I made some great chili yesterday because it was cold outside, and the kids loved it. They loved it so much that I neglected to take a picture - so we will save that recipe for another day. I thought that perhaps I would use this time to talk a little about my cooking preparation generally. Unless we are having a dinner party, I usually only expend effort on one of the dishes. Sometimes it is the main course; other times, it is a side dish or the dessert. I don't want to follow a recipe for more than one thing. For the remainder of the dinner, I use my old stand-bys: roasted veggies (cubed and tossed with olive oil and some herbs and salt and cooked in a casserole dish at 400 F for 45-60 minutes); fresh fruit salad (we have fruit with our dinners about 95% of the time); beans, quinoa, rice or some other grain or legume (usually with some leftover veggies that I have sauteed and tossed in); and a protein. I love using the steam bags; they are especially helpful when I need to cook some veggies and then puree them for another dish I am making.
I go grocery shopping with the whole gang. I want my children to grow up with an appreciation and understanding of food. I want them to know their way around a kitchen and a grocery store. They love it because they snack the entire time, and I usually ask them to help me pick things out in the produce section. I plan on getting 5 different veggies, 5-7 different fruits, 5 proteins and the staples. When I let them pick things out, it forces me to be creative. For example, we ended up with a big ugly yucca root on one of our shopping trips. I made fries out of it. They were actually good! I strive to get at least one new thing each time I go, and I try to get seasonal food. Finally, I try to get things that I might not like because: (i) it's a challenge to turn it into something that everyone will eat; and (ii) I want my kids to develop their own tastes. This is how the rutabegas, turnips and lima beans find their way into our cart. I must say that this exercise opened my eyes up to foods that I thought I didn't like; turns out that I just didn't like the way that they were previously prepared. Hopefully, this blog gets you thinking about new ways to prepare old foods, or trying something that you had never considered, or experimenting with foods that you were sure you despised. In any event, it has helped me to gather my day-to-day recipes in a coherent way, put some measurements to them and refine those measurements, and hopefully put together a recipe book for my kids of most of the stuff that I fed to them. I know that I still call my mother for her potato salad recipe.