Saturday, November 17, 2007

Blank Menu

Day in and day out:

"What's for breakfast?

What's for lunch?

I'm hungry, mom, what's for dinner?

Can we have dessert?

Can I have a cookie/fruit snack/muffin?"

I am starting to feel a little burned out, trying to come up with a variety of meals that everyone will eat. Oldest is generally pretty good about eating everything on her plate. Middle needs lots of encouragement and she will turn her nose at most meat dishes with the exception of hot dogs and meatloaf. Youngest is going through a stage that Oldest and Middle both went through, but it is nerve-wracking to a mother-- eating very little, much like a bird. Today, though, for lunch I made homemade chicken noodle soup which happens to be one of Youngest's favorite meals and she just plowed through her bowl!

Now it is dinner-time again and I haven't a clue what to make. Seems like the past few days, the meal ideas have been slow to come and I stand in front of the open fridge staring, or in front of the pantry waiting for inspiration to strike. Sometimes an idea will come only to be shot down because I lack one of the main ingredients to make it and there is no suitable substitute. I could make a casserole with ground beef, cream of celery soup and tator tots-- absolutely simple and yummy, but no ground beef. How about bruschetta chicken with chopped pieces of chicken, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and stuffing? Not enough chicken in the freezer. agh! I know! I'll make a shepard's pie with mashed potatoes and corn and ground be-- oh wait, no ground beef.

I go to Hubby and ask him if there is anything he'd like to eat? I'm hoping for a solid answer and I'll happily go into the kitchen to whip it up, and his answer sounds like this: "Whatever you want to make, baby." Agh! If I didn't have to worry about feeding the kids, I'd tell Hubby he is on his own tonight and I'd settle for a bowl of cereal.

I've had a lot of inspiration in the baking department these past few days, though, and I've made pumpkin muffins, oatmeal raisin cookies, grandma's white bread, cinnamon rolls, brown sugar chewies, and I am getting ready to tackle trying bagels for the first time. I've got such a craving for bagels and cream cheese that if I had some made already, that's what we'd be having for dinner right now! At least I know what we will be having for breakfast tomorrow morning. I'll let you know how my attempt at bagel-making turns out.

I'm off to go stare inside the fridge for another 10 minutes. Any yummy tried-and-true meal ideas that you always make? Kid pleaser and doesn't call for a gazillion ingredients? Care to share? Pretty please?


LaRonda said...

A bowl of cereal is a staple for dinner on nights like yours. (wink) You're not alone. Our meals get boring mostly because I don't like to cook. At least you have one up on me.

~ LaRonda

jenny said...

Laronda-- Hubby is the kind of person that doesn't like breakfast for dinner. His mother always had a meal on the table. My family on the other hand, we often had breakfast for dinner if we were in the mood for it!

We ended up throwing some fish sticks and tater tots in the oven. I always keep a bag of frozen fish sticks for nights like these! Time to go to the food store!

Lantana said...

What happened to "eat it or starve"? My parents were Depression children and they taught me well. If you make well balanced things like "oatmeal cookies" well let the kids eat oatmeal cookies for breakfast! My husband does!

When my younger grandkids visit, it is a nightmare. Why coddle these kids?! I once took my 2 grand daughters out for breakfast (ages 6 and 10 at that time) and the older one ordered a Hangtown Fry! (Gross!). And she ate it. T.V. does strange things to young children.

I have a step-grandson who will eat only frozen kiddie waffles with syrup to dunk them in for breakfast. I feel like saying, "This isn't a restaurant!"

Your friend in conspiracy,

DJ Kirkby said...

meat...of any variety...raisins, apricots or any other dried plump fruit (you know what I mean) allspice, a slow cooker, cook meat with spice to taste, approx 2 tbs in our house, chopped tomatoes and onion, a bit of stock, throw it in a slow cooker for a few hours after you've browned and spiced the meat, throw in dried fruit at same time and serve over rice, couscous or mash a few hours later. Yummy Moroccan type spiced meat.

gnarlydorkette said...

*Fried potatoes with sauteed onions (Sautee the onion first, then you just add potatoes and cook until one side of potatoes is golden brown), and you can add veggies like broccoli or green peppers on sides.

*Boil a lot of potatoes, then in the same pot add cauiflower, celery, carrots, yellow onions and black peppers balls (not grounded!!) and cook for a good twenty minutes, then add parlsey to top it off.

*Indian meals are the quick way for me to cook-- you just buy a simmer sauce (masala, curry, et cetera) and add cauiflowers and diced chicken (I usually sub for tofu-- I am a vegetarian). I am not sure if your grocery store do offer ethnics food, but if you want to buy via online, you can do at (I buy them from Harris Teeters store). You can get creative with what you can add to the sauce-- potatoes (it goes with ANY sauce out there), broccoli, et cetera.

*scrambled eggs-- throw in onions or green peppers while you are cooking-- to add flavor. You can do same by just adding indian relish or simmer sauce atop of scrambled eggs.

*mac and cheese-- your typical mac n cheese meal but you add diced tomatoes and a bit of parsley.

*pasta sauce-- you can add hotdogs/sausages or even diced tofu to the sauce and then it will be yummy over the noodles. (I recommend oregano to be added-- it is very good!)

Lantana said...

Vegetables? For KIDS? You have to be kidding. Perhaps corn on the cob, day in and day out might work? Chili is always a good bet. When I make chili, instead of chili seasoning, I use Taco Seasoning Mix, the big one from Costco, it tastes better!

