Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 28: Pork Loin

I do this to myself almost every week:  I put pork tenderloin on the menu for a night that Hubby has school so it's just me and the boys.  And everytime, without fail, when I come home the last thing that I want to do is  cook a pork tenderloin!

It's not so bad though, it's pretty much hands-off cooking.  Put it in the toaster oven and forget about it for about 45 minutes.  Ah, there's the issue:  the time it takes to cook!

Dinner on the table at 7pm last night (which is typical in our house):  Pork tenderloin, rice and spinach.  I bribed the kids with yogurt raisins to try the spinach.  Will took the bribe, took a taste and proclaimed it "Yuck!!!!  I don't like it."  More for me, then.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Days 26 and 27: Typical Menu

Tuesday night:  spaghetti, spaghetti.  I know, exciting.

Wednesday night:  Brian made chicken parmesan tenders for him and the kids.  I'm a little sorry to have missed out on them.  :(  I tried the steak panini tonight at Panera, it was actually quite good.  I love that they put horseradish on it, that stuff is delish.  :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 25: Stir-Fry

A good Monday night dinner:  stir-fry.  This one is chicken and spinach, and comes from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything."  It's more saucy than dry, and uses ingredients that are easy to find.  I despise recipes that make you have to hunt down ingredients!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 24: Back to "Normal"

Feeling much better today.  I finally felt like eating, so I made something special.

It turns out that leftover steak tips from the 99 make for excellent steak and eggs on a Sunday morning.

What was supposed to be for dinner last night turned into today's lunch, since the salmon was defrosted in the fridge.  This is the kind of meal that's nice to make when I'm eating it alone, because I'm the only person in the house that will eat it:

Caribbean jerk-seasoned salmon over black beans and rice, topped with fresh mango salsa and avocado!  Another recipe that I found on Pinterest and couldn't wait to try.

OMG!!!  The huge burst of flavor in this was incredible!  The salmon was cooked perfectly and not as spicy as expected.  The spice rib had chili powder, curry, cinnamon, cumin, allspice and cayenne, so you can see why I might have expected heavy heat.  The salsa was so fresh tasting, and not much to it:  fresh mango, red onion, avocado, sea salt and a few squeezes of fresh lime juice.  I felt like I should be sitting at a picnic table on the beach eating this.  I loved it, and am excited for the leftovers at work tomorrow.

When Brian and Will got home from their Philly adventures, we had tacos.  Scratch that.  Brian and I had tacos, kids had hot dogs.  Typical.  :)

Days 22 and 23, Combined

Nothing really going on either one of these days, so I'm lumping them in a post together.

Day 22:  Friday night.  Hubby and Will are heading to PA in the morning to go to a Phillies game with Hubby's side of the family.  Both Brian and I are sick.  Neither of us feel like cooking, so we check the score from the Red Sox game the day before.   Once we see that they won, we head to the 99.  The 99 Restaurant is half a mile from our house, so it's our go-to when we don't feel like cooking.  And if the Sox won the day before, kids meals are free!  Win WIN for us!  Kids get meals they'll eat without much trouble, and Mom and Dad don't have to cook.  

Day 23:  Man, I'm feeling worse.  Sean and I headed out to a graduation party in the afternoon, and then I flop on the couch while he watches "Octonauts" for the hundreth time.  No energy to cook what I had been planning on, so it's frozen waffles for both of us.  Sean is of course thrilled!

Day 21: Too Hot To Cook

New England is under a heatwave right now, so the idea of turning on the oven is just plain silly.  I considered the leftover spaghetti for me and the kids (Hubby was late headed to school from work due to traffic so he unfortunately got McDonald's) but the I realized that there wouldn't be anything to eat at work today.  Actually, I had brought the spaghetti to work today to eat at lunchtime.  Unfortunately, I brought the spaghetti but no utensils.  Eating spaghetti with your hands, especially at work, is not appetizing.  So instead, I headed out for some lunch.

Kids and I had pancakes, bacon and strawberry-banana smoothies.  And the kids insisted on helping cook...something that I usually encourage wholeheartedly but was difficult last night.  I make the pancakes on an electric griddle and the bacon on a griddle on the stove, and these are on opposite ends of the kitchen.  The boys wouldn't take no for an answer though, so Will broke up bananas for the smoothie.  I turned my back on Will for a minute, to find Sean wiping down the counter of pancake batter.  That was pretty cool!  After swapping his Kleenex (clean) for some damp paper towels, I let him continue.  No way am I discouraging the boys from cleaning ANYTHING!  Will helped put away the baking powder and discovered half a bag of mini chocolate chips, so the last batch of pancakes had chocolate chips in them.  Naturally, they were the best ones!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 20: Surprise! Another Wedneday Night

Not much is worth mentioning about last night.

