I need all the help I can get with my goal of making healthy family dinners at home. About two weeks ago, I found a HUGE help in the form of a new book (and new-to-me blog), Dinner, A Love Story.
I hadn’t heard of either until I was browsing one of my favorite sections of the bookstore, the Cooking section. The cover of the book got my attention, but what kept me reading further was the description on the back about the author and her husband:
Jenny Rosenstrach, and her husband, Andy, regularly, some might say pathologically, cook dinner for their family every night. Even when they work long days. Even when their kids’ schedules pull them in eighteen different directions.
They are not superhuman. They are not from another planet. With simple strategies and common sense, Jenny figured out how to break down dinner—the food, the timing, the anxiety, from prep to cleanup—so that her family could enjoy good food, time to unwind, and simply be together.
|via Dinner A Love Story|
She nailed the biggest problem that often prevents a home-cooked meal from being prepared at our house- the dilemma of “what to make.” I don’t know why that’s such a challenge for me, considering I have no less than 50 cookbooks on hand, the internet at my disposal, and a host of pinned dinner images. Since I enjoy the actual cooking process, the before-the-cooking part is the hardest for me.
But, Jenny says, “MAKE A DECISION.” In her house it seems to be a little easier because, now, her husband and kids often request a certain meal. Here, it’s always been pretty much up to me. So, I am making a decision about what we are going to eat for dinner on the weekend, writing it down and putting it on the fridge, doing the shopping, and then making those meals on their specified days. The end. Well, sometimes, what I planned for Wednesday, we’ll eat on Tuesday, but you get the idea.
To help me make the decision about what to eat, I created a computer document with a list of dishes that we like so that I can easily review it when I’m in a rut- and I can easily add to it. If the meal was from a cookbook, I added the cookbook initials and page number for easy reference. It’s still a work in progress with my 2 year-old because he is such a picky eater. I just keep trying. I still need to start making him smoothies- we haven’t yet invested in the Vitamix blender.
*Hot chicken salad
*Chicken w veg soup
*Mozz/goat cheese, basil
*Roasted carrots, onions, tomatoes
*Apples w peanut butter
*Thai steak tacos
*Steak au poive
*Linguine w pesto, tomato
Cheese w crackers
Chips w hummus
*Greek spiral pasta
*Cucumber, feta, tomato
*Fruit, nut, goat cheese
*Cobb Salad w/ honey mustard (F&E p.140)
*Vietnamese Herb&Noodle (F&E p.88)
*Ricotta stuffed shells
*Lasagna with summer veg&ricotta (F&E p.186)
*Pasta w/Tomato pesto (F&E p.106)
*Ham and cheese
*Chiabatta pizza (F&E p.100)
*Eggs w bacon
*Hard boiled egg
*Muffins (bb, banana, bran, coffee cake)
*Blueberry&cream cheese muffins (F&E p.36)
So, now you’ll find me on the weekend, sitting down to determine, IN ADVANCE, what we will be eating for at least 4 days of the week. Some days there will be leftovers and, of course, we’ll eat out or order in sometimes too.
I’d love to hear what works for you and your family regarding your dinnertime planning and routine.