And the list for today is...
My Three Favorite Desperation Dinners.
We all have these, don't we? The dinners where you've just rolled in the door and the kids are ravenous and you're whipped and the clock is ticking. I started thinking about this during my recent "bad day", so it's a good fit for this week's list. I'll start with the one I've already mentioned...
1. Chicken Caesar Salads. Hands down the favorite among the kids, and pretty popular with me, too. What I love the most is the versatility of it. Sometimes I grill the chicken, but if I'm in a real hurry I can just grab already made chicken strips from the deli and cut them up. We've also been known to use shrimp when we're flush (or it's on sale). For the non meat-eaters, we simply leave the chicken off and give them more salad. I make some garlic bread or cheesy biscuits and dinner is served. This is what the Film Geek makes a lot when I'm at work, and it's high on his list too. (His other specialty is Haystacks, which are kind of like deconstructed tacos. Also very popular with the kids).
2. Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches on sourdough bread. Another big kid favorite. (Are you noticing a theme?) I personally hate cooking bacon on the stovetop, so I either throw it in the oven or (blasphemy) buy the already made stuff in the box. Heck, I'm not eating it, what do I care? Speaking of blasphemy, there's a really good soy bacon that Gumby and I like a lot, so this meal too, is pretty flexible. (It also comes with it's own entertainment , as the rest of the family sneers at our soy bacon. Gotta admit it looks pretty foul). The sourdough is key, since I have a household full of sourdough junkies. If avacadoes are ripe, Sasquatch and I will split one and put it on the sandwich. Side dishes vary by availibility. Sometimes I throw together a cole slaw, or we have frozen french fries or chips. Fast, easy, cheap - we have a winner!
3. Pasta. My personal favorite and pretty darn succesful with kidlets to boot. And when you look in the dictionary under the word flexible, there's a picture of pasta. Really. I checked. Is there anything you can't do with pasta? Sometimes we have cheese ravioli instead of plain old spaghetti or linguini or rotini or penne, but the desperation sauce is always the same. I throw some olive oil and garlic in a pan with some finely diced zuchini and cook it until it's soft. Then I add a jar of already made sauce and a can of diced tomatoes and some italian herbs, heavy on the basil. It's finished by the time the pasta is done. This is not my "I have all day let's make a killer sauce" sauce, but it works in a pinch. My poor children have vegetables thrown at them every which way and barely recognize a pasta sauce without zuchini. For those who prefer butter and cheese on their pasta, they can do it. Or we can do a fast cheese sauce. I often have meatballs in the freezer that I can heat up for those who want them. I've usually got fresh parmesan that we grate on top, and we've always got the packaged stuff. Add some garlic bread and a salad or steamed broccoli and you're done.
Some things that I like the idea of would never fly in my house. My mother, for example, would serve breakfast for dinner sometimes, since she loves breakfast foods but doesn't like eating in the morning. I always liked eggs or pancakes for dinner when I was growing up, but the few times I've tried it my kids have been less that thrilled. They're spotty on already made or frozen foods, so sometimes they like them and sometimes they don't. It's always a crapshoot, so I've learned to stick with what I know works.
Anyone else have any ideas? I can always use suggestions!
P.S. Happy Birthday to my adorable Surfer Dude!!