I'm constantly asked how I get dinner on the table for our brood -- especially after a long day of work when tension is high and energy is low... speaking for myself, anyway! The answer is that sometimes I do it better than others; tonight was kind of a low point. The main entree was "Dinner Eggs" -- your basic scrambled eggs served with a side of toast and vanilla yogurt as dessert. Last week, we fared much better -- we had the kind of plan we strive for, which included making a double batch of Giada's chicken stew on Sunday night and repurposing it over the course of the week -- one night we had it over rice, one night we added kale and one night an extra can of beans and egg noodles made it a hearty meal our hungry clan.
A gameplan is often the key to our success and I shared some of my plan-ahead tips in an earlier post that you can check out here: Lyons Den Tips for easy weeknight dinners.
As much as I would like to prevent "picky palate syndrome" and expose our kids to a broad range of meals, tastes and flavors, I admit to having a few tried and true staples that I go back to again and again. I was raised this way myself. In the O'Connor household in the late 70s and early 80s, you could count on Meatloaf on Mondays, Shake and Bake Chicken on Tuesdays, Meatballs and Spaghetti on Wednesdays and some sort of chicken casserole made with Campbell's Condensed Mushroom soup on Thursday. On Fridays, it was pizza or fish sticks. Saturday was often burger night and on Sundays, my Dad would cook -- often an Irish stew or other "meat and potatoes" meal. It seems pretty clear that my Mom had some standards she relied on and the reality is that I do too; you can find them here: Quick friendly weeknight meals.
As much as we all appreciate and rely on the standards, it's always good to branch out and try new things. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite family friendly sites for simple, crowd-pleasing dinners:
- Check out The Food Yenta for an amazing archive of recipes for both everyday and entertaining... including her famous apple chips for a healthy kid-friendly snack.
- For great recipes, amazing stories and a side portion of user-friendly gardening tips, check out Donuts, Dresses and Dirt -- the cornflake crusted chicken has become of of our family's favorites
- Jodi's Kitchen and Home is another great resource. In her own words, Jodi is raising a kid in the kitchen and writing about it. With the winter chill setting in, her Braised Short Rib and Potato Pot Pie is a must try.