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Let’s be honest, the last time you sat down for a legitimate dinner was either during a holiday at your grandparents’ house, or, if you’re one of those kinds of people who goes to restaurants with strangers, you bought (or were bought) dinner that was made for you. Every other day of the week, when you get back from the grind and your brain is the consistency of candle wax, there just isn’t much room for the effort or motivation it takes to whip up an actual meal. In honor of quick meals that satisfy and demoralize all at the same time, I give you seven go-to meals you probably should eat.
Disclaimer: if you’re one of those “clean eating #fitspo” types, you should click “back” right about now–you’re not going to enjoy this.
1. Pizza Rolls
Could it get any easier than this? A 40-count bag will run you something like $4. You can spread out about 20 of them on a standard size cookie sheet, pop it in the oven, take it out in, like, 10 minutes, and chow down. If you’re really incompetent, they only take about a minute in the microwave, but they have a “firecracker” effect and might pop and ooze their sweet, saucy filling. Personally, I make about 20, put them in a popcorn bowl, and place it under my arm on the couch–like we’re cuddling–as we watch NBC’s torrential lineup.
2. Chipotle Mac & Cheese
Yes, the words “Chipotle” and “mac and cheese” in the same sentence moistens the glands a bit.
I bought this on a whim (a fully loaded 2 a.m. whim) because it had a cactus on it. That was my only reasoning, but when I made the entire box for myself, I devoured it. The next day, I bought three more boxes and made it soberly–and I did the exact same thing. What is it about this magical blue box concoction? Is the the fact that it costs about half as much as a standard well drink, or is it because Kraft somehow took the classic pairing of M&C and Hormel Chili, but actually made it good instead of resembling a pot of Irish Car Bomb puke? Don’t let that last description turn you off from this. It’s the best I could do.
3. Classic Grilled Cheese
“Um, I was gonna ask you who you think would win in a fight between…a grilled cheese sandwich and a taco.”
If you don’t like grilled cheese, get out of my America. If you’re one of those vegan types who makes grilled cheese with a “cheese substitute,” don’t let the door hit you in the ass. If you’re lactose intolerant, my condolences. Yes, grilled cheese has a special place in my heart, somewhere between Patrick Swayze movies and that feeling of relief when she says she’s on the pill. Grilled cheese is intended one way: white bread smeared with real butter, face down on the pan, with two slices of white American (I throw in a slice of Pepper Jack because I’m an edgy motherfucker), and another slice of butter on top. Flip it and grill it to a golden brown. Get out of here with your artisan bread, your fancy cheeses, and your Le Cordon Bleu crap. Stick to the basics. If you happen to have a seasoned cast-iron pan, it makes quite the difference.
4. Grilled Cheese Plus
The game done changed…
Was I adamant in #3 about just the classic grilled cheese? Well, I led you on a little, because I take pride in grilled cheese experimentation. Get your basic bitch deli ham out of here; this is the big leagues. My top five? Sliced buffalo chicken, fried mozzarella sticks, maple bacon and thin-sliced apple, Reuben-style, and pepperoni pizza. The possibilities are endless, like porn or beer pong shots.
Designating breakfast as only the first meal of the day is a sin. Remember “Brunch for Lunch” in elementary school? Those were the days you lived for, and since everyone in your cubicle bay probably won’t appreciate the burnt sausage and egg sandwich you just re-nuked for lunch, it’s the perfect substitute meal for dinner. Pancakes take a whopping 10 minutes to make–it takes longer for your electric stove to heat up than it goes to make the batter. Then it takes about a minute per pancake to cook and cleanup is a breeze. Throw some syrup, fruit, bourbon, or whatever you like on pancakes and never be disappointed. Bonus: cooking more breakfast makes you a pro when you have the unexpected overnight guest. Nothing says, “Thanks for the screw!” quite like a stack of flapjacks and some dark roast coffee from the Keurig.
Well, I think the grilled cheese sandwich–in a fair fight. But if it was prison rules, I’d put my money on the taco.
Tacos, quite possibly, are the most underrated food in existance (not to mention just for dinner) because there are so many varieties of tacos that it would be impossible to choose just one kind.
Obviously, the classic is Old El Paso. It’s the same seasoning, shells, and sauce that your mom used to make. The seasoning is on point, the shells are crisp and delicious, and the hot sauce is just enough for an extra kick without triggering your acid reflux. Let that beef simmer a little extra in that sweet sauce, top it off with shredded, generic taco cheese, a little lettuce, and sour cream. It’s like you opened your own little cart two licks from the border.
But can you knock the other kinds of tacos? What about frozen, microwaveable “tacos”? They’re in the same family as Pizza Rolls, and they’re guaranteed to keep your bowels regular. Choco Tacos? Can’t snooze on those. You also have the fact that you can make anything and put the word “taco” after it, as long as it involves a tortilla: fish tacos, beef tacos, chicken tacos, veggie tacos, fucking Lucky Charms tacos. Whatever you want. Tacos 4 Lyfe.
There’s nothing more rewarding that a meal that took zero effort to cook. Just pat yourself on the back for making too much the night before and enjoying the splendors today. Not to mention, cold pizza is, easily, one of the best things ever. Even Domino’s is good cold, and that’s saying a lot.
• 50 percent Appetizer Nights
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