For a pen and paper girl, technology can be a real burden. Thankfully my husband has worked with me to see the advantages of not having to carry around said paper (usually in the form of a heavy journal or planner) and instead use my trusty old phone or our kitchen computer. Now, I have always used pen and paper for writing down my meal lists but then you lose the paper and you are back to square one.
Well not today. I have decided to give this blog a try and even include quick links so that I can easily get the recipe and not waste time trying to find it again or worse, keep dozens of pages open on my phone or computer. That drives me crazy! This will also be a fun place to document if we like the recipe, or not, and to have the ideas in a safe place, in case my zeal for cooking doesn’t last as long as my list will be.
Now, you may look at many of these recipes and wonder how on earth I will get my kids to even taste some of them. Well, I must say that I am either blessed with the most amazing kids or . . . they don’t really have a choice. Mean huh! As wonderful as my children are, they are still children. And trying new things is NOT a natural gift they possess. I learned this the hard way, let me tell you a little story . . .
Well, many, many moons ago, I was wrapped around a little boy’s finger and he got to eat whatever he wanted, which consisted of: frozen dinosaur nuggets, cheese sticks, quesadillas, all natural fruit snacks and Nutrigrain Cereal bars. Then his sister came into the picture and at 4 months she was smacking her lips, dying to try some avocado on her parent’s plates. We realized that we didn’t know the rules of feeding children. We thought you fed children what they WANTED to eat, not what we were eating.
Well, this little girl proved our thinking wrong and taught us instantly that we mirror what we want our children to be. If we don’t give them the opportunities to try new things, why on earth would they want to “when they are older?” Do you feel older just because it is your birthday? Then why do we succumb to the idea that “one magical day” we will all of a sudden want to eat something new? I know about this because I don’t like trying new things, I literally get panic attacks. Thankfully my parents didn’t give up on me but worked with me and kept allowing me to have new experiences, whether I liked them at first or not. Now that I have had so many new experiences and have liked them, I am more prone to trying something new and just giving it a shot. But not just once. I keep trying, until I KNOW that it isn’t for me (like falling from Lagoon’s SkyCoaster or going down FAST and STEEP water slides, or pretty much anything that has to do with FALLING!)
But that’s just me. I have taken the time to learn enough about myself to know that I don’t like the feeling of FALLING. Our kids haven’t had that much exposure, so HOW DO THEY KNOW what they do and don’t like? Unless they try. I feel that dinner time is a wonderful laboratory of life learning and it gives us a safe environment to see how others enjoy or don’t enjoy something, but allow the child to THINK FOR HIMSELF and decide if he likes something or not. But can one bite really tell you if you like it or not. I don’t think so. I think it is only fair that a meal should be consumed and given time to process, before it is ruled out.
So . . . if anything looks yummy below, try feeding it to your children. They will not die of starvation for one night and the more you teach your children to try new foods, the more they will practice being open to knew ideas, opinions and even ways of life, while finding the courage to do what they feel is best for them, even if others disagree. Here’s to exercising our agency.
PS – As I give my notes, I will put the ones I want to keep trying in (red) text and the ones we aren’t interested in repeating in (purple).
Quick Easy Meals – 30 minutes or less (*lunches for Wendi):
An Idaho Sunrise – Egg-Stuffed Baked Potatoes – Alright, I gave these a try and . . . WE LOVED THEM! Okay, not E and L but Paul, myself and K did (G has been sick, so he hasn’t given them a try yet). They are super flavorful and we loaded them with bacon bits, sharp cheddar cheese & green onions. YUM! I seriously recommend you trying them. One note, my eggs did not cook fully, so in lieu of time, we microwaved them. We preferred them this way. So look at the comments and read about what to do, if you want a runny yoke.
Apple-Cinnamon Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Butternut Squash Soup – Well, I did it. I made this meal and “I” loved it . . . but my family thought the sandwiches were weird (G thought that potatoes were in his sandwich – VERY FUNNY!) and that the soup tasted like baby food. I think the soup was just a bit too creamy for them, so maybe add more broth to thin it out but I LOVED IT and I thought the flavors were WONDERFUL, very much like going to Zuppas or Cosi (in Costa Rica) for lunch. I will make the sandwiches again and eat them myself, maybe one day they will be brave enough to do it for themselves again. Oh . . . and I made THIS WONDERFUL BREAD for the sandwiches! SUPER easy and FAST! A great bread to go with a stew, soup or as sandwiches with a yummy salad.