I have never seen a kid that would pass up macaroni and cheese. And at school the McMuffins(English Muffins) with egg, ham and cheese was a big hit for breakfast!! And the kids would kill for garlic bread!


jenny said...

Lantana-- Oh believe me! I DONT make two meals to please the kids. They eat what we eat and I won't let them have a snack later if they didn't eat all their food.

What's a Hangtown fry?

I have been known to let the kids eat oatmeal cookies for breakfast! :o) I love banana bread and that turns into breakfast too!

Dj-- Y'know, I've never had moroccan foods and I've always wanted to try it. Indian foods, too, though I'll pass on the mushed chickpeas.. never cared for those. Sounds yummy, your dish idea. I'll try it soon!

jenny said...

Gnarly-- Wow! Thanks for all the yummy ideas!! I do my fried potatoes and eggs similar to you. I like the idea of boiling the other veggies along with the potatoes. I'll have to check and see if I can find any indian sauces in the next town over. My food store here only carries a small selection of spanish and asian foods (thank goodness! I LOVE making asian foods!). We are heading into the DC area for Thanksgiving, so I might be able to check if Harris Teeter's is open and pick some sauces up.

Thanks!! I'll be trying boiled veggies idea this week!

Lantana-- Actually, my kids are pretty good with eating vegetables. They love eating salads with tomatoes and cukes, carrots and red cabbage. When I make stir-fry, I use broccoli, snow peas, baby corn to name a few and the kids gobble it up. I started from when they were babies and never stopped. If they turn their noses up at something, I make them taste at least 2 bites and then they don't have to eat anymore.

Hmm, chili with taco seasoning.. sounds like something I would try! Would be yummy to make a taco salad with! Thanks for the ideas!

Lantana said...

Hey, this is a nice friendly thread, fun!

A Hangtown Fry is an OYSTER OMLETTE. Can you imagine an omlette with slimey oysters inside? I LOVE oysters (pan fried) but inside of an omlette makes me shudder.

My kids are all adults now and it is very interesting to see them cook things that I used to serve to them when they were growing up. I hope my sons do not tell their wives that their mother did it different. Sigh.

My own mother would have been horrified if I ate cookies for breakfast, but oatmeal cookies are real good with coffee first thing in the morning! My last son was hyper so I let him drink coffee in the mornings, it works the opposite on kids you know.


Hayley said...

I have the same problem. How about making meatballs they go with pasta,rice or potatoes. Or homemade tomato soup great for a cold day. My son hates anything exciting but I scored a winner when i made a lamb rogan josh, didnt put much curry sauce in barely two teaspoons went down a treat. Hope u find something that pleases them if not shut down the kitchen and go on strike. The things we mothers do.......

Dana said...

I go through the exact same thing at my house. If someone would just tell me what they would like to have for dinner I would be more than happy to make it but I hate trying to come up with something every night.

Lantana said...

Has anyone tried those frozen Italian Meatballs? They are really good. You can make a straganoff sauce to pour over them, use bar b que sauce, or serve them in spaghetti. They have a nice, Italian flavor to them. And being frozen, they are always available!


DJ Kirkby said...

Hi Jenny, I want to make snowflakes with N3S next weekend, you know the ones out of cut paper? I can't remember how to do it but thought you might.

jenny said...

Lantana-- Eww.. I don't think I'd enjoy a Hangtown Fry. I like my oysters fried, too. None of that 'half-shell' raw business! Ugh!

They SELL cookie bars made of oats and grains meant for breakfast, so the way I look at it, oatmeal cookies with raisins is a perfect breakfast cookie! Mom used to let us eat leftover cake for breakfast, too! Same as a pastry or a donut she figured.

Hayley-- I usually make a big batch of meatballs and then use some/freeze some. They make nice quickie meatball subs or on top of pasta like you suggested. I think I'm just getting idea burnout and I need a break from the kitchen routine! With the holidays right around the corner, my brain is occupied with thoughts of cookies and cakes and other goodies!

Dana-- EXactly!! Just tell me what you want and I'll go make it. It's the same as "do you wanna do anything today? I dunno, what do you wanna do? No, what do YOU wanna do?..." Just pick something/somewhere and let's do it!

Lantana-- I USED to buy those frozen meatballs but Hubby and I always got heartburn, then I found a great recipe that makes a big batch and I make some/freeze some for later. No more heartburn!

jenny said...

Dj-- I have just the thing for making snowflakes! I'll make it a project for tomorrow, take pictures and will post the instructions on my next post! How's that? :o)

DJ Kirkby said...

Ah brill thanks 'cos we won't be doing it till Sat! xoxoxo

Lantana said...

While I am here I wanted to reccomend a couple of things.

The only "breakfast bar" that we care for is: "Nature Valley Sweet and Salty" Granola bars. There are 3 kinds, peanut, cashew and mixed nut. Very, very good. Better than a candy bar andit's for breakfast!

And I use alot of Quinoa because I buy it at the healthfood store for my parrot. It is very good for people too, the box comes with recipes like stuffed peppers, etc. Quinoa is a grain.

Happy Turkey Day/Weekend to everyone! Our big Christmas Bazaar is this weekend, I love it! Very festive.

Warmly, Lantana

The Mrs. said...

I have found a wonderful website of cheap, from-scratch recipes...
(its a little busy with ads, but I still use it)

She has a menu (b/l/dinner/snacks) that can feed 4 on $45/week.

I've made most of the food- it's yummy or at worst okay.-Elizabeth