Coronavirus Quarantine · Creative Time · Family Life

Dinnertime Experimentation

I know from reading other blogs that I am not the only one who is suffering through this time feeling mopey and sad.

I am finding it hard to keep myself motivated to nag the kids about their schoolwork, to clean the house, and even to make dinner.

It just feels like every day is the same old blah blah. And, just like who cares?

Dinner is the same old same old.

But, the seasons are changing. We live in Virginia and last week we had temperatures in the 90s.

The summer, it is a comin’.

As a general rule I haven’t really adopted a seasonal eating system. My kids are 16, 13, 11, and 5. The older three eat like horses that have been run for two days without food. My husband has always had a big appetite.

(These people can pack away a lasagna in one meal, with sides)

It’s been a challenge to find things that are light and pleasing while also being filling.

And, even though I have some really great cookbooks, I feel very uninspired by them lately.

Enter BudgetBytes.

I’ve used Beth’s website before, but for the last few years I’ve moved away from online sources for my recipes and have stuck to my cookbooks. However, we make a few of her recipes as part of our regular rotation especially naan and tikka masala chicken (which I admit I alter a bit, cooking it in the dutch oven being the biggest alteration)

Feeling utterly lost and uninspired I went to her website and just printed off every recipe that looked interesting or good. I didn’t worry about what the kids like, I only worried about what I like.

When I was done I had probably 30 recipes printed out. I organized them by type: Indian food, tex mex, fish, pasta, etc. And, then I assigned a day of the week to each type.

For us, Mondays are Indian, Tuesdays TexMex, Wednesdays Pasta (or pasta inspired, this week it’s Roasted Eggplant with Meat Sauce), Thursday is whatever I feel like, Friday is always pizza, Saturday we try to grill, Sunday is fish.

We’ve been doing this for one week and we already have had several winners. One recipe I put right into our binder as soon as dinner was over – Crunchy Chicken Ramen StirFry. We also loved Mediterranean Hummus Bowls, Slow-Cooker Carnitas, Turkey Taco Skillet (which I made with venison because I forgot to buy ground turkey), and Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad with Lime Crema. (ok, that last one was absolutely delicious. We served it with leftover carnitas and rice and I am definitely making it again)

Tip for the slow-cooker if you live somewhere like VA where it is about to get super hot and you don’t want to heat up your kitchen, put the slow-cooker on the porch.

We’re into week 2 of this experiment and I’m heading to the stores today. I am a little nervous about the meat situation. This experiment has helped me shop more deliberately and carefully, but I need to remember to add in the fun little extras that we like to eat so that we aren’t staring at a totally empty fridge next week on shopping day.

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