Veal chops with caramelized shallots.

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When it comes to weeknight cooking, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut. Especially when you haven’t gone grocery shopping for awhile and most of your favorite stuff has already been eaten, or you realize that even though you have four boxes of pasta, you don’t have any tomato sauce or parmesan cheese, and the thought of eating pasta without either of those things just makes you want to die. Or you look in your freezer and realize pretty much everything you have would require ample defrosting time, and even more ample cooking time. It’s like, sorry, self; I’m not going to start making short ribs at 7:30 in the evening.

And sometimes, I’ll admit, I get very ‘first-world-problems-y,’ when I look in my well-stocked pantry/fridge/freezer and think, “I don’t feel like making any of this.” I try to buy a variety of foods, try new things, eat leftovers, etc. etc. etc., but sometimes I just turn into a total brat and simply don’t want to eat chicken again because I just ate it for dinner last night and lunch today, or don’t waaaannaaaaaa make turkey burgers if I don’t have rolls or burger buns, even when there’s a perfectly good loaf of bread in the fridge. (It’s not weird that I keep my bread in the fridge, right?)

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Pizza pizza.

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Last weekend was Colin’s birthday, and much to my delight, he told me he wanted me to make him something awesome (“how is this different than any other night I make dinner?” I asked, probably more menacingly than I had intended), which is way better than agonizing over the perfect gift. Although, not to toot my own horn, I’ve picked out some pretty clutch gifts over the years. He’s easy to shop for, which is why I keep him around rules.

You’re probably expecting this post to feature some of the delightful recipes I whipped up on Sunday, right?

Well … sorry. I was too focused on making everything perfect and in a timely fashion, and didn’t take any pictures. Actually, I took one picture, of my homemade Montreal steak seasoning. But that’s it. Yup, I’m a terrible food blogger. In my defense, two of the recipes have already been featured here (although this time I tried a slightly different tomato soup recipe because hey, it’s fresh tomato season), one course was a cheese/charcuterie plate, and one side was steamed green beans. (Beans + water + heat. Done.) So really, the only thing I could have shared with you that would be worthwhile was… erm, well, the main course. I wish I had photographed it, because Colin said it was one of the better steaks he had ever tasted.

I know, right? Terrible, terrible Lauren. But I have another flank steak in the freezer, so sooner rather than later (hopefully), I’ll make this again, and on that evening, I won’t be spinning around my kitchen like a top that is also somehow on crack. So please don’t be peeved … especially because the recipe I’m about to share with you more than makes up for this oversight. Also, it’s pizza. That also features bacon. So really … you can’t be that mad.

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Cheesy baked polenta.

Baked polenta

A few weeks ago, I posted a link for something or other that I’d cooked up on my Facebook, and a friend from middle school, Jillian, said, innocently enough, “I’d be curious to see what you could do with polenta.”

In the 26 years I’ve been stumbling around this planet and devouring things, I had eaten polenta exactly one time. My reaction upon eating it was basically “WHY HAS NO ONE EVER TOLD ME ABOUT HOW GLORIOUS CORN MEAL CAN BE?!” It was kind of like the first time I had Nutella. OK, maybe it wasn’t quite as dramatic as my first experience with Nutella, but STILL. The polenta had goat cheese in it, so, you know…it was pretty magical in its own right.

So, I said:

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and got to work concocting a polenta recipe.

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