Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wait, I have a FOOD BLOG?

So hey! Hi there! I am a little bit gone right now, as you may have noticed. We were out of town for a couple of weeks and I've had a hard time getting my mojo back, food-wise.

But I'll be back January 1st! For reals! With a culturally significant New Year's Day meal, even!

So yeah. See you then!

P.S. Tonight we had this again, but this time I put the damn meat in the crockpot at the outset so all was well.

Monday, November 27, 2006

No mas jamón, por favor

Tonight's Menu
  • popcorn shrimp
  • garlic butter potatoes
  • big-ass salad
Oh y'all, we are SO SICK of leftovers. The turkey and most of the side dishes are gone, but the ham! It lingers! I decided we needed a break so tonight I made some frozen popcorn shrimp -- the kind you bake in the oven -- and a fresh salad.

The potatoes were my usual tiny red potatoes, parboiled then chuffed up in a hot pan with butter, except that I tossed a couple of mashed garlic cloves in with them at the chuffing stage. SO yummy, though you have to be careful not to burn the garlic.

I dunno why but for me shrimp, especially breaded shrimp, REQUIRE(S) garlic. They just go together. I would have done garlic bread but we didn't have any nice loaves hanging around. They all went into the stuffing, I think!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today's Menu
  • herbed roast turkey
  • honey-cured ham
  • cornbread dressing
  • rolls
  • sweet potato casserole
  • mashed potatoes and gravy
  • caramelized brussels sprouts
  • green beans with bacon and onion
  • cranberry sauce
  • pickles, olives and cheese
  • pecan pie
  • pumpkin pie
  • German chocolate cake
  • birthday cake
I am SO STUFFED, y'all.

Okay, Mom made the turkey, dressing, gravy, pecan pie and German chocolate cake so I don't have recipes for those.

[UPDATE! After the tryptophan fog lifted, I remembered Mom said she got the cornbread dressing recipe from Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. Et voila! Mom made a few substitutions, though: veggie broth instead of chicken, and celery instead of water chestnuts. It was SO FREAKIN' AWESOME.]

I made the ham, which was just a honey-cured boneless spiral-cut ham from HEB that needed to be heated for an hour. The rolls were Rhodes frozen rolls (they're little frozen balls of dough that have to thaw and rise before baking), the mashed potatoes were Ore-Ida frozen (they are AWESOME), the cranberry sauce was canned (I added some freshly grated orange zest to the whole-berry sauce and it made a ton of difference), the pickles were from a jar, the pumpkin pie was from the recipe on the Libby's canned pumpkin label, and the birthday cake was from a mix.

I used Emmitt Smith's sweet potato casserole recipe. This is the second year I've made it and it's SO GOOD. I can't make any other recipe now. Props to Emmitt!

The caramelized brussels sprouts were new to me this year. I followed this recipe from except that I cut the sprouts in half before steaming, omitted the onion and used toasted almond slivers in place of pistachios. It was DELICIOUS. I will definitely make this again!

I made the green beans the way I always do: chop up some bacon and saute in a Dutch oven until nearly crisp, toss in some chopped onion and saute until the onion releases its fragrance, then add fresh green beans and cover with water. Toss about a tablespoon or so of brown sugar into the water (trust me) and bring the whole thing to a boil, then cover and simmer until the beans are as tender as you like. Drain and serve. Yum!

I seriously will not have to cook for at least two weeks thanks to all the leftovers. Which is good because I don't plan to eat anything for days. Oy.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This one's for you, Kristen

Tonight's Menu
  • skillet pork chops with mushroom gravy
  • steamed basmati rice
  • steamed broccoli
It's been brought to my attention that I've been neglecting the ol' blog lately. Which is totally true, and I have no excuse except that I don't like to admit publicly how often we eat frozen pizza and hotdogs and crappe like that. So here you go; this is what we had tonight. I made the pork chops the same way as usual except I used Cream of Mushroom Soup With Roasted Garlic. Fancy!

It's finally cool enough outside for this meal to make sense, too. And it makes the house smell SO GOOD.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Just can't get enough

Tonight's Menu
  • grilled hamburgers w/fixin's
  • baked beans
  • Tostitos multigrain tortilla chips
I know! Again with the grilling! And the beef*! I can't help myself!

I make my baked beans the way my mom always did. You start with canned Campbell's pork and beans. Partially drain them and dump them into a baking dish. Then chop up some bacon and onions, fry them up in a skillet, and add that to the beans. Then add equal parts brown sugar and ketchup, a little squirt of prepared yellow mustard, and bake them in the oven for an hour or so (I've cooked them on any temp from 300 to 400, depending on how quickly I need them done).

It ain't fancy, but it's goooooood.

*Yes, we eat a lot of beef and pork. DH and the girl are allergic to soy and some tree nuts and DH is also allergic to poultry. Our protein options are limited over here. If that bothers you, you might want to read a different blog.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It's what's for dinner

Tonight's Menu
  • grilled NY strip steaks w/sauteed onions and mushrooms
  • baked potatoes w/fixin's
  • steamed broccoli
Yes, I am STILL GRILLING. And it's NOVEMBER! But I'm grilling in the dark, which makes it not seem so wrong somehow. It's like camping! But I get to sleep in a comfy bed with no bugs! And a real toilet!

So yeah, I bought some nice thick NY strip steaks this week. Now that the kids like meat (or the boy does, at least) I've been buying the family packs for cheap. I brought these to room temperature, rubbed them with crushed garlic cloves, sprinkled with kosher salt & cracked pepper, then cooked them on an insanely hot gas grill for 4 minutes per side. After resting they were medium rare, tender and perfect.

The mushrooms and onions were sauteed in EVOO and seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper. Baked potatoes were loaded with all the bad dairy products and whatnot. Broccoli was steamed in the microwave.

OH! And also I made an apple crumb pie for dessert! From scratch! Well, except for the crust. Those Pillsbury refrigerated crusts are just too damn easy.

So yeah, tonight's dinner was WAY yummy. Especially with a little pinot.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A near-disaster averted

Tonight's Menu
  • ropa vecchia
  • a crusty loaf of multigrain bread
  • big-ass salad
Yes, I know it's been forever since I posted. We've been eating crap.

However, tonight's dinner was WAY yummy, the only minus being that it was supposed to be YESTERDAY'S dinner. But yesterday, everything went horribly wrong.

Here's what happened: my pal Joke posted a recipe for his grandmother's Italian version of ropa vieja (christened ropa vecchia because of the Italian thing). Bec tried it and posted some photos that had me wiping drool off my keyboard, so I decided I had to try it, too.

Here's what I did wrong-ish:
  1. I used brisket, which isn't wrong per se, but I did not factor in the additional cooking time this cut would require (versus the recommended chuck shoulder).
  2. I put it on the stove way too late in the day, see above.
  3. I put it on way too low of a heat setting. It's supposed to be poached, but I was just kind of ... soaking it. In tepid water. My gas burners range from 6,000 to 12,500 BTUs. I started it on the 6,000 on the lowest possible flame, then moved it to the 9,000 on the lowest possible flame, when what I should have done was stick the damn thing on the 12,500 burner at the lowest possible flame and left it there. I never got any bubbles at all, and barely even any movement in the water.
So, by dinnertime last night I had a hunk of shrunken, greyish, not at all tender meat and that was not good, not good at all. We had leftover spaghetti instead.

I stuck the meat in the crockpot overnight and it shredded up a treat this morning. The sauce, which I made this evening, was absolutely delicious and the dish was FINALLY declared a success. Next time I'm doing the meat in the crockpot right from the beginning, yo. Because I am not so much with the poaching, apparently.

I don't usually post pictures on this blog, but I went to so damn much trouble for this meal that you bet your ASS I took a picture.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Grilling in late October is just wrong

Tonight's Menu
  • grilled boneless pork chops
  • sauteed cabbage with bacon
  • steamed baby carrots
As much as I love grilled food, I'm kind of hoping this is the last time I'll have the opportunity to do it for a while. It was well into the 80s today and SO humid. Yuck. The cabbage and carrots were my nod to seasonal appropriateness. I'm in the mood for fall food, but the weather is not cooperating, dammit!

Unless I'm doing some kind of Asian marinade or barbecue or something, I nearly always season my grilled chops the same way -- with Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt and McCormick Garlic Pepper Blend. That's it, and that's all. Just sprinkle generously on both sides and grill away. If you've bought decent chops and don't overcook them, they'll be plenty juicy and SO tasty.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Lasagne for everyone!

Tonight's Menu
  • cheesy lasagne
  • crusty garlic bread
  • big-ass salad
I could swear that years ago, DH told me he didn't like ricotta cheese. So all these years I've been making my lasagne with mozzarella only. Sometimes I'd throw in some spinach and/or mushrooms, but ever since the boy child decided he liked PLAIN lasagne, I haven't even been doing that. So it's been sauce, noodles and mozzarella. No meat, no veg, no nothing. Yeah. Kind of flat and yucky, actually.

HOWEVER, DH has suddenly decided that he would be okay with trying some ricotta after all. So today I mixed ricotta (part skim) with the mozzarella and layered THAT with the noodles and sauce, and my lasagne was much closer to something resembling normal. DH declared that he liked the ricotta version better, so thank God.

