Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What's For Dinner?

This is a question that plagues me almost every day. Some days are better than others, either I have something planned, or an idea magically appears in my head. Most days I scramble, and usually come up with something weak: mac n cheese, cereal, ordering pizza, or, my favorite, eating out. It's not that I'm a bad cook, or at least I'd like to think I'm not. Give me a recipe, and I can follow it pretty good. Heck, I've got my share of cook books that I can choose from, and yet I still stress. The thing is, I don't prepare well. And I, personally, am an annoyingly picky eater, so a lot of the ingredients in those cook books are not something I would like to eat.

Before Declan, this wasn't as big an issue. Oh, an issue it still was, but not as glaring. Now, it's not only myself and Trevor that I have to take care of, it's my child, soon to be children, that I need to think of as well. And as much as Declan would probably love to have applesauce at every meal, I am DETERMINED to not let him get as picky as I am. I want him to have a taste for everything! Of course I know there is only so much I can do, but I don't want to let him get away with the excuses I use: "I don't like ______" about 75% of the time really means "I've never tried ______, and I don't think I'll like it." (Trevor, and other people who know me well, 75% is based on the fact that I think I've gotten a lot better in the last few years. Had I wrote this in 2004, it would be 95%.) I want him to TRY things! This is hard to do at his age, I should have been more "aggressive" (for lack of a better term) when he was little and just learning to eat.

Speaking of Dec when he was little and just starting to eat solids.....I have to pat myself on the back for a minute and say that I did something I really never thought I'd do: I made Dec's baby food. That may not be a big feat for some, but again, as most of you who know me well would agree, that is HUGE for me! It's really not that hard to do, which is probably why I was successful, but it is time consuming and definitely needs preparation. But I have to say that I think I did make a boo boo.

I was very careful to start with veggies, and with each new veggie, I gave him 2 or 3 days to observe for a reaction before moving on to the next new veggie. My boo boo is that I only did this for a month before I started fruit. And sweet potatoes were the first. I believe this gave Dec a sweet tooth a little too early, and he started rejecting veggies a bit early on for my liking. With Abby, she probably won't get fruit for a least a couple months after solids start, and sweet potatoes will probably not be high on the list of veggies. Well, I've got SEVERAL months before I have to worry about that.........

So what's my point? I know what I'm doing when it comes to cooking and preparing dinner, but I'm lazy and picky. However in the last year, I have tried two (pretty basic) entrees, even one that I "didn't like", and have now found that I love them and they are pretty stinking easy(-ish) to make. A year ago, Dawn and fam were in town and Jason made us Chicken Enchilada's. I had tried enchiladas before and wasn't too big a fan, but, in an effort to be a big girl, I gave them a try and seriously fell in love! It's really the sauce that makes them so yummy, but whatever, I like them! :) We asked for the recipe and have since made them for my entire family, two sets of new parents, and ourselves on several occasions. The other recipe I got last fall, Chicken Parmesan with home-made marinara. My friend Adrieanna had mentioned it was her husbands favorite, so I asked her to share it with me. It's pretty stinking fantastic! I've even made it for friends, who then asked for the recipe themselves!

Really, this is the point I'm actually trying to make: I need recipes. I know I said I have books, but they always have a huge list of ingredients, and it overwhelms me. Having gotten those two recipes last year, just as recommendations from friends and family, made me realize that YOU, my family, friends, followers, facebook people who didn't know what they were getting into when they clicked on my blog link, random people who visit from other blogs....YOU are who I need to get recipes from. Easy, minimal ingredient recipes! Here's what I make so far:

Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken Parmesan
Meatloaf (thank you Danny)
Spaghetti (thank you boiling water)

I seriously can't think of any more, besides maybe grilled cheese sandwiches and popcorn! (No, I have never given Declan popcorn for dinner.) So if you've got something you think I may like, PLEASE tell me! I need more ideas before I get sick of these recipes! Here are somethings we're not too big on:

Fish (Both Trevor and I have tried salmon a couple times, and it's just not something we like.)
Herbs (That would be Becky, unless it's very finely chopped, I'm not a big fan, especially basil)

Other than that, I think we're up to trying things. If you have simple meal ideas for Declan too, I'd love to hear that.

