Thursday, January 17, 2013

Two Easy, Healthy Meals...and MY KIDS ATE THEM!!!

Why is it that as a mom, I feel such success when my kids eat the meals I prepare?  One of the most nagging and annoying questions I face each day is, "What's for dinner?"  I try so hard to prepare meals that are healthy and yummy, and sometimes, every once in a while, there's a victory.  Two victories in a row warrants sharing.

So, after pancakes on Sunday night and hot dogs on Monday, I decided we needed to have some well rounded meals.  I got out my three ring binder, where I keep all the recipes I have collected over the years, from magazines, friends, the internet.  And I planned.  I had also recently done a freezer clean- out and inventory, so there were a few items I felt we needed to eat anyway.  On the menu: Lemon-Steamed Fish Fillets (Tuesday night), Taco Soup (Wednesday night), and Cheesy Baked Shells and Broccoli (Thursday night).

The fish recipe came from Desperation Dinners, by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross.  My mother-in-law gave me this cookbook as a wedding gift and we have made most of the meals in it!  I have never made one thing in that book that I did not like.  The fish was a hit!  In fact, I didn't realize until I started pulling out the ingredients for the fish, that I only had two fish fillets.  So, I cooked the rest of a box of fish sticks for the boys.  That kind of threw a wrench in my "healthy" plan for them, but to my delight, they asked for the steamed fish when we sat down at the table, and Jonah ended up eating half of my fish and half of Justin's, and we split his fish sticks.  As sides, we had asparagus, carrot sticks, and corn on the cob.  We have had this recipe in the past, but it is one of those meals I kind of forgot about.  We will be putting it back into the rotation for week-night meals.  It will also go on a list in progress on the side of the fridge called, "After Bruce Comes."  I know my sleep deprived brain may need assistance planning and shopping for meals after the baby arrives.  (One note about the fish recipe--don't use water in place of white wine.  The wine really enhances the flavor.  I buy the small bottles of wine that come in a four pack for cooking).

Wednesday night, I made the Taco Soup.  I was so happy to hear the boys talking about how good dinner smelled as I was cooking.  Did I mention how successful I feel as a mom when my boys like the food I cook?  I think it is the hour spent in the kitchen preparing a meal, and the time spent thoughtfully planning what I want to put in their little bodies, that makes me feel like a superstar when they actually want to eat it!  I picked the Taco Soup because Carson seems to really like soup, and Jonah LOVES tacos.  We just needed a variation on the same ol' tacos we enjoy each week.  And this one was a keeper!  I have to admit, they both kind of stuck up their noses when they saw the tomatoes mixed in with the meat and beans, but one bite, and they were sold!   Carson ate even more than his brother!  Jonah said he couldn't even taste the flavor of the tomatoes when they were mixed in with the other ingredients of the soup.  I should throw tomatoes into our meals more often!  The even better news about this meal: leftovers!!!  Enough for at least one more meal.  We had sliced apples and tortilla chips as sides, which helped the meal appeal to the boys even more.

So, I am going for a third night of good eating.  The Cheesy Baked Shells and Broccoli may not be the healthiest one on the list, but it sounded like a good cold weather meal.  We'll see how it goes.  In the meantime, I will be adding Lemon-Steamed Fish and Taco Soup to our list.

One more thing.  How do you pick week-night meals?  I definitely go for healthy*, although I do resort to hot dogs on occasion, when I am tired or perhaps 39 weeks pregnant.  But another draw for me is a short ingredient list.  My mom always said my grandma will only make meals with five ingredients or less.  I am kind of like my grandma.  That is another perk to the two recipes I am sharing.  Many of the items I already had on hand as well--another seller for a recipe.

*I googled Lemon-Steamed Fillets and found nutrition facts.  I am not sure who came up with these, so don't hold me accountable to their accuracy.  I was pleased to see that if they are accurate, this is a very heart-healthy meal.

*I can't believe how easy it is to come up with nutrition facts!  Here are the details for the Taco Soup.  I used ground turkey when the recipe called for ground beef, so I imagine my version has less fat.

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