Oh, and by the way? Those oven-ready lasagne noodles are the best invention since microwave popcorn.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Portuguese soup

My mom swears she has been making this sausage and cabbage soup (recipe here) for years but I don't remember it at all. The first time I remember eating it was when Malcontent Mama served it to Bookhart and me at her house on a very cold evening last winter. I've made it several times since and it always takes me back to that icy/drizzly evening and all the laughter and alcohol and broken glass. Good times! (Er, you probably had to have been there.)

Anyway, I was in the mood for it tonight so I put a pot on to simmer while the kids were at taekwondo. I leave out the kidney beans because DH is allergic to them, but in my opinion the soup is better with them in. This is a wonderful soup for cold weather -- it really warms you up inside! It's even better the second day, after the flavors have really had a chance to meld.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

She's got legs

Tonight's Menu
  • roasted chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • leftover steamed rice
  • green salad
There was plenty of pork and pineapple leftover from last night so I let DH have that while the kids and I had roasted chicken leg parts. Yum! I'm going to make an Asian-inspired chicken salad from the leftovers, I think. I'll let y'all know how it comes out!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Skillet supper: pineapple pork chops

Tonight's Menu
  • skillet pork chops w/onion and pineapple
  • steamed rice
  • steamed broccoli
I love stir-fried pork and pineapple but I suck at stir-fries in general. No matter how I cook the meat -- in small batches, at high temperature, etc. -- it gets tough. I had some really nice, thick, boneless pork chops tonight and I was dying for some stir-fry, but it would have been a sin to ruin them with my lackluster cooking skills.

So instead, I left the chops whole and browned them in a skillet. I tossed in a chopped (into wedges) sweet yellow onion and a big can of pineapple chunks (which I had drained, reserving the juice). I added a little bit of pineapple juice to the pan, brought it to a boil, then covered the pan and turned it to low for about 20 minutes. While the chops were simmering and the veggies and rice were cooking in the microwave, I put the rest of the reserved pineapple juice into a bowl. I whisked in some ketchup and mirin (a sweet rice cooking wine) along with a little bit of worcestershire sauce (because DH and the girl are allergic to soy). Then, when the chops were done, I removed them from the pan and turned it up to high. I whisked some cornstarch into the juice/ketchup mixture and added it to the juice and whatnot in the pan. I stirred it until the sauce had thickened, then added the chops back in and covered them with the sauce.

This was really good considering I totally winged it. The chops stayed moist and juicy, the onion was perfectly tender (but not mushy), and the sauce was delicious. I'll definitely make this again. And when I do, I'll try to pay attention to the quantity of ingredients so I can give y'all an actual recipe!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Potato soup

It's been rainy the past couple of days, and that means my fibromyalgia is in flare (BIG TIME), and that means I want comfort food. This is my favorite potato soup, which I made for dinner tonight. It's very filling and very NOT healthy, so try it at your own risk. You could probably lighten it up a bit with low-fat or fat-free dairy products and turkey bacon, but I haven't tried it that way and don't intend to. It may end up killing me one day, but what a way to go!

Loaded Potato Soup

2 large baking potatoes
1/3 cup butter
half of a sweet yellow onion, chopped
1/3 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk (okay, so I use 1%)
1/2 cup sour cream
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs. snipped fresh chives or spring onion tops (the green part)

Bake the potatoes for about 1.5 hours at 375 degrees F. Or, you know, however long you usually bake your potatoes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. (I do this earlier in the day and stick them in the fridge after they've cooled.) Once they're cool, peel and cut them into small cubes.

Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add chopped onion and saute until the onion releases a bit of fragrance. Stir in flour until smooth. (Yes, you are making a roux. With onions. Just go with it.) Slowly stir in the milk and continue to stir constantly until thickened. Add cubed potatoes and bring to a boil while stirring constantly, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or so (giving it a stir now and then).

After 10 minutes, add the sour cream, bacon, cheese, salt and pepper and stir until the cheese melts. Ladle into bowls and top with snipped chives or onion tops (you could also add a bit of extra sour cream and bacon crumbles, if you want).

Makes 4-5 servings and the recipe is easily doubled (or halved, if you're cooking for 1 or 2). It doesn't keep well because of all the dairy, so try to eat it up within a day or two. That's never been a problem around here!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Even more meat and potatoes!

Tonight's Menu
  • meatloaf
  • mashed potatoes
  • leftover big-ass salad
Wow, I am totally on a beef kick right now. No idea why.

Not much to say about this dinner. It was comfort food. I told the boy that the meatloaf was basically a hamburger in loaf form (I make mine with onions, which he likes on burgers) so he deigned to try it and actually liked it! Woo!

Oh, I do have a tip, though: mix the meat and seasonings and whatnot in a big gallon-sized freezer bag instead of a bowl. Nothing to wash and your hands don't get messy! Just form it into a loaf right in the bag and dump it into the pan. Plus as long as you seal it up really good you can let the kids have at it for a bit. My girl child loves to help me mash up the meatloaf ingredients even though she refuses to eat it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Meat and potatoes

Tonight's Menu
  • pan-seared thin ribeyes w/sauteed mushrooms and onions
  • tiny red potatoes, parboiled and then chuffed up in a hot pan with butter
  • big-ass salad
Yeah, sometimes you just need a little meat and potatoes. This meal takes some prep time but is still pretty quick and easy. First I washed/cut the potatoes (into quarters; they were kind of big) and put them in water to simmer. While they were going, I cut up the onion (sweet yellow, as usual) and mushrooms ("baby bellas") and started them sauteing in a pan with some EVOO. By the time the mushrooms/onions were done, the potatoes were tender, so I transferred the mushrooms to a bowl, drained the potatoes, and added them to a hot pan with a couple of tablespoons of butter. While they were getting a nice crust, I tossed the salad (if you went to the dirty place when you read that, then SHAME ON YOU)(hee, kidding!), seasoned the steaks and quickly seared them off in a VERY hot nonstick pan.

Voila! Dinner!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

In which I am sick of cornbread

Tonight's Menu
  • grilled ham steaks
  • sour cream biscuits
  • steamed broccoli
I nearly always make cornbread with ham but today I was just sick of it for some reason. So I googled a recipe for sour cream biscuits and made those instead. (Super easy recipe: mix 1 cup self-rising flour, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 3/4 cup sour cream and 2 tsp. vegetable oil; knead; cut; bake at 425 for 10 minutes or so.)

I dunno. They were okay, I guess. I think my self-rising flour was old, though. I keep it in a Rubbermaid container but just in the pantry. Next time I buy some (which should probably be TOMORROW) I'll put it in the freezer instead.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Cooking disasters: The crock pot o' blandness

Okay, so here's what happened. Yesterday I fancied something autumnal for dinner, so I did the following:
  1. Peeled a sweet yellow onion (Maya Sweet, I think it was) and cut it into wedges.
  2. Peeled a large Granny Smith apple and cut it into wedges.
  3. Peeled three smallish sweet potatoes and cut them into wedge-like chunks.
  4. Tossed all of the above into the crock pot and stirred in a bit of marsala and a couple of spoonfuls of frozen apple juice concentrate.
  5. Sprinkled a boneless pork loin roast with salt and pepper and then seared it off in a pan so it had a nice brown crust.
  6. Stuck the roast on top of the veg mixture and cooked the whole thing on low for 10 hours.
Can you see what I FAILED to do up there? Anyone? Bueller?

That's right. NO SEASONINGS! What the hell?! I think the fact that the garbage disposal chose to vomit into the sink when I was shoving the peels into it is what threw me off. (The trap was full. DH fixed it. Gross.)

So yeah, this was pretty damn bland. We made do with salt and pepper at the table, but there's still a lot of food leftover and I can't bring myself to waste it. So I'm left with trying to salvage this thing at the re-heat stage. Now I just have to decide if I want to go the sage-thyme route or the allspice-ginger route. Anyone have suggestions?


Monday, October 02, 2006

DH cooks!

Tonight's Menu
  • grilled ribeye steaks
  • mashed potatoes
  • a honkin' big salad
Today was our 13th wedding anniversary, and while DH and I don't really celebrate it as such beyond exchanging cards, neither were we really in the mood for leftover tortilla soup. So DH picked up some steaks on his way home from work and grilled them, and I made the potatoes and salad. Quick and easy and yummy, and we washed it all down with plenty of wine.

Both kids have become steak eaters as well, so they loved this meal too! Except the girl doesn't like mashed potatoes. What is WRONG with that child?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tortilla soup

I have an awesome recipe for tortilla soup that calls for chicken thighs, but since DH is allergic to poultry I've had to modify the recipe to make it vegetarian. So here's my recipe, which we had for dinner tonight. The boy child even tried it and liked it!

Okay, first chop up half an onion (I like the sweet yellow ones; you do whatever) and saute it in some EVOO until it starts to get tender. Then add a couple of minced garlic cloves to the pan and stir them around just until they start to release their aroma. DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC.

Dump the onions/garlic into a blender or food processor and add the following:

3 tsp. dried cilantro (or 3 Tbs. chopped fresh)
4 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 14.5-oz. can of Del Monte Petite Diced Tomatoes With Zesty Jalapeno (try to get this exact item if you can - RoTel is NOT an adequate substitute)

Whiz all that together until the lumps/chunks are the size you like. Then dump the whole lot into a pot and add two 14 oz. cans of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.

While the soup is simmering, heat about half an inch of oil (I use canola; you do whatever) in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cut five corn tortillas (the soft ones) into strips and fry them in batches in the oil until they're crisp and only LIGHTLY browned. Drain them on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. By the time the tortilla strips are done, the soup will be done.

