I was sitting at the park the other night discussing dinner plans with a friend….it occurred to me…..most of you are probably just as stumped as me when it comes to making dinner. Dinner is hard, especially this time of year – I lose all sense of time when I’m outside and the sun is still so warm….but I like to eat warm food for dinner. That’s the beauty of Seattle – it’s gorgeous outside, but rarely so hot that you’re tempted to eat watermelon soup just to cool down.
Anyway. I’ve been taking photos of dinner all week long. I love cooking – LOVE cooking – and am so thankful for the Food Network of Old Days (it’s kinda crap lately) and Pinterest for dishing up some great inspiration. I am not a food stylist, so no comments from the peanut gallery on presentation. We do not eat any specific sort of diet – we eat plenty of fats and glutens and animal products, though I do tend to cook semi-vegetarian…..for lots of reasons. I have a few rules when cooking – I try to get the freshest foods I can afford. I sub in greek yogurt for all sorts of things. AND I make sure to serve a “standby” foods that I know my kids will eat (like toast with soup or keeping a few foods separate from the sauce, just in case). I also try to push them a bit and serve something new for my girls at most meals. The house rule is they have to try everything on their plates, but they can choose one thing not to finish. So far that seems to be working. So – here are the meals:
Biscuits and Veggie Gravy:
These are kinda fun. I made these greek yogurt biscuits (SO tasty) and topped them with an “empty the fridge” gravy. It stared out like a chicken noodle soup – celery, carrots, onion, garlic sautéing, then added a T of butter and a T flour to make the roux, then a cup of chicken stock to sauce it up. I added some greens and herbs to the mixture at the very end, just long enough to wilt them. So tasty. NOM NOM. Took a total of 45 minutes for both biscuits and gravy.
These are really easy, too. The beautiful multi-colored peppers were on super sale at the farmer’s market, so I could splurge on the flank steak 🙂 I marinated the meat for an hour (it was all I had – you should probably plan head and go longer) with the juice of a lime, lemon, and orange, a clove a minced garlic, some salt & pepper, and a handful of chopped cilantro. Basically this, minus the chiles b/c of my small people. Popped it in a hot pan and cooked it for 3-4 minutes per side. While it was cooking, I threw the peppers and some onions into the leftover marinade from the meat and tossed them around. After removing the meat, I put those in the hot pan – 8 minutes total – and dinner was ready. I serve Zatarains Yellow Rice with mine……because RiceARoni is so salty and delicious. Make sure to let your meat rest and slice it against the grain as thin as you can. Some mashed avocado, a little lettuce & tomato, piled on a tortilla – – – golden. So delicious. Leftovers are pretty scrumptious, too.
Pick a box of mac’n’cheese – whatever makes you feel good about yourself. I get the giant vat of Auntie Anne’s at Costco. I’ve tried to make “real” mac’n’cheese and it just doesn’t cut it for Kid Pick Night. The last 3 minutes of pasta-boiling-time, add in a veggie – my girls love peas and broccoli. Continue as the box suggests. Your mac’n’cheese just got a veggie boost without hiding anything.
And a quick dessert – marshmallow melted in the micro between two graham crackers, then dipped in melted chocolate. Took 10 minutes and got serious happiness from my big girl AND my husband. Sprinkles are optional, but highly recommended.