On My Own for Dinner


This past week was insane, with Jim out of town for business and me working like crazy. My dear husband finally staggered back home yesterday on the red-eye, just in time for me to leave for Italy today. I’m bleary-eyed, run-down, and can’t remember anything beyond what I ate for dinner during the past few days, so this will be a quick post before the blog goes on hiatus for a week. 

When Jim’s away I usually indulge in some of my favorite quick comfort foods for dinner. Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic, hot pepper flakes, and copious amounts of grated parmesan is a must. So is steamed broccoli, drizzled with freshly squeezed lemon juice and sprinkled lightly with salt. I try to cook dishes that involve a minimum of effort, using ingredients that Jim wouldn’t normally eat (unless I force him to, of course). 

During this past week on my own I focused on two of his least favorite foods: lentils and brussels sprouts. While lentils have been a staple in my pantry for years, I’m a recent convert to the wonders of brussels sprouts. I finally bought into the hype about a year ago, when my friends were eating them all the time and certain restaurants were earning raves for their treatments of this vegetable.

On Tuesday I cooked some green lentils with carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Then I threw in some sautéed brussels sprouts leaves and raw cherry tomatoes for a warm winter salad. Lentils are so versatile; I love tossing them with a jumble of cooked and raw vegetables, just to see if the contrast of textures and flavors will work. This one wasn’t perfect—next time I’ll forgo cooking the lentils with vegetables and use plain water as I usually do—but I thoroughly enjoyed it on two nights this week. A few days later I halved the remaining brussels sprouts and roasted them in the oven, pairing them with some brown rice for a simple and comforting dinner for one. 

While I always prefer to eat dinner with Jim, I bet he’s happy he missed my week of lentils and brussels sprouts. I wonder what foods he’ll enjoy while I’m gone this week. (Actually, maybe I’m better off not knowing.) What are some of your favorite comfort foods, things you cook only when you’re on your own? 


5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    GG said,

    I love lentils too! My husband cannot stand them, although on occasion he may grab a spoonful here or there. As a little kid my mom would make me a type of lentil stew that had bits of meat, potatoes and cubes of cheese served over rice and a fried egg on top. To this day that is one of my favorite comfort foods!

  2. 2

    Christina said,

    Thanks for your comment, GG! Your lentil stew sounds wonderful. I’ll have to get the recipe from you! I’m not sure my husband will eat it, but that’s ok–more for me!

  3. 3

    Nicki said,

    Franklin expects dinner to include meat, and since we keep kosher and separate milk and meat, I take advantage of his trips out of town to have simple dairy suppers… often a trip to Cheesetique in Alexandria to buy a baked lemon ricotta, epoisses, and perhaps a garroxta with some nice crusty bread and olive tapenade.

  4. 4

    Christina said,

    Nicki–What’s this about lemon ricotta? Sounds lovely! You’re giving me some great dinner ideas for the next time Jim goes out of town!

  5. 5

    Nicki said,

    It’s a baked ricotta – so it holds together, like a cheesecake – with a mild lemon flavor. It really is very rich and delicious, very dessert-y. Definitely grab some if you encounter it!

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