Every day at 5:30 pm or so my nice little family of four looks forward to sitting down at the dinner table and sharing a home cooked meal. I would enjoy it too, except for the fact that I'm the one who has to think up what to make, go out and get the ingredients, clean, wash, and prepare it, and finally cook and serve it.
Now I wouldn't mind most of that if I could come up with something the four of us would like to eat. My younger daughter is very picky and although she has gotten better over the years there are still many things she will not eat. Amongst the dreaded things on her list are fruits, vegetables, and fish. That leaves me with meat and potatoes. A few years ago she put her foot down to "hot dogs" so no more franks in this house. My older daughter will eat almost anything, but that doesn't mean she likes it. Yesterday's meatloaf, for example, got a huge groan. She isn't crazy about my tacos either or my chicken stuffed with mushroom stuffing. My husband will eat everything except olives and pickles...I can work around that.
So, when I ask everyone what would you like for dinner tonight, it irks me to hear a chorus of "I don't know's." Afterall, I could easily make myself a hard boiled eat and call it a day, I don't need the stress of thinking up a dinner menu 365 days a year! The past year has even made this chore more difficult because there are nights when one of them will be coming home late due to classes or overtime at work. That means making something that will reheat easily and still taste good (or cook twice as in the case steaks and pork chops). Right now I am trying to come up with something for tonight that can be warmed up later.
Let's see my dinner conundrum: what is it that four people will eat, will keep two hours after dinner time for my younger daughter, doesn't require too much preparation, won't get too many groans, is light on vegetables, and we haven't had in a while? I am hearing Jeopardy music in my head. The pressure is killing me. Finally an answer comes to me: Italian Wedding Soup! No complaints with that and it fits all the criteria. Luckily, it's not too hot out for soup...sometimes the weather also has to cooperate with the dinner menu or it's a no go.
So, for tonight the problem is solved, but what about the next 85 days of 2010?