Traditional Family Foods: What Are Your Staples for Family Dinner?

tortilla soupI love to cook for my family. It's my single favorite responsibility of adulthood and motherhood. Food to me is love, memories, and experiences, as well as the nourishment we all need to grow and stay healthy. I could pore over cookbooks for hours, chop, season, and experiment all day but for one little problem: lack of time.

In the busy hub of family life, I barely have time to think about dinner, much less get creative about it all that often. So I find myself rushing into the grocery, with no list, no plan, but at least knowledge in my head of the staples. These are the meals we eat regularly, those whose ingredients I have memorized. They are the dishes I know my children will encounter later in life that will make them think of home. I think every family has them. Here our five of our favorite staple meals:


Pasta With Red Sauce

Good olive oil, lots of garlic, and top-of-the-line tomatoes simmered together with some basil and crushed red pepper are all you need to simmer up this great sauce. Served over whole wheat pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, it's complete comfort food.


Doesn't every family have taco night? I'm not a fan of those seasoning packets and kits you buy at the store, but prefer ground beef with just some garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper on a warmed corn tortilla. Topped with Monterey jack cheese, onions, tomatoes, and chunks of avocado, they are perfect.

Grilled Pizza

So much better than take-out. I start with store-bought dough and pile on a variety of toppings. This grilled margarita pizza recipe from Food Network is one of my favorites.

Spinach Pesto

Instead of basil, this pesto recipe uses spinach, which ups the nutrition content significantly. We toss it with pasta and chicken, drizzle it on pizza, and use it with cream cheese as an appetizer.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is my favorite staple. I love that I can make it ahead of time, and just heat it up come dinnertime. Everyone can customize it to suit their own taste with toppings, and it's really a complete meal in itself. Here's the best chicken tortilla soup recipe I have found.

What are your family's favorite staple meals?

Image via matthewf01/Flickr

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