Friday, August 29, 2008

Dinner time

Injera, Shiro Wot, and salad.

Even Kaitlyn eats spicy foods.

Learning at a young age how to eat Ethiopian-style. She loves it, because it's very hands-on and messy!

This is by far the most work I feel like I do all day. Between the meal planning, prep, cooking, serving, serving some more (my kids are pretty big eaters), and cleanup...yeah, it's a lot of work. :)

In terms of meal planning and shopping, I go through spurts of being organized, but then I end up disorganized again (more often than not, darn). I'm so inconsistent! One thing that IS consistent though is that in a family of six, we have to have SOME sort of meal each night.

I do have grand plans to get a system going and get more organized (once I'm feeling a little better). Here are some of my random "meal habits":

--In general we typically don't eat red meat more than once a week. (And it's usually super lean ground beef in tacos or chili or spaghetti sauce.)

--We have a vegetable with every meal.

--I like to make Ethiopian food every now and then and am SO happy to live near an Ethiopian market where I can buy yummy injera to go with!

--Before we moved we were having fish about once a week, either tilapia or salmon. I've been so out of my routine that we haven't had it much since we got here. But I'm making fish tonight, yay!

--I will sometimes substitute tofu for meat, or make tofu recipes.

--I use ground turkey too--in tacos, spaghetti sauce, and chili. When it's seasoned you really can't tell the difference that much (in my opinion) between turkey and beef.

--We generally eat whole wheat pastas, and brown rice, because they're healthier than the non-wheat alternatives.

I'm not that great of a chef, but hey, we get by. :) I LOVE "Everyday Food" magazine and I also own the cookbook, which, unfortunately, I haven't used yet.

There are two big things about dinner that we live by, I guess. One is, I make what I want to make. No one has to eat it, but that's it until breakfast. (None of my kids are picky eaters so no one ever skips the meal, though of course some things are liked better than others). The second thing is, all six of us sit down to dinner together every night. I know in the years to come there will be sports and friends and activities from time to time, but I think in general, for us, it's really important for us to have structured, sit-down dinners where we're all together enjoying each other's company (and hopefully the food too!) Yes, it can make for noisy, messy mealtimes, but that's okay.

What are YOUR dinnertime routines? What kinds of things do you enjoy making? Do you have any tried-and-true recipes?


Shelley said...

Really enjoy your blog..have been mostly a lurker until now..but had to comment on this one - as we are a new family of 6! (just adopted 2 more children from Ethiopia). So I am still getting into the swing of things and trying to set up our 'routine' especially now that school has started and our 'summer' routine just won't work.

I have some similarities as you as far as meals;
- we always have vegetables with every meal usually both fresh and cooked.
- I cook what I want...I try to cook at least one meal each week that I know each child will love..Good thing they love the same things :)
- You don't have to eat what you don't like - but you do have to try it.
-Supper is the last meal of the day - if you don't eat you wait until breakfast (fortuantly our kids are all good eaters and not picky so this has never been an issue)
-As much as I can I double up my recipies when I cook - so we can eat one and I can freeze one -for those nights when we are in a hurry and I don't have time to prep something else.
-We always sit down as a family to eat. Not in front of the tv but at the table where we can talk about our day.
-We are currently pretty scheduled about meal times..we generally, always eat at exactly the same time everyday..the odd time we have an exception

I don't feel like I've quite found my strid cooking for 6..but its coming along.

Lunches are my biggest issue - as I have little time to feed and clean up the troups and get them back to school on time...too often fall back on the good ole ham and cheese sandwich (good thing my kids love these!) I do mix it up with leftovers from supper, or veggie wraps, or soup on a cold day..but other than that my lunches are pretty predictable. (We 25 minutes from the time my oldest gets home to eat to the time we HAVE to be out the door back to school). I have a 9 year old, a 4 year old (just started K), a 3 year old and a 1 year old :)


Brianna Heldt said...

hi shelley! so nice to "meet" you. :) i loved reading your comment, and congrats on your latest family additions! do you have a blog?

Mike and Rachel said...

My biggest new thing it trying to remake my leftovers. I'll plan to have a whle chicken, and then put enough aside to make enchiladas the next day, or use leftover taco meet in a casserole, stuff like that. We eat a lot of pasta as the main ingredient meals, chicken, and ground beef. I often add an extra side to the kids meal to beef it up, like yogurt or cheese.

