Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

What’s for Dinner – I had Help


Last week was another successful round of family dinners.  My favorite was the Sesame Greens out of Cynthia Lair’s “Feeding the Whole Family.”  I’m thinking about having a copy of the recipe with me when I go grocery shopping with the name of the book on it.  That way when someone asks me how we cook our greens (kale, collard, whatever) I can just hand out the recipe.  And yes, I do get asked that sort of thing in the grocery store.  The key is to boil them for a bit before hand.  Cookus Interruptus has a great video with collards, but you can apply the same technique to any “assertive” green.  I kept the thick part of the stems ala Tamar Adler, too, both of which felt like one of my biggest accomplishments last week.


I made this week’s meal plan while I was sitting at the breakfast table with the family yesterday.  I was fielding requests while trying to make the grocery list.  As you can see, it’s given our weekly menu a bit of…flair.  There were hands raised and the suggestions ran the gamut of super complicated with ingredients only grown on the moon (the husband would like me to let you know that this request never really happened) and processed food.  The family doesn’t exactly have a lot of range for the middle of the road sorts of things.  In the interests of family participation, I gave in to a few of their passionately defended requests even though they wouldn’t pass the usual guidelines I try to keep in mind:  whole food(ish), vegetables included, and made mostly by me.  I figure one week won’t kill them and next time I’ll write the menu at night when they’re all sleeping.

The baked chicken is Cynthia Lair’s Baked Chicken with Mushrooms from “Feeding the Whole Family” with her serving suggestion of mashed potatoes (in our case red potatoes and I’ll leave the skins on when I mash them).  The greens are a repeat performance from last week.

Curried Carrot Soup is from Martha Stewart (and can be found on my sparsely populated Pinterest board) and the focaccia is from Peter Reinhart’s “Artisan Breads Everyday.”

Pizza will be homemade because I was told not to buy frozen pizza by the five-year-old.  I use a crust recipe I found in “The Joy of Cooking.”  I’ve got an old copy that my grandma picked up at a yard sale for me, but I assume the recipe is still in the new one. We’ll top ours with pepperoni, bacon, onions, mushrooms, green pepper, black olives, and banana peppers.  Certain members of our family will leave off the mushrooms and banana peppers and one stick in the mud will skip the olives.  I always sauté my veggies briefly so that I can get rid of some of the water in them and the end product is cooked all the way through.  Canned spaghetti sauce (Newman’s Own) and mozzarella cheese round it all out.

Lasagna and salad is the husband’s request.  Well, the lasagna was anyway.  He made it clear that the lasagna was to be plain.  Too bad, I was thinking a roasted vegetable version with béchamel would have been lovely.  I used this recipe (on another sparsely populated Pinterest board of mine) as the base with a few changes when I was making the grocery list, but now I’m thinking of using the recipe on the back of the noodle box in an homage to back-of-the-package recipes everywhere.  Whatever the case, I have a rule when it comes to lasagna – no cottage cheese!  Both recipes pass that rule easily.  I added the salad so that there would be something vegetal in there.

Tacos/Quesadillas are a combination request.  I haven’t purchased packaged taco seasoning for seven years so I’ll make my own and add that to a can of tomato sauce, browned hamburger, and black beans.  We’ll also have homemade guac, tomatoes, olives, lettuce, cheese, and sour cream.  The quesadilla will be for Groceries and that’s just tortilla and cheese.  Salsa will be from my own private, frozen stash and no, you cannot have some.  :0)

Frozen dinner Friday is completely the kids’ request.  You know, you buy a frozen dinner for your kids one time because you’re in a hurry and the kids need to eat and it’s cheaper than taking them to a restaurant all the while never, ever planning to serve it again.  That, my friends, is a huge mistake.  They’d eat them every week if I let them.  This is my attempt at taming the beast for the next couple of months.  As an extra bonus, I’ll even have photographic proof that we did in fact have them recently so, no you can’t have them again.

Mac and cheese and corn dogs is another kid request.  Yes, I could make Nava Atlas’ made from scratch version, but I’m not going to.  It’ll be the blue box.  The corn dogs are also pre-made since making them on my own would require breaking a hard and fast kitchen rule of mine – “I don’t deep fry things.  Ever.”

All of which brings us to the end of another “what’s for dinner” post.  What about you, dear reader.  What’s on your plate?


4 thoughts on “What’s for Dinner – I had Help

  1. Sounds like you have a well made plan.

    • Thanks! As you’ve discovered, certain members of my family have become rather enamored with the whole chalkboard menu thing. We read through the list at least a couple of times a day. lol

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