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The Thing With The Stuff

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dinner

Dinner time 

  

Teriyaki chicken with noodles and broccoli 

  

It might be the tastiest dinner we have all week

Fresh-caught salmon from our neighbor, green beans with brown butter, brown rice, and Tuscan kale with bacon. Everyone practically licked their plates. The kids and Tom finished up with some leftover birthday cake. Yay for family dinner!  

Pizza with summer sausage, mushrooms, and oil-cured olives 

Wondering what to do with leftover summer sausage? It’s great on pizza!   

Chicken sausage, green beans with brown butter, plus leftover rice and kale

Leftovers for me; mac and cheese for the kids.  Green beans with brown butter, where have you been all my life?? 

My new cookbook, and reflections on Make Your Own Dinner night

I bought myself a little something.  IMG_5421
I have just about cooked Time for Dinner — of which Jenny Rosenstrach was one of three authors — into oblivion. It’s my most-recommended cookbook to anyone with kids. Things needed freshening up on the meal plan around here, so I picked up one of Jenny’s newer books. If you don’t already read her blog, Dinner A Love Story, I suggest you add it to your food blog rotation, pronto.

I’ve cooked two recipes this week from Dinner: The Playbook, and they’ve been very well-received! The Slow-Cooker Korean Short Ribs were a huge hit, and the whole house smelled amazesauce all day because of the crockpot. I made sesame broccoli to go alongside, and served it over the Goya-infused rice I made for beans-and-rice night the day before. Yumtastic! Amelia had thirds. It makes a lot of meat, so I froze the leftovers to use later in Lettuce Hand Rolls (also known as “make your own dinner”) next week. I do like a flexible prepared protein!


Then on Wednesday night I made the chorizo tacos. I used a really mild Longaniza for the chorizo, actually, since my kids are horrified by anything spicy ( and it was the only link style chorizo I could find at the grocery store).

This was a minefield of “I don’t like that” for the kids — avocado, raw cabbage, and yogurt sauces are all highly suspect among my littles — but I tried something new and it was brilliantly successful. I assembled a taco with all the ingredients (made them watch), took a bite, made appropriate yummy noises, and then offered them each a bite of my taco. They both liked the bite they took, and when I offered to make them a taco just like mine (with all the “icky” components!), they eagerly said yes. They both ate the whole taco I made for them, and then they started making their own combinations. Did those combinations include avocado, raw cabbage, and yogurt sauce? No. But they got to taste how all of the ingredients work together, and I think that’s a win. 🙂

 The concept of “make your own dinner” is one I adopted from Time for Dinner.  I put a bunch of bowls of ingredients on the table, and everyone can assemble their own perfect meal — is a huge hit with my family. It exposes the kids to lots of flavors but reduces the amount of New Food left on their plates. We do multiple versions of this now: lettuce hand rolls, as mentioned, tostadas (which we had last night), baked potato bar, sesame noodles… and I think I’ll add the chorizo tacos to our rotation with a few edits (I’m the only one in my house who likes corn tortillas, put a bowl of cheese out and maybe some refried beans). If you have a table full of picky eaters at your house, I highly recommend “make your own dinner” night in all its many guises. It does produce more dishes than simply plating the kids’ food in the kitchen, and that is a total drawback, but I think it’s worth it.

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