When I first started seriously cooking, I thought that for something to be really good, it had to be complicated, use expensive ingredients, and probably be French as well. But now I know better. In fact, it is often the opposite. Simple is almost always better.
I have a very special affinity for a good midnight snack. I always seem to wake up in the wee hours and a tasty treat helps me get back to sleep without too much tossing and turning.
What could be better on a winter’s night than sausage and biscuit? Canned biscuits are not bad, and I do like Jimmy Dean’s Hot Sausage. In about fifteen minutes it will be done, and if you have some homemade jam to go along with it, then you are set.
It’s also pretty easy to make sausage gravy to go with those biscuits too, it makes for a fine and hearty breakfast. Sauté a little chopped onion and garlic, add the sausage, brown well, and add half and half or heavy cream, season with salt and pepper, and simmer until it’s thick. That’s pretty simple, and it’s delicious too. If you were ever in the army, you might remember this dish as “SOS.”
Another favorite of mine is black bean and scrambled egg tacos. Sauté diced ham until starting to brown, add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and a can of black beans. Season with red pepper flakes and Tonys. Separately, whisk the eggs, and (you are going to love this) add ricotta cheese, and scramble. Combine the beans and eggs in a tortilla and you are good to go. I like to add a little guacamole too.
What could be simpler than mac and cheese? The kids prefer the kind that comes in the box, but homemade is much better. Use Gruyere cheese, heavy cream, lots of butter, and you have a one-pot meal or a good side for dinner. You can jack mac and cheese up by adding diced and browned ham or fine-diced jalapenos too.
The list of really simple but really good snacks that can be ready in a jiffy is almost endless: grilled cheese and tomato soup, an apple or banana with peanut butter, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, hot chicken noodle soup with toast, scrambled eggs on toast, and then, there is the almost endless category of leftovers that can just be heated up or made into a sandwich or a taco.
If you want to have a special dinner party, go ahead and make vichyssoise or beef bourguignon, but remember a fine feast can be had with a few simple treats.