Do you ever notice trends in the foods you like?

I cooked homemade dinners from scratch twice this week.

That’s a pretty rare event around here.

It is even more unusual because I noticed that both dishes featured a rich, orange-hued sauce.

But then I realized that not just two, but three of my favorite dishes to make and eat at home actually happen to star orange sauces!

Let me introduce you to three luscious fall, winter or anytime meals that all happen to share the color orange.

1. Massaman curry. When Napa, our Thai exchange student, lived with us, she taught me how to make a delicious Thai dish called massaman curry. Made with a blend of spices and coconut milk, this wonderful curry ends up being a rich orange hue. A key ingredient is potatoes, but you can vary the meat or veggies to your taste. I found this massaman recipe online which is similar to mine, although I use Thai massaman curry paste to keep things simple.

2. Vodka sauce. My all-time favorite Italian sauce variety is pink or orange in color, too. I’ve been making penne alla vodka from canned tomatoes and heavy cream since my college days, and it’s something I tend to order when we go out for Italian food, too. I typically eat this dish without meat, as the sauce itself is rich and filling, but it’s also fabulous over meatballs. It’s worth noting that while I used to add the vodka ingredient, I stopped about 20 years ago and the virgin version of this sauce still tastes great to me.

3. Paneer butter masala. My latest orange-sauced creation is a delicious Indian curry my best friend taught me how to cook. Paneer butter masala is my favorite thing to order in an Indian restaurant (you can also get chicken butter masala if you prefer yours with meat). Thanks to my bestie, I now know how to make this deliciousness at home from fresh tomatoes, onion, cashews and a blend of wonderful Indian spices. To keep things super simple, I use pre-made paneer from Costco – it’s fantastic!

How odd is it that three of my favorite meals share the unique color orange, even though they are from three very distinct parts of the world? But when I actually thought about it, I realized there are other themes or trends in the foods I like, too.

For example, I love dumplings from many different cultures and cuisines including Chinese, Nepalese and Japanese. There’s just something about soft dough wrapped around savory ingredients, then dipped in yummy sauces, that feels so right to me! Now that I think about it, Indian samosas and Polish pierogis fit in this category, too – and I love them both.

Another recurring trend among my favorite eats are hand-held foods wrapped up in a self-contained package such as empanadas (South America), calzones (Italy) meat pastries (England or Jamaica), knishes (Yiddish) and egg rolls (Asia). The Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell definitely fits this bill. Although, most of these are similar to oversized dumplings, so maybe this is just an extension of my love of dumplings?

Clearly, I can talk or write about food all day!

Have you ever stopped to think about the things your favorite foods have in common? If you spot any interesting culinary trends in your own life, you’ll have to let me know in the comments below or over on Instagram or Facebook.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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