You would think that after being a wife and mother for over 18 years, I would have had the whole dinner thing figured out by now, but it's never really been my forte - to say the least.
It's not that I really mind cooking, but I always have other priorities like knitting, sewing, carting the kids around, relaxing, etc.
That and I'm not good at magically creating meals out of nothing without a recipe.
So another big duuh moment - you um need to plan for making dinner. At least I do.
Most of you are probably thinking I'm pretty lucky to choose whether or not to make dinner and are thinking you've had to do that for your family for years. I am lucky. And guilty. I won't spill all my secrets, but it's possible there are some cereal nights, lots of mac and cheese, a few nights where I yell down "you're on your own for dinner", and maybe, just maybe, a few trips through the Mickey D's drive through on the way home from dance class. And I have a really great husband who cooks a lot and is a way better cook than I.
I decided to start small and agreed to start making dinner Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. I've managed two weeks in a row! I'm not going to say it's a habit because I know myself, and I know the next project that I feel I absolutely must work on will quickly deter me from this dinner making thing.
But for the record, I want to document what I've made and what we thought of it.
Last Sunday (okay I didn't cook last Sunday - we were just getting back from Worlds in Boston)
Last Monday: Pork tacos and corn salad. I thought the pork was yummy, and the kids ate it but didn't love it. My husband and I really liked the corn salad. The girls just ate the corn and tomatoes. The boys just picked out the corn. Oh yeah, and I had to whip up a batch of my very favorite salsa.
Last Tuesday: Pretzel Chicken and Strawberry Arugula salad. The kids liked the chicken the best of anything we've had so far. Frank's been helping a lot. With a broken leg, I think he's so bored, he'll do anything.
The kids didn't say as much, but I think they thought the salad was a waste of strawberries. I thought it was pretty.
I used goat cheese instead of blue cheese and enjoyed a big helping of the salad at work the next day (although, since I'd already dressed it, it was a big soggy).
Last Wednesday: I was on a role, and we had a lot of leftovers, so I made dinner again even though I hadn't commited to Wednesdays. We made nachos with the leftover pork . . .
and ate the rest of the chicken.
I think we skipped a vegetable. Hey, Rome wasn't built in a day.
Saturday was a bonus night too. Because I really know how to party on Friday nights, I made this pizza dough with some fancy flour I bought at Formaggio Kitchen. It has to "ferment" over night, so we ate it on Saturday. I made this sauce that I've been wanting to try for a while.
I really liked it. I tried it again last night, but it got kind of funky - maybe frozen? - in the fridge. My favorite pizza toppings are carmelized (aka burnt to a crisp) onions
and goat cheese. My husband who's on a sometimes vegan/mostly vegetarian kick just had cheese and regular onion,
Oh yeah and we had homemade ice cream.
Addie and Frank helped me make it. Frank is helpful. Addie is the kind of help you can do without. I added four crushed up Skor bars (my supermarked didn't have Heath bars - what's up with that?). It might have been three by the time Frank and Addie and I sampled some. Anyway the ice cream was awesome! We had soft serve right out of the ice cream maker for a snack then hard serve for dessert.
My husband claimed to like the buns (most wise husbands would always say they like their wives' buns - right?), but really none of it was a big hit. I have lots of leftover pork in the freezer. It doesn't help that my 17-year-old-will-eat-anything-except-tomatoes-and-frosting is out of town on a class trip. Oh wait, I almost forgot about the crash hot potatoes.
Those were definitely the highlight of the meal. I've made them before and highly recommend them. I found some expensive little potatoes at my supermarket that were perfect for this. I can't wait until Farmer's Market season begins again!
This Monday: Sloppy Joes on the leftover homemade buns which I had saved on purpose thanks to my planning. Again, if only my 17 year old had been here. Frank heroically ate two. I pulled a classic parenting move (probably oh so wrong) and made Addie sit at the table until she tried one bite. I remember sitting at my kitchen table as a young girl for what seemed like hours. I'm pretty sure it was fishsticks, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't going to give in. I don't remember the outcome, but I don't think I ate them. Katie 1, Mom 0. If only we'd had a dog. For a vegetable (back in this century - not in young Katie's 70's), we had this cauliflower recipe. Another one for me to enjoy for lunch snack the next day.
Last night: Baked Potato bar. Frank's idea even though Maggie is the one who loves baked potatoes. Because I don't even know how to bake a potato, I used this recipe which was really good. We had pear sorbet for dessert which was really yummy but kind of just tasted like frozen applesauce.
I couldn't find pear brandy, so I used Applejack. Now I have a lot of that and am going to have to find some cocktails to make.
So I'm off the hook for a few days and enjoying some time puttering around in my newest craft room trying to pick out a shirt to make for the Spring Top Sew Along.
Thanks for following me on my ever-changing obsessions. If you have any great dinner ideas, please, please, please share!