Here's how I like to serve it: put a handful of tortilla strips in the bottom of the bowl, ladle the soup over them, then top with shredded Monterey Jack cheese, diced avocado and dollops of sour cream.

This soup is SO YUMMY and I swear it helps cure head colds and bad allergies and whatnot. Which is why I made it today. Achoo!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fragrant (ha!) flank steak

Tonight's Menu
  • garlicky grilled flank steak
  • steamed broccoli
  • green salad w/carrots and tomatoes
We liked this flank steak so much the last time I made it that I decided to make it the same way this time. It's SO EASY and the great thing is that you don't have to plan ahead and marinate the steak! Just mash up some garlic cloves, salt, lemon juice and EVOO, rub it all over the steak, and slap it right onto the grill. YUM! You would not believe how flavorful this is! And the huge mortar and pestle my parents got me for my birthday came in VERY handy! (You could probably use a food processor, but WHY? A mortar/pestle is so much fun and it's worth buying one JUST to make this steak! Really!)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pork and sauerkraut

Tonight's Menu
  • crockpot pork roast and sauerkraut
  • mashed potatoes
  • candied carrots
This was a relatively easy dinner to make thanks to the crockpot. I drained a jar of sauerkraut, dumped it into the crockpot, and stirred in a grated apple. The I browned a pork roast in a skillet and sat that on top of the sauerkraut. The whole thing cooked for about 11 hours on low and was sooo tender and yummy!

The mashed potatoes were my usual frozen Ore-Ida. They really are good! I swear! They totally taste like homemade when you jazz them up with seasonings and stuff.

The carrots were likewise easy -- I just dumped a package of raw baby carrots into a bowl, added a little water, covered and nuked them on my microwave's "hard vegetables" setting. Then I melted 2 Tbs. each of butter and brown sugar together in a skillet and tossed the carrots in the mixture until they were coated. Yum!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Beef stew

Tonight's Menu
  • beef stew with onions, carrots, potatoes and peas
  • Pillsbury twisty garlic breadsticks
It was clear and cool when I woke up this morning, so I decided to make beef stew. Even though it ended up getting into the 90s.

I'm guessing pretty much everyone knows how to make stew, but here's how I do it: Shake some beef stew cubes (Dear HEB grocery store: Those were SO NOT "extra lean", assholes. Love, Badger) in some seasoned flour and brown them in a big pot with a smidge of oil. Do it in batches so they actually get brown and crusty on the outside. Then take them out and add some onion and garlic to the pot. Stir around just until the garlic releases its fragrance (DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC, IT WILL SUCK), then dump the meat back in along with some red potatoes (quartered or whatever) and whole baby carrots. Add enough beef broth, red wine and/or water to just barely cover everything. Sprinkle in a little thyme and float a bay leaf on top. Bring it up to the boil and then immediately turn it down to a simmer and let it go for a couple of hours. You can cover it or not, I don't care. If you don't, try to check on it a few times to see if you need to add liquid. After a couple of hours, stir in some frozen peas and about a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Let it keep cooking until the peas are warmed through, then remove the bay leaf and serve with some sort of bread-like thing.

It freezes well and is yummy leftover, too.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sandwich night

No actual menu tonight; instead we had a sandwich bar kind of thing. I set out the following:
  • whole-grain bread
  • whole-wheat sub rolls
  • sesame hamburger buns
  • honey ham
  • two kinds of turkey (oven roasted and mesquite)(this is all prepared lunchmeat, by the way -- I didn't COOK a turkey, much less two of them and a ham!)
  • American cheese slices
  • shredded cheddar (hey, it's what we had)
  • cooked bacon (two slices per person)
  • sliced tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves in lieu of salad greens
  • sliced avocado
  • condiments (mayo, two kinds of mustard, ketchup because DH insists, etc.)
I had a sub roll with mayo, brown mustard, mesquite turkey, shredded cheddar, bacon, tomatoes, basil and avocado and I may not eat again for a week. Damn, I'm stuffed!

The boy had a peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread and two slices of bacon. Oy. He was excused from needing a fruit/veg because he ate a whole can of pears (in juice, not syrup) before dinner.

The girl had a sesame bun with bacon and American cheese. And some raw baby carrots.

I have no idea what DH ate except that it was on a sesame bun and probably involved ham since he's allergic to turkey.

I usually do sandwich night when I don't feel like cooking. Although by the time you get everything out and slice the veggies and whatnot and then put it all away again, it's almost as much work as a full meal!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Too damn much trouble

Tonight's Menu
  • trout fillets sauteed in EVOO
  • quinoa
  • shredded brussels sprouts with onion and bacon
I got this brussels sprouts recipe out of a magazine (Oct./Nov. 2006 Eating Well, page 35) and it was extremely tasty, but I don't think I'll make it again because it took FOREVER. Basically you slice up a pound of fresh brussels sprouts (do you have ANY idea how long that takes? well, double that and you're close) and a small yellow onion. Fry two strips of bacon in a skillet, remove the bacon, and dump the onions and a dash of salt into the drippings. Cook those on medium-ish until tender and starting to brown, then add 3/4 cup of water and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Then add the sliced up brussels sprouts and cook those, stirring often, until they get tender. Stir in a tablespoon of cider vinegar, crumble the bacon and sprinkle that on top, et voila! Really yummy, but damn is it labor-intensive.

On the plus side: DH, who usually avoids brussels sprouts, liked this stuff and would probably eat it again. And also, AFTER he ate it and I complained about how long it took to make, he asked me why I didn't just use the food processor. D'oh! I kind of forget we have one sometimes. We have a little one that I use to chop nuts, but I rarely drag out the big one. I mean, a knife is a lot easier to clean, you know? So I dunno. I really don't think I'll try this again, but I never say never. Cabbage is a lot quicker and easier to chop up, even WITHOUT a food processor, and it tastes about the same.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Delicious pork!

Tonight's Menu
  • roasted pork chops with onions and potatoes
  • gigantic salad
Holy crap, I didn't realize it had been a week since I posted! Sorry about that! Um, I think we had a lot of leftovers, along with more fajitas. Last night we had cavatappi marinara. I've posted my marinara recipe before, on my other blog.

Tonight I cut up some red potatoes, wedged an onion and tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and some freshly snipped rosemary. I spread that out in a baking pan and then rubbed some pork chops with the same oil/salt/pepper/rosemary mixture and laid those on top. Then I roasted the whole shebang uncovered at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes. The chops got a little dry because they were thin, but after two glasses of rosé I didn't much care.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Red meat is yummy

Tonight's Menu
  • pan-seared thin ribeye steaks
  • mushrooms and onions sauteed in butter (you could use olive oil, but that would be wrong)
  • roasted asparagus
I was feeling a little anemic, so it was time for some beef. I'd happily eat steak every night if I didn't think it would kill me.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Beer brats

Tonight's Menu
  • beer brats with onions and brown mustard on whole-wheat rolls
  • leftover cold salad of new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil, and marinated artichoke hearts from Friday
Beer brats are so easy, y'all. Cut up a big onion, toss it into a pot with half a stick of butter (or a whole stick if you like to live dangerously), add 4-5 fresh bratwurst and cover with beer (preferably a German or German-style beer). Let 'em simmer for 20-30 minutes, then take the brats out and brown them on the grill (I used the Foreman tonight because it was threatening rain outside). While the brats are grilling, bring the beer mixture up to the boil and let it roil away until it reduces just a bit. Then take it off the heat and add the brats back in until you're ready to serve them. Yum!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Roly poly fish heads

Tonight's Menu
  • grilled rainbow trout fillets
  • a cold salad of new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil, and marinated artichoke hearts
Okay, so tonight instead of sauteing the trout fillets in a pan with EVOO, I stuck them in a wire basket and grilled them. This was a moderately successful experiment in that the fish cooked just fine and tasted good and everything; however, the fillets stuck to the grill basket something awful despite the fact that I brushed them generously with EVOO before putting them in there. Argh. I think I'll leave grilling for heartier fish like salmon and tuna, and go back to sauteing my trout.

It's almost getting too late in the season for this, my favorite summer salad. The tomatoes just aren't quite up to par anymore around here, alas.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Yes, it's cream of mushroom soup. Get over it!

Tonight's Menu
  • skillet pork chops with mushroom gravy
  • mashed potatoes
  • gigantic salad
It rained today for the first time in over a month. This was a good thing in that obviously, we desperately needed the rain. But I have fibromyalgia, and it does not play nicely with low barometric pressure. The result of all this was that I felt kind of achey and crappy and no longer wanted to grill the lovely boneless pork chops I had thawed for dinner. No, I wanted comfort food. And you know what that means. Oh hell yeah -- canned cream of mushroom soup.

Those of you who turn up your noses at such pedestrian fare can go read some other blog now. The rest of you, pssst! Come over here so I can tell you how to make this delicious and very un-gourmet dish.

