Meal ideas I don’t want to forget!

I’ve been doing this mom thing for a while now, it should have sunk in that every day I need to feed those kids! 3 meals, and snacks too….

Some days I just seem to forget every delicious or healthy things I’ve ever made them….

I peer into the fridge, wonder how I’m going to put together something with brussel sprouts, sweet potato’s, and kale in a way that they would actually eat.

I’ve actually never been able to do that. If someone can do that, please let me know how….

I alternate between feeling totally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of produce I have, and the sudden urge to find a way to use all of it right NOW. And I have no plan, because I was too busy playing pee pee potty with the youngest all morning, or playing with my new vacuum, which is actually playing for me, because I love to vacuum. I know it’s my fault, because I didn’t plan ahead, and now the natives are restless (actually they are most likely going about their business, ignoring me, but as the clock ticks I am desperate to feed them before they vanish in a puff of smoke…)

Really though…. I KNOW I’ve made them good stuff. Sometimes they really like it. Why then do I forget, and feel like I don’t ever know what to make?

So I have this idea.

Maybe it’s stupid, but I’m doing it.

Because life can be so busy, and I work several days during the week leaving less time for me to stand in front of the fridge, scratching my head…..

I am photographing the meals we like. The meals I want to keep making, because they taste good and are healthier than bologna and French fries.

Then I am keeping them in a file labeled under each type of meal (breakfast, lunch….). On my computer, or even on my phone.

OH, I am SO SMART!!

I think this is going to change my life. No more panic as I drive home at 5pm, reviewing what I have fresh and frozen in the house. Yes, I absolutely COULD make a menu for the week, or month. It would be a great idea if I cooked ahead, and sometimes I do. BUT…most of the time I don’t. This will be my saving grace on those days, or at least it will give the kids a fighting chance to avoid prepackaged, processed meals.

Here is how I’m starting:

Today, I did not work. So I had the time to make a good breakfast for the kiddies. My goal is to get them to eat fruits and vegetables with every meal. I like things to be as fresh as possible, at least something on their plate is usually raw, or close to it.

I’m celebrating the fact the the baby is over her fever, and actually eating again. I made the kids a little omelet with cheese and smoked turkey from Trader Joe’s… I love it when the package says nitrite and preservative free. Some cut up pear, and  some home made banana chocolate chip muffin to round it out. ….and, Wa-La!  Breakfast is served!

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I’m not saying we don’t do the Rice Krispy thing…. but I do like to make an effort when I can.

Lunch. It comes in the middle of each day. I find lunch to be the least stressful meal. Sometimes I will throw a bunch of things on a plate and let them pick whatever they want. I feel like lunch is way less serious than dinner.

Lunch today was black bean and cheese quesadillas with fruit salad. I love quesadillas, you can hide pretty much anything inside of one. I grated up zucchini along with the shredded cheese and the kids never knew. I feel like super mom when I give them 2 or more veggies in a single meal.

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Pretty impressive huh? And no children were harmed during the taking of these photos. I promise, he really ate it voluntarily.

Now, dinner is the thorn in my side.  If I have an amazing idea, it will usually pop into my head about 5:30, and I will not have the 4 hours it will take to bring it to life and onto the table. So I get discouraged and may dip into my stash of Trader Joe’s frozen something or other, and serve it with fresh veggies to make me feel better about not making it from scratch.

I’ve made some pretty great things, but damned if I can remember what they are when I’m stressing about what to get onto the table in the next 30 minutes. That is where my photo/recipe file is going to be a huge help. So I started today with grilled fish.

Not everyone loves fish, but I tend to like serving it because I feel like it will make everyone smarter and won’t clog our arteries. There is the usual arsenal of fish sticks that we all grew up on, and I’ve got them, but I buy fresh a lot….and then get really really frustrated when I want to make it in a fresh and creative way that won’t scare the kids away from eating it, and have no idea how to do that.

So tonight I just kept it simple. I planned to make it with a mango-avocado salsa, but my 13 year old begged me not to. Instead, I melted some butter, squeezed some lemon into it and added a couple cloves of fresh garlic. I put the Cod fillets on foil, brushed them with the butter mix, and sprinkled some fresh parsley on top. Wrapped it up and grilled it. It only took about 10 minutes and they were probably done in 6, I just didn’t check that early. I did heat up some fried rice, and served it all with steamed green beans.food2food1

Now, the 4 year old did not eat this meal smiling. But he did eat it, most of it. I’m going to keep this meal idea, but probably not as one of my favorites. The fish was good, but not special in any way. I think we all like a little more flavor to it, so I’ll keep looking for other ideas. The baby loves fish, so this was a no brainer for her.

BONUS!!!! As I was searching for yummy marinade recipes for my own dinner (grilled veggies), I came across a recipe I had to try.

Grilled nectarines with butter and Feta cheese. You can find the original recipe here:

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/grilled-nectarines-with-feta

Wow, it just so happens I had several nectarines on the verge of being too ripe.  I didn’t follow the recipe 100%, I just melted butter, brushed the top and bottom of the nectarine halves, stuffed them with feta cheese and stuck them on the grill on foil. I took them off after about 15 minutes.

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HEAVEN.

This is going into my recipe file under “amazingly awesome, fast, delicious, and perfect in every way”. Great with Brie and crackers, or just alone. a GREAT way to use up nectarines when they’ve all ripened at the same time and must be eaten within a day or end up getting too soft and yucky.

I’m going to be adding to my recipe stash. I’m really glad the kids ate well today, it totally cancels out the bowls of popcorn mixed with  twizzlers, and sour patch kids we had after dinner during “movie night”….

 

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