photos from Martha Stewart, Dinner: A Love Story, Cooking Light, and Yummy Supper (links below)
My strategy for planning dinners has changed somewhat over the last few years. I don't cook pork or beef at all any more. I only did rarely before, but I've cut them out completely now. (Well, almost completely - We will still have beef tenderloin for Christmas, and I do still include bacon as a garnish in soups and other meals.)
So in planning meals, I find that I typically choose a poultry dish (chicken, ground turkey, sausage) or two, seafood, pasta, and Friday night (usually alternates between pizza and burritos/quesadillas).
I've been trying new recipes and working to find more vegetarian dinners that the kids and my husband will enjoy. I've been somewhat successful, and I don't mind eating the leftovers myself when they fail to please. Soups have been my biggest successes so far this year, but there have been others. We've also been making more homemade pizzas lately, and I forgot how good they are! If you have any veggie dinner ideas that kids will eat, please do share.
Here's a look at what we ate last week:
Homemade Pizza, Salad
I've been making half plain cheese and half covered with veggies. Usually caramelized onions, mushrooms, peppers, and black olives.
Chicken Tenders, Spicy Oven Fries, Steamed Broccoli
Oh my goodness I will never buy frozen french fries again. (I used to like getting frozen sweet potato fries. They're good, but homemade is better!) These spicy oven fries are awesome! Everyone liked them. I only used a dash of red pepper to avoid making them too spicy for the kids. Perfect.
Tex-Mex Pasta Salad, Guacamole
I used to really love this pasta salad, and the kids devoured it. Somehow, it seems to have lost its magic for us. Everybody did okay, but I must admit I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I remembered, and the boys weren't thrilled with it. Wonder why it was different this time? I'll keep the recipe, but it may fall out of rotation for a while.
Lemon-Pepper Shrimp Scampi, Orzo, Roasted Asparagus
Ridiculously easy weeknight dinner. As expected, Nathan wouldn't eat the shrimp, but he chowed on the orzo and ate his asparagus whole, with his hands. And had some leftover broccoli too. Aaron and I enjoyed it just as written.
Potato, Corn, and Leek Chowder
Easily the biggest hit yet. The boys just adore this chowder and clean their bowls every time. Aaron had it two nights in a row and requested to have it packed in a thermos to bring for lunch at school. Awesome.
Quinoa and Kale Patties, Mashed Sweet Potatoes
This was the new main recipe for the week. It went over well with me, but not with anyone else. That's okay. I really liked them, especially covered with avocados, black beans, cilantro, and served with a little sour cream and salsa on the side. I had them the rest of the week every day for lunch. I can think of lots of ways to mix up the ingredients of these patties, so this is definitely a keeper, even if only for me.