Okay, you take two parts dry breadcrumbs to one part grated parmesan (in the big green can, yo) and toss them together with a little freshly ground pepper in a shallow dish. Then you take your boneless pork chops and dredge them in the breadcrumb mixture. Add a little oil to a skillet and brown the chops, then remove them from the pan and turn off the heat. In the same skillet, whisk together a can of cream of mushroom soup and maybe half a can of milk -- more or less, depending on how thick you like your gravy (it will thin while it cooks). Make sure you scrape up all the yummy bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the soup mixture barely up to a boil, then add the chops back to the pan, cover, reduce the heat to low and let everything simmer undisturbed for 20-30 minutes depending on how thick your chops are. If the gravy is too thin at the end of the cooking time, just uncover the pan, crank the heat up a bit, and stir the gravy until it's as thick as you like. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice.

This is one of our favorite "comfort" meals at our house. (Well, DH's and mine -- the kids won't touch it.) I usually make it in cool weather but it just felt right today for some reason.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

In which DH the poultry-allergic guy eats a TV dinner

Tonight's Menu
  • slow-roasted chicken with garlic and lemon
  • quinoa
  • gigantic salad
I checked out a copy of Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer from the library recently, and her recipe for slow-roasted chicken with garlic and lemon sounded FABULOUS so I tried a variation on it tonight. Poor DH, who is allergic to poultry, had to make do with a frozen Marie Callender's dinner (his choice, not mine!).

Nigella's recipe calls for a 3-4 lb. cut-up chicken, but I had a couple of pounds of thighs (skin on, bones in) so I used those. Toss them in a roasting pan with two lemons cut into eighths, a head of garlic broken into individual UNpeeled cloves, some thyme (she uses fresh, I used dried) and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Once you've tossed everything around, spread things out a little and then turn all the chicken pieces skin side up, sprinkle on maybe 1/4 to 1/3 cup dry white wine (I used pinot grigio because it's what I had) and some freshly ground pepper, then cover the pan tightly with foil. She cooks hers for 2 hours at 300, then uncovers it, boosts the temperature to 400, and cooks it 30-45 minutes longer. Since I only had two pounds of meat, I did mine at 275 for the first two hours, then uncovered and turned it up to 375 for 45 minutes. The skin was crisp, the meat was moist and tender, the garlic was caramelized -- delicious!

This was a great "family" dinner, but I would not hesitate to make it for company. Be sure to eat the garlic along with the meat! Nigella advocates eating the lemons too, but mine didn't go soft/candied enough for that.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Burger blunders

Tonight's Menu
  • hamburgers with all the fixin's
  • multigrain Tostitos chips
  • raw baby carrots for anyone who didn't put veggies on their burger
You wouldn't think a simple meal like hamburgers could go wrong, but this one sort of did. I preheated the grill while I shaped and seasoned the patties, but when I went to put them on, the grill was out. Yep, we had run out of propane. So I had to do them on the Foreman, which I kind of dislike intensely because it doesn't really GRILL the food, it just kind of fries it and drains off the fat. I dunno, they came out okay, but I was jonesing for GRILLED BURGERS and this just wasn't the same. Also, my dad's tomato plants are done for the season so I'm buying my tomatoes from the grocery store now, and they taste like nothing. Urgh.

In other news, both of the kids like hamburgers now, go figure! The girl had hers with cheese and that's all; the boy had his with onions and ketchup. They won't eat them in restaurants, but they like them at home. They're so weird!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mas fajitas!

Tonight's Menu
  • beef fajitas with all the fixin's
I made fajitas again tonight, the same way I made them last time except that I sauteed the veggies in EVOO instead of grilling them. I like grilled better, but I was trying to hurry. They were still WAY yummy!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Something fishy

Tonight's Menu
  • trout fillets sauteed in EVOO
  • steamed basmati rice
  • giant green salad
This was a quick and easy dinner because we had to cram it in between the kids' taekwondo class and parent info night up at the school. I buy the pre-bagged salad greens and just add shit to them. Cucumber, carrots, cherry tomatoes, etc. We eat a lot of salad, as you may have noticed. The kids like it and it's an easy way to get some veggies into them.

Our microwave has a setting for rice so I make use of that. It's AWESOME. Just dump a cup of rice and two cups of water into a covered casserole dish, stick it in the nukerator, push the button and forget about it. The rice comes out perfect and fluffy and never sticky or clumpy.

Trout is DH's favorite fish, and it's so easy to prepare. I buy the fillets that are de-boned but still have the skin on. Just crank up a skillet to medium high, drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper the flesh side of the fillets, and cook them maybe 3 minutes per side depending on how thick they are. I start with the skin side up but it doesn't really matter.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

More ribs!

Tonight's Menu
  • spicy pork spareribs
  • garlic breadsticks (frozen)
  • sweet corn (also frozen, sadly)
Tonight's dinner was a bit of an adventure. I had planned to cook the spareribs for a couple of hours on low heat in the oven, then finish them on the gas grill. However, about 10 minutes after I put them in the oven, our power went out. Since our oven is electric (which I HATE -- I really miss my gas oven!) that meant no ribs unless I cooked them 100% on the grill. Which I did, and they got overcooked, dammit! I had the burners turned down as low as they would go, but I wasn't able to do indirect heat because the rack of ribs was so big that it took up the whole grill, even after I cut it in half.

ANYWAY. They were still very tasty. I did a dry rub before I stuck them in the oven (brown sugar, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper) and cooked them uncovered for the short time they were in there. Then once they were on the grill, I whipped up a sauce on the stovetop (which is gas). I sauteed some sweet onion in EVOO, then added some apple jelly, ketchup, dry mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger, allspice, salt and pepper and let it simmer for 10 minutes or so before saucing the ribs in their last 10 minutes of grilling. If I made this again, I'd add some sort of booze to it -- dark rum or bourbon would be delish. Soy sauce or worcestershire would be good too if you knocked back the salt a bit, but DH and the girl child are allergic to soy and I totally forgot about the worcestershire.

The power came back on while the ribs were grilling so I was able to heat up some frozen crappe to go along with them. I'm still pissed that the ribs got dry from being grilled too long, though. Oh well.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In praise of short ribs

Tonight's Menu
  • crockpot short ribs
  • mashed potatoes
  • salad
I tried this recipe for the short ribs and they were soooo good, y'all. I followed it exactly except that (a) I cooked them for more like 10 hours and (b) my slow cooker is really old and doesn't do "high" very well so the gravy didn't get thick. Next time I'll pour it into a pan and thicken it on the stovetop.

In every book of his that I've read, Anthony Bourdain sings the lament of the unpopular meat -- you know, those cuts that tend to be cheap and fatty and have to be cooked just right to be rendered palatable. But when they ARE cooked just right, yowza! Beef short ribs definitely qualify. They're ugly when raw -- big hunks of bone, the small amount of meat thickly marbled with fat -- and if you don't cook them properly, they are tough as old shoes. But when cooked slowly over low heat (whether in a crockpot, braised on the stovetop, or roasted in the oven) until the fat renders and the meat is so tender it falls off the bone, they are a thing of beauty, y'all. The fat just melts through the meat and gives it an amazing flavor that you'll NEVER get from a leaner cut. And short ribs are so cheap!

In addition to the recipe I tried tonight, I love them with sauerkraut. Just salt and pepper the ribs and brown them in a skillet (to boost the flavor and make 'em pretty), dump a jar of sauerkraut into the crockpot, maybe stir in a little brown sugar or some grated apple or onion, dump the ribs on top, cover and cook all day.

The meat is so rich that they're probably better suited to cool weather than the 100+ degree temperatures we've been having here lately (and will continue to have until Thanksgiving, probably), but what can I say? I had a craving. And the crockpot doesn't heat up the house TOO much.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Let's review: the end!

Okay, so this whole thing started as a summer experiment. Up until this past May, I was the kind of mom who made separate food for the adults and kids for dinner every night. Then it occurred to me that at eight and ten years of age, my kids were old enough to make their own damn dinner if they didn't like what the adults were having. And so, starting on the first day of summer vacation this year, I stopped making separate food for them. No more substituting frozen chicken nuggets or fish sticks for whatever meat DH and I were having, yo!

The primary goal was, of course, for me to only make one "menu" at dinner every night. In that respect, the experiment has been a success. While frequently I do make an effort to prepare foods that I know the kids like, no longer do I make separate food JUST for them. I make what I make, and they can take it or leave it. They know that they have to include a protein and a veggie or fruit in their meal in order for me to "approve" it, but apart from that, they're on their own. And I'm finding mealtime MUCH less of a chore these days.

My secondary goal was to get the kids to expand their palates a little and try some new foods. I feel like we managed to do pretty well with this goal, too. Both kids have tried and liked some new foods (meat in particular -- sorry, vegetarians!)(okay no, I'm not really sorry) and they've managed to surprise me and themselves with that, I think!

In my heart of hearts, I kind of hoped that by the end of the summer we'd all be eating the same foods at dinnertime. I thought the kids would likely get tired of peanut butter sandwiches and shredded cheese and raw carrots and whatnot and just start eating what I made. That, sadly, has NOT happened. Oh well.

SO. The thing is, school starts tomorrow! Summer vacation is only 81 days long -- who knew? And so the experiment is technically over, which leaves me with a bit of a dilemma. I'm not really keen on continuing to record what the kids do and do not eat every night, because I'm getting a little bored with that. However, I really have enjoyed the menu/cooking aspect of the ol' blog here, and I'd kind of like to keep that going.

So what do y'all say? Are you still interested in reading what I make for dinner (almost) every night? If so, do you want more recipes and how-to? Let me know!