Very hot night.  The low last night around here was 80 degrees.   At knitting, I went with another chicken caesar salad, and for the first time in AGES I got a Panera reward!  You know it's hot when I bring home one of their brownies instead of devouring it right then and there.

Hubby and kids had our weeknight staple, spaghetti and meatballs.  This usually gets the kids to eat most of what's put in front of them, so we are happy to serve it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day Nineteen: Fiesta Bowl!

A fun dinner...cheese quesadillas and sliced fruit for the kids.  Instead of plain old quesadillas, I put together chicken thighs spiced with chili pepper and cumin, added corn, salsa, rice, a touch of lime juice and cheese.  As a garnish, two quesadilla wedges.  Came out great!  And it was a nice change from the usual "quesadilla and rice n beans trap.  Plus the kids ate everything with no trouble, so everyone wins!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Gelato Fan

I'l say it, and risk ridicule:  I've never been much of a gelato fan.  But then again, I've never eaten gelato in Italy, which is totally on my to-do list.  Tonight though, Brian brought home some gelato from the grocery store called Talenti.  I'd had it before but not like this.  Tonight, I become a gelato fan.

Salted caramel gelato.  Smooth, rich, and decadent.  I had to stop eating it because I was afraid I'd polish off the container.  If you are a caramel fan, or a gelato fan or hell, just like frosty desserts, you HAVE to try this stuff!  If it can make Brian put down his chocolate and ask for another spoonful, it has got to be that good.

Day 18: Chicken and Peaches

Weeknights are hectic enough around here, especially on days where there's extra stuff thrown in.  For example, having to drop off a rental car because yours was in the shop all day.  The menu that I wrote last week said that there was supposed to be grilled chicken and pineapple.  Well, there was no pineapple, because we ate it as a snack the other day.  Hooray for getting fruit in, boo for eating a dinner staple.  So we went with an old standby that we hadn't had in ages:  grilled marinated chicken breasts.  Brian gave the chicken a short soak in some Italian dressing, and we served it over rice with grilled asparagus.  That was the first time that asparagus met our grill, and it turned out pretty well.

Yesterday morning, I took a look at the peaches on the counter, and I knew that they weren't going to be around long.  It was do-or-die, either those peaches get turned into something else and eaten, or they had a date with the trashcan.  (And I really HATE throwing out food.)  So it was kind of ambitious for a Monday night, but the peach crisp that I put together was delightful!  And to keep the heat down in the kitchen, I baked it in the toaster oven.  Brian and I each had a scoop, topped with the only ice cream that was compatible and in the house:  cookies n cream.  So, so good.  Welcome again, Fruits of Summer!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day Seventeen: Father's Day

Father's Day is usually spent at my parent's cottage, and it's all about grilling and relaxing.  Ribs have been the meal of choice for the past two years, so we can call it tradition if we have them next year, too!

We all LOVE ribs.  They're not great for you but are a great splurge.  This year also included garlic mashed potato (with actual roasted garlic) corn on the cob and salad.  Dessert was a choice:  brownie sundae and strawberry shortcakes.  Naturally, I ate too much.  Hubby had two desserts, he couldn't choose just one.  But it was all so delicious, and Father's Day is only once a year.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day 16: Picnic in the Woods

We met up with some old friends last night at Myles Standish State Forest.  Collectively amongst us there were 5 kids, running around and playing games and darting in and out once in a while for food.  Our cooler included pb+j's for the boys, Subway sandwiches and Stop n Shop Red Potato Salad for us, cokes and juices.  Oh, and some packets of cookies and gummy snacks.  It was great to hang out and nibble.  The boys were so busy playing that Will ate one bite of his sandwich and felt sick when we got home late because he didn't eat enough.  (Kids.....playing is more important than eating.  And it was when I was a kid too.)  A great night.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day Fifteen: I heart pork.

Dinner last night:  It was supposed to be pork and grilled peaches.  Only the peaches that we had weren't even close to ripe.  Instead, Brian made roast pork chops with honey mustard dipping sauce, brown rice and green beans.  It was so very good.

Tomorrow night dinner is going to be picnic-style with old friends.  Can't wait!

