Butter Together: Desperate? Who, me?

August 14, 2019 10:56:21 AM



It seems that I'm the kind of person who can keep only one or two things clean at a time. These days, it's my classroom: the bookshelves in my classroom library are still fairly straight; I'm clearing off my desk at the end of each day; the papers in my inbox are neat and tidy.


Not so my house. My kitchen island is cluttered, and my floors ... well, let's just say they could use a vacuum. What I'm saying is this: it's a pretty typical August here in the Plair household.


In like manner, the meals I'm cooking lately will never win any culinary awards. They are what I call desperation dinners -- meals that are quick and easy but often only semi-homemade.



You may think it's foolish to write a food column dedicated to desperation dinners, but it seems like more and more people haven't grown up with home cooking and are intimidated by the whole process of creating a meal in their own kitchens. They think a home-cooked meal usually (or maybe should) take hours to prepare and look Pinterest-worthy, and they simply don't have the time, energy, or motivation to make that happen.


And then there are people like me, who aren't intimidated by the idea of cooking from scratch but also don't have unlimited time to get supper on the table. I know I'm not the only one out there because I recently asked about desperation dinners in a Facebook food group and immediately got dozens of suggestions, most of them from busy moms like me who like to keep a trick or two up their sleeves for busy days.


So here they are: a handful of desperation dinner ideas to keep you from resorting to the drive-thru as your family eases into a new school year. And hey, if you don't need desperation dinner ideas right now, would you mind coming over? I'll let you vacuum my rugs.


Amelia Plair is a mom and high school teacher in Starkville. Email reaches her at [email protected]






1 bag breaded chicken tenders


1 bottle sweet and sour sauce


Rice, prepared according to package directions


Steam-in-bag broccoli



  • Bake or air fry chicken tenders according to directions on the package. Steam broccoli while chicken and rice cook. Drizzle sauce over tenders and serve with broccoli and rice.






    1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef


    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


    1/4 teaspoon onion powder


    1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


    1 egg


    Salt and pepper (to taste)



  • Combine all ingredients by hand in a mixing bowl. Form into very small patties, about 8 patties per pound of beef. Fry on a hot griddle or skillet until browned through. Serve on slider buns with condiments and toppings. Serve fruit or raw vegetables on the side.






    1 pound ground beef


    1 packet taco seasoning


    1 bag tortilla chips


    Shredded lettuce


    1 can black beans, drained


    1 bag shredded cheese


    Toppings of choice: sour cream, green onion, olives, cilantro, diced tomatoes, salsa, pico de gallo



  • Brown beef. Drain off fat. Follow directions on taco seasoning packet to season. Allow each person to use the ingredients to build his or her own taco salad or nacho platter.