Day 81

Adult Menu
  • leftover grilled flank steak
  • a quickie cherry tomato relish
  • Pillsbury crescent rolls
Girl Child
Had rolls with some deli turkey slices, raw baby carrots, and a piece of whole-grain toast.

Boy Child
Had rolls and carrots with a peanut butter sandwich.

The tomato relish I made tonight was SO easy, y'all. I just halved a bunch of teeny homegrown cherry tomatoes, chopped up some sweet onion and a few springs of basil, and tossed it all with a little EVOO and red wine vinegar. It was really tasty with the leftover steak.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Day 80

Adult Menu
  • grilled flank steak
  • steamed broccoli
  • homegrown tomatoes, a medley of sliced big 'uns and teeny cherries
Girl Child
Had broccoli and a bacon/egg/cheese Toaster Scrambles.

Boy Child
Had some steak and a bunch of broccoli.

I'm really happy with how the flank steak turned out tonight. I didn't have a chance to marinate it, so instead I got out my mortar and pestle and bashed up three large garlic cloves, about a tablespoon of kosher salt (more or less), some cracked pepper, the juice from one large lemon, and some EVOO. The steak was pre-tenderized but if it hadn't been, I would have made diamond cuts on both sides. Then I just rubbed the garlic slurry into all the little grooves of the meat and grilled it for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Cut across the grain into thin strips and devour. It was REALLY flavorful considering it didn't marinate at all. I think the key was using a pooload of garlic.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Day 77

Adult Menu
  • pan-seared thin-cut ribeyes
  • baked potatoes
  • salad
Girl Child
Had salad and a bacon/egg/cheese Toaster Scrambles.

Boy Child
Ate everything! This was his first time trying a baked potato and he loved it. Unfortunately, he filled up on it and ended up only eating a few bites of steak. Oh well.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Day 76

Adult Menu
  • beer-boiled shrimp
  • small red potatoes, parboiled then chuffed up in a hot pan with butter
  • sliced homegrown tomatoes sprinkled with torn basil, sea salt and cracked pepper and drizzled with EVOO and balsamic vinegar
Girl Child
Passed on everything and had a peanut butter sandwich and some celery. Yuck.

Boy Child
Had some shrimp and potatoes with leftover salad from the other night, along with a clementine.

I was going to grill the shrimp but I just couldn't be arsed to peel them and thread them on skewers and whatnot. Instead I poured a couple of bottles of Abita Turbodog into a big pot, threw in some whole peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves and some salt, brought it to a boil, then tossed in the shrimp unpeeled (I buy them already de-veined with the shells split, and I gave them a rinse first). I drained them and put them on ice after they were cooked and served them with melted butter for dipping. Yum!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Day 73 - the girl child cooks!

Family Menu
  • pigs in the blanket
  • mini crescent rolls
  • salad with chopped celery
  • peanut butter for celery dipping
  • baked potato chips with onion dip
  • multigrain tortilla chips with queso
  • ooey-gooey marshmallow brownies for dessert
A couple of weeks ago, the girl child asked me if she could cook dinner one night, all the way through to dessert. I told her to plan a menu and we'd go shopping, so she did (I had NO input) and we did and tonight was the night! She was SO thrilled, y'all. We made the brownies (from scratch!) this morning with her doing all the mixing and measuring and me acting as sous chef. She did everything for the dinner except making the queso and moving things in and out of the oven (both of which I did). For the pigs in the blanket she used Pillsbury crescent rolls cut in half long-ways and wrapped around little beef sausage links. She chopped the celery and tossed it with the salad greens, filled little ramekins with peanut butter, and insisted on serving everyone (we usually do "buffet style" around here). She did such a great job with everything and it was really good, too!

Now the boy child is trying to plan out his menu so he can cook one of these nights. Should be interesting!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Day 72

Adult Menu
  • grilled chicken leg quarters (with or without barbecue sauce, as you like)
  • grilled nectarine halves
  • cold salad of red potatoes, fresh mozzarella, homegrown cherry tomatoes and marinated artichoke hearts
Girl Child
Had a drumstick (no barbecue sauce), a piece of toast, and some raw baby carrots.

Boy Child
Had two thighs (one with barbecue sauce, one without) and a clementine.

DH worked late again so I picked up some chicken while the kids were at taekwondo. It was sooo yummy, y'all! I also made my favorite bastardized white sangria with a bottle of cheap pinot grigio, a can of peach nectar (I mixed a couple of Tbs. of the nectar with some bottled barbecue sauce for the chicken, though), some sliced nectarines, raspberries, and some club soda. If you're not going to consume it all right away, then just put the wine, nectar and nectarines in a pitcher and stick it in the fridge, then add the raspberries and club soda to each glass individually before serving. Otherwise the raspberries get weird and the club soda goes flat.

The potato salad is my new favorite thing (besides the sangria)(and grilled EVERYTHING, obviously). All you do is cut some little red potatoes in quarters, then simmer them for about 15 minutes, drain and let cool. Then you toss in some halved cherry tomatoes (or quartered, slightly larger tomatoes), some fresh mozzarella (either the little balls or a big ball cut in wedges), and a jar of marinated artichoke hearts (do NOT drain, the marinade is your dressing). Season with salt and pepper, stir in a chiffonade of fresh basil, and pop it in the fridge. Yummy! And it goes great with grilled meats, which are apparently the only kind I'm eating this summer.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Day 71

Adult Menu
  • tangy pork tenderloin
  • leftover steamed basmati rice
  • leftover steamed broccoli
Girl Child
Ate the broccoli and rice but had deli turkey slices instead of pork.

Boy Child
Ate everything! This was his first time trying the pork and he really liked it.

This pork tenderloin is soooo easy to make. Just mix 2 Tbs. brown sugar, 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. paprika and 1/2 tsp. ground ginger in a little bowl. Spread half of it on the pork tenderloin, then put the tenderloin in a roasting pan and cook uncovered at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then spread the other half of the mixture on the pork and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until it's done. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes, then slice on the diagonal. SO yummy and the tenderloin stays really juicy.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Day 70

Adult Menu
  • rainbow trout fillets, sauteed in EVOO
  • steamed basmati rice
  • steamed broccoli
Girl Child
Ate the broccoli and rice but had deli turkey slices instead of fish.

Boy Child
Tried the fish! And ate a fairly sizeable portion, but said he probably didn't want it again. He had plenty of rice and broccoli.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Day 68

Adult Menu
  • leftover grilled sausage w/sauteed onions and peppers (but not in sandwiches this time)
  • tiny red potatoes, parboiled and then chuffed up in a hot pan with some butter
  • sliced homegrown tomatoes w/sea salt
Girl Child
Had some leftover takeout cheese pizza and raw baby carrots.

Boy Child
Had shredded cheese, raw baby carrots, and two peanut butter sandwiches on whole-grain bread.

Last night, the boy child asked me, "Um, Mom? When are you going to make stuff for dinner that WE like?"

I think I might have gotten a little testy with him. Oh well.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Day 67

Adult Menu
  • grilled Italian sausage sandwiches w/sauteed onions and peppers on whole wheat rolls
  • sliced homegrown tomatoes w/sea salt
Girl Child
Ate some shredded cheese, some leftover biscuits and some leftover salad from the other night.

Boy Child
Had shredded cheese and salad with a banana.

I've had a lot of sausage-grilling disasters in my time, y'all. It's so hard to get the inside cooked without charring the outside to a crisp. HOWEVER, I've finally figured it out. I simmer the sausages first in a pot of water or beer for about 15 minutes. Then I just brown them off on the grill (maybe 4-5 minutes per side depending on how hot the grill is). They get cooked through but stay moist and juicy inside with a nice, crisp skin. Yum!

I saute the peppers and onions in EVOO (and plenty of it, because I like them drippy for sandwiches) and then season with salt and pepper. Make sure you don't turn the heat up too high on the onions/peppers or you'll end up frying them instead. You want them kind of soft but still with some body to them, and preferably no browning. I usually put them on the stove right before I slap the sausages on the grill, stir frequently, and by the time the meat's done, so are the veggies.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Day 65

Adult Menu
  • grilled ham steaks
  • whole-grain tortilla chips
  • a huge-ass salad with homegrown tomatoes
Girl Child
Ate everything!

Boy Child

My dad has had a bonanza crop of tomatoes in his garden this year and has kept me supplied all summer long with teeny, sweet cherry tomatoes and luscious hamburger-sized monsters that have never seen the inside of a refrigerator. Soooo yummy, y'all. This is why I can never move too far away from my parents! What else am I going to do with all this sea salt?!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Day 64

Adult Menu
  • beef fajitas
Girl Child
Ate some of the beef but not in a fajita. She had hard taco shells with cheese and sour cream, and some raw baby carrots.

Boy Child
Also tried some beef and I think he liked it. He had hard taco shells with cheese (no sour cream) and raw baby carrots.

We looooove our fajitas down here in Tejas, y'all. And they are super easy (and usually pretty cheap!) to make. I made them with skirt steak which was liberally sprinkled with a fajita spice rub (pre-mixed) and sealed in a plastic zipper bag with a mixture of lime juice (FRESH please!) and EVOO, then left in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

I grilled the steak over high heat for 4 minutes per side, discarding the marinade, then let it rest while I grilled some sweet onions and red and yellow bell peppers (drizzled with EVOO). Then I cut the steak into thin strips across the grain and served it with the grilled veggies, some avocado, shredded cheddar, sour cream and salsa on whole-wheat tortillas. YUM.

