Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dinner...in a pinch

The bane of my existence sometimes... when I don't have all the ingredients for
something I planned to make.
The pictures above depict the hodge podge that was dinner one evening.
I had broccoli, chicken, onions, potatoes, a small block of cheddar and some
ranch dressing.
I hadn't been shopping for a while... trying to use up the pantry items again.
So... what you see, is what we ate.
It was good... but kinda strange eating an appetizer as a side dish.
The very next day... I went to Costco and bought the entire warehouse.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eat a meal TOGETHER...

It is time to get cookin' people!
Families are in need of an hour a day of 'downtime'.
Dinnertime should be that time.
We all really need to set aside a dinner hour, for conversation, table manners,
catching up, venting, laughing, solving the worlds problems, and
enjoying breaking bread together.
It seems like the buzz words these days are...
"But our lives are so busy, we don't have time to eat together..."
I beg to differ.
We all have time and make time for what is important to each of us.
Some people watch countless hours of TV a night... time was made for that...
Some people clean their house at night... time was made for that...
Some people... like me... are chauffering their kids to and from activities...time is made for that...
Why can't dinner or any meal, for that matter, be scheduled in?
Can't do an hour?
1/2 hour is fine too!
Just make sure to sit down somewhere, where the TV is off, and the family has to engage in conversation. That's the key. No distractions.
Together means just that... together.
It breaks my heart to have heard and seen that some families will cook the meal together,
then scatter to different parts of the house to eat it, either in front of the TV, computer, or with earphones on, in their room.
We are only together for a short period of time... then the kids grow up... and then what?
Do you want your grandkids eating in their rooms?
No.. of course not.
Buy a bag of salad, buy a Costco Roasted Chicken, and microwave some frozen corn in a bowl
and dinner is served.
You don't have to be a gourmet cook to eat dinner with your family.
Just make it a point to sit together.
You'll see how much you will want to please your family and yourself with
new things to cook, taste and do for the table.
Go on... give it a try...
Tell me what your family eating experiences are like.
If you would like help or suggestions on how to get them around the table... post the comment
here and I will answer it either publicly on the blog, or privately if you so wish.
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to stretch food.

Feeling the grocery crunch?
Want to eat out more but just can't justify the expense?
Want to know some tricks for stretching food to feed more people
while adding nutrition?
Step into my kitchen.
You all know we rarely go out for dinner. It makes me cry to see $100 or more,
being handed over to a mediocre restaurant for 5 meals.
My boys don't eat from the kids section anymore...
so it can be pretty daunting what they can pack away.
So many times, I am looking at the dish saying "I can make that." or
"Holy Crap... $20 for THAT!"
Don't get me wrong... I do love eating out.
My favorite meal is any meal I don't have to cook and clean up after...
It's just with the boys in private school, the cost of everything going up, and my
need to have nice things and several homes, eating out is one luxury
I can give up and feel okay about.
We eat out on special occasions, so maybe about 10 times a year.
That is a LOT less than the 1-2 times per week most families eat out.
So I have come up with things that taste fabulous, add nutrition, and stretch the food
so if the kids want leftovers, there will actually be some.

The red, yellow and orange beauties are sweet peppers from Costco.

The are absolutely delicious poured into a screaming hot pan of olive oil and about 1/4 cup of good balsamic vinegar. Cook until browned and they are a fantastic side dish.

Add a pinch of salt.

Taco meat. I add onions, shredded cabbage, and sweet peppers to it, then the taco seasoning.
It turns a pound of ground beef into 2 lbs, with out fat or too many calories.
I buy the leanest ground beef, so there is no fat to drain.
I slice up sweet and regular potatoes, toss them in Olive Oil, salt and seasoning,
and bake them
I sprinkle Romano Cheese over them just before they are done...
So yummy.
I hope this was useful.
More to come.

Friday, January 09, 2009

New Year's Day

New Year's Day Fare
Homemade Guacamole
Watching USC pummel whoever they played... and eating. Nacho fixings...
and Hot Taco Dip