Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's For Dinner?

A few years back, if you had asked me, I would have told you that I love to cook.  Before budgets, and after school activities and 3 meals a day on the table.  It was fun to cook.

Before kids, when I worked, I did not cook every night.  Several nights a week we got take out, or even better, went out to eat.  And we had nights when both of us ate cereal or just junk food.  But at least a couple of nights out of the week I did cook.  WHEN I FELT LIKE IT.  And I enjoyed preparing those meals.  Soups, casseroles, even Filet Mignon took a frequent turn in my repertoire.

I've always loved ready new recipes.  I would read them, but never follow them to the word.  When hubby asked I would tell him I was "inspired" by a recipe I saw in such and such magazine.  Then we would giggle because we both new I'd probably never be able to re-create it exactly.

But things have changed.  I now make breakfast for 3, lunch for 2 and dinner for 4 nearly every day.  Sure, I have some breaks.  Pizza or chinese for dinner sometimes.  Chic-Fil-A for lunch on occasion.  But money is tight and I prefer healthier made at home options.  So I cook.  And something that once was practiced in moderation and enjoyed, is now another chore.

And lately, my recipe inspired creations have lost their mojo.  The flops have outnumbered the successes.  My hubby has asked for cereal instead.

Like last weekend.  I vaguely remembered reading about pureeing white beans and adding it to kale, tomatoes, garlic and oil.  So I added a little of this and a little of that.  Didn't feel like putting the beans in my blender to puree, so after adding them to the rest of the ingredients I buzzed my immersion blender into the pan a few times.  When my husband asked for salt and refused to look me in the eye, I had to ask "is it not good?" after a long pause, and still no eye contact, his reply was "have I ever asked for salt before?" Gotcha.

Or a few weeks ago when I started to make an Asian stir fry but realized I had no soy sauce, I put a little of this and a little of that in.  Then the kids were fighting so I forgot about it as it cooked on the stove.  What resulted was mushy and flavorless.  When my husband came home late that night and asked what I cooked, I told him "dinner".  When he pulled out the cereal, I dumped the left overs into the trash.

The last example also pinpoints another issue.  I suffer from poor pantry inventory control.  I often THINK I have the ingredients for a particular dish, but find out too late that I do not.

At 6 pm, after making sauce and boiling the water, I will realize I don't actually have any noodles.  That's when I start wondering if the kids will like sauce over rice or maybe beans.  Or I'll cook and season the meat for taco's only to realize that D2 has snacked away all the shells.  Taco casserole it is!  Crap... no rice either....  lettuce wraps!

So what is the solution? I honestly don't have one. D1 has shown a lot of interest in cooking.  I'm hoping by 8 or 9 she can take over.  Until then, it's sauce and rice for dinner!

Crap... the dog just ate the sauce.


Krazy Kat Lady said...

You: Come over for a drink! I'm making Mojitos.
Me: Do you need me to bring anything?
You: Just club soda.
Five minutes later...
You: Can you also bring mint?
One minute later...
You: And limes?

Or there was the time you said: I have everything we need to make Gin & Tonics.
Me: Are you sure???
You: Yes. I just need you to bring limes & tonic water.


Jenny Henny said...

At least I always had the booze!