Be sure to have a Dos Equis Amber or a Modelo with your fajitas, yo. None of that Corona crappe. I'll know.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day 63

Adult Menu
  • basa fillets, sauteed in EVOO and seasoned with kosher salt and cracked pepper
  • quinoa
  • steamed broccoli
Girl Child
Ate some quinoa, broccoli, and a piece of string cheese.

Boy Child
Also ate quinoa and broccoli but with shredded cheddar.

For months now, the boy child has been insisting that he doesn't like cooked broccoli. Even though I've made it at least once a week since he was a baby. Today he suddenly remembered that it was good, so he ate some. I don't know if it's an autism thing, or what, but he does stuff like this all the time! I swear, it's impossible to keep up with his likes and dislikes. (But yay for eating the broccoli!)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Day 60

Adult Menu
  • lasagna
  • whole wheat dinner rolls
  • salad
Girl Child
Ate some salad, two rolls, and some shredded cheddar.

Boy Child
Ate everything!

No one in the family (except me) likes ricotta, so I make my lasagna with just noodles, sauce, and lots of mozzarella. Sometimes I put mushrooms and/or spinach on the "adult" side, but the boy won't eat it that way.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Day 57

Adult Menu
  • roast chicken
  • whole wheat dinner rolls (from the supermarket bakery)
  • assorted lettuces (I hesitate to call it "salad" because there was nothing else in it)
Girl Child
Wasted most of her drumstick, ate a teeny tiny piece of lettuce, and wolfed down two rolls.

Boy Child
Ate a thigh, a roll and some salad.

DH worked late tonight and happened to let me know early enough that I was able to run to the store and grab a chicken. Er, but not in the slightly pervy way that sounds.

We're eating at my folks' house for the next two nights in a row. Woo! See you on Day 60!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Day 56

Adult Menu
  • leftover grilled boneless pork chops
  • leftover sauteed cabbage
  • mashed potatoes
Girl Child
Ate the rest of her pork chop from last night and some raw baby carrots.

Boy Child
Ate mashed potatoes, shredded cheese and a banana. (WTF?!)

I have a confession to make, y'all. I don't make mashed potatoes from scratch. I buy the Ore-Ida frozen ones that you mix with milk and then cook in the microwave. They're really good! No lie! I HATE instant mashed potatoes, I find them foul beyond belief, but these taste nothing like instant. I add butter, salt and pepper when they're cooked and I SWEAR they taste homemade. I challenge y'all to be able to tell the difference. Really! Go try them!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Day 55*

Adult Menu
  • grilled boneless pork chops
  • sauteed cabbage
  • sliced homegrown tomatoes
Girl Child
Ate a pork chop and some raw baby carrots. She looooved the pork chop! I don't think she had any carbs, but I really don't remember.

Boy Child
Rejected everything and instead had some shredded mozzarella, a couple of peanut butter sandwiches on whole grain bread, and some raw baby carrots.

*I have no memory of days 52-54, sorry!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Day 51

Adult Menu
  • meatloaf
  • mashed potatoes
  • cauliflower with cheese sauce (frozen)
  • the last of the leftover green salad
Girl Child
Ate some salad but passed on everything else. She had a couple of slices of deli turkey and some raspberries. Not bad, girl child!

Boy Child
Had salad and a whole bunch of mashed potatoes with a little pile of shredded mozzarella.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Day 50

Adult Menu
  • rainbow trout fillets, sauteed in olive oil
  • steamed basmati rice
  • leftover green salad from last night
Girl Child
Ate some salad and rice but had cheese cubes (colby jack) instead of fish.

Boy Child
Also had salad and rice but with shredded mozzarella.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day 49*

Adult Menu
  • cold boiled shrimp (peel & eat, shells pre-split)
  • tiny red potatoes, parboiled and chuffed up in a hot pan with some butter
  • a green salad with homegrown cherry tomatoes (from my dad -- no green thumb here!)
Girl Child
Ate some salad but passed on everything else. She had whole-grain saltines and some shredded cheddar instead.

Boy Child
Ate quite a lot of shrimp (DH and I had to peel it for him, because the peeling part squicks him out) and salad. I think he had a piece of whole-grain bread, too.

*DH worked late last night and I was feeling lazy so I ordered pizza for the kids and myself.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Day 47

Adult Menu
  • grilled ham steak
  • homemade cornbread
  • a big green salad
Girl Child
Ate everything!

Boy Child

This is one of the few meals I make that everyone loves. (And yes, I AM grilling every damn thing we eat these days!)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Day 46*

Adult Menu
  • grilled flank steak with a garlic, olive oil and red wine marinade
  • grilled sweet corn on the cob
  • leftover pasta salad w/cherry tomatoes, fresh pearl mozzarella, fresh basil and marinated artichoke hearts
Girl Child
Ate a little bit of steak but said she didn't like it. Tried the corn and wasn't crazy about that either because it was grilled and therefore looked different than what she's used to. Had a couple of raw baby carrots also, and some shredded cheddar since she didn't eat much steak. No carbs tonight apart from the corn -- shocker!

Boy Child
Again with the amazing me, this kid. First of all he had some corn (wasn't too sure about it for reasons stated above by the girl child, but eventually devoured an entire ear and said it was the best corn ever). Then he had some of the pasta out of the pasta salad and even said he liked the dressing on it (which was just the marinade from the artichoke hearts, which were store-bought). He had some shredded mozzarella to start but after he finished it, he decided to try some steak and ate two big strips of it! He said it was really good.

It's like they've switched places, or something!

*Yesterday was a no-supper night. DH had cereal, I think, and the kids had Lunchables.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Day 44

Adult Menu
  • grilled hamburgers OR portabella mushroom caps w/sliced cheese, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, etc. on sesame buns
  • pasta salad w/cherry tomatoes, fresh pearl mozzarella, fresh basil and marinated artichoke hearts
  • Tostitos multigrain tortilla chips w/homemade (by my mom) peach salsa
  • pickles (also homemade by Mom)
Girl Child
Ate a burger w/cheese and some chips.

Boy Child
He ate a burger!!! Dudes!!!! He put onions and ketchup on it, I think. I am AMAZED. He also had some pasta salad (but only the pasta, no veggies or cheese). And maybe some chips. I don't know. I was blinded by the burger, y'all. That's the first burger he's ever actually eaten, I think. He's tried them before but never liked them. Maybe the "natural" ground beef I bought this time made the difference. Who knows?

We had my parents over for dinner tonight and in addition to all of the above I made a sort of bastardized white sangria. A bottle of cheap pinot grigio, a can of peach nectar, some club soda, fresh nectarines, strawberries and raspberries all mixed in my favorite pitcher. It was WAY yummy. I actually think I prefer it to the regular red sangria I make with sliced citrus.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Day 43

Adult Menu
  • roasted chicken thighs
  • mashed potatoes
  • steamed broccoli
Due to the whole poultry allergy thing, he had a leftover pork chop instead of the chicken.

Girl Child

Ate everything except the mashed potatoes.

Boy Child
Had the chicken and mashed potatoes with raw baby carrots.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Day 42*

Adult Menu
  • grilled boneless pork chops
  • quinoa
  • leftover green salad (last night for this)
  • leftover potato salad (ditto)
Girl Child
Ate everything except the potato salad.

Boy Child
Had quinoa and green salad with -- guess! that's right! -- shredded cheddar.

*Yesterday we ate at a neighborhood potluck/picnic, which is where the potato salad came from.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Day 40

Adult Menu
  • pan-seared thin cut ribeyes (unfortunately they were really tough)
  • Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • leftover huge salad
Girl Child
Ate everything!

Boy Child
Had rolls and salad with shredded cheddar.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Day 39*

Adult Menu
  • pan-sauteed basa fillets
  • quinoa
  • huge salad
Girl Child
Had quinoa and salad with a piece of string cheese.

Boy Child
Had quinoa, salad and shredded mozzarella.

*Whoops, kind of a big gap there! Let's see ... takeout pizza, leftover chicken, tacos. I think that covers days 36-38.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Day 35

Adult Menu
Girl Child
Ate loads of chicken and salad.

Boy Child
Ate a drumstick, lots of potatoes, and salad.

DH is still out of town so the kids and I had our traditional Dad's Out Of Town Roast Chicken. They helped me cook dinner tonight and really had a lot of fun with it. The girl child was in charge of the salad and decided to use one of our fancy divided trays to make a salad bar type of deal (with carrots, cucumber, pickles and lemons). The boy helped me snap asparagus and make the mashed potatoes. The chicken was DELICIOUS. We are so stuffed we're almost miserable.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day 34

Adult Menu*
  • leftover grilled pork chops from last night
  • packaged Parmesan noodles
  • steamed broccoli
Girl Child
Ate everything! She wasn't too sure about the noodles but tried them and said they were good.

Boy Child
Had lots of noodles but passed on everything else. He had shredded cheese (sigh) and raw baby carrots instead of chops and broccoli.

*Just me because DH is out of town this week. I tend to rely more on convenience food when he's not here. We'll see how the week goes, food-wise!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Day 33

Adult Menu
  • thick cut pork "ribeye" steaks on the gas grill (seasoned with garlic pepper and Jane's Crazy Salt)
  • "buttered" (with Smart Balance margarine) egg noodles
  • leftover HUGE salad with lots of goodies in it (last night for this -- it really was huge!)
Girl Child
Ate everything! She said this was her favorite meal EVER.

