Starter Kitchen Series: Determining your Go-to Dish

As much as you want to be experimental and adventurous in the kitchen, daily tasks (planned and unexpected) hinder us from cooking gourmet or complicated dishes all the time. Even if you make menu plans for the week, there are times when whatever's in the pantry is the more logical choice.

In this part of the Starter Kitchen Series, we challenge you to think of your go-to-dish for those days when you just have less time for cooking.

The ultimate default dish - adobo
I find that having go-to-dishes (or default) is the way to go. For example, in my husband's household, they always stock up on t-bone (local beef) for a quick steak meal. I know a family who cooks spaghetti twice a week. 

Mah Kut Teng
In our household, I realized we tend to rotate our go-to-dishes once in a while, but it's almost always the same thing: Adobo, Ground Meat with Carrots and Potatoes, Chicken Curry, Tuna & Eggplant Pasta and Mah Kut Teng which is basically pork bone soup with cabbage and radish.

I believe every starter kitchen should have a default dish. Default dishes should be easy to prepare, something you have already mastered. If you find yourself not relying on a recipe book or a website and you seem to be moving in an unusually confident and calm manner in the kitchen, then you have found your default dish.

Ground pork with potatoes and carrots
The ingredients for default dishes are also easy to find and something you find yourself navigating towards during your supermarket trip. It should have ingredients that doesn't easily spoil so that you can cook it twice or thrice a week.

Just to give you an example, if you stopped me in the middle of a trip to the supermarket you will find potatoes, carrots, cabbage, eggplant, tomato sauce, and a couple cans of tuna in water, chicken breast and ground beef or pork in my cart. Of course the usual onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes will also be there. Sometimes I add in wansoy, leeks and green onions for additional flavor and garnish. 

Chicken Curry
Items that we always keep in our pantry are two kinds of pasta (spaghetti and elbow or something else to add variety) and olive oil for a quick Tuna & Eggplant Pasta in Olive Oil dish. You can refer to the Cooking Ingredients part of the Starter Kitchen Series for a list of other items we like to keep a stock of.

I hope this post helps simplify your menu planning. I'm really interested to know what your default dishes are in your household! If you haven't determined it yet, what do you think is the best go-to-dish for you? Please share recipes as well if you have them!

Thanks a lot and happy cooking!


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