Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: March 30, 2010

Matzo ball soup.

Day One, no leavened foods, check.

We had some leftover matzo balls --like buttah!--and chicken from my mom's soup last night, but we ran out of broth. No problem, because I had chicken carcasses! Tasty, tasty chicken carcasses left from the roast chickens I served last night. I boiled them with sad baby carrots from the bottom of the vegetable crisper and the wilted parsley from the seder plate and some pathetic old onion I found in the fridge, et voila, more broth!

It actually tasted really good. Even better, I consider this dinner basically free. Because I made it out of garbage.

What I Made for Dinner: March 29, 2010

Roast chickens with root vegetables and fingerling potatoes, roasted whole artichokes.

It is Passover. So beginning with Night #1 and continuing for the next week, I will do my level best to abstain from eating leavened foods. This little religious observance is a gigantic pain in my pasta- and sandwich-loving ass.

Last night I hosted my first-ever seder, a job my sister usually undertakes.

There was a soup course, which my mother made because her matzo balls are like buttah. Like buttah! Then the chicken et cetera, which no one was really hungry for after all the soup, but everyone politely ate anyway; and then dessert.

Chocolate-dipped dried apricots, homemade coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate, and some fruit jellies for the kiddos.

So: The obvious question is, why bother abstaining from leavened foods this week? I absolutely do not trouble myself about food restrictions the other fifty-one weeks a year. We all know I eat more than my share of bacon. Putting it mildly, I am irreligious. Just a little. Just enough to eat one of these while wearing a micro-mini, getting a horny li'l devil tattoo, drinking a three-olive martini, and gambling away the children's college money.

But this Passover thing is a little different to me. We eat only unleavened bread to remember a time when we lacked choices and freedom and self-determination, lacked even the time it takes for a loaf of bread to rise. It's not such a bad thing to think about, and on the off (remote) chance that my ancestors at some point actually were slaves in the land of Egypt,* I owe them to at least try a week off bread. So, goddammit, I try.

*Not likely. My ancestors were either garment workers or lawyers in the land of New York as far back as anyone cares to remember.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: March 27, 2010

Lamb mini-burgers in pita with tzatziki and Greek salad.

I had a seriously bad dream last night. A crowd of people showed up at my house and demanded breakfast. I offered them a selection of dry cereals served in styrofoam bowls, but they were not appeased. They were disappointed in me. They knew it was not my best work. They would not leave my house without a proper breakfast, and in my dream I planned a meal with hash browns and eggs that looked a lot like this massive pan-fried breakfast that Jamie Oliver did one time on TV. I started to make it but the stress of trying to get everything ready for all those people when I knew they were already hungry and impatient and annoyed with me was just too much, I knew I was failing--and I woke up.

Okay, my interpretation is that I'm not adequately keeping up with my own expectations for myself. This is certainly true in many areas of my life at the moment, but the one that is easiest to fix is making healthy, balanced, tasty meals for my family on a regular basis.

So tonight I tried to do better. This meal was really good, a little unusual, and quite healthy because of all the veggies and the little mini-burger size.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why I Haven't Made Dinner: March 22-25, 2010

Ohhhh I just suck.

It's not entirely my fault, except that I have lacked the perseverance and motivation to make it work this week.

Monday I actually cooked, but nothing worth writing about--although I must say, there was bacon, and it was tasty.  Tuesday we were overcome with Scouting activities.  Wednesday, a work function.  Tonight, dueling soccer practices.

We are overscheduled.  I am weary.  But what can you do?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: March 21, 2010

Chicken quesadillas with fresh salsa.

This weekend isn't getting any awards at our house. On Friday, we made some really lackluster broiled chicken breasts. We planned to grill them, and they would have been a lot better that way, but then this started:

So, broiled. Blah. And then, of course, the snowstorm. I think we got about six inches of snow, canceling all the weekend's planned activities. Double blah. And the rest of the weekend sucked too.

Tonight, the leftover chicken was much better in these quesadillas. Let's hope it's some weird cheese-laden symbol of a fresh start.

What I Made for Dinner: March 18, 2010

Baked tortillas and eggs in tomato sauce.

Oh thank goodness for Everyday Food Magazine. When I got home from grading papers and papers and papers, the last thing I wanted to do was make dinner. I wanted to take the kids to the playground to take advantage of the gorgeous Thursday weather. So I did, but then when we got home, there was scarcely any time to cook anything.

Everyday Food was there with this recipe. You make a quick sauce of tomatoes and onions, then layer it with strips of corn tortillas, top it with eggs and cheese, then bake it until the eggs set and the cheese melts. It came together very quickly, and I found it delicious.

I warned the kids that it was an experiment, and they'd never had anything like it before, so they'd just have to try it and see. They were surprisingly willing and in fact they devoured it. Lesson learned: When introducing a new recipe, wait to serve it to the children until 7:30 at night when they've been playing outside for hours.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: March 16, 2010

Pulled pork tacos with red cabbage slaw.

Yummmm tacos.  Day two of Spring Break was a success because Deanna took the kids all day while I graded papers at the coffee shop!  But I made dinner while I graded:  four hours in the oven at low heat and when I got home the meat was done, ready to slap into some corn tortillas with a few slices of avocado.  Multitasking!

Monday, March 15, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: March 15, 2010

Chicken and white bean chili.

Over the past week there has been cooking at my house, some of it pretty good but most of it nondescript.  Most notably, on Friday Chuck made steak Diane and mashed potatoes, and it was really good, but Lordy what a mess in the kitchen. There has, in short, been nothing much to write about.

Anyway, back up in the saddle tonight.  This scrumptious chili followed just a great day with the kids.  We went out for books and ice cream to celebrate the first day of Spring Break

crap photo quality should be blamed on phone-cam and not on photographer
and Oh My there was happiness and sunshine and laughing and climbing around and no fighting and only one minor step-in-dog-doo.  A good day.  Good chili.  Hmm.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: March 9, 2010

Butter-roasted salmon with mushroom risotto.

This is possibly the stupidest possible dinner to try to make on a weeknight.  That is all.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What We Made for Dinner: March 6 & 7, 2010

Cheeseburgers; chicken with lemon and garlic.

Saturday was the first pleasant day we've had in such a long time, and it wasn't even really warm.  It was "pleasant" in the sense that it didn't seem like the outdoors was trying to kill you.  There was just a little hint that warm weather might not be too far off.  The barest suggestion that Spring might come. 

Chuck immediately fired up the grill.  It was a teensy bit hilarious, watching him standing next to a sad, melting snowdrift, trying to light the coals in the gusting wind.  He got it done, by God.  The whole neighborhood smelled like hickory smoke.  So I guess it's officially grilling season? 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: March 4, 2010

Breakfast for dinner.

In two shifts:  First one after Josh got home from soccer practice, second one after Alex got home from Cub Scouts.  You know who I feel like right now?

How do you want your eggs?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: March 2, 2010

Steak and stuffed artichokes.

It's hard for me to cook nice meals when Chuck is out of town.  The boys would be happy with pizza and Chinese food.  (The little one would joyfully eat chicken nuggets and french fries for every. single.  meal.)  But tonight I made the effort, even though I can't really explain why.  They ate it, so I guess that means it was successful.