Jacquelyn said...

Just like you - always whole wheat pasta, breads &ct but Phillip has banned me from using brown rice maybe I'll try cous cous or pearl barley (not!). we also have a vegetable or so a every meal but instead of Ethiopian we eat a ton of curry. I get the spices near L.A. but Indian spices seem to be relatively easy to get. The only problem is that you just have to know how to translate the cookbook recipes (ghee - clarified butter) and possibly do some conversions since some of the older cookbooks I have are from India and they use metrics. I can't believe we never had you over for curry ... Phillip is our Asian chef so he'll make chinese food and Korean food - all from scratch. I was pretty impressed when he made his own teriaki sauce. It was a pretty complicated process but tasted so much better than commercially made teriaki. I make a lot of pseudo Mexican food to, guess you can tell we like it spicy in our house though the kids usually need a cooled off version.

Jenna said...

Hi Brianna, Love the food posts! I also use mostly brown rice but do opt for the regular pasta - being Italian it's the standard around here (and also low glycemic even though it's not whole wheat). And always whole wheat bread.

We have been trying to incorporate Laina more into the dinner time experience. She goes to bed so early and Jay gets home late a lot of nights, so usually we put Laina to bed first when Jay gets home then sit down to eat ourselves. With Laina getting older, she is staying up a bit later so we have been eating all together as a family more lately which is really nice.

I also make what I want for dinner and everyone eats it (or mostly anyways). I usually have a pretty well-rounded meal with veggies, protein, and carbs. I have gotten really good at sitting down on Mondays AM and planning meals for the week, then also shopping that day. I try to plan at least one crock pot meal per week. I like a lot of variety and we eat all different ethnicities of foods. That is another slight downfall of living in CO (especially a white suburb)- it's hard to find certain things. And yet another reason I miss TJs!!! Though last night I did make falafel and tabouli! yum!

Anonymous said...

Oh, um, what is that brown squishy stuff in the picture??

Jeannett Gibson said...

I don't make casseroles, never even tasted meatloaf in my whole life. Most meals consist of a meat/fish, a potato, and a veggie. I also use wheat/brown subs as often as possible and buy organic. Probably my "biggest" thing is that I don't make anything (ok, hardly anything) out of a box, can, or bag. That means cookies, cakes, frosting, etc. I used to make my own bread, but I haven't gotten my act together enough to do that again. Soon.

Brianna Heldt said...

oh, um, it's injera and shiro. like it says...under the picture. :)

joy said...

jeannett--you have to try martha's all american meatloaf minus the rosemary--it's amazing and definitely not meatloaf like you've ever imagined. your food posts are so fun, brianna and i do hope you're feeling better. my kids love tacos and any kind of pasta and they'll also eat the pulled pork sandwiches. i've tried soup and even gave them some fishy crackers to spread on top, but i think they can still taste the vegetables! they will eat veggies dipped in hummus, which i prefer to ranch dressing. rice is usually a hit and i try for brown rice, but nobody eats it so i think i have to mix white and brown. we have the same rules you do--if you don't like dinner, then enjoy breakfast. i think maybe that's why abe is so skinny! :) miss you

The MSILF said...

Have you tried They sort of helped me organize a meal plan.

And about the sugar bf eats Frosted Flakes with chocolate milk. It makes my teeth hurt.

C said...

I don't have kids yet but I imagine the concept is the same no matter what which is PLAN. I try to plan my meals for the week running from Sunday to Saturday and make things work for me.

A rotisserie chicken served with a a salad or whatever side items I cook might become part of a casserole the next day or quesadillas and then the bones for stock.

If I cook pasta, I make enough to last two days to give myself a break.

I think it's nice to expose kids to as many textures and flavors as they will possibly allow and who doesn't like to eat with their hands ;)

I don't have any off the top of my head recipes but I cook a lot

shell said...

We are very much like you-eat dinner together, try to eat as healthy as possible, they eat what I like (meaning we rarely eat fish-i am working on it!!). We have try to cut out a lot of processed food, and make things from scratch if we can. Except bread. We eat way too much bread! I must say I have grown more in love with my crockpot after this blog
I dont organize by each day, i just try and shop once a week and pick about 5 meals, and then make what i feel like each day. we are also getting a CSA basket once a week and that has been awesome!


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