Oh my lord, how I am LOATHING this question each day. Indeed, what IS for dinner?
Lately I’m uninspired and feeling downright lazy about things.
I used to cook. I used to cook a lot. I’m actually quite a good cook – and it’s something I enjoy doing… or at least I used to.
Breakfasts. Lunches. Snacks. Dinners. Sooooo much work… somebody doesn’t want some part of it… lots ends up on the floor… uch. Why bother? Oh yeah: sustenance = life.
Cooking for two adults can be inspiring. Cooking something everyone will want to eat can be more difficult. Cooking one meal for the small people around 6 PM, and another meal for adults for 8:30ish is making me feel crazy in the head.
The first part of the problem is determining what the children will actually eat – no soup for this one, no chunks of tomato for that one, blah, blah, blah… I will only make one meal for them, and I stand firm in the place of this is dinner – eat it or don’t. But, I will also do anything to avoid having a child waking me up in the middle of the night for a glass of milk or something. That makes me stabby.
Sometimes when I’m on the ball and feeling all Martha about things, I’ll make meatballs and sauce one weekend and freeze batches of it. Then we have lots of dinner things for, like, weeks! But we still can’t eat that every day.
And of course, that kind of cooking is best done when one has a bunch of time on one’s own, and won’t be tripping over small people, dropping sharp knives onto their heads or accidentally severing tiny limbs.
So, when does that time come exactly? Oh right. Never.
Which is the other part of the problem. If I haven’t, say, slipped a roast into the oven at 4 PM, then come 5:25 PM when my kids are asking about what might be on the menu tonight… I’m all, “Um… let’s see…” while I open the fridge. Bad mother.
I’ve been busy helping with the French homework since 3:30 PM, you see (which is no small feat, especially as I do not actually par-lay the French very well at all – thank goodness for Google translator sites…) plus trying to keep the other small person from doing things like colouring her entire body with marker in the shadows of other spaces in the house, away from where mummy can see her. I can’t help my child read if I can’t see the words he’s working on. I must sit beside him. Which means I’m not stirring something in a pan. You see the conundrum?
I’m finding it impossible. I need a better plan. (Besides take out, I mean.)
I’m so very thankful for pasta. And for eggs. They’ve saved my ass more times than I can count.
(One of my go-to meals: shrimp, zucchini and peppers over pasta, with garlic and olive oil.)
Oh, and have I mentioned that my husband has recently decided to eliminate gluten from his diet? Yeah. This means for him, no pasta, no bread, no flour, no breadcrumbs… he can’t eat ANYTHING!! And lest I start saying screw you, here’s some broccoli, I really need to make him something to eat that’s tasty and good for him. I should buy stock in Basmati rice.
We don’t buy many prepared foods. Like I said, I can cook. I make my own chicken nuggets (though we just call that chicken piccata and squeeze some lemon on it) I make soups from scratch, I fry my own fish.
But you really can’t cook salmon fillets four hours before you want to eat them. Um, no. Same thing goes for veggies that require any cooking… there’s a limit to the “in advance” part. You can’t let cooked zucchini “rest.” Overcooked veggies are a terrible thing! No wonder so many kids (and adults) hate them.
But trying to turn out a lovely meal day after day (after day) is becoming such a chore, I’m almost ready to give up eating. Almost. Perhaps there’s a way to tie the children to chairs while I make the vittles? I just don’t know.
How do you feed everyone stuff they like to eat, on time, and with your sanity in tact? Got any go-to recipes to share?