What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood

a podcast with Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

Episode 37: Go-To Dinners

What makes a “go-to dinner”? One pot is good. 30 minutes or less is better. But we’ll use every cookie sheet and pot in the house if it’s 1) not pizza and 2) all of our kids will actually eat it.

Here’s links to all of our own go-to recipes that we discuss in this episode, plus the ones our listeners swear by:

Margaret’s Go-To Dinners

Beef Empanadas  (use refrigerated pie crust for the dough)

Green Soup (Margaret adds chicken)

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder 

Savory Muffins 

and, believe it or not, Lobster Thermidor (Lego Batman’s favorite, natch)

Amy’s Go-To Dinners

Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp (ten minutes, one pan. If you don’t have the spices, skip em.)

Sheet Pan Fajitas

Taco Night (this is a super-easy recipe from Laura Fuentes)

Our Listeners’ Child-Approved Meals

Rebecca’s Loaded Potato Soup

Mollie’s Chickpea Tikka Masala

Diane’s Asian Noodles (kudos to this brilliant bit of improvisation):

and Nancy’s Spanish Rice (thanks, Amy’s mom!)

Here’s some of our favorite places to get go-to dinner inspiration :

Amy’s sister loves the  Weelicious website

Margaret’s favorite cookbook: America’s Test Kitchen: The Best Simple Recipes

Amy’s favorite recipe app: Treehouse Table

And our new obsession! Our podcast’s latest sponsor: HelloFresh. HelloFresh delivers weekly recipes and fresh ingredients straight to your doorstep. Last night Amy made their Veggie-Loaded Orzo with Sausage. Margaret and her husband made the Chicken Cheddar Fajitas. People, they were devoured. No planning, no shopping, no complaining. We are huge fans! We think you should try HelloFresh for your family-and you can get $30 off your first HelloFresh delivery by going to  hellofresh.com and entering the code mother30.

What’s your go-to dinner? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook page!


Episode 36: Sick Day Hacks


Episode 38: Mean Girls (with guest author Katie Hurley)


  1. Veronica

    Thanks so much for this humorous discussion with links to actual go to dinners. Super helpful! I have to laugh and share that my kitchen at work has a small George Foreman grill that I use almost daily to heat up my sandwich. There’s nothing better for a boring sandwich than a little melted cheese and toasted bread!

  2. Anna Cole

    These pancakes have enough protein that if I add some sort of fruit, it’s a reasonable meal. And yes, we eat pancakes for dinner more than for breakfast. Who has time for this at breakfast?

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