Thursday, September 20

Mom On a Mission: Dinner Updates

     Hay y'all, I'm up and about again. Seems I may have been doing too much without resting enough....isn't that the story of the Mom Life? I mean, really. :) But my body completely gave up and I woke up feeling not-so-good Wednesday morning and could barely get out of bed. So my wonderful hubby stayed home to take care of everything. (Have I mentioned lately how wonderful this man is? Because he is wonderful and I'm so lucky to have him.)

So let's catch up on dinners, shall we?

     Monday, Thing 1 had soccer practice. So after picking her up from school, we ran home to do homework and have dinner before the 6 o'clock practice. Dinner this evening was leftover spaghetti and tortellini (by request). This worked out fabulously and we were able to make it to practice on time. Woohoo! :)
     Since Monday was leftover night, Tuesday became our Mexican Night for the week. Whether we are having tortillas, nachos or even tacos, we like to have a variety of fillings/toppers on the table so that everyone can make what they like.

     First thing I did was to dice up an onion and toss it in my skillet with 2 Tbsp of melted butter over medium heat. Then I minced up 4 cloves of garlic and added it to the skillet. Stir it up and let it go. When you notice the onions are translucent, turn the heat down closer to medium-low. Stir it occasionally but the idea here is to cook it low and slow so we can get that sweet caramelized flavor.
     Meanwhile, I went ahead and chopped up the fresh cilantro that I got at the Farmer's Market and then I finely shredded up a carrot. I left the cilantro on the cutting board (because it was going to get added to the cheese sauce) and then I put the shredded carrot into a ziplock bag. 

     Then I drained and rinsed a can of black beans. Put those into a bowl and covered it and microwaved it for 3 minutes. When it was done, I drained it and those were ready for the table, too. I pulled out some leftover rice we had in the fridge and added a tablespoon or so of water to it. Cover it and heat it up for about two minutes and its fluffy and tastes like you just cooked it up for the first time. (This is how I get away with re-using leftover rice without it tasting like leftovers.) I pulled out the light sour cream, already-sliced black olives (I buy them whole and slice them up myself, it saves money), green olives and spoons for serving it all out.

     All this is on the counter so the girls can help set the table; to get them more willing to help, I set everything out on the counter that needs to go on the table and they actually fight over who gets to bring it to the table. :)
     Not pictured is the cheese sauce (made using store-brand Velveeta, milk, the chopped fresh cilantro, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, dried basil and a dash of pepper). Below is a picture of the finished onions and garlic, which was the very last thing to get put into a dish. 

     Instead of putting everything into bowls with spoons so that it looks all picture-perfect, I serve everything from the tupperware containers that they are going to be put in after anyway to make clean-up a lot easier...and there is a lot less to wash after! My husband loved this idea. ;) The girls love getting their tortillas and picking out what goes in them and then rolling them up to eat. Mexican Night is very popular in our house. :)
     Wednesday I was out of commission. :(  But since I had already planned out dinners, it made dinner a little easier for my hubby. He made our Breakfast For Dinner: Whole Wheat Pancakes! The girls were jumping up and down when Daddy told them he was making pancakes. :)

Hubby was relieved to find that this is a recipe I have actually written down. :-p

Whole Wheat Pancakes
1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 c. milk
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice

     In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
     In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil and vanilla.
     Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened; batter will be lumpy.
     Pour about 1/4 cup or so, depending on how large you want your pancakes, into a pan that has been heated over medium heat; you may need to turn the heat down a bit after your first pancake. I use a bit of vegetable oil in the bottom of the pan (I use a silicone pastry brush to coat the bottom of the pan with a teaspoon of oil) or you can use butter or cooking spray -- this is to keep the pancakes from sticking.

     We cook them all up and keep them in a covered dish to keep them warm. The dish goes onto the table along with the toppings we like: peanut butter, Nutella, butter, mashed up bananas, the syrup the rest of the family likes, and the awesome real maple syrup I like that is straight from Canada.


 So far so good this week! Today's menu for dinner is Butternut Squash soup and sandwiches...mmmm! This is going to be good! :)

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