If I can avoid it, I won’t call my mother in the evenings. She is retired, loves to cook, and each night is a culinary adventure in her home. I’ve had to call her twice in the past week after 5:00 p.m., and both times I’ve hung up the phone envious of her dinner plans. Monday night she made fried chicken with roasted potatoes, chicken gravy, and green beans with almonds — I don’t even like chicken very much, and I wanted to hop a plane to Kansas to get my hands on the leftovers.
This month has been overwhelmingly busy for my family. Mealtime has stopped being adventurous and has been nothing but tried-and-true standbys. When I was a kid and my mom worked three jobs, her cooking repertoire wasn’t all that varied, either. Monday night was taco night, Tuesdays we had ham and cheese casserole, Wednesdays were homemade pizzas, and so on and so forth throughout the rest of the week. We only had things like my mom’s famous fried chicken when stress levels lifted.
My family isn’t yet at the point where we have the same meal each Monday night, but we are only having things made from recipes I’ve committed to memory. I’m not trying anything new — I simply don’t have the mental energy right now.
One of our family’s standby recipe is hummus. We’ll have it as a side to an entree, an appetizer, or an afternoon snack. It doesn’t look incredibly appetizing (and I am far from being the world’s best photographer), but it’s yummy and nutritious. It’s rich in protein, dietary fiber, folate, copper, calcium, and iron. Best of all, it is incredibly easy to make.
- 19 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic — either raw, minced and sauteed, or not included if you use garlic salt instead of the previously listed Kosher salt
- For finishing: 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil and an 1/8 tsp smoked or sweet paprika
Pour drained chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and salt into your blender. If you want a strong, almost stinging quality in your hummus, toss two raw cloves of garlic into the blender, too. If you want a mild garlic flavor, first mince and lightly saute the garlic in a teaspoon of olive oil, strain, and then add the garlic to the blender. If you want a hint of garlic, use garlic salt instead of Kosher salt.
Blend the ingredients together until smooth, it should have a similar appearance to a milkshake. If you don’t want to use your blender, you can also use a food processor or a hand blender.
When serving, garnish with 1/2 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and an 1/8 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika. Use as a spread or a dip with pita or raw carrots. From start to finish, this recipe should take less than 5 minutes to prepare. This recipe makes approximately 2-1/2 cups of hummus.
- Olive lovers might want to add 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, drained
- Use cooked white beans instead of chickpeas for a white bean dip
- Roast or grill a poblano or jalapeno pepper, remove the skin, and blend it in for a peppery kick
- Add 2 teaspoons massaman curry powder for a Thai influence
- Add 2 teaspoons Indian curry powder for an Indian influence
What are some of your standby recipes? Tell us your favorites in the comments.