Monday, January 10, 2011

Fish Stick Break

After finalizing last week's menu, I was pleased to have assembled what I thought was a group of tasty meals that the fam would enjoy.  If you witnessed the serving of several of these meals, however, it might appear more that I was torturing our children than providing nourishment.  I won't lie that it was defeating watching Molly push her plate across the table toward me over, and over, and over again, and have to respond to Andrew's frequent, desperate "how many more bites?" pleas.  After three consecutive days of meal-time battle, Ryan implored a fish stick break.  A plate of microwaved fish sticks (albeit the healthiest ones I can find at Whole Foods) accompanied by the safest kid veggie ever, canned green beans, does guarantee us a peaceful table in addition to full kid bellies.  It is true that this image evokes a warm, happy calmness, and thus, perhaps some temptation toward an extended hiatus.  BUT alas, I must press on in my pursuit of fresh and varied flavors to open my kids' palates beyond the single fish stick dimension. 

The good news: some of this food was actually quite good for an adult!  As such, I'll share!!  The titles bear the links to the recipes.

Sweet Potato and Gruyere Turnovers

These mouthwatering pouches are kind of like potpies with the volume turned up (I totally stole that phrase, Ina.  Sorry.)   The scrumptious filling includes grated sweet potatoes, Gruyere cheese, and a sauteed mixture of fresh spinach and onions.  I found these little guys in Real Simple, which also provides quantities and methodology to make them in bulk and do a "dinner swap" with others.  While I didn't participate in the bulk part, I did make them in advance and freeze them.  They go straight from the freezer to the oven beautifully.

Speaking of the crust, here is one of the turnovers in process.  I opted to make my crust instead of purchase the pre-made ones.  With Ina's recipe (referenced in  Pumpkin Lasagna), being so completely delicious, easy and quick, I figured I'd just save a couple bucks.  As a result, it's kind of 'rustic' looking and not the lovely semi-circle I should have had.  But you get the idea.

Here is the finished, baked turnover served with a lightly dressed side salad.  These made divine leftovers..though I didn't dare try to present them to my kids for a repeat of the torturous prior dinner.

The next main course, Chicken Schnitzel with Mustard Sauce, wasn't quite as bad.  In fact, the kids actually did well with the chicken, sans sauce of course. (Ryan and I found the sauce, a mixture of Greek yogurt and whole grain mustard, to a be a tangy and delightful accent to the chicken, fyi.)

It was the side dish here that jump started the drama: Balsamic and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower.  I get why this was kind of a mean trick by mom, because undiluted balsamic vinegar packs quite a bit of punch for a four year old's (and worse, a 21 month old's) taste buds.  But I maintain that it couldn't have warranted the spitting shenanigans that ensued. 

The last dish was somewhat laborious and turned out to be, well, a disaster.  In fact, there are no photos because I chose to not document the upsetting service of these plates.  I prepared spaghetti squash topped with meatballs and a sauce made with chicken stock, peas and onions.  The original recipe included mushrooms and spinach, so I thought I did the kids a favor with my substitutions.  Not so much.  I opted to put that experience behind me and promptly deposited the recipe in the trash.

I am putting forth my best effort to not be discouraged by my food's reception last week.  Though I'll admit I'm ever so slightly dreading the predicted response to the artichoke ravioli and plum tomato cream sauce on the menu for Tuesday.


Rebekah said...

Hahaha, I can totally picture your babies at dinner. Thanks for painting such an authentic picture. : )

Christy said...

I love love love that you are including the disasters and times of torture in the mix of all the successes that you are sharing! It is REALLY encouraging for those of us less adventurous and skilled who are unashamedly stealing your great ideas. :)

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