Easy weeknight dinner
This one goes out to anyone who's ever felt personally victimized by an "easy" online recipe.

Easy weeknight dinner
Addyson Santese - 10/19/2023

Pleasing everyone at dinnertime can feel impossible, especially when you’ve got a husband and two picky kids to feed. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. My food blog, “Just Baste It,” is a carefully curated culinary experience that will guide you through the step-by-step process of crafting your family’s next favorite meal, all in 30 minutes or less. So, get your spatula, grab a glass of wine, and let’s get cookin’!

Look, I get it. Life gets busy. Work can be draining. Family is stressful – I’m already pouring a second glass of wine just thinking about mine! You’re probably someone who’s looking for one night’s respite from the Sisyphean task of ensuring your family doesn’t starve to death, and I’m sure you want to get this whole meal over with already. But first, I’m going to wax poetic about this recipe for at least 800-1,000 words. Whatever it takes to appease the Google Algorithm Gods and generate that ad revenue. 

Let’s start with my childhood. 

Like every dish I make, this particular recipe always brings me back to cooking in the kitchen with my grandmother. MeeMaw absolutely loved this meal. She often told me that it reminded her of being back in the old country. So quaint! So nostalgic! 

I remember how dear MeeMaw would slap my hands with a wooden spoon anytime I made a mistake, but for the purposes of monetizing on sentimentality, MeeMaw was the best. She brought a certain old-world charm to the kitchen that I carry with me today. 

In fact, MeeMaw taught me everything I know about baking love into every meal, as well as how many glasses of wine a human can consume over the course of a single 30-minute recipe. Her record is seven, but I’m shooting for eight. Calories don’t count when they’re liquid, right? By the way, if you’re wondering where the old country is, it’s Michigan. 

Now that you’ve wasted precious minutes on my irrelevant backstory, it’s time to gather your ingredients. This super simple meal is mega-quick and mega-delicious, so not even the pickiest of eaters can complain. Looking at you, precious family. Plus, it can be made from pantry staples you already have on hand like beluga caviar and saffron and truffles.

We’re going to take a quick break here so I can bombard you with no fewer than seven pop-up ads. Half of them are videos for insurance you don’t need and the other half are boxes where I’m trying to trick you into signing up for my mailing list. I can assure you, all of it is spam.

Yes, yes, I know that you’re tired after a long day, and all you want is to get to the recipe and be done with it, but if you try to scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll find that I’ve cleverly set up the website to bounce around to random parts of the page. Fun, right? 

By now, you’ve hopefully been beaten into submission by my affiliate links and relented yourself to the drone of the Aflac duck, which means this is a great time to pop open another bottle of wine. I’ll join you.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is set your oven to 450 degrees. I guess I should have mentioned that at the start of this blog, but hey, once you actually start cooking, I promise this will only take 30 minutes tops. Plus the prep time. And however long it takes you to run to the store because you forgot to buy one essential ingredient and your husband won’t go because he’s a useless slug. Whoopsie! But honestly, this recipe is the EASIEST dinner I’ve ever made, and it’s always a hit.

Remember my husband and the two kids I told you about? Even they love this dish, and that’s saying something, because they have the unrefined palate of feral swine. Those ignorant savages would probably eat nothing but dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and suffocate in the filth of their own making if I weren’t around to constantly cook and clean! Haha! What do they think I am? An indentured servant? Hahaha! 

Another glass of wine, anyone? 

Anyway, at this point, you might be scrolling back to the top, trying to figure out how long this recipe is supposed to take, because your family is hungry and I promised you’d be done in 30 minutes. Well, it looks like I forgot to mention one detail. My oven actually exists outside the fabric of space and time, somewhere on the Astral Plane where minutes are but mere illusions. 

Again, I probably should have mentioned that before you bought all the ingredients and went back to the store and painstakingly diced all those vegetables and why does an easy weeknight meal require so much dicing anyway ... and … oh, what the hell? 

Who wants to order takeout?!

– Addyson Santese

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