I REALLY want to be a better housewife, and getting this dinner making thing under control would definitely boost me up! Thanks for the reading this and for those who respond. Be sure to check back and look for recipes that others have left. You may find something you'd like too! :)


Melissa said...

I do like to cook but 90% of the time my kitchen is full of people getting in my way and I hate to cook in chaos so sometimes I'm on the lookout for a quick/healthy/yummy meal to fix too.

Lemon Spaghetti-seriously easy, 5 ingredients

Lasagna-awesome way to hide veggies, even from yourself, I swear you can't taste the spinach! And this last us several days in leftovers.

A million different variations of chicken & rice...my faves are Jasmine Saffron Rice and Coconut Rice.

I know there are so many others...I'll get back to you with more. If any of those sound good to you, I'll send you recipes.

Heather said...

All I can say is thank GOD for crock pots! You can make so much in a crock pot with little effort, have ton's leftover for lunches and be your families hero. Frozen meatballs and spaghetti sauce, chicken and salsa, chicken and BBQ sauce, Chicken and enchilada sauce, the list goes on and on. And basically you just take all the ingredients (frozen) and throw it in the pot. Let it cook all day and that's it. You just have the one pot to clean and you're golden.

ThingsToDoWithKids said...

So I've totally been in your shoes. I found cooks.com though and it saved my life. When you are searching a particular dish type the word easy infeint of it and it makes life simple. My faveorite so far is: stuffed manicotti. Boil manicotti shells then place 1 string cheese in each, then top with spaghetti sauce and heat in oven about 20-30 mins then top with moz cheese and heat until cheese is melted.

geetabean said...

I have lot's of recipes, but I don't have time right now to go through them.....I'll get back to you on that. In the mean time, buy the book "Fix It and Forget It" it's a crock pot cook book and it's super easy and the meals are really good. Seriously, buy the ingredients, dump them in the crock pot in the morning and dinner is ready at dinner time. It'll make you look like a domestic goddess and you'll barely lift a finger! :o)

My name is Ali... said...

Crock Pot, crock pot, crock pot!! It is the saving grace to a busy mom and wife :) Also, the cookbook, deceptively delicious by jessica seinfeld is awesome...she hides veggies in food so kids, and adults ;), don't taste it, but still get the nutritional value. Good luck!

Searching said...

We have a menu of our favorite dishes that I'll pass on to you. (I'd say it's ~30% asian cuisine, 30% mexican, 30% italiano, and 10% all-american :) I used to be a super-picky eater, but have somehow fallen in love with more veggies and some seafoods. I don't know how it happened, but it's probably all in one's mind. I think you're on track to expanding your palate!

Sandy said...

One of my favorite, and simplest recipes is for a low fat carnitas. Don't let the low fat scare you, many of my hispanic friends have taken my recipe in exchange for their lard heavy recipes.

Take a pork roast (I use one with very little fat, but it doesn't have to be a very expensive cut of meat. The kind from Costco that comes with three individually wrapped is the one I traditionally use. I use one and the other two go into the freezer for future use. I also have used the one from Angel food and it comes out great). Put a little olive oil on the top. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cook in crock pot for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Requires no added liquid! After cooking, shred and eat with whatever toppings you like. Gary normally just eats with onions, cilantro and salsa. But, I add some lettuce. Side of rice and beans and you are set.

Another easy crockpot recipe (again low fat, but full flavor) is to take boneless, skinless chicken breasts, put in crock pot and then pour a can of Herdez Salsa Verde on the top. Cook the same as above (4 hours on high, 8 on low). The chicken comes out moist and although very flavorful, does not have a big mexican flavor. I have taken the liquid left over and added some corn starch to thicken and used it as a gravy. Very good! Hope you enjoy!

Bri said...

Hey Girl! Man I understand your predicament. I just sent you a bunch of stuff like a million things you can do with a rotisserie chicken, crock put dishes, and a couple of recipes I like. Have fun!