*Avocado-Egg BLT – I actually really enjoyed this sandwich. It was kind of like guacamole with egg in it. I liked the flavor and the texture too but it was a bit mushy.
*Baked Eggs with Bacon, Spinach & Goat Cheese – I REALLY enjoyed this but DON’T cook the eggs too long. You want them runny for flavor. I cooked my eggs until almost hard boiled. I would have enjoyed them softer.
*BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad – YUM! Who wouldn’t like this GREAT salad. It is literally a crowd pleaser!
Beef & Green Bean Stir-Fry – Okay. I made this one for a quick, unexpected meal and it worked GREAT! A bit spicy, I have never used Sriracha sauce before, but the family liked the level of spice and it didn’t seem to upset our stomachs. Highly recommend! I froze the leftovers into freezer bags for a quick lunch for ME! Highly recommend! I then made it for company another night and they LOVED it! It is a great meal to make for people who can’t have dairy. Something to think about. Oh, I didn’t add the Sriracha sauce and it was better for us.
Beef with Broccoli – I REALLY enjoyed this meal. It is a great go-to
Breakfast Potatoes for Breakfast burritos (Rancheritos)
Caribbean Rubbed Pork Chops with Mango Salsa – Okay, the family did not like this meal. The salsa was very grown-up and rather mushy. Not interested in trying again.
Cowboy Quesidillas – Okay, I REALLY liked this but the kids did not. They wanted them to be simple, I LOVED the flavors. Maybe a great appetizer!
Turkey, Cream Cheese & Cranberry Sauce Sandwiches on homemade rolls, inspired by Mara Santos – Okay, I LOVE this meal and we LOVE these without cranberry sauce. So simple and another GREAT appetizer or a WONDERFUL picnic/boating/beach meal. YUM!
General Tso’s Chicken with homemade Hoisin Sauce – Well, not my family’s favorite meal. Either they didn’t like the chicken or they didn’t like the sauce. But in all fairness, we have actually never eaten this food at a restaurant either. I had only heard others say they loved it, so I was brave and gave it a try. I guess we are just sweet & sour, sesame chicken, beef and broccoli (even those copy cat recipes we have to be careful with) kind of people. (wah-wah-wah!) I also personally felt it was NOT easy to be done in 30 minutes and I did not like the corn flake breading. Maybe it was the brand of corn flakes I bought? I don’t know? But the breading was sticky and gummy and not a good flavor. Thumbs down.
Ham and Cheddar Waffles with a fried egg or made into a turkey & tomato sandwich – We made these for a quick dinner with company over. The majority of the company were kids (Robbins’ family) but the crowd actually enjoyed them! We topped them with a fried egg and served them alongside fruit. Quick dinner but my kids still don’t know if they want them again. I think I should try again, might grow on them.
Macaroni and Cheese – Alright, I made this for lunch today and it was AMAZING! Except . . . I used sharp cheddar cheese (2 cups & 1 cup mixed shredded cheese) and it was too strong for even me. BUT! ! ! the creaminess of the sauce was PERFECT, now to just find the right balance of flavors. So . . . this is definitely a try again for me! Also, her recipe made A LOT! I might half it, until I find the right balance of flavors. BIG THUMBS UP!
*Lemon-Dill Tuna Salad – Okay, I LOVED the flavor of this salad but I was left feeling unsatisfied. So maybe a bit more mayo???
Delicous Sloppy Joes – served on Griffith’s homemade rolls turned out to be a HUGE success! Last night Paul invited a client and his wife over for dinner with our family. I was a bit timid to stick to what I had planned but I am glad that I did because THEY LOVED the meal and even had seconds. We served the Sloppy Joes with fresh green beans that had been steamed on the stove in salt water for 5 minutes, watermelon, potato chips w/ Paul’s famous dip. We then had some more “cheater’s fried ice cream” for dessert. It was a YUMMY meal!
