We’ve had several dietary changes in our family that, for many months, left me scratching my head as to what was left for us to all eat. First, about a year ago, J. started cutting down on simple carbs and dairy and eliminated meals at home where they were the main dish. Instead, he prefers lots of vegetables, lean protein, and a bit of whole grain like bulgur or quinoa. So, old standbys he could be counted on to eat such as Spicy Cheese Enchiladas and Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos are off the menu. Around the same time, I was diagnosed with silent reflux, which was giving me a cough that kept me up all night. Eliminating caffeine (I KNOW!) and tomato sauce, plus eating lighter in the evenings, largely reversed this condition.
So, no pasta main dishes and no tomato sauce for the adults in the house. These are two ingredients my boys essentially live on, in their myriad forms. For a while, I was making lovely grain salads and roasted vegetables for J. and me, and then throwing some pasta on the side for the boys. (They would occasionally eat the vegetables, A. more often than G.) But I was definitely falling back into the “different shape of pasta every night” type of meal variety, and that is not a place I want to be again. Years after she first shared this bit of wisdom, I still think about advice my friend Karen gave me regarding cooking outside the box for our kids: “If you don’t serve it, you have a 100% chance that the kids won’t eat it.”
With that tidbit back at the front of my mind, I want to get back to cooking more chicken dishes, more tofu, and more vegetarian meals that can straddle the different needs of all our family members. For instance, vegetarian soup (me and J.) with homemade bread (boys) and perhaps roasted chicken (me and the boys) or fish (J. and one or both boys). I also wanted to get back to cooking a saucy, pasta-based dish once a week that the boys can enjoy even if J. and I are not. They miss their Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups.
Tuesday: Spaghetti & Scallion Turkey Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze, green salad
Thursday: Easy Chicken Chili, whole grain tortilla chips, garden salad
Saturday: Eat out
Sunday: Grilled hamburgers, Potato Leek Soup (from the freezer), garden salad
For more menu planning ideas, check out Laura at Organizing Junkie.