Being the In House Chef – Dinner Addition

Right? Real Beat Dads! Part of the team, and doing what is necessary to get the job done. On my team, I am the better cook. I like to cook, and she doesn’t care about it as much. So I’m the cook, but I hate shopping. My sweet baby is more than happy to do the shopping, but we are always stuck not knowing what to make because when she shops, she retains this sense of ownership. She knows what she bought, and figured out what she would be willing to make. I could tell her, and she’s asked many times what we should buy, and I always kept it vague. I realized today, as I walked through aisles, that the reason I could never tell her was I needed to be there.

I’ve decided to take ownership, and this is how I plan to start my shopping. I’m dealing with a limited amount of space, and I have to feed four people three to four times a week, since I have my son only half the time, and three people the rest of the week.  My sweet angel of a girl is also finicky, but has been braver and braver for me. Something I really do appreciate. We have a new baby too, but she’s by far the easiest on the list to feed, since again my wonderful love is breastfeeding.

Today was the first assignment. Buy three meals to get us through the week. I need to create a menu for the evening with dishes that are going to be healthy and delicious. That will be a fun challenge. My goal in life is to be happy, and since creating makes me happy, I’m looking forward to it. So the dinner’s I will be preparing are very simple.

FRIDAY – Breaded chicken with sweet potato fries, spinach leaves, and cauliflower rice. I bought boneless skinless chicken breasts, and I plan to use Panko breadcrumbs with celery salt, a dash of cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. The sweet potato fries will be served with a little Parmesan, basil, and chives from the garden. The cauliflower will be grated on a cheese grater to the size of rice, and then cooked with a little lemon pepper and garlic. The spinach leaves will be added for color, and as is since my kids love to eat the “leaves” plain.

SATURDAY – Will be chicken sausage with Gruyere cheese on wheat penne with a marinara sauce, Brussels Sprouts, Carrot sticks . The sausage is by Aidell’s (really not ready to take on my own sausage making just yet), which will be charred a bit, and then sliced up. The Brussels Sprouts will be sauteed in olive oil with some chopped garlic, and charred as well. Carrot sticks as plain. I still want my kids to like food in its raw state.

SUNDAY – Barbecued Pork with black beans Asparagus, and Zucchini. The pork cuts will be the new challenge as I haven’t really cooked it before, but I’m ready to try and make it taste great. Sauteed Asparagus and Zucchini is a great combination. I also will make up a delicious black bean side for added protein.

This is the preliminary menu that I developed there on the spot. Some of my goals were simple, and hopefully they can stay true for the course.

  1. Use only four ingredients. A protein of some sort, vegetables and fruits, an occasional starch.
  2. Keep it simple. For now I want it done within an hour, prep, cook and clean up.
  3. Make sure it’s healthy, and balanced, but also delicious. I believe a lot of food can be delicious just by being prepared correctly. Cooking slow and steady, using fresh ingredients.
  4. Keep the cost reasonable. The total cost for all three meals was about 55 dollars. That’s four people for three days. I still bought fresh veggies, albeit overpriced (which I need to learn to shop better for). Still it’s less than I would pay at a restaurant, and we’re eating better food.
  5. Use the time to teach the kids about food. One thing I never really got from my childhood was an appreciation for the food I eat. With today’s internet and the amount of resources, we’ve been growing our own vegetables, fruits, and herbs, and I try and get them to cook with me. I want them to have the skills to make food taste good instead of resorting to fast food, or package process food, or paying too much for restaurants. I want my kids to know how to cook for their families.

Tonight will be the first night. I will keep a sort of general blog and menu, and results from the work that I’m doing. I figure if I write it down, it will help motivate me to stay the course towards eating better, saving money, and teaching my children.

I plan on using the data I receive from all of this to determine how easy it is to pull it off, and I need to utilize this information to start a Monday through Sunday menu for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Not an easy task. Step one is listed, and here we go.

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