Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

Adventures in Cooking

I’m not a fan of cooking – at all, but someone has to feed my family long-term.  I drew the short straw, so this gig is mine forever.  I traded in my straw for a chef’s hat and committed to putting a meal on the dinner table nearly every night of the week; my husband is responsible for dinner on Saturdays, which means we are nearly guaranteed a treat to a restaurant.  Someone else plans.  Someone else shops. Someone else cooks.  Someone else serves.  Someone else cleans.  Works for me!

Friends and family often suffer through my complaints about cooking.  Make no mistake, I feel truly blessed to be able to feed my family, but I usually lack motivation to get started. I don’t know if it’s because I sometimes have to leave home soon after dinner to drop a kid off at an activity, so I’m in a hurry.  Or, if it’s because I as soon as I leave my paying job, I go directly to the kitchen to cook – no time to wind down from the day.  Or, if it’s because I don’t always have my monthly meal plan posted and am under pressure to come up with something fast and good.  Whatever the reason, I get it done, and most of the time, it’s pretty awesome!  I know this because frequent silence during dinner means that everyone loves what’s on their plate.  Talking begins after plates have been cleaned. Everyone is happy!

On Tuesday evening, I managed to whip up something new for dinner…stuffed peppers.  The recipe that I had seemed simple enough, so I became Martha Stewart for that brief moment in time.  I chose four colors of bell peppers (green, orange, red, and yell0w), prepared the recipe with a few modifications, snapped a few photos (in case I wanted to share my masterpiece with others online), and dished out servings for everyone.

They were excited about how colorful dinner was and were eager to try the stuffed peppers.  Well, most of them.  My husband isn’t adventurous when it comes to trying something new, so he sat and watched the rest of us chow on my newest creation.  Once he was convinced that my new-fangled entree was edible, he plated one for himself.  The next day, his aunt asked if I cook often and he made me look good by telling her about how tasty Tuesday’s dinner had been.

Cooking is still a journey for me.  I got a late start in the kitchen, so in my early adult years, I depended heavily upon cereal and frozen food.  My poor kids spent the first few years of their lives eating this as well.  Now that I know my way around my own kitchen, the kids (and my husband) expect me to step up my game every now and then – and they let me know how displeased they are when I call for a “free-for-all”.  That’s when I tell everyone to feed themselves by opening a can or box of whatever and leave mommy/wife out of the “what’s for dinner?” dilemma.

I am thankful that I have been able to enhance my cooking skills and no longer rely on cereal to sustain my family.  We still eat a lot of cereal, but for breakfast only.  Oh, and I haven’t totally given up frozen food, but I do have enough skills to make it my own if the mood strikes me.

Father,

Thank you for supplying my family’s nutritional needs.  I ask for Your help in not complaining about the blessings that You provide for us.  I pray for Your guidance as I continue to evolve in respect to being creative with meals.  Please help me to pass along what I know to my children, so that if they choose, they, too, will be able to create a good meal for their loved ones.  I pray for those who are less fortunate.  If it is Your will for me to help them, please help me to discern my role and recognize their needs.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

CC

Dinnertime Chaos

Most of my family and friends know that dinner is one of the most frequent gripes that I post about on Facebook.  Whether I’ve forgotten to defrost meat for the evening, misjudged (again) how much time I would need to prepare it, ruined it while cooking, or just plain ran out of time, dinnertime is stressful in my house. 

Thank goodness I have a favorite go-to for help – Bob Evans!  Their online ordering tool and family-sized meals are lifesavers, indeed!

Bob’s came to my rescue again tonight.  I misjudged how much time I had to cook dinner and get everyone fed before taking my youngest to dance class.  Having just 45 minutes to spare between finishing my work day and needing to leave for the dance studio, my only option was to log onto www.BobEvans.com.  Since I already have a profile, I just logged in, made a few selections, and showed up at their doorstep less than 30 minutes later.

Now while Bob’s staff are good, they can’t make miracles happen.  Miracles like eating and getting to the studio in the span of 10 minutes.  I was on my own for this one.  My clever solution?  Pack dinner for my daughter and me. She ate in the car during the drive and I ate while sitting in the van waiting for class to end.  My dear husband took care of feeding everyone else at home.

All is well.  Thanks, Bob, for all that you do to make my life a little easier.

What are some of your solutions for solving dinnertime chaos?

CC

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Chicken and broccoli casserole is a family favorite that I whipped up on a whim and the results couldn’t have been better.

Cooking time is approximately 45-50 minutes. Preparation is approximately 5 minutes. Yields 12-15 servings.

Ingredients

– 10 oz. of frozen diced chicken breast

– 1 cup of large broccoli florets (frozen)

– 1 lb. of pasta (any shape or cut)

– 8 oz. of shredded Italian or mozzarella cheese

– 1 small can of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup

– 1 small can of Campbell’s broccoli and cheese soup

– 1 teaspoon of parsley (fresh or dried)

– 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400.

Boil pasta for 25-30 minutes, then drain and add to oven-safe casserole dish.

Cook frozen, diced chicken per bag’s instructions (adding 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper).  You may use fresh chicken, if desired.

Boil frozen broccoli for 10 minutes then drain and dice into bite-sized pieces.

Prepare cream of chicken and broccoli and cheese soups as directed (see can for details) and add to cooked pasta.  Mix to coat pasta.

Add cooked chicken, broccoli and garlic salt to pasta and mix well.

Coat entire casserole with shredded cheese.

Garnish with fresh or dried parsley.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Great side items for this meal are a garden salad and dinner rolls.

Enjoy!

Love to all!

CC

The Hot Food Blues

I am truly honored and blessed to be able to cook for my family, so please don’t take this post the wrong way. I struggle with finding the desire to cook a hot meal for my family each night. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t have the gift of culinary creativity or it’s because I am not confident about being able to appeal to the palates of six people with different tastes. If I hear, “Mom, I stopped eating that months ago” one more time, I may just quit my chef job!

Who knows? Maybe I have underlying issues that keep me from wanting to walk over to the stove each night. Whatever the reason, I seldom look forward to making dinner.

I’ve tried creating monthly meal plans, then I chopped those plans down to just two weeks. All the planning in the world won’t help me to whip up one key entree, the desire to actually cook what’s on the list. Sometimes, I procrastinate so much, I end up in a fast-food drive-thru or online submitting a to-go order at one of our favorite full-service restaurants. The lowest of low is when I tell everyone that tonight’s dinner will be a free-for-all. A FFA is pretty much how it sounds: everything is a possible meal, so grab a bowl, spoon, and milk. Don’t want that? It’s OK. Just open a can of something. Another handy dandy alternative, a couple slices of bread with whatever your heart desires.

Is there a secret to finding motivation to put a hot meal on the table each night? If so, please share!

Love to all!

CC