TV and food…two things I love. So naturally, I sometimes think in ways that combine the two. Here’s a sampling of what’s on my TV menu these days.

Appetizers:
These shows aren’t the main course, but rather something you can watch when you don’t want something too heavy. Maybe you want to pass the time before the kids go to sleep, or while the pasta for dinner is boiling, or between errands while pairing up the socks in the laundry pile.
Only got 22 minutes? That’s about how long it will take to get through a comedy, whether it be “New Girl” (9 p.m. Tues., Fox), “Parks and Recreation” (8:30 p.m. Thurs., NBC) or “The Office” (9 p.m. Thurs., NBC). Yes, I’m sticking in there, even in the post-Michael Scott era.
“Terra Nova” (8 p.m. Mon., Fox) may not be the huge hit it had been predicted to be, but it’s great family filler between homework and dinner.
Reality shows like CBS’s “Survivor” (8 p.m. Wed., CBS) and “The Amazing Race” (8 p.m. Sun., CBS) are also good bets.
“House Hunters,” “My First Place” and all things HGTV provide background noise, and motivation to clean your house or finish that do-it-yourself project. Or switch to the Food Network.

Comfort food:
You’re sick or just had a really long day at work. These shows are the TV equivalent of a bowl of something warm and starchy, like mashed potatoes or mac and cheese. The perfect accompaniment to a quilt and a rainy afternoon. Plus, you won’t have to think too much, and you may even smile, even if you’re not in the mood to.
“Chuck” (8 p.m. Fri., NBC): It’s back for its final season. The season premiere last week started a little slow, but the ending hinted at a great season to come.
“Glee” (8 p.m. Tues., Fox): Singing, dancing, a message of acceptance and the always entertaining Brittany. (Teacher: “What’s the capital of Ohio?” Brit: “O.”) And if you doze in the middle, it’s not like you’ll miss a whole lot of plot.
Anything on USA: “Covert Affairs” is back this week, but others in this category include “White Collar,” “Burn Notice,” “Fairly Legal” and “Suits.”
“Modern Family” (9 p.m. Wed., ABC): Finding a show our whole family enjoys? Not an easy thing.

Main course:
Draw the curtains. Unplug the phone. Make sure the dog has already gone outside to relieve himself… You certainly don’t want to be interrupted by his barking at a climactic moment. No hitting the pause button on these shows: They are the main event.
“Fringe” (9 p.m. Fri., Fox): I haven’t been able to catch every episode of this show, but I’ve seen enough to know it’s awesome. It’s perpetually on the bubble, so it could be ending this year. That makes this a perfect time to catch up with the show on DVD. (That’s my plan anyway.)
FX’s “American Horror Story”: It’s kinky, dark and creepy, so not everyone will like it, and who knows how it will do in the long haul. But for now, I’m along for the ride. Just make sure the kids are really asleep first.
“Castle” (10 p.m. Mon., ABC) and “The Mentalist” (10 p.m. Thurs., CBS): Sometimes, the shows are light and banter-filled enough to be comfort food, but I think they belong here because of the darker story arcs about the search for who killed Det. Kate Beckett’s mom on “Castle” or Patrick Jane’s wife and child on “Mentalist.” Plus both shows excel at creating exciting season finales, which are a must for a main course show.
“The Good Wife” (9 p.m. Sun., CBS): Romance, courtroom intrigue and Kalinda. If you watch, you know.
Two “appointment TV” shows no longer on the air but that are well worth catching up with on DVD: “The Wire” and “Friday Night Lights.”
Another show that’s may still be showing in repeats on HBO is “Game of Thrones.” If it’s not, look for it when it returns in spring. A brilliant show.

Dessert:
Maybe a little sinful, but we all need our guilty pleasures. These shows may be empty calories, but they taste good. As long as you don’t overindulge, you shouldn’t feel any regret in the morning.
“2 Broke Girls,” (8:30 p.m. Mon., CBS) may be too raunchy for its early timeslot and isn’t always laugh-out-loud funny, but good chemistry between the two female leads keeps it interesting enough to sample. Plus they make cupcakes. See the connection?
“Desperate Housewives” (9 p.m. Sun., ABC) : I admit it. I still watch it. I figure, I might as well stick around to see how it all ends since this is its final season.
“Revenge” (10 p.m. Wed., ABC): A soapy (and a little twisted) newcomer about a dish best served cold. Or, in this case, for dessert.

The greasy takeout food that may be responsible for that bout of food poisoning:
Everyone’s tastebuds are different. Some like salty, some sweet. Some are adventurous in their choice of cuisines, while others find satisfaction in familiar favorites. No doubt these shows have fans. Hey, they’re still on the air, after all, so someone is watching. But these are the shows that give me indigestion. I’ve omitted shows I’ve never watched, though some admittedly I’ve only been able to stomach for a few minutes.
Anything with the word Kardashian in the title. I’ve never sought out these shows, but sometimes my TV plots against me, and when I turn it on or change the channel, there will be Kourtney, Kim or Khloe in high-def. I try to change the channel quickly.
“Toddlers and Tiaras”: Do I need to say why this is on the list? Thought not.
I was going to put the “Whitney” on this list, but even though it’s one of my least favorite new shows, it’s a gem compared to the ones above.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list. What shows do you think should be given a spot on the menu? And which should be dumped like last week’s spoiled meatloaf?