Boy Child
Had salad, shredded cheddar, and lots of noodles. Then he was still hungry so he had a "butter sandwich" (two pieces of whole-grain bread with Smart Balance margarine).

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Day 32

Adult Menu
  • shrimp campechana (see below)
  • leftover HUGE salad with lots of goodies in it

Girl Child
Had a microscopic serving of salad, some shredded cheddar, a piece of string cheese and some whole-grain bread with Smart Balance margarine.

Boy Child
Had salad, shredded cheddar, and bread with no margarine.

DH and I have become addicted to the campechana served at a local Mexican restaurant. They make it with shrimp and some sort of mild white fish with very fresh vegetables and a spicy tomato-based sauce. I googled recipes for it and saw everything from squid to octopus to oysters included therein, with all sorts of different sauces. So I kind of winged it based on what we like and what seems to be included in the restaurant version we love. I didn't measure as I went but here, to the best of my knowledge, is how I made it tonight:

1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
1 avocado, diced
1-2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, snipped
the juice from 2 small limes
1/2 bottle of Heinz chili sauce
a grind or two of black pepper

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add shrimp, removing just after they turn opaque and start to curl (no more than 3-4 minutes). Cool shrimp in an ice bath, then rough chop (or leave whole, if they're small) and transfer to a bowl. Add all the other ingredients and toss, then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve cold.

DH doesn't like anything spicy, so I made it VERY mild. If you want to boost the heat factor, add a minced jalapeno pepper or two, or sprinkle in some hot sauce with the chili sauce. I didn't add any salt because of the bottled sauce, but you do whatever.

Make sure all the veggies are REALLY fresh. You could scoop this up with tortilla chips or wrap it in lettuce leaves to serve, but I use a fork, the better to cram it into my mouth in an expedient manner. This is a great cold dish for hot weather and goes great with beer AND margaritas.

Let's review: one month in (more or less)

I've been feeling really uninspired the past couple of weeks. I haven't been feeling all that great and haven't really felt much like cooking. There have been way too many pizza nights lately, and way too many Lunchables for lunch (I know I don't post lunches here, but they are a continuous thorn in my side).

And while I'm still not having to cook separate dinners for kids and adults, the kids don't seem to be trying as many new foods lately. Shredded cheese has become a staple, and while technically I approve whatever they make themselves for dinner, I'm not always thrilled with their choices.

I guess I had visions of them making themselves peanut butter sandwiches nearly every night, getting sick of them, and slowly beginning to eat what the adults eat so that we'd eventually all be eating the same thing for dinner. But that's really not happening.

Oh well.

Check back later for tonight's dinner, at which the kids are guaranteed to turn up their noses but I DON'T CARE.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Day 31

Adult Menu
  • cold boiled shrimp (peel & eat)
  • Tostitos multigrain tortilla chips
  • a HUGE salad with lots of goodies in it

Girl Child
Had the salad and chips but with cheese instead of shrimp.

Boy Child
Had ONE shrimp, but otherwise ate what the girl ate.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Day 30

Adult Menu
DH made BLTs.

Girl Child
She slept over at a friend's house and ate dinner there. I think they had pizza.

Boy Child
Had some canned ravioli.

Friday is often fend for yourself day at our house because of our wacky schedule that afternoon/evening.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Day 29

Adult Menu*
It was taco bar night around here. I put out hard and soft taco shells, seasoned ground beef, shredded cheddar, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream and hot sauce for everyone to make their own.

Girl Child
Had a hard taco and a soft taco, both consisting of nothing but cheese and sour cream. I didn't insist that she eat a veggie tonight.

Boy Child
Also had a hard taco and a soft taco, but his were all meat and hot sauce. Hot sauce! I had no idea he even liked it! After he finished his tacos, he made himself a little salad of shredded lettuce and cheese. He declared this one of the best dinners he's ever had! I already knew he liked tacos because he buys them at school, but apparently he REALLY likes tacos. Like, really REALLY. He's so cute.

* Just me tonight.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day 28*

Adult Menu
I was in the mood for comfort food, so I made a skillet supper of sausages, potatoes, onion and cabbage seasoned with salt, cracked pepper and crushed rosemary.

Girl Child
Passed on everything. She had shredded cheddar, whole-grain bread with Smart Balance margarine, a raw cabbage leaf which she didn't eat, and some raw baby carrots.

Boy Child
Had the cheese, the bread (no margarine) and the carrots plus a drinkable yogurt.

*I was indisposed at dinnertime yesterday; DH and the kids had hot dogs.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Day 26

Adult Menu
  • salt & pepper shrimp
  • steamed basmati rice (leftover)
  • steamed broccoli (ditto)
Girl Child
Passed on everything. She had some chicken vegetable soup (from a can), raw baby carrots and whole-wheat saltines.

Boy Child
Same as the girl.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Day 25*

Adult Menu
  • pecan-crusted trout fillets (DH's Father's Day request)
  • steamed basmati rice
  • steamed broccoli
Girl Child
Passed on the fish and had shredded cheddar instead. Had some rice and broccoli.

Boy Child
Passed on everything. Had shredded cheddar, whole-grain bread and leftover salad.

*Yeah, sorry about the gap. There were a couple of days of take-out pizza and leftovers in there.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Day 22

Adult Menu
  • thin-cut NY strip steaks, pan-seared and seasoned with kosher salt and cracked pepper
  • sauteed onions and mushrooms for the steak
  • crusty French bread
  • salad
Girl Child
Ate everything except the onions and mushrooms!

Boy Child
Passed on the steak (ditto onions and mushrooms) and had shredded mozzarella instead. Ate lots of salad and bread.

Okay, I know I made steak less than a week ago, but the cuts I buy are really thin and lean and now that I know the girl child likes it, I want to sort of reward her for trying something new. I made her her very own steak with no pepper at her request. She was thrilled. But not very hungry. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Day 21

Adult Menu*
Girl Child
She had Campbell's Double Noodle soup leftover from lunch, raw baby carrots, and whole-grain saltines.

Boy Child
Had whole grain bread with margarine (Smart Balance -- no trans fats), some shredded mozzarella, and some raw snow peas.

*Just me again.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Day 20

Adult Menu
  • crockpot pulled pork sandwiches (bbq sauce optional)
  • potato salad (from scratch)
  • coleslaw (ditto)
  • a big pitcher of decaf iced tea
Girl Child
She said the pork looked and smelled really good, tried a bite and liked it, so she had some on a bun with no bbq sauce. But then she decided she didn't like it after all, and didn't eat it. I was a big softie and at her request I saved out some shredded cabbage with no coleslaw dressing, but she decided she didn't like THAT either, after trying it, so she didn't eat it. She ended up eating a teeny tiny piece of leftover steak from last week, a few deli ham slices, and a couple of raw baby carrots.

Boy Child
He was hesitant to try the pork but the girl child told him it tasted like chicken, so he tried a bite and thought it was good and let me put some on his plate (no bun or sauce). But then he didn't eat it. He did eat a bunch of shredded cabbage with no coleslaw dressing, and he made and ate a peanut butter sandwich. He tried the tea and said he liked it but it wasn't his favorite and he probably wouldn't want it very often. Then, when I gave him permission, he switched to water.

Sigh. This is one of my favorite meals, and takes a bit of time to prepare, but its reception was less than enthusiastic all the way around. Even DH made a crack about the tea being decaf (I can't have caffeine for medical reasons) and passed on it because he'd already had two glasses of tea today. And he said this particular potato salad, which I love and get recipe requests for all the time, is not his favorite.

Screw 'em all, man. More pork, potato salad, coleslaw and tea for me. And if I'm the only one eating it, it'll probably last a week, at least. Anyone want to come over?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Day 19*

Adult Menu**
  • tilapia fillets, sauteed in EVOO and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • baby spinach, also sauteed in EVOO with a little balsamic vinegar in addition to salt and pepper
  • leftover quinoa pilaf from the other night
  • rather a lot of Gassier Coteaux Varois rosé (I don't know from wine but this one is FABULOUS, by the way -- definitely my rosé of choice since I discovered it)(it's easy to spot because it has flip-flops on the label)(yes, the shoes)
Girl Child
Had leftover frozen pizza from last night along with some raw baby carrots.

Boy Child
Had the same thing as the girl child.

* Last night we had frozen pizza. I KNOW. I'd really rather not talk about it.
** The adult in this case would be me, because DH worked late and didn't make it home for dinner.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Day 17

Adult Menu
  • thin-cut NY strip steaks, pan seared and seasoned with coarse salt and cracked pepper
  • red potatoes, parboiled and then chuffed up in a hot pan with some butter until crusty and golden
  • steamed broccoli
Girl Child
Ate some steak and broccoli. Passed on the potatoes and had the last slice of leftover pizza. She was hungry today!

Boy Child
Passed on everything. Had two peanut butter sandwiches on whole-grain bread, a couple of deli ham slices, and a bunch of raw snow peas.

The boy child had double helpings of these potatoes the last time I made them, but wanted nothing to do with them today. This has been his modus operandus for at least a year now -- he loves something one day and hates it the next. I don't know if it's an Aspergers thing or what, but it's HUGELY frustrating and was part of the impetus for starting Operation Make Your Own Damn Dinner. Oh well, what he ate tonight was just fine. And even better, I didn't have to make it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Day 16

Adult Menu
  • orange roughy fillets, pan sauteed in EVOO and finished in a light lemon-butter sauce (made in the same pan while the fish was cooking)
  • quinoa in a quasi-pilaf with sauteed sweet yellow onions (I wish I had had some toasted almonds or pine nuts to add, but I didn't)
  • leftover salad
Girl Child
Ate some salad but passed on everything else and had leftover pizza instead.