Sour Cream Enchiladas – in my recipe box
White Chicken Chili – (only I make mine half black beans half white beans)
Salmon & Zucchini Baked in Parchment – I really enjoyed cooking in parchment. I thought the salmon turned out perfectly. It was a bit watery though and too much lemon! The zucchini didn’t taste as great because of the overpowering lemon. BUT . . . worth another try! YUM! Especially served with a salted baked potato and “Cheater’s fried ice cream for dessert.”
Fun Family Meals w/ Leftovers
Something to try:
Whip whipping cream in the blender or immersion blender?
Sour Cream Poppyseed Streusel Muffins – We tried these muffins for breakfast and they were actually SUPER fluffy and moist. I did use half wheat, half white and I added the juice of the orangy-lemon that I used (1/2 in the muffin batter and 1/2 in the topping). They were super sugary on top, so they stuck to the pan, but I think that is because we did not fill 12 muffin cups but did 18 muffins instead. Next time, only fill 12 and see what happens but SUPER YUMMY!
Pressure Cooker Chili Lime Chicken (Like their Grilled Taco Chicken but in 6 minutes) – SERIOUSLY, this is my new go-to for making “canned chicken” when PriceSmart (our Costco/Sam’s) isn’t offering Kirkland Canned Chicken. The flavor is AMAZING and it is SO FAST! A great way to cook up some chicken for soups, enchiladas, etc. Easy and tasty!
Oven Roasted Tomatoes – Well, it was the night before Paul was to go to the Cenada (our Farmer’s Market for the mass public grocery stores/restaurants) and I was cleaning out our fridge to make room for the new food and found 2 bags of tomatoes. I thought about this recipe and gave it a go. They were REALLY easy to make and quit yummy. Last night I did what they suggested and blended some up (after reheating them in the microwave) and spread it on bread. Paul, who isn’t a big red sauce fan, loved it . . . so did E! Definitely a yummy appetizer!
My Sister-in-law’s Potato Salad – I made this for a going-away party and I really liked how easy it was to prepare. I would say that this is a GREAT base to any potato salad that you like. You can add pickles, dill, olives, pimientos, celery, raw onion or anything you like that makes potato salad taste good for you. Thanks Karen! Paul LOVED it!
*Avocado-Egg Salad – I REALLY enjoyed this! I felt like it was protein packed and not slimy (I was concerned). I really enjoyed it on toasted bread. I will definitely do this again!
Pumpkin Waffles with Buttermilk Syrup – We added mini choc chips that made them pretty sweet. I would add more flour, to make them a bit more dense, not so soft. They had a great flavor though. Easy to make!
Baked Parmesan Zucchini – Okay, I needed a veggie to go along with Karen’s potato salad and my Mother-in-law’s company chicken, so I made these to go along with it. They are easy to whip up but the spices were a bit strong for the kids (E gagged it down). I liked the texture and they were different, but I am interested to see if the other “fries,” listed above, will be better?
Cheater’s Fried Ice Cream – I needed something to help the Salmon go down for K, so I asked what she would like for FHE dessert tonight and she requested fried ice cream. It’s Costa Rica. Are you kidding me. But I saw this cheater recipe and found it quite easy to whip up. We added finely chopped pecans and some coconut that I also toasted with a bit of sugar, after I toasted the corn flakes. We stirred the toppings together and let them cool. When it came time for dessert, Paul scooped big balls of ice cream, rolled the ice cream in the topping, and then I drizzled them with sweetened condensed milk (a huge topping in Costa Rica), chocolate syrup and whipped cream. YUM!!!! The family was in HEAVEN! So much easier than frying and healthier too!
Pricesmart Grocery List:
Rotisserie Chicken – shredded and frozen for future use
shredded Mexican cheese
Grocery Store List:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Red Wine Vinegar
Flank steak x 2
Artisan Bread for sandwiches
hamburger buns x 2 (sloppy joes, BBQ pork sandwiches) or homemade rolls
greek yogurt or plain yogurt