Thursday, February 09, 2017

What's For Dinner? {January 2017}

I can remember sitting around a table full of family members that I had only just met.  We were eating the most delicious cauliflower soup on the most beautiful dishes in a home that was filled with family and friends.  These family members opened their home to my grandparents and I with such love and hospitality, I will never forget.  We were the outsiders. We were visiting family in Norway for the first time.  We didn't speak the language and yet, we were still able to have some conversation.  I can remember a cousin asking what we did for dinners in America.  They had read about American's eating out a lot and wondering if that was what my family at home did also.  I assured her that we sat down as a family on most nights to a home cooked meal, but it was at that time, I realized how blessed I was to be able to have that experience in my home.  I also have kept that memory very clear in my mind because I want to make sure my family sees the importance of sitting around the table together. 

That's why I do these posts.   Sometimes dinner can be mundane and exhausting and it is easier just to throw food at your kids and put on a movie (yes, this does happen on occasion at my house).   I want to share recipes that my family (or my husband and I. . . kids are tricky!) enjoyed, so that you can be inspired to make something different and fun to sit around your table and talk about your day with your family.

January was an interesting month at our house.  We threw a party, got ready for another party, got back into the swing of things with school starting and then it was budget time (a.k.a the hubby works really late. . . a lot).  So, that being said,  I don't have a ton if recipes to share, but I do have some.  But, I'm going to throw in some from December because they were so good, and I never got around to doing last month's 'what's for dinner' post.

 It was really hard to menu plan last month and so it took us 3 weeks to go through one week's plan, but some months are like that. I do feel like we got to eat some really good food, so I'm okay that some months are like that. 

 When Jon works late or is out of town, I don't make a whole lot of extravagant meals.  The kids eat a lot of their favorite foods: chicken nuggets, hot dogs, naan pizzas, pizza roll ups, little smokies in a blanket, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, meatballs and sauce, egg rolls, pot stickers.

I also purposely plan meals each week that are a variation of simple, fun, and challenging.  I don't always have the energy (some days are just plum busy!) or desire to make something completely from scratch and so we always have on hand some chicken breasts and some Indian simmer sauces that we find at Costco  and we have some Trader Joe's Orange Chicken in the freezer.  Oh, and we always have stuff for tacos and spaghetti, because they are pretty much awesome and no one complains. ever. It's a win for me if no one complains!

This month, our favorite new recipes were the following:

 Baked Honey Lemon Chicken
Our lemon tree is overflowing, so this recipe was a great way to use some of our stash.  I loved that it used cornstarch to help give the chicken the crispiness, but I also appreciated the "baked" part, because that allows me to multi task, and get some other things done or deal with the kids and homework.  Jon unexpectedly worked late when I made this, and he still really enjoyed it reheated!

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Salad
This salad was delicious!  It was so cool and refreshing, even though it was January and cold and rainy!  It felt so good to eat a salad, that I couldn't wait for the leftovers the next day! Jon was a bit skeptic when I was telling him what we were having, but he approved and we will most likely have this again!

Satay Chicken with Peanut Dipping Sauce
This recipe is one of those that you just can't wait to eat the leftovers.  You might not even want to tell your spouse there are left overs because it was amazing!  It was amazing the first night.  It was amazing the second night.  These were easy, aside from skewering. . . that's just labor intensive, but you can do it ahead of time and just take them out when you are done.  I did these on the grill and possibly froze my tush off, but it was worth it!  This is definitely a win in our house!

One Pan Sausage and Veggies

This recipe is from last fall.  I loved it so much that I've made it a bunch of times already.  In fact, it's on the menu for this week because I loved it so much.  It's also really versatile.  I just grab some sausage (Trader Joe's makes some great flavors and so does Aidells) and then I just grab some veggies.  My favorites are red potatoes, beans, peppers, mushrooms, brussel sprouts.  I just sort of grab a couple and then follow the recipe.  Plus, it's another one that you can just prep, throw in the oven, and then go read a book, drink a glass of wine, or deal with whatever homework situation is happening that night.  It is definitely a go to recipe and makes a rotation at least once a month now!

And that's what's been going on in our kitchen, at least for dinner.  What have you been making?  Send me some inspiration. . . anything your family just loves right now?  What is your favorite part about sitting around the table with your family?

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