Telfer and I have a complicated relationship with the family dinner. When you have a picky, highly emotional eater it sounds so much better, and I mean so much better, to eat a real, adult dinner after the kids go to bed. So we have forced ourselves to have family dinner at least twice a week. Sometimes only once. To be fair, this is mostly due to Telfer's schedule. We have spaghetti with meatballs or stir fry with chicken or cheese pizza or dip-everything-into-hummus. That's basically Cate's real food repertoire.
I think it's starting to get better. There has been significantly less screaming at mealtimes and we can actually eat at 5:30 without a meltdown (for awhile there it was 4:50 and both girls wanted dinner NOW). Last night I fixed a new recipe and there wasn't even a quiver of I-can't-believe-you-put-this-in-front-of-me.
This cookbook is fabulous, by the way, even if you don't have kids. Everything I have made from it is really good. The recipes are simple without compromising flavor (some easy recipes are just not worth it in terms of depth of flavor).
So last night I managed to make Sesame Noodles with Extras (recipe at the end of the post) – everyone could personalize their noodles with chicken, carrots, peanuts, scallions, cilantro, cucumbers and snow peas. And they ate it. We even got a conversation going about the best parts of our day. Cate immediately said "poop!" when we asked her the question. Of course she did! But who cares when she does this instead:
Also, we have been watching a movie one night a week together. Kesley, our neighbor and Cate's major crush, is always invited. We have popcorn and take a break for pizza. Jane is less into the whole thing but it's so fun to cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie with Cate. So far we have watched Bambi, Enchanted and Beauty and the Beast. I am really not sure how Telfer got this picture. The idyllic little scene lasted for maybe 2 seconds. But I loved it!
Recipe for Sesame Noodles with Extras from Time for Dinner: Strategies, Inspiration, and Recipes for Family Meals Every Night of the Week.
1 1-pound box udon noodles or fettuccine (I had soba in the cupboard)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 handful snow peas, sliced
1 handful peanuts, chopped
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 cup bottled Asian sesame dressing (such as Annie's or TJ's ginger sesame)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1. Prepare pasta
2. Arrange the carrots, cukes, scallions, snow peas, peanuts, cilantro, and chicken in individual bowls.
3. In a blender or food processor, mix the dressing with the peanut butter. Toss the noodles with the peanut sauce.
4. Serve everyone a bowl of noodles and have them customize their own meals.