Boy Child
Also ate some salad and passed on everything else, but he had shredded mozzarella cheese and a slice of whole grain bread instead.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Day 15

Um. We ordered pizza. It was a long day.

Let's review: two weeks in

I am really pleased with how Operation Make Your Own Damn Dinner is going so far. Both kids have tried and liked some new foods, and better yet, when they don't like what we're having they MAKE THEIR OWN DAMN DINNER! Dinnertime has become much less of a chore for me without having to juggle kid food and adult food, which is all to the good.

When we started this experiment, I banned three foods from our house: chicken nuggets, breaded fish sticks, and fruit snacks. I'm not saying my kids can never have these foods again, I'm just saying I won't be keeping them in the house. They had started eating way too much of this stuff and I was totally enabling it by buying and cooking it. No more! If they want something fruity, they can have some actual FRUIT. If they want chicken, they can have actual CHICKEN. Same with fish. No more food that isn't really food around here, yo.

Just cutting out fruit snacks, to which my kids were completely addicted, has cut way down on the amount of sugar they're getting. I don't know if it's the diet or the relaxed pace of summer or some combination thereof, but I've noticed both kids are on a much more even keel these past several days. (For those who don't know, the boy child has Asperger Syndrome and the girl was recently diagnosed bipolar.) They aren't fighting nearly as much as usual and the girl child has had far fewer mood swings lately. Again, I don't know if it's the new diet, but it certainly isn't HURTING anything!

Anyway, so far so good.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Day 14

Adult Menu
  • four-cheese ravioli with marinara sauce
  • a big green salad w/cucumbers and carrots
Girl Child
Doesn't like cheese ravioli all of a sudden (even though she loves cheese tortellini, which is the EXACT SAME THING but a different shape) so she had a peanut butter sandwich. She also had some salad and some shredded parmesan cheese.

Boy Child
LOVES cheese ravioli and had three helpings (no marinara) plus some salad.

I keep frozen cheese ravioli and/or tortellini on hand for days when I don't feel much like cooking. This was one of those days. I could whip up the marinara in my sleep, I've been making it so long, and the salad was super easy to toss together (I buy a pre-bagged mixture of greens and toss in baby carrots from yet ANOTHER bag, so all I have to do is cut up the cucumber).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Day 13

DH was sick and I was feeling harried and planless, so the girl child decided it was Make Your Own Supper night. First, she surprised me by making mine: a peanut butter sandwich and some celery sticks topped with peanut butter and chocolate syrup. Yes, I ate it. Urp.

Girl Child
Made herself the same thing she made me. Because it looked SO DAMN YUMMY, I guess. Oy.

Boy Child
Had two three peanut butter sandwiches and a couple of raw cabbage leaves. Then the girl child offered to make him some of her celery surprise so he had that too. Or at least, he tried it. I think.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Day 12

Adult Menu
  • grilled chicken skewers (Buddy's raw chicken breast tenders marinated in Italian dressing and threaded on wooden skewers before grilling)
  • a cold salad of red potatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes with a chiffonade of fresh basil
  • Multigrain Tostitos tortilla chips (I just discovered these and LOVE them -- so much tastier than the regular ones, and no trans fats!)
Makes a rare appearance as he's allergic to poultry (I know, weird) and had leftover steak instead.

Girl Child
Also had some leftover steak because she loves it now, along with a chicken skewer and some chips. She didn't want the potato salad so she had leftover green salad instead.

Boy Child
Said he wanted to try the steak, but I don't think he actually touched the piece we gave him. Otherwise he ate the same stuff as the girl child (chicken, chips and leftover green salad).

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Day 11*

Adult Menu
  • grilled ribeyes
  • loaded baked potatoes
  • sliced tomatoes
Girl Child
Tried some steak and liked it. Woo! Also had leftover ham from the other night, some string cheese, and some raw snow peas.

Boy Child
Passed on everything, again. Had string cheese, a bunch of raw snow peas and some drinkable yogurt. He wasn't very hungry.

* On Day 10 DH and I ate out and the kids had a sleepover with their grandparents. I don't know what they ate for dinner, and I don't WANT to know.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Day Nine

Adult Menu
  • grilled ham steak
  • crusty French bread
  • leftover salad
Girl Child
Ate everything!

Boy Child
Ditto! And also he had some raw snow peas, because apparently he really likes them.

This is one of the few meals I make that everyone likes. It's not ALL fish and quinoa over here, yo.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Day Eight*

Adult Menu
  • rainbow trout fillets, sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with freshly ground pepper and sea salt
  • steamed basmati rice (our microwave has a "smart" setting for rice, and it comes out fluffy and amazing)
  • a big-ass salad
Girl Child
Passed on the fish and had shredded Monterey Jack cheese instead (wtf?). Ate some rice and some cucumbers and carrots out of the salad. Tried a snow pea (see below) but didn't like it.

Boy Child
Passed on EVERYTHING. Had shredded MJ cheese (again, WTF?), a piece of whole-grain bread, and a bunch of raw snow peas.

We went grocery shopping today and I nixed the idea of fruit snacks, which have become a staple in my kids' diet. Instead, I offered to buy them any dried, canned or fresh fruit or vegetable that their little hearts desired. They picked out raisins, canned pears, canned pineapple, cabbage, baby corn, snow peas, oranges, fresh pears, mangoes and I don't even remember what else. Yay! Now let's hope it doesn't all go to waste.

* Day 7 was one of those "clean out the fridge" type buffet things. I have no idea what they ate, so don't ask me.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Day Six*

Adult Menu
  • smoked brisket (leftover from Memorial Day; it was slightly undercooked so I re-heated it in a slow oven with some dark beer and that tendered it up nicely)
  • red potatoes (parboiled, then chuffed up in a hot pan with some butter to form a nice crust)
  • fresh green beans (simmered with onions, bacon and a lump of brown sugar)
Girl Child
Tried a potato and didn't like it. Tried some brisket and didn't like it. (We gave her props for trying them, though.) Passed on the green beans altogether. Ended up eating some deli turkey slices, whole wheat bread and margarine (Smart Balance -- no trans fats!) and raw baby carrots.

Boy Child
Initially passed on everything except the brisket, which he agreed to try because it smelled good while it was cooking. He liked it okay and ate a decent-sized piece. Had some bread and carrots like the girl. Then we convinced him to try a potato, which he LOVED, and he had a decent helping of those. The least healthy thing in the whole meal, but hey, he TRIED SOMETHING NEW! And liked it! So YAY!

* Days 4 & 5 were a Memorial Day picnic at my folks' house and the leftovers thereof. I don't even remember what the kids ate, nor do I care, because I didn't cook any of it.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Day Three

Adult Menu
  • leftover meatloaf
  • Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • leftover salad
Girl Child
Passed on the meatloaf and had deli turkey instead. Ate rolls and salad.

Boy Child
Also passed on the meatloaf, but had a little pile of shredded cheddar cheese instead. Ate rolls and salad.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Day Two

Adult Menu
  • meatloaf (I know, but my meatloaf is YUMMY)
  • mac & cheese
  • salad
Girl Child
We told her meatloaf tastes kind of like a hamburger so she agreed to try a teeny tiny bite, but she didn't like it. Oh well. She also ate two helpings of mac & cheese and a big helping of salad.

Boy Child
He wanted nothing to do with the meatloaf and had deli turkey slices instead. He also ate two helpings of mac & cheese and a bunch of salad.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Day One

Adult Menu
  • tilapia, pan-sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper (finished with seasoned sea salt, for those who like it)
  • Uncle Ben's garlic butter rice (one of those instant thingies in a package)
  • steamed broccoli
Girl Child
She agreed to try the fish, so I put some on her plate but then she didn't try it after all. For her protein, she had some deli turkey slices. She ate some rice and broccoli.

Boy Child
While the fish was cooking he said he'd try it, but when it came time to fill his plate he wanted nothing to do with any of it. He made himself half of a peanut butter sandwich and ate a handful of raw baby carrots. We told him that wasn't enough to get dessert, so he made and ate another half of a peanut butter sandwich.


I have no one but myself to blame for the fact that my children would not touch with a ten foot pole approximately 99.5% of the delicious food items many other children happily consume on a daily basis. Yes, internets, it is all my fault. I am one of THOSE MOMS. The ones who cook separate food for the children and adults in the household.

You see, as an idealistic new mom (you can go barf now, I'll wait) I was determined that mealtime would not be a struggle. No food battles in my house, yo! And so if one of my adorable little tots tried something once and hated it, I never served it to them again. Likewise, if they tried and liked something, it became a staple in their diets. This is why I have two children who regard things like homemade soup and fish in non-breaded-stick form as poison that will cause their guts to EXPLODE RIGHT THERE IN THE DINING ROOM.

But that's all about to change. Since my kids are older now (10 and 8 years of age, respectively), I've decided that if they don't like what the adults are having for dinner, they can make their own. It has to include protein and a veggie, but apart from that they're on their own. This plan goes into effect on the first day of summer vacation.

Which was today.