Thursday, September 18, 2014

Family meal times - what's on the menu

In between fighting over how we eat it, I have been giving some thought lately to what we are putting on our plates. I declared loftily back in July 2011 that we had a new routine of all eating dinner together - I don't remember how long that lasted but it certainly wasn't very long! My more recent mullings over what I feed everyone were instigated because, after being quite an adventurous eater as a baby/small toddler, at some point (maybe around three?) E turned into a right little fusspot. Although she has always been willing to eat a wide variety of fruit and vegies, besides those, almost every meal was cheesy pasta, boiled eggs, sausages - or an argument. With a repertoire like that was it any wonder I reverted to cooking separately for D and I? 

Anyway, at some point earlier this year I decided that enough was enough - E needed to start eating a wider range of food. And guess what? She is. It was very much a case of baby steps - for example, I started sneaking a bit of tomato sauce in with the cheesy pasta. From there, a smear of bolognese. A fried egg instead of a boiled egg. Bits of steak cut into squares and threaded on a skewer instead of a sausage. It wasn't all sunny sailing - there was one horrible dinner where I decided that seeing as E was willing to eat steak, and willing to eat spaghetti, beef noodle stir fry was going to be OK. I also got hardcore and declared that if she didn't want to eat what I served, she could eat nothing. Before (and since!) then as long as E tries the new thing, if she doesn't like it I will give her something else like some toast or yoghurt. But this meal ended with her crying and me refusing to give her anything else, and her going to bed having eaten literally nothing. It was an awful experience - I cannot bear the thought of my babies being hungry, and never wanted to turn food into such a confrontation. I think it's counter productive, aside from anything else. I agonised over it for a few days, and reverted to trying to come up with meals, which if they involve something new, also involve at least one or two aspects I am sure will be eaten.

In case it assists anyone else who is driving themselves nuts staring at the fridge each night, this is a list of what I can now serve with some confidence:

Meat dishes
* Sausages
* Chicken/veal/pork schnitzel
* Roast chicken or lamb or beef
* Meatloaf 
* Beef burgers or chicken burgers
* BBQ steak
* Chicken breast wrapped in bacon and roasted (D and I have ours with slices of chorizo, cherry tomatoes and little mushrooms cooked in the same roasting tin)
* Fish – breadcrumbed or pan fried with tartare sauce for dipping
* Squid rings – breadcrumbed or marinated in a little olive oil, lemon and garlic then pan fried
* I haven’t tried it yet but plan to try skewers of beef/chicken, bacon and capsicum cooked in a griddle pan or on the bbq
Pasta dishes
* Macaroni cheese, with or without bacon, ham, frozen peas/corns/carrot
*Spaghetti bolognese 
* Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (boil gnocchi, coat with tomato sauce, put in a casserole dish, mix through several handfuls of grated cheese, bake)
* Ravioli (beef or spinach and ricotta) with tomato sauce, or just grated cheese
* Pasta with pesto and cheese - often D and I have ours with roast cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini
* Plain quinoa
* Plain couscous
* Fried rice 
* Plain white rice topped with a fried egg
* Quesadillas (filled with a little salsa and cheese, and for adults also beans and guacamole)
* Toasted ham and cheese sandwich
* Potato bake
* Homemade chips/wedges
* Vegemite sandwich
* Cheese and bacon roll from supermarket/bakery
* Buttered bread with ham/salami and salad on the side
* Pizza made on English muffins or mini pizza bases (with cheese/capsicum/bacon/ham topping plus extras for adults)

What's on the family menu at your place?

1 comment:

Megan said...

Wow, that's a pretty extensive addition to your menu of cheesy pasta, boiled eggs and sausages. Well done!!

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