Day Fourteen: Spaghetti Night

I have yet to meet someone that doesn't like spaghetti and meatballs.  Now that I've put that out there, I'm sure that someone will step up, but seriously, I don't know anyone.  This house eats it once a week, it's the go-to meal when we're looking to eat a meal together without argument or don't know what to have.   I've followed my mom's example of serving it on Christmas Eve to cut down on the chaos.  And we all usually have seconds, 'cause everyone loves it!

I used to make my own meatballs, but there's no time really for that anymore.  BJ's has a good selection of frozen ones, which is what we usually eat.  And someday I'd like to make my own sauce from scratch.  Jar sauces are fine though, that's just the overachiever in me.  :)  I grew up in a Prego family, Hubby is from a Ragu family.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 13: Another Wednesday Night

Another awesome Wednesday night spent with my knitty friends at Panera.  Tonight I discovered that they have the BEST chicken caesar salad, hands down!

Hubby and the kids had frozen pizza.  Not your ordinary frozen pizza, but Newman's Own.  Newman's Own makes so many different things and I don't think that we've tasted a bad one yet.  Their lemonade and salad dressing rock, and we use their spaghetti sauce all the time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day Twelve: Twist on Leftovers

The menu said BLT's.  But then I found two more leftover chicken breasts from Sunday night' dinner and didn't want them to go to waste.  So it became chicken and bacon sandwiches.  Totally kick-ass.  Add some curly fries (frozen) and they were a hit.  I love it when leftovers can be transformed into something else.  No pictures, we ate them too fast.  :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day Eleven: Another Old Favorite

I love dinners that come together in a skillet.  Y'know, saute some meat, add some veggies and then a starch.  They're quick, easy, delicious and usually make leftovers.

Mexican Chicken and Rice has long been a favorite of mine, I got the recipe from a Good Housekeeping ad about fifteen years ago.  It consists of chicken breast, peppers and onions, a can of corn, some salsa, chicken broth and instant rice.  Sprinkle some cheese (I used taco blend last night, but Monterey Jack or Cheddar work well also) and you've got dinner.  So, so good.  If I could get the kiddos (who had leftover chicken and green beans from the night before) to eat it, it would be the perfect meal.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day Ten: Quick Dinner

After having a great time at the cottage, it's always tough to come back to reality at home.  Especially on Sundays, where there's so much to be done.  Laundry, dishes, groceries, straightening up, baths, etc etc .  Tonight we also have the joy of having to fix a of those "laugh a minute" things about owning your own home.  So tonight it's about the convenience foods:  pre-made chicken cutlets flavored with honey mustard and panko, frozen mashed potatoes and a bag of "Steamfresh" carrot coins.

When I started this month-long challenge of posting dinner every night I was kind of hoping that there would be some more interesting dinners.  But guess what....we're not super-interesting people apparently.  Two working parents, two picky kids, not a ton of's like we're a real family!  I aspire to be a Mom who has nutritious, palate-pleasing cuisine every night but it just doesn't happen.  We love good, flavorful food but sometimes are short on time to get what we are going after.  So tonight is about filling the belly and nourishment to keep up the work around the house.

Day Nine: Down at the Cottage

This post isn't just about dinner, but eating at the cottage in general.  I love it, and so does the family!  dinner is almost always on the grill, and if it's a nice day we have breakfast on the deck, watching the water.  Sitting at the table, drinking your coffee and looking at the ripples on the lake really is a crummy way to start the day.  :)  Plus, next week is Father's Day and we usually have something special.

Last night's dinner was marinated steak tips, rice pilaf and salad.  Today we had leftovers, since we were coming back from strawberry picking.  the boys had a good time filling a box with juicy berries and being outside in general.  Strawberry shortcakes this afternoon!  Now I'm freezing what I brought home, for syrup, scones and who knows what else.  Mmmmmmm......

Summer Favorites: Cherries

Hubby brought home a big bag of cherries yesterday from the grocery store!  I mmediately had to have a taste....cherries are one of my favorite things about summer eating.  I only get them once or twice a summer because they cost so much.  I never make anything with them either, to me they're better as "Nature's Candy" and eaten fresh out of your hand.  Plus, I don't know if I'd ever get the hang of pitting them.  Cherry pie is one of my very favorite pies though, right next to peach pie.  So....someday.  :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Day Eight: Pizza

Our plan tonight was for the boys and I to visit Daddy at the Relay for Life and bring him dinner.  The weather was most uncooperative for us to have an outdoor dinner with Daddy, so I opted to stay home with the boys.  Feeling a little lazy, I ordered pizza for the boys (Will wanted pepperoni so that's what we got,)  I didn't want pizza at all, so I got a Greek sub.  It was grilled chicken, feta cheese, onion, tomato, Greek dressing and huge hunks of cucumber on top.  It was delicious!  The only thing I would've changed was to make it red onion instead of white.    Everyone was happy, we watched a movie while we ate and the boys devoured their pizza. A good night was had by all.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Holiday Worth Celebrating!

Today is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day!!  If there was ever a holiday worth celebrating, this would be it.  Had I even realized that this was an actual thing, I might've planned a party.  C'mon, you know you would want to go to a Chocolate Ice Cream party!

Make sure you celebrate with a spoon in one hand and a big dish of the stuff in the other!

Day Seven: Taco, Taco Taco

Dinner tonight was chicken and apple tacos.  Very simple:  sauteed chicken thighs, onion, granny smith apple, minced garlic, chili powder, rosemary, sage and coriander.  Served on flour tortillas with a blend of cheddar and mozzarella cheese.  Sometimes I toss it with a little cooked rice, or change the cheese to monty jack or even the apples to Golden Delicious.  It's up to you.

The kids had their chicken with raw slices of apple, a little leftover cornbread and a mozzarella cheese stick.  If it's the same ingredients as my dinner, I call it a win!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dinner, Day Six: A Word about Wednesdays

Here's the thing about Wednesdays, it's kind of fend-for-yourself.  There's usually something relatively easy on the menu for Hubby and Kids (hot dogs tonight), and I head off to meet my knitting group at Panera.  I usually get dinner, usually a salad and iced tea.  Tonight I just didn't feel it though and got a crappy dinner.  Not crappy in taste, but consistency.  When I made it up to the counter I couldn't decide so I ordered a bowl of broccoli and cheese soup.  Later on, three of my friends were raving about the chocolate croissants so I jumped on the bandwagon.  Pretty nutritious meal, yes?  :)

Day Five: Grillin' Indoors

When Hubby's in school I tend to go a bit minimalist when it comes to feeding the fam.  Tonight's dinner was homemade cornbread, grilled pork chops, applesauce cups and green beans.  Nothing super special, though I am pretty satisfied that I baked the corn bread from scratch instead of using a bag mix.  A while back we got a grill pan for the stove (total impulse buy on our last trip to IKEA but worth it!)  This was my first time using it, I'm not totally comfortable with grilling things but I'm trying to get better at it.

So everyone eats the same dinner tonight, and that makes this Mama happy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day Four: A Favorite!

One of my favorite things:  chicken lettuce wraps!

Usually I kind of just make this up as I go along.  This time, we used Mark Bittman's recipe from "Kitchen Express."  It was good, but was missing something.  I like a bit of crunch with this, some carrots or even broccoli slaw.   Though flavorful, it was missing the crunch.   Didn't dislike it though, since I had four of them and there's a little leftover for tomorrow's lunch.  Tomorrow it'll be with peanut sauce and on a flour wrap, since we're out of Bibb lettuce.

The kids?  No way were they eating that, they had leftover cheeseburgers.  Have you ever noticed that if you have more than one child in a photo, only one of them looks at the camera at a time and smiles?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day Three: A Cookout

Dinner last night was a cookout with friends at their house.  The weather wasn't exactly compliant, so we ate inside.  Shrimp salad, chicken kabobs, hot dogs, hamburgers and corn on the cob.  Lots of delicious summer fare!

For dessert I brought a chocolate cream pie that I picked up at the grocery store on my way home from the nail salon.  It was ok, nothing special.  As I was plating it I discovered that I had bought one that's sugar-free.  Oops!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dinner, Day Two

Brian's Day Zero List includes perfecting homemade ravioli, and I get to reap the benefits.  :)

Last night:  shrimp ravioli with alfredo sauce.  The sauce is jarred, but that doesn't make it any less delicious.  The ravioli wasn't bad, just a little undercooked.  It made for decent leftovers for lunch today, too.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Thirty Days of Dinner: Day One

For June, I thought I'd post dinner every night.  Well, we'll say the next day perhaps.

Last night's dinner:  Grilled Chicken with Fresh Homemade Mango Salsa

Chicken cutlets spiced with paprika, cumin, cayenne and cinnamon.  The salsa had fresh mango and red onion and was absolutely delicious.  I had two thin cutlets and the rest of the (instant white) rice this afternoon for lunch.  There is a smidgen of salsa left over, and I'm going to savor it with corn chips later.  Mmmmmmm!  I love summer salsas.