How many dishes you make everyday for dinner?
I asked the question about the balance of budget and food quality the other day.

It's kind of related to it. How many dished do you make for everyday dinner for your family? I am from a country that people usually prepare 3 to 4 for dinner, for example, pork cutlet, rice, salad, soup. I wonder I should cut down the number of dishes to keep the quality good, instead of number of plates.

I am curious how other families do usually. Thank you!



innoabrd January 25, 2011
Really depends on what I'm cooking. If, for example, I'm doing Indian food I'll generally do a protein, a lentil, a veg (maybe two) and rice. Indian food makes great leftovers and we're happy to eat leftovers the next night as well (not to mention lunches, including for my daughter to take to school)! On the other hand, last night I did a whole baked fish stuffed with a cilantro/chili based masala and just served it with Amanda's napa cabbage with hot bacon dressing.

I've really tried to cut down on the starches, for the sake of all our waistlines, and desert is fruit, unless we're having company. They are, however, cheap and filling. Unless the meal involves LOTS of veggies, we'll almost always have a salad. I'd say average is 2-3 (salad, protein and optional veggie side dish).
RobertaJ January 24, 2011
Depends upon if there's a starch inherant in the main course. Like pasta, or enchiladas or chicken and dumplings. If the starch is present in the main course, then I don't serve any additional starch side dish. But I'll have a salad and maybe another small serving of a veggie side. If the entree is just essentially a piece of protein, then I'll serve a starch on the side, along with a side salad or side veggie---usually not both. Desserts are usually not in the picture unless I have guests, or are something like a cookie or dish of ice cream to eat later. Look at the overall profile of what you've planned, and fill in the gaps. But no more than 3 total dishes (entree, side and salad/extra side) should be plenty. The idea for 4 smaller courses is sound, if you have the time to cook or prepare them all.

Mostly, as I said, its all about balance.
healthierkitchen January 24, 2011
Whichever way you go, fewer courses or larger one-pot meal or anything in between, leftovers are a great way to save money on the next day's lunches. My daughter is a sophomore in h.s. and her lunch for as long as I can remember has been leftover pasta, soup, chili, beans and rice, etc. If there are bits of chicken or beef left I sometimes shred them with some beans and veggies in a tortilla.
Verdigris January 24, 2011
We usually do four, opener, salad, main, dessert. It has saved us money and waste. Small quantities of food from one meal can be transformed into an appetizer for a later meal. The calorie content is the same as a one dish meal but the portion sizes are smaller. The taxes variety is more plentiful.
Queen O. January 24, 2011
I think for day-to-day home meals in the US, we rarely think in terms of courses. Most of us do try to balance a protein (meat, fish, beans, tofu, etc) with a vegetable OR salad (sometimes veg + salad if the veg isn't green), and a starch (noodles, rice, potatoes, polenta).

At our house dessert is not an every day thing served at the end of a meal. Sometimes a sweet snack is later in the evening.

The balance of protein/veg/starch means it could be three separate dishes or a combination: all together in a casserole, or stew (as mentioned above); a veg/starch plus protein; etc.
beyondcelery January 24, 2011
I usually do 2 dishes--a vegetarian main, with a meat on the side. I put a lot of veggies in the main dish, along with beans or tofu for a protein. The starch base is usually rice or potatoes. The meat on the side is usually fairly simple, with just one vegetable or none at all. Keeping it to just 2 dishes also helps me keep the cost down. I'll spill it over to 3 when I want to roast potatoes separately, then do a soup for the main course, and meat on the side. During the summer, salads piled high with hardboiled eggs, fruit, nuts, cheese, and cold beans are the main dish, with tortilla chips and meat on the side.
cityfarmgirlpdx January 24, 2011
I usually have 3 dishes at the most. Whenever I do four it ends up being too much and we have lots of leftovers.
aargersi January 24, 2011
We usually have a main, a side and a salad - always a salad. But then also it depends because if the main is something with meat and veggies and carbs then we just have the one dish deal (think stew)
nutcakes January 24, 2011
We don't usually have both soup and salad with our meals. It is usually one or the other at most. We don't have soup or salad everyday. If we don't have a salad, then we have a vegetable on the plate. Soup is often a main course for us, with just a salad and bread.
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