nice meal that would satisfy one major food snob and 2 little princesses. I'm not gonna lie, a lot of Hamburger Helper was involved.
When I had my very own family to cook for, I learned quickly that the 4 O'Clock Panic was not for me. I just couldn't throw together anything on-the-fly.
Enter MMI #3: the Photo Book Cookbook.
Seeing my despair, my former boss, Jennifer Jones, took a photo album and filled it with 4x6 index cards of her favorite recipes. She knew my cooking prowess was non-existent, so she made them easy and they didn't have more than 7 or so ingredients.
I use it almost every evening. It's how I plan my meals and my corresponding grocery list. I steal meal ideas all the time, add it to my book, and throw away the ones I don't use. This system has brought sanity into my kitchen for 5 years.
Let the cooking-challenged-wives rejoice!
Oh, and Happy Birthday, Mom. The 4 O'Clock Panic